Axis of Evil or Access to Diesel?

Spaces of New Imperialism and the Iraq War

In: Historical Materialism
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  • 1 School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham
  • | 2 Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney

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This article examines how the Iraq War was a space in the ongoing geographical extension of global capitalism linked to us foreign policy. Was it simply the decision by a unitary, hegemonic actor in the inter-state system overriding concerns from other states? Was it an imperialist move to secure the ‘global oil spigot’? Alternatively, did the use of military force reflect the interests and emergence of a transnational state apparatus? We argue that the us imperium needs to be conceptualised as a specific form of state, within which and through which fractions of national and transnational capital operate. In so doing, the Iraq War is assessed as a moment in the extension of global capitalism in which the interests of a national fraction of capital within the us state form was dominant, thereby placing processes of class struggle and their relation to wider spaces of imperialism at the centre of analysis.

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  • 1

    Colás and Pozo 2011, p. 219.

  • 2

    See Agnew 2011; Black 2011; Guzzini 2011.

  • 3

    van der Pijl 2011.

  • 4

    Cox 1981, p. 142.

  • 5

    Lenin 1964, p. 259.

  • 6

    Lenin 1964, p. 83.

  • 7

    Lenin 1964, pp. 275–6.

  • 8

    Bukharin 1929, p. 115.

  • 9

    Bukharin 1929, p. 54.

  • 10

    Bukharin 1929, p. 58.

  • 11

    Bukharin 1929, p. 149.

  • 12

    Bukharin 1929, p. 158.

  • 13

    Callinicos 2009, p. 72.

  • 14

    Callinicos 2009, p. 74. Different versions of a ‘two logics’ account of the new imperialism can be found in Harvey 1985 and Harvey 2003 as well as Arrighi 1994.

  • 15

    Callinicos 2009, p. 83.

  • 16

    Callinicos 2010, p. 21. Unsurprisingly considering the emphasis on a ‘realist moment’, Callinicos is charged with providing ‘a Marxist explanation that often reads like an excellent realist one’ (Pozo Martin 2006, p. 236, n. 12).

  • 17

    Callinicos 2005, p. 2.

  • 18

    Callinicos 2005, p. 7; Harvey 2003, p. 25.

  • 19

    Halperin 2011.

  • 20

    Stokes 2005, pp. 218, 230; and Stokes and Raphael 2010, pp. 35–8.

  • 22

    Ollman 2003, p. 80.

  • 23

    Ollman 1976, p. 47; see also Bieler and Morton 2008.

  • 24

    Ollman 2003, p. 5.

  • 25

    Bromley 1994, p. 34.

  • 26

    Bromley 1994, pp. 96–100.

  • 27

    Bromley 2006, p. 429.

  • 28

    Bromley 2006, p. 420; see also Bromley 2005, p. 254.

  • 29

    Kautsky 1970, pp. 44, 46.

  • 30

    Kautsky 1970, p. 46.

  • 31

    Lenin 1964, p. 272.

  • 32

    Bukharin 1929, pp. 137–8.

  • 33

    Panitch and Gindin 2012, pp. 4, 10–12.

  • 34

    Kiely 2010, p. 141.

  • 35

    Panitch and Gindin 2005a, p. 61; see also Kiely 2010, p. 146.

  • 36

    Panitch and Gindin 2012, pp. 179, 214.

  • 37

    Panitch and Gindin 2005a, p. 53.

  • 38

    Kiely 2007, pp. 30–9, borrows this term from Gallagher and Robinson 1953.

  • 39

    Kiely 2010, p. 163.

  • 40

    Kiely 2010, p. 233.

  • 41

    Kiely 2010, p. 234.

  • 42

    For example, see Panitch and Gindin 2005a, p. 47; Kiely 2010, pp. 242, 245, 246–7.

  • 43

    Panitch and Gindin 2012, pp. 7–12.

  • 44

    Panitch and Gindin 2005a, p. 53.

  • 45

    See de Brunhoff 1978, pp. 113–22. As Panitch and Gindin state, ‘the asymmetries of empire need to be factored into the interpenetration and evaluation of exchange rates, trade accounts, fiscal deficits, capital flows, international debt’ (Panitch and Gindin 2005b, p. 115). The reduction of American empire to finance and its informal characteristics can also be witnessed in Panitch 2000 and Panitch and Gindin 2003.

  • 46

    Bieler 2006, p. 50.

  • 49

    Robinson 2008, p. 30.

  • 50

    Hirst and Thompson 1999. For the expression of similar criticisms of fdi as an indicator of transnationalisation, see Anievas 2008, pp. 196–7, and Weiss 1998; for a response to Hirst and Thompson as well as Weiss, see Bieler 2006, pp. 50–4.

  • 51

    Gereffi, Humphrey and Sturgeon 2005.

  • 52

    Hart-Landsberg 2013, p. 20.

  • 55

    Skocpol 1979, p. 19.

  • 56

    Lacher 2006; Teschke 2003.

  • 57

    Wood 1991, p. 26.

  • 58

    Wood 2002, p. 19.

  • 59

    Marx 1996, p. 588.

  • 60

    Harvey 1985, p. 132.

  • 61

    Trotsky 1936, pp. 25–37.

  • 62

    Trotsky 2007, p. 27.

  • 63

    Rosenberg 2006, p. 319.

  • 64

    Trotsky 1936, p. 28.

  • 65

    Wood 1999, pp. 7–8.

  • 66

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 323.

  • 67

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 401.

  • 68

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 338.

  • 69

    Luxemburg 1977, pp. 120–1.

  • 71

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 108.

  • 72

    Luxemburg 2003, pp. 346–7.

  • 73

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 419.

  • 74

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 367.

  • 75

    Luxemburg 2003, p. 426.

  • 77

    Harvey 1996, p. 269.

  • 78

    Sklair 2001; Robinson and Harris 2000. For recent scholarship on the tcc including contributions by Sklair and Robinson, see Struna (ed.) 2015.

  • 79

    Robinson 2004, p. 21.

  • 80

    Robinson 2003, pp. 19–20; Robinson 2008, pp. 6–7.

  • 81

    Robinson 2011, p. 742.

  • 82

    Robinson 2004, p. 109.

  • 83

    Robinson 2007, p. 89.

  • 84

    Robinson 2007, p. 92.

  • 85

    Robinson 2004, p. 61.

  • 87

    Robinson 2003, p. 62.

  • 88

    Bieler and Morton 2013/14, pp. 34–5; Morton 2007, p. 148.

  • 89

    Anievas 2008, p. 197; see also pp. 199–203.

  • 91

    Harris 2008a, p. 55.

  • 92

    Harris 2005, p. 145.

  • 93

    See also Bieler and Morton 2013/14, pp. 31–7; Morton 2013, pp. 104–5.

  • 94

    Nitzan and Bichler 2002, pp. 208–12; Hossein-Zadeh 2006, p. 4.

  • 95

    Harris 2005, p. 142.

  • 96

    Hossein-Zadeh 2006, p. 4.

  • 97

    Harris 2005, p. 142.

  • 98

    Tsai 2008, p. 48. See also Anievas 2014, pp. 114–15, on how unilateralism-multilateralism are always-already present moments, or internally related aspects, of the extension of capitalist accumulation including the systematic use or threat of force and violence through formal and informal empire.

  • 101

    Harris 2008b, p. 39

  • 102

    Kristol and Kagan 1996, p. 20.

  • 103

    Project for the New American Century 1997a.

  • 104

    Project for the New American Century 1997b.

  • 105

    Chomsky 2003, p. 3.

  • 106

    National Security Council 2002.

  • 107

    Herring and Rangwala 2006, pp. 8–9.

  • 109

    Paul 2007, p. 69.

  • 110

    Giroux 2007, p. 15.

  • 111

    Giroux 2007, pp. 18–19.

  • 112

    Association of American Universities 2006.

  • 113

    Harris 2005, pp. 145–51.

  • 114

    Paul 2007, p. 65.

  • 115

    Chomsky 2007, p. 38.

  • 116

    Klare 2004, p. 62.

  • 117

    National Intelligence Council 2004, pp. 59, 62.

  • 118

    Brzezinski 2003/4, p. 8.

  • 119

    Cafruny and Lehmann 2012, p. 16.

  • 120

    Klein 2007, pp. 311, 313.

  • 121

    Woodward 2004, p. 163.

  • 122

    Klein 2007, p. 320.

  • 123

    Politi and Verlöy 2003.

  • 124

    Klein 2007, p. 320.

  • 125

    Klein 2007, p. 317.

  • 126

    Klein 2007, p. 319.

  • 127

    Harris 2005, pp. 145–6.

  • 128

    Van Apeldoorn and de Graaff 2014, pp. 45–6.

  • 129

    Burkeman 2003. See also Anievas 2008, p. 203.

  • 130

    Flibbert 2006, p. 321.

  • 131

    Nitzan and Bichler 2004, p. 257.

  • 132

    Nitzan and Bichler 2004, p. 258.

  • 133

    Margesson and Tarnoff 2003.

  • 135

    Chandrasekaran 2006, p. 12.

  • 136

    Van Natta 2003.

  • 137

    Bechtel 2004.

  • 139

    Panitch and Gindin 2012, p. 7.

  • 140

    Harvey 2001, p. 274.

  • 141

    Harvey 2006, p. 431.

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