Report on the upcoming conference on the Role of International Civil Society in Korean Reconciliation & Reunification (including tentative program & list of speakers)
Soon the G7/8 are about to meet
in Genoa, Italy, with their tens of thouands of police, where they will be
greeted many more persons protesting globalization from above. This is fitting,
since as Walden Bello notes in this month's Focus on Trade, Genoa is a name
associated with the beginnings of capitalism in Europe some six centuries
In fact, Genoa, in the so-called "long sixteenth century" represented the alliance of the power of money with the power of empire, then residing in Imperial Spain. For it was Imperial Spain whose discoveries and power pursuits Genoa funded and whose high finances were handled by the cosmopolitan city-state as well during the famous Age of the Genoese. In the 1980s, with the increasing centrality of East Asia in the world-economy, East Asian capital, most especially from Japan, also funded the imperial pursuits of the US superpower, whose imperial reach today is greater than Rome or Spain in its heyday. Of course, the US has combined violence, profits and power in a way Imperial Spain never achieved, to sit atop a global informal empire today.
In recent years Asia has seen promising developments towards ending Cold War like confrontation, most notably between the divided states of North and South Korea. Rather than supporting this process, a historic shift in US policy is underway, which seems designed to ensure that the wealth and power of the Asia-Pacific is used not for increased regional autonomy and multilateral security but instead to maintain overlapping networks of US violence, profits and power in the region. The US seems intent on ensuring that the states of the region will be forced to seek protection from the US. In this way, US elites hope to ensure privileged access to the surplus capital, markets and productive power of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as a balance of power favorable to the US. Social movements throughout the region and world will thus increasingly be forced to confront the relationship between the economic, cultural and politico-military aspects of globalization, linking these local, regional and global processes.
In this issue of Focus on Security, Thomas Reifer reviews the current global shift in US policy towards the Asia-Pacific region in historical perspective. Also included in this issue is a description of a forthcoming historic international civil society conference on the Korean reconciliation and reunification process in Seoul, South Korea, this August.
by Thomas Reifer*
Global Shift: From the Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific
The end of the superpower confrontation between the US and USSR and with it the possibility of a global peace dividend opened up new possibilities for global peace, justice and security. Instead of a redirecting monetary spending away from militarism and towards peace and social justice, the world saw instead the invasion of Panama, the Gulf War, the Balkans wars and Russia's war against Chechnya. Rather than utilizing funds freed from military budgets to address serious concerns about poverty and inequality, US budgets have hovered at near Cold War levels. And in the last few months, the new Bush administration has increasingly consolidated a historic shift in US global military policy away from a European Atlantic vision, instead placing the Asia-Pacific region and especially China at the heart of US military planning. Fears are beginning to be raised about the eventual prospects of a new Cold War, despite the continued movement on plans to integrate China into the structures of the world-economy. Along with the dubbing of China as a strategic competitor, the Bush administration, instead of supporting the Korean peace process, has thrown cold water on efforts at Korean reconciliation and reunification. Simultaneously, the Bush administration has been pushing Boeing's bid to sell $4 billion worth of jet fighters to South Korea (FEER, 7/5/01: 16-20; OAT, 2001).
A New Marshall Plan for the Asia-Pacific
Fittingly, despite the damage
caused by the Asian economic crisis, helped along by the IMF and the US Treasury,
today's Marshall Plans are not programs of economic reconstruction but instead
plans for global shifts in US military posture. And the target is not Europe,
but Asia. The latest review of Pentagon policy has been overseen by Andrew
W. Marshall, the 79 year old former RAND analyst who has long headed the Pentagon's
Office of Net Assessment (see also BW, 2001). The new report clearly targets
China as the object of US military moves in the Pacific. Indeed, at a press
conference on Asia-Pacific security policy at Taiwan's National Legislature
early this June, I was told by a very hawkish Democratic Progressive Party
legislator, Parris Chang, who had accompanied President Chen Shui-Bian on
his recent trip to the US, that Andrew Marshall had correctly identified China
as an expansionist enemy unwilling to enter into any arms control agreements.
The description was reminiscent of US accounts of the USSR at the height of
the Cold War.
Cold War Threats or Self-fulfilling Prophecies?: Pentagon's Top
Military Official in the Asia-Pacific Critique's the Marshall Plan
The confidential Marshall plan
review emphasizing new long-range US arms for the Pacific has drawn some unusual
criticism from high quarters; most significantly, perhaps, from Admiral Dennis
C. Blair, head of the US Pacific Command, which last year held some 300 military
exercises with some 37 countries in the region (NYT, 5/17/01: A8). While supportive
of the shift from Europe to Asia, Admiral Blair was critical of the exaggeration
of Chinese military capabilities. "I think we have the tools to keep
both air and naval power anywhere we want to in the theater and can for some
quite time…If you want to look at serious forces designed to keep the U.S.
out of part of the world, look at what the Russians did in the 70's - dozens
of submarines, hundreds of long-range bombers, dozens of satellites, lots
of practice….That was a serious system which we were going to have a hard
time fighting our way through. Nobody in Asia is even close to that….The Chinese
do not have an over-the-horizon target system that is capable of hitting U.S.
forces and there are many, many countermeasures to all of the aspects of that
kind of system which are available….I think that using this projection of
what the Chinese are now doing as a rationale for the U.S. have to flow back
out of Asia is just wrong. I think the forces we have can operate there"
(NYT, 5/17/01: A1, 8).
Many top security analysts indeed warn that treating the Chinese as a threat may creating a self-fulfilling prophecy (Ball, 1999: 20; Forsberg, 2001). If the top military officer in the Pacific is critical of the hawkishness of civilian militarists, then how do we explain the forces driving US Cold War like policy? Moreover, how does current US military policy relate to issues of economic globalization?
Anglo-American State-Corporate Globalization in Historical Perspective
One way of looking at the current
wave of neoliberal globalization is to see it as a return, in radically changed
circumstances, to certain visions of a global open door policy adumbrated
by sections of the Anglo-American elite at the turn of the century, a conception
related to unique aspects of American constitutionalism (see Boyle, 1999;
see Nedelsky, 1990). This period saw the rise of US vertically integrated
corporations, the industrialization of war and the related resurgence of high
finance. At the time, elites turned increasingly towards overseas expansion
as a way to escape class conflict at home, while propping up profits through
military spending. Greater power projection capability in turn facilitated
the expansion of US state and corporate power abroad. The late nineteenth
century rise of the US navy thus provided for the growth of US military and
economic influence in the world and as a countercyclical economic mechanism
for the steel industry at one and the same time (see Smith, 1985, Krause,
1992, Misa, 1995).
During this period great powers turned increasingly towards imperial expansion. Public spending on the military boosted profits at home while securing raw materials as well as exclusive markets for investments and exports abroad. Bondholders granting loans for state militarization and arms makers garnered particular benefits, just as in the militarized financial expansion of the 1980s. The end result of the new combination of imperialism and increased interstate rivalry at century's turn was the growth of revolutionary nationalism in the Third World and eventually the global conflagration of World War I and II.
Putting the World-Economy Back Together Again
The most enlightened section
of US elites were mindful of the space that interstate rivalry had provided
for radical anticolonial and anti-capitalist movements. They thus sought to
partially accommodate the rising social power of labor in the core and anti-colonial
movements in the Third World through a combination of the spread of Fordist
mass consumption, limited decolonization and "development."
The disintegration of world-economy and the shortage of dollars threatened this reformist solution, strengthening left-leaning labor movements, anti-colonial nationalism and with them the tendency towards regional economic blocs. Without dollars to buy US goods, US elites feared Japan and Western Europe would turn to soft-currency trading areas as well as other forms of economic nationalism and socialism, prospectively locking the US out of the lucrative markets of Asia and Europe, while tipping the global balance of power away from the US. In the context of the waning of the British empire in the Middle East, the Chinese communist revolution, the Soviet atomic explosion and upheaval in the colonial world, US elites sought new plans to reconstruct the world-economy and interstate system on the basis of multilateralism - the absence of barriers to trade, the flow of foods and capital across national borders.
The problem was that the US Congress, at that time representing mostly local or regional business interests, was not interested in the economic reconstruction of the former enemies of the US for the benefit of multinational corporations. Economic nationalism and fiscal conservatism limited the largesse available for world-economic reconstruction. So how to put Humpty Dumpty, in this case the world-economy, back together again? In this context, US elites increasingly came to emphasize the need for military aid to fight communism as the way to get appropriations out of Congress. NSC 68 - written by US Secretary of State, former corporate lawyer Dean Acheson and his Director of Policy Planning, Dillon Read investment banker Paul Nitze - outlined this entwined vision. As Acheson related in his memoirs, they foresaw the need for some $50 billion to ensure their aims.
The Korean War Boom & US Global Power
The occasion for implementing
US policy was the outbreak of the Korean War. The Korean War boom was the
critical period in the vast expansion of the "postwar" world-economy.
The Korean War was related in turn to what Bruce Cumings (1981: 117) once
called the first act of postwar containment, the division of Korea into US
and Soviet spheres of influence in 1945. The subsequent attempt by US forces
to conquer all of Korea, which brought hundreds of thousands of Chinese into
the conflict, was what led Congress to pass the appropriations which ushered
in the US permanent war economy, with the US military budget going from over
$10 billion in June 1950 to well over $50 billion in December. Only a fraction
of this money was actually for Korea. Here, the rise of military spending
and the overseas expansion of US state power and multinational firms that
came with it, provided for the incorporation of sectors of labor and Third
World elites as junior partners in US hegemony. At the same time, these programs
helped defeat labor's more ambitious postwar dreams of organizing the South
and achieving social democracy in the US, as anticommunism facilitated the
purge of huge numbers of progressive unions from the CIO. Similar developments
took place in Western Europe and Japan, while revolutionary nationalist movements
were also held back in the Third World.
Through schemes of offshore procurement, whereby the US used military money to buy weapons and related supplies from Japan and Germany, the US was able to reconstruct these states as the industrial workshops of Asia and Europe. Moreover, the US purchase of primary goods from the former colonies of Europe and Japan helped restore the neocolonial triangular trade patterns needed to solve the dollar gap problem. This combination of power and plenty ensured that Western Europe and Japan would not return to trading relations with their historic trade partners, Eastern Europe and China.
Enemies & Allies in the US-led Global System
Through US-led global military
alliances, the US ensured the containment of its enemies and allies, the latter
becoming semisovereign states. At the same time, international military spending
provided the forces for a global policy of counterrevolutionary violence aimed
at preserving an open door for US capital and the subordinate integration
of Third World economies as complements of the advanced capitalist countries
more generally. This emphasis on integrating Third World areas as complements
to the economic processes of the advanced capitalist countries drove US policies
of military intervention in underdeveloped areas. The rationale was the communist
threat; the reality was that independent nationalism, local attempts to control
resources, limit foreign direct investment and so forth brought fervent opposition.
The economic logic of reconstructing the capitalist world-economy based on
multilateralism thus always housed the concomitant anti-communist security
logic as well.
Global military spending (or Keynesianism) stimulated the world-economy while providing for the expansion of US military and corporate power globally. The exception to this was East Asia, where the US tolerated mercantilism and limitations on US foreign direct investment as incentives to integrate the states of the region into US hegemonic structures. In East Asia, what Jung-en Woo called a "reverse open door," prevailed, as these states became dependent on exports to the US market.
A Political Economy of US Postwar Policy
The US internalization of allied
protection costs provided a permanent mechanism for public subsidy of private
profit via the Pentagon system, not to mention global economies of scale for
the US military-industrial complex. Military spending served as the fount
and matrix of US high-technology industry, the US global military alliance
system and originally for the "postwar" expansion of the world-economy.
The Cold War in Europe and Asia was thus as much an economic strategy for
reconstructing the capitalist world-economy under US leadership as it was
a military strategy oriented towards the maintenance of a favorable balance
of power. In reality, balance of payment, balance of trade and balance of
power considerations were inextricably linked.
Military aid stimulated the world-economy, ensured Western Europe and Japan the necessary imports needed for economic recovery, guarded against the dangers of socialism, communism and forms of economic nationalism and maintained healthy markets for US exports at one and the same time. The deployment of US troops overseas backed up by nuclear weapons was essential in this process, with military needs providing the justification for Congressional appropriations. In reality this money served to subsidize US exports, not to mention those of Western Europe, Japan and eventually Taiwan and South Korea.
The Role of the IMF, World Bank & the National Security State
The IMF and World Bank came to
play increasingly important roles in the global system, ensuring that protectionsim,
exchange controls, quotas, tariffs and other forms of economic nationalism
that might threaten the goal of capitalist multilateralism were not enacted
by either Third World or advanced capitalist states.
When populist regimes supported forms of economic nationalism, the IMF would often threaten to cut off credit. States in the Third World were forced t o choose between embracing IMF austerity programs and providing the necessary repression to enforce such policies; or, if state elites and popular sectors resisted, they often fell victim to military coups, with national military forces working many times in combination with the US National Security State, including the intelligence services, US corporations and the Pentagon (see Payer, 1974; see Korner, et al., 1986; see Pion-Berlin, 1989). The new dictatorships were usually warmly welcomed back into the IMF-World Bank fold with generous credit and aid given in exchange for positive action to attract private foreign direct and portfolio investment from multinational firms (see Broad, 1988).
Vietnam, the Balance of Payments
& the Retreat to Informal Empire
In US postwar planning, Southeast Asia was seen as essential in supporting the revival of the Japanese workshop. This helped to drive US intervention in Indochina, in conjunction with domestic and international political-economic considerations arising from the emergence of the Cold War. Since the US was the global enforcer, maintaining US credibility took on increasing importance in the Vietnam drama. As with the mafia, if you are in the business of providing "protection," specializing in the use and control of violence, reputation is more than a passing concern. The "security" logic of "international military Keynesianism" increasingly came to overtake the economic logic. In addition, the US was becoming increasingly dependent on commercial arm sales overseas. The need for continued arms exports increasingly influenced US foreign policy (see Klare, 1984).
In 1968, the Vietnam Tet offensive dramatized the limits of US military power. US global military commitments were also increasingly taking their toll on the US balance of payments, despite attempts to pay for US forces through offset agreements and commercial arms sales. Now, instead of a dollar gap, there was a dollar glut (see Borden, 1989). The Eurodollar market in particular exercised an increasing pressure on the dollar-gold standard (see Helleiner, 1994). The earlier merger of power and plenty represented a fecund synthesis of violence, profits and power. Now there was an increasing contradiction between the power pursuits of the US state and the profit pursuits of US multinationals. The rise of foreign direct investment overseas by US TNCs and their refusal to repatriate profits back to the US led to the exponential increase of the Eurodollar market, undermining the dollar's status as an international currency. This jeopardized US powers of seignorage, the right to mint the coin of the realm (Helleiner, 1994).
Globalization, Financialization & Militarization in the 1970s
The Nixon doctrine and subsequent
turn to floating exchange rates aimed to reconcile this contradiction, albeit
at a cost of the further militarization, financialization and globalization
of the organizational structures of the world-economy (cf. Arrighi, 1994:
310-311). The new US doctrine of relying on air, naval power and regional
allies for a time reduced US military costs overseas, while recycling petrodollars
back to arms producers and the US Treasury, as US regional clients went on
an arms spending spree (see Klare, 1984). As Franz Schurman (1987) noted,
the US move into the Indian Ocean (after Britain's withdrawal from Diego Garcia)
and growing dependence on Middle Eastern oil (and petrodollars) exemplified
the globalization of US economic and military power. The move also signaled
the increased enmeshment of the US with the world-economy.
At the same time, higher costs of oil (with the OPEC price rise) also stimulated new oil production in the US Sunbelt. Regional elites here formed an important part of the rise of the New Right, which in conjunction with the right turn of the US Establishment helped catapult Reagan to power (see Davis, 1986). The event that proved decisive here was the fall of Iran, which as part of what seemed a new wave of anti-imperialist revolutions as in Nicaragua, was the final blow to Nixon's strategy of informal empire. The Gulf region had become an increasingly strategic area for the maintenance of US profits and power, reflecting the increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) by US multinationals more generally. The accumulated valued of US FDI more than doubled from 1970-1978, going from $78 to $168 billion (Arrighi, 1994: 305). What's more, this increase in FDI was matched by the growing importance of petrodollars for the US balance of payments, commercial banking, the maintenance of US seignorage privileges and for the health high-technology military industrial producers such as aerospace (see Spiro, 1999).
The New Cold War, the Washington Consensus & the End of "Development"
The combination of the fall of
Iran and the advance in Soviet military might put an increased premium on
new US interventionary capability to protect US commercial and related geopolitical
interests overseas. To deter the Soviets from challenging US intervention,
new tactical and strategic forces which could be used to back up US troops
in the field were developed. Tactical and strategic nuclear weapons were designed
to protect US military forces in areas where the US was conventionally disadvantaged.
New forces aimed to deter rivals from responding in ways that might serve
to check US intervention, something the revival of Star Wars is undoubtedly
aimed at today.
Reagan aimed to reverse US decline through regressively financed militarization, providing for a marriage of Pentagon funded high-technology producers and financial interests. This led to a temporary efflorescence of US hegemony, but at the cost of increasing world-economic and politico-military instability, the gap between rich and poor on a global scale and a growing US debt.
Central to these changes was that holders of mobile capital would not tolerate the US spending money for power pursuits unless a new deal was struck, as the inflationary effects of government spending had depreciated the value of their monetary holdings in the 1960s and 1970s. Max Weber noted long ago that modern western capitalism arose in the context of intense competition between states. States competed for mobile capital, which dictated to them the conditions under which it would assist them to power (see Arrighi, 1994: 11).
The vast militarized material expansion of world trade and production ushered in with the Korean war boom had in fact generated huge amounts of surplus capital. By the late 1960s, increased competition in the world-economy was decreasing areas for profitable investment. As state competition heated up again, holders of surplus capital - in the US and abroad - found outlets for their funds by lending them to states paying high interest rates, contributing to a vast expansion of financial activities in a financial expansion. The effect of this was to increase the power of the global capital markets over states. The new Washington Consensus reflected this cyclical resurgence of the power of finance capital.
Whereas earlier Republicans traditionally had been more fiscally conservative, tilting to the high-tech sectors of the Air Force and the Navy, Democrats had historically embraced expansionary fiscal policies. Reagan gave elites from the corporate and state sector the best of both worlds. US military spending doubled to $300 billion a year, funded by fantastically regressive means - borrowing - instead of taxing corporate profits and the wealthy, as when quasi-New Deal limitations on the power of money capital - such as interest rate caps - were in effect.
The need to provide financing for the Vietnam war was what first forced a rise in US interest rates to pay for borrowing. This move was critical in ushering in the "money-market mutual fund revolution" as borrowers moved from banks to the money market (Steinherr, 1998: 40, 383). The increase in intercapitalist competition, the steady erosion of limits on the power of money capital, combined with the mass tax revolt of the late 1970s and increased geopolitical instability, helped to propel the rise of Reagan's New Right and the ascendancy of financial, military-industrial and related energy firms in the global economy.
US entry into the competition for money on the capital markets in the context of the Federal Reserve's turn towards high interest rates was crucial for financing the new Cold War and in the cyclical resurgence of high finance but an unmitigated disaster for the Third World. These states had borrowed money at variable interest rates during the 1970s for purposes of "development." Indeed the 1970's was the period when the Third World appeared to gain ground on the political, economic and military fronts. In the 1980s, though, these gains were reversed, as debt payments now flowed from South to North and terms of exchange and trade turned dramatically against the Third World. Increasingly, the old ideology of development would be discarded; now countries were expected to liberalize, export and pay back debts. Regressively financed military expenditures once again propped up US profits and power, while bringing much of the Third World to its knees. And so we went from the age of statist "development" and to the age of corporate-led neoliberal globalization.
The State-Corporate Nexus, the "Free Market" & the WTO
The new Cold War reinforced US
elite dependence on militarization to deal with entwined domestic, geopolitical
and geoeconomic problems. In particular, military subsidization of high-tech
industry gives US corporations a great advantage today in world markets. For
individually and now through the WTO, the US can impose sanctions against
other countries that subsidize their industries, while the US and other advanced
capitalist countries provide subsidies to the corporate sector through military
spending, a form of militarized state capitalism. That is why firms like Boeing,
which epitomizes this state-corporate nexus, are firm supporters of the WTO.
Free markets are to be imposed on others but never practiced by the wealthy and powerful, who want state subsidies, monopolization of markets, corporate bailouts and technology developed in the public sector handed over to private hands for private profit. New enemies are needed to justify these forms of militarized state capitalism, which in turn encourage an aggressive US military posture. All this facilitates the continued project of containing US enemies and allies, as the US attempts to limit the power and economic influence of regional groups or states that might challenge the US (see Cumings, 1997).
Star Wars fulfills these functions, subsidizing the high-technology industry that gives US firms advantages, while providing for strategic superiority to protect US overseas investments, commercial interests and related alliances, by threatening to limit damage to US and allied forces in the event of a US preemptive attack during a crisis (cf. Rumsfeld, 6/28/01: A6). This facilitates US domination of allied states and increases US global interventionary capability. The US shifting of its global military presence towards Asia aims at ensuring that this increasingly central area of the world-economy will remain locked into the overlapping networks of US violence, profits and power.
One may wonder why all this is happening, since the Cold War is ostensibly over. The problem is, the Cold War was in significant measure part of the centuries old North-South conflict in which the countries of the South were to serve as complements to the advanced capitalist economies of the core. Moreover, as noted above, the existence of "enemies" allows for corporate subsidies through military spending, limiting popular movements for democracy and incorporating allied states within US global military alliances and US-dominated supranational organizations and legal regimes, such as GATT, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank (cf. Boyle, 1999). This is why, even after the Cold War's ostensible end, US policy continues, rooted as it is in domestic social structures and the powerful global interests of those who dominate economic and state resources in the global system today.
The New Faces of Power: The
RAND Report, the Carlyle Group
& the Center for Security Policy
Finally, a few items may be of
relevance in understanding the new era. A new RAND report (2001) conducted
for the Pentagon and close to administration thinking, expresses worries about
growing opposition to US troops and recommends shifting US forces towards
the Philippines, Guam, Southeast Asia and other countries close to Taiwan,
possibly including Vietnam. In terms of the US-Japan alliance, the report
(2001: 13) notes that the "most fundamental question…is whether Japan
will continue to rely on U.S. protection…." The report (2001: 15) goes
on to express concern about a rapprochement between China and Japan, which
it says would "deal a fatal blow to U.S. political and military influence
in East Asia." Similarly to the very beginnings of the West's violent
entrance into Asia, US policy in Asia today aims to use military superiority
as a way of ensuring that dense regional trade links supplement Western violence,
profits and power, rather that increase the autonomy of the Asian region.
The RAND report provides useful material on current administration thinking. Zalmay Khalilzad, the lead author of the RAND study, headed President-elect Bush's transition team at the Pentagon. Most recently, Khalilzad joined the White House as a senior director of the National Security Council (BG, 2001). Khalilzad earlier chaired a bipartisan commission on US foreign policy and national security with Frank Carlucci - one time Deputy Director of the CIA former Secretary of Defense under Reagan - which made recommendations for the incoming President. Carlucci, who sits on roughly a dozen corporate boards, is Chair and managing director of the Carlyle group, a $12 billion dollar private equity firm, with extensive interests throughout the world, that is also now the 11th largest military contractor in the US. Carlyle first made its major splash in high finance when it facilitated the purchase of a sizeable chunk - some $590 million - of Citicorp by Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed after the Gulf War. The deal helped Citicorp's shares soar, giving the Prince an estimated $8 billion profit (Times, 5/26/01).
The vast majority of Carlye's investments are in telecommunications and military firms. Advisers and managers of the group include former President George Bush, former Secretary of State and Treasury James Baker, former British Prime Minister John Major, former President of the German central bank Karl Otto Pohl, and a host of leading Asian statesmen (NYT, 3/5/01: A1, 14; WSJ, 5/4/01: A1, 8). A recent addition to Carlyle's managing directors in May was Afsaneh Beschloss from the World Bank. At the Bank, Beschloss directed the investment strategy for the Bank's $65 billion in assets, along with its $30 billion for funding and operations. Earlier, Beschloss managed the Bank's derivatives and structured products, as well as energy and infrastructure projects. Before joining the Bank, Beschloss was with JP Morgan in London and New York, dealing with corporate finance, as well as the Shell International Planning Group (PR Newswire Association, Inc., 4/18/01).
Carlucci is also a former wrestling team member of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld at Princeton. Rumsfeld, long a supporter of Star Wars like programs, was the winner of a 1998 Keepers of the Flame Award from the Center for Security Policy (CSP), an influential advocate of such programs. The CSP, headed by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., has eight persons from military contractors on its board - six from Lockheed Martin - and at least 20-35 percent of its annual budget, which stands at $1.2 million dollar, comes from military contractors, which gave $49 billion in campaign contributions to politicians in Washington in the 1990s (NYT, 6/13/00, A6; FT, 712/01: A6). Similarly, the President of the US Committee to Expand NATO, was headed by the director of strategic planning for Lockheed Martin, the world's largest arms manufacturer (NYT, 6/29/97, A1, 14).
The Need for Alternative Visions & Social Movements
Addressing the growing polarization and increasing insecurity caused by state-corporate neoliberal globalization necessitates addressing the relationship between "economic" and "political-military" aspects of globalization. Alternative visions of the future must be rooted in broad social movements seeking to challenge the state-corporate nexus. The roughly $800 billion dollars a year spent on military must be redirected towards social justice and alternative security arrangements which provide for greater participatory democracy and real security in terms of basic human needs for health, education, human services and protection from violence and instability. The structural opportunity for uniting the peace, social justice and labor movements that opened up with the end of superpower confrontation still remain to be grasped. Critically important will be to ensure that new social movements and labor break down the Berlin Walls that prevented international solidarity during the Cold War. The globalization movement must resist demonizing "enemies" and instead come up with a project to address persons in what is now a Global South (see Bello & Mittal, 2001). The time is now.
*Dr. Thomas Reifer is a Senior Research Associate at Focus on the Global South. He is also a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Research on World-Systems at the University of California, Riverside, where he will also be a Professor in the Sociology Department starting in 2002.
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On August 13-14, 2000, the Committee on Korean Reconciliation and Reunification for Global Peace will hold a historic conference on "The Role of International Civil Society in Korean Reconciliation and Reunification." Representatives of selected civil society organizations from all over the world have been invited to the event, which is jointly sponsored by all the Korean coalitions supporting reconciliation and several non-Korean civil society organizations.
When South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung went to Pyongyang a year ago to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, the gesture caught the imagination of the world and sparked hopes throughout the globe that the glacial structures of the Cold War in Northeast Asia would melt quickly.
A year later, the process of reconciliation and eventual reunification is gravely threatened, not by conflicts among the Koreas but by the recalcitrance e of the Bush administration. Washington's lack of support for the reconciliation process appears to stem from the fact that Korean reconciliation runs counter to its interest in preserving a long-term military presence on the peninsula, to its strategic focus of "containing" China, and to its plans to build a missile defense system that would cover not just the United States but also Northeast Asia.
The slowing down of the reconciliation initiative has exposed its fundamental flaw: that it has been all along a tightly controlled personality-driven process. Civil society organizations in South Korea have been largely relegated to applauding the process from the sidelines, and there has been little effort to harness the support of civil society in Asia, Europe, and the United States behind the initiative.
Given the pivotal role of Korea in the security equation in the region and internationally, the prospects of global peace will be greatly affected by the success or failure of the reunification process. The process is two-way. On the one hand, peaceful reunification that involves the military withdrawal of external powers from the peninsula will greatly accelerate the demilitarization of the rest of the region and globally. On the other hand, support from Asia and the rest of the world can be critical in bringing about a peaceful and progressive reunification in Korea.
As was the case during the Korean War and the Cold War, the future of Korea and that of Asia and the world are intertwined, and today, they hang in the balance.
It is in this context that this conference is being called by the Committee on Korean Reconciliation and Reunification for Global Peace. Its fundamental aim is to provide, at a critical juncture, a push from below and from all parts of the world to the reconciliation process and to institutionalize this process.
Sponsors and Committees
The Korean Committee :
1. The Korean Council for Reconciliation
and Cooperation (KCRC)
2. People's Solidarity for Korean Reunification
3. Seven Korean Major Religious Groups
4. The Hankyoreh
The international committee :
1. ARENA, Hong Kong
2. Transnational Institute (TNI), Netherlands
3. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
5. Council for Alternative Security in Asia-Pacific (CASAP) and,
Focus on the Global South
The meeting will bring together around 100 representatives of Korean civil society with 75-100 of their counterparts from Asia, Europe, and the western hemisphere.
"Korean Reunification and
Reunification for Global Peace :
the People's Agenda"
August 13-14, 2001
Seoul, South Korea
· Note: Panels include 15-minute presentations and a half-hour moderated discussion.
Tentative Program & List of Speakers
August 13-Key dimensions of Korean Reconciliation & Reunification
9:30-9:45 Welcome International
S. Committee (Korean)
Global Peace Committee (Brid Brennan - Transnational Institute, Amsterdam) Aung Sung Suu Kyi (video)
9:45-10:30 Historical Significance
of Korean Opening dialogue: Paik Nak-
Division & Reunification chung, (Seoul National University), Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago)
10:45-12:15 Korean Rapprochement
from a Seo Dong-Man,
Korean Perspective: Shim Young-Hee Kim Yeon-chul
Promises & Pitfalls
10:45-12:15 Social Movement Perspective
on Im Hyung-jin (Trade Union),
Korean Reunification HCY (student)
10:45-12:15 Perspectives from
North Korean DPRK
(special session - non-confirmed)
12:15-1:30 Bush Administration's
Policy Gordon Flake (Mansfield Center
toward Korea for Pacific Affairs). Park Gun-young. Walden Bello (Focus on the Global South)
2:30-5:00 US Military Policy in Asia Tim Savage (Nautilus Institute),
and Korean Rapprochement Joseph Gerson (American Friends Service Committee), Randy Forsberg (Institute for Defense & Disarmament Studies)
2:30-5:00 Korean Reunification
and Kim Tai-hyun, Piao Jianyi,
NE Asian Regional Security Daniel Pinkston
5:15-6:45 Korean Economics Reunification
Park Sun-sung (Trade Union),
in a period of globalization Hazel Smith, Elmar Altvater (Free University of Berlin), Tim Shorrock
August 14-Mobilizing International Support for Korean Reunification
9:00-9:30 Korean Reconciliation
& Keynote : Richard Falk
Global Peace (Princeton University)
9:30-11:00 Women & Religion
as Actors Jung Hyun-back, Yun Duck-hie,
in Korean Reunification Hack-dam, Vendely
9:30-11:00 The Role of Media &
Law in Jung Il-yong (media), Lee Jang-
Korean Reunification hie, (law), Tim Shorrock
11:15-1:15 Korean R&R &
Civil Society Adm. Ramdas (South Asia Peace
in Asia Coalition), Muto Ichiyo (People's Plan for the 21st Century), B. M.
Kutty (PILER), Roland Simbulan (Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition), Lee Jung-ok (Catholic University of Taegu-Hyosung), Surichai Wun'qaeo (Centre for Social Development Studies, CU)
2:30-3:45 Korean R/R & EU
Initiative Goo Gaop-woo, Steve Lenton
(Korean side), Asianhaus rep, Markku Heiskanen (Ministry for Foreign Affairs-Finland)
3:45-5:15 Korea R/R & US Civil
Society Chong-Ae Yu (Cornell
University), Joseph Gerson (American Friends Service Committee)
5:30-6:30 Declaration, plan of action, and Lee Hyun-sook (Women Making summation Peace), Walden Bello, (Focus on the Global South)