The last few weeks have seen the beginning of a new imperialist war, this time against the small oil-rich country of Libya. The war began on March 19, when the United States, Britain and France launched a missile attack against Libya’s air defenses.
The opening of this new U.S.-led imperialist war of aggression occurred on the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. To add to the irony, the first missiles began to fall during U.S. West Coast anti-war demonstrations timed to mark the beginning of the imperialist invasion of Iraq—a first in the history of anti-war demonstrations, I believe.
I had been asked what is my opinion of the current economic conjuncture. I had intended to devote a reply to this question, since I have not written about this for some time and there have been some interesting developments on this front. However, the explosive events in North Africa and the Persian Gulf region combined with the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters are raising a different set of questions that should be dealt with first.
What will be the effects of these events on the world capitalist economy? These events are external to the industrial cycle, though they will no doubt exert an influence on the evolution of the current global industrial cycle that began with the outbreak of the last general crisis of overproduction in 2007. Therefore, this month I will examine the effects of the North African and Persian Gulf events and the Japanese disasters on the capitalist world economy. I will postpone until next month an examination of the current conjuncture in the global industrial cycle.