Second part of Şafak Erdem’s interview with Latif Bolat on the US Midterm elections and fundamental contradiction with the US.
Do you think the US election will have an impact on the war in Ukraine? What kind of changes might occur?
There are reports in the press that even Biden has sent intermediaries to Zelensky, telling him to seek a compromise with Putin. The US is afraid of not being able to keep Europe on its political line on Ukraine. If the US loosens its grip on Ukraine, Europe will become even softer. Perhaps the recent visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to China should be considered in this context.
The Republicans are against the aid to Ukraine. “Not even a single penny,” they say. Should the Republicans win the House and the Senate, the war in Ukraine will move towards an end. Slowly, the sanctions against Russia will start to be lifted and many countries will send delegations to Moscow to restore relations.
“Biden might become a ‘lame duck’”
What exactly would the Republican majority in the House and Senate change in the context of Ukraine?
The US President has to pass his decisions through the parliaments. Therefore, if the parliaments are lost, Biden will be in the situation of a “lame duck”. Knowing this, he says, “Two different American visions are competing in this election, vote responsibly.” Biden will not even be in a position to take executive decisions. Without any doubt, this will have important impacts on Ukraine and world politics, including Syria.
Trump’s plan of withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria
Recall Trump’s Syria policy. His plan was to withdraw US troops from Syria. He had already started with that. It was also Trump who started the withdrawal process in Afghanistan.
If the Republicans win, Trump’s idea of “win-win” will prevail. Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” stands for “Let’s go back home, let’s avoid complicated foreign policy”.
Trump questioning NATO
With this perspective, Trump even asked the question “Why are there 800 American bases in the world?” He questioned the very existence of NATO by asking, “Why do I spend the most on NATO?”
Some people say that US society has become very polarized, especially since the presidential election in 2020. Do you agree?
“The Right is becoming Leftist, the Left is becoming Rightist”
All over the world we observe a tendency that societies are politically and culturally divided into two main camps. This applies to the US as well. For example, it was the traditional right-wingers of the UK who carried out Brexit. What I want to say is that the traditional right-wingers tend to distance themselves from imperialist policies, while the traditional left-wingers are in favor of more aggressive imperialist policies.
In the US, those who call themselves “enlightened”, the coastal areas of California and New York, areas with higher levels of education, urbanization and prosperity are traditionally Democrats. Compare the Civil War map of 1860 with the electoral map of 2020 and you will see the continuity.
Until now, the predominantly Republican areas in the central regions of the US were not too disturbed by the state of affairs. The US was powerful in the world and was making a lot of money with companies like Coca-Cola. And the US had no competitors and was earning exorbitant profits. And this made it possible for the lower classes to get a share and be content. But now the situation is different. Now there is China in the economic field. There are rival political and military powers like Türkiye and Russia. For these reasons, these social segments have started to radicalize, to turn leftist, even if they don’t name it as such.
On the other hand, the more traditional sections of the Republicans, unfortunately, are still stuck in the past. On issues like anti-communism and anti-abortion, they are stuck in decades-old policies. But time will bring changes for them too.
“Pentagon is on Biden’s side”
The Pentagon’s position in the Biden-Trump struggle is also a matter of curiosity. What would you say about this?
The Pentagon was among those who put Biden in power. Since Trump represents an inward turn, the aggressive elements of the US, the Pentagon, took sides in the elections and supported Biden. They also worked to wear Trump down. It is no coincidence that the war in Ukraine broke out immediately after Biden’s election, despite the Covid pandemic. The imperialist aggressors in the US, the neocons, thought they had their chance and went on the offensive. They probably felt that they would not have such an opportunity for long again. Maybe they were right, now Trump is winning again in the elections. The same circles continue to fight against Trump.
Real capitalists vs. virtual capitalists
How do you evaluate Elon Musk’s statements and support for Republicans?
Here’s my hypothesis: Capitalists who produce and sell real goods, let’s call them “real capitalists”, like Elon Musk or Ford and Coca-Cola, directly or indirectly support Trump. Trump represents the old school, traditional US capitalism. Elon Musk, although he has now purchased Twitter, makes his money mainly from Tesla and Space-X. In this sense, he is a traditional capitalist. He purchased Twitter for political impact.
But high-tech oriented and virtual capitalists like Jeff Bezos, Silicon Valley and Amazon are on Biden’s side. They do not like borders in the world. They need a “globalized and borderless world”.
In this context, I think that the imperialist character of US capitalism today falls under the second rather than the first group. I believe this division will deepen.