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New Left Review I/152, July-August 1985

Tariq Ali

Strategic Aspects of Asia in the Global System

Capitalism, born in Europe, utilized the continent of its birth as a launching pad to colonize the rest of the world. World economics in the shape of the global market paved the way for world politics. Expansionist capital created the conditions for wars and revolutions on an unprecedented scale. It was the results of these truly international events that shaped the map of the modern world. The First World War marked a turning point in capitalism’s history, as the system proved that it was no longer capable of solving the problems of its own international coordination in a peaceful way. The aggression inherent in capitalism, which had so far been witnessed largely in the domestic sphere or in the colonies, now exploded in an inter-imperialist conflict that cost millions of lives, bringing the belle époque to a deadly conclusion. The violence inflicted on Africa and Asia by the European imperialist powers in the two preceding centuries now returned to its lair. The price paid for this by Capital was heavy. World War One accelerated the conditions that brought about the Russian Revolution of 1917, forcing Capital on to the defensive and offering a hope to embattled millions throughout the world.

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