Geopolitical Economy and Class Formation
Geopolitical Economy and Class Formation

The Rapallo Syndrome in the 21st Century. ‘Hegemonic Stability’ by Military Means

In this paper I argue that the current crisis in Ukraine (a well as, in hindsight, that in Yugoslavia in the 1990s), reveal that the English-speaking West no longer can rely on a competitive advantage in production to meet the challenge of new ‘Rapallos’—a rapprochement along the lines of the 1922 treaty between Weimar Germany and Soviet Russia. Ever since, the Anglophone West has responded to such events by re-connecting Western Europe to Anglo-America’s economic powerhouse. The Dawes and Marshall Plans were cases in point. In the crisis of  1970s when the US uncoupled the dollar from gold and the global political economy entered the phase of perennial instability that is continuing today, Charles Kindleberger came up with the new version of the Rapallo response by reserving the role of a ‘hegemon’ providing stability for the US.  When the NATO treaty expired in 1999, it was renewed under an offensive military doctrine to allow, among others, the US to rush in whenever Europe, meanwhile led by a reunified Germany, appeared to adopt a compromise attitude to the East—except that he economic component has meanwhile receded behind the military one.

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