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The Grand Chess Match of Our Time, Part 1

Slava the Ukrainian Socialist

Oct 26, 2023

Geopolitical struggle and war games have always reminded us of the most popular table game - chess. For a while, all techniques were used in one Unipolar direction. It’s time for a new and different Multipolar Chess strategy.

War is like a game of chess

The ancient Sasanian monarch Khosrau II certainly recognized this correlation more than 1,400 years ago when he stated, "If a ruler does not understand chess, how can he rule over a kingdom?" Likewise, Leo Tolstoy drew a parallel with his assertion that "War is like a game of chess." Nor can we overlook Zbigniew Brzezinski's well-known 1998 book, "The Grand Chessboard," in which he designated the Eurasian landmass as "the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played." The frequent comparison of geopolitical conflicts to chess should come as no surprise. After all, chess itself originated from the ancient Indian strategy board game, chaturanga, whose pieces were inspired by the units of the ancient Indian military.

In light of this old metaphor, it becomes difficult to doubt that those in positions of power envision themselves as grandmasters, deftly maneuvering entire countries like chess pieces to capture specific positions on the vast chessboard of global influence. Adhering to the logic of this somewhat twisted metaphor, it becomes evident that in the realm of geopolitics, people at the lower rungs of the power hierarchy are merely pawns on that very board, often sacrificed as part of a calculated move in a larger battle for dominion over the global chessboard. It's understandable why those who view themselves as grandmasters of the global chessboard persistently employ this time-tested strategy throughout history: because it yields results.

In a world where the struggle for power and control knows no bounds, imperialist powers have often displayed a stark disregard for the lives of ordinary people, all in the name of advancing their own interests. One of the most disturbing aspects of this pursuit of power is the alliance between these nations and the massive weapons manufacturing industry, which frequently results in the sacrifice of human lives for the sake of corporate profit and geopolitical advantage.

The military-industrial complex, first coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, refers to the close-knit partnership between governments and the companies that produce and profit from the development of military hardware. "According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), total world spending on military expenses in 2022 was $2,240 billion. 39% of this total, or $837 billion, was spent by the United States." A large portion of the defense budget is going in one direction masked under the infamous slogan “Slava Ukraine.”


To date, Congress has passed four spending packages for Ukraine totaling $113 billion. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “The Department of Defense (DOD) has received a majority - 54.7 percent, or $61.8 billion - of the appropriations. The DOD has received the most funding in every supplemental cycle, ranging from 47 to 63 percent each time. The second-largest sum of funds went to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at 32.3 percent of appropriated funds. Only 8.8 percent of the funds appropriated have gone to the Department of State - primarily for refugee assistance and foreign military financing. The remaining funds appropriated to other U.S. government agencies comprise less than 5 percent of the total. The Department of Commerce and the U.S. Agency for Global Media are the only two agencies for which no funds were allocated after the first supplemental.”

But no matter how much the American War Machine spends, Russia is playing its game of chess much better. With the help of BRICS partners, Russia was able to outsmart the Western hegemon's sanctions and continue growing its economy despite being involved in military conflict. Just as in a real chess game, you can't always be on the defensive. The attack is a far better strategy specifically when you outnumber your opponent in pieces. And BRICS had already surpassed G7 countries in terms of GDP.

Until 2022, Israel was the top recipient of US endowments. Jealous of Ukraine’s gains, it now churns out fake news to smear Palestinian resistance and secure more funding than ever before. And the US government needs no convincing. As Biden has repeated on numerous occasions, “if there was no Israel, we'd have to invent one.”

How long it will take for the new multipolar world players to reevaluate their stance with Israel and come to the defense of the Palestinian resistance? We have already witnessed vocal support for Gaza and fierce criticisms of Israeli war crimes. But you can't win a chess game by simply talking to the person you're playing with. What's required on both real and game battlefields is action.

Human Lives Sacrificed for Profit

The arms trade has long been lucrative, with weapon manufacturers reaping enormous profits from supplying weapons to warring nations. The fact that these weapons often lead to the loss of countless innocent lives never seems to deter these companies or the imperialist powers that support them.

Imperialist powers have been known to perpetuate conflicts in their pursuit of dominance. This may involve funding rebel groups, supporting authoritarian regimes, or destabilizing regions, all in the name of maintaining a strategic advantage or access to valuable resources.

The consequence is a never-ending cycle of warfare that sacrifices lives for political and economic gain not just abroad but at home as well. Imperialist nations divert enormous sums of taxpayer money into the defense sector, often at the expense of social programs such as healthcare, education, and poverty alleviation. This results in the deterioration of public services and the overall well-being of their citizens. Millions of Americans are homeless and starving. Thousands of refugees are pushed around like second-class humans. Mayor of Chicago Brandon Johnson recently decided to move more than 2,300 migrants who had been living in police stations and airports into large “winterized” tents.

The military-industrial complex's grip on power is further exacerbated by the influence of lobbying and political contributions. Weapons manufacturers use their financial muscle to sway political decisions and ensure that their interests are prioritized. This creates a perverse incentive for politicians to support policies and actions that lead to further military spending and arms production.

The imperialist powers' partnership with the military-industrial complex maintains this vicious cycle. These nations pursue aggressive foreign policies that fuel conflict and necessitate increased military spending. This, in turn, benefits the weapons manufacturers, who exert their influence to maintain the status quo.

The ultimate casualty in this cycle is the sanctity of human life, sacrificed for the relentless pursuit of power and profit. This cannot continue forever, and the new emerging powers have developed certain strategies in order to contend with the imperialist hegemon. It is to these strategies and potential scenarios we will turn in the second article of this series.

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