Rishi Sunak visits RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland (Picture: Number 10 on Flickr)

We are entering a new era of imperialist war. That was the chilling message from Tory defence secretary Grant Shapps in a speech on Monday.

“We find ourselves at the dawn of a new era, moving from a post-war to a pre-war world,” he said. Western ruling classes are sounding their battle drums. 

At a time of deep capitalist instability, the people at the top see war as a way to beat competitors, boost big business and foster “national unity”.

The Russian invasion and the Nato proxy war in Ukraine, the increasing tension between the United States and China and the West’s support for Israel are all signs of that.

Shapps wanted to see Britain “gaining a strategic advantage over its enemies.” And he was speaking as Britain embarked on a new war in Yemen.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the myth was that this meant the “end of history” and there would be a shrinking need for armed forces.

But this week Shapps swatted aside any hope of a more harmonious world. “The era of the peace dividend is over. In five years’ time we could be looking at multiple threats including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea,” he said.

“Old enemies are reanimated, new foes are taking shape, battle lines are being redrawn,” he went on.  And that means more money on bombs and less for the NHS and education. 

Shapps demanded increased military spending. He celebrated “the largest sustained increase in defence spending since the Cold War”.

It’s not just words. British forces are about to take a leading role in one of Nato’s largest exercises since the Cold War.

Some 20,000 British military will be part of the warmongering alliance’s biggest rehearsal for conflict for 40 years.

This is part of a horrific vision of a future defined by constant war, and with those who disagree denounced as traitors and faint hearts.

And we can’t look to Labour to resist. Keir Starmer is at least as aggressive as Rishi Sunak in the support for imperialism and the British military. 

His refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza is part of a wider betrayal.

But there is another power that can stop the war drive.

The millions in Britain and across the world who have marched for Palestine are part of the fight for a different future. This is the “enemy within” that the people at the top fear and hate.

Shapps said “The foundations of the world order are being shaken to their core. We stand at this crossroads.” 

Shapps is right—the remaining choice is whether it will be our world order or our rulers.

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