Imperialist Relations are Never Based on ‘Trust’

Journalist Wang Wenwen Interviews Sara Flounders, published by Global Times, April 13, 2023

Editor’s Note:
The recent leak of highly classified Pentagon documents is yet another proof that the US is the world’s No.1 spying empire. Washington spies not only on its perceived adversaries, but also its allies, which puts the US’ foreign relations in jeopardy. How will the leak incident affect allies’ “trust” toward the US? Will the US spy on its allies more wantonly?

The US will continue to use every possible form of technology to spy on its allies, its own citizens and its opponents. Imperialist relations are never based on ‘trust,'” said Sara Flounders (Flounders), a political writer and activist for 50 years in the US, in an interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Wang Wenwen. Flounders is a contributing editor of Workers World Newspaper and helps coordinate the International Action Center and the United National Antiwar Coalition.

GT: The latest US documents leak shows that the US is deeply involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict beyond imagination. How will this wave of leaks affect the Russia-Ukraine situation?

Flounders: I would compare it to something called the Pentagon Papers, a leak that happened during the Vietnam War. The reason I say this is the amount of coverage in the corporate media. They can bury a story or give it life. But there may be sections, even in the US ruling class today, who are deeply worried about the disastrous Ukraine war that is really not going well. There might be forces far above high level who want to show this. I understand the documents also cover the “threats” and their plans on China. That’s important to know also because it shows that the war plans aggressively go forward with no connection to reality.

There may be forces looking for a way of alerting the population here in the US and worldwide as to just how dangerous and aggressive US plans are becoming. I do remember the explosive impact years ago to the Pentagon Papers as being the first step that began the unraveling of the supported top levels for the war in Vietnam.

GT: With so much monitoring and infiltration into both “adversaries” deemed by the US and its allies, the world is increasingly seeing the US as the biggest spy country. Why does the US conduct mass surveillance not only on its opponents but also on its own allies?

Flounders: The US conducts surveillance on everyone. That means its own population, its own allies, and political competitors. The two political parties, Democratic and Republican, both vote for war, but they spy on each other. It’s really cutthroat in every way. As we know in the past, the US spied on and they knew the personal cellphone and connections and understanding even of the French presidents or the German chancellor. They would leak it when it was to their advantage. This is the way they do business.

Screenshot of Sara Flounders
Screenshot of Sara Flounders

But surveillance doesn’t stop the trends of history. The US can spy on everyone in the world. However, their problem is that China has surpassed the US in the development of its economy. It’s a top trading partner of more than 120 countries. They can’t change that by spying.

The US is an empire that is fading and decaying. The more it pumps into war, the more it deteriorates in terms of infrastructure and the needs at home. That is an inevitable problem. The only thing they are capable of talking about is war. The only thing that they can use to pump up their economy is military spending. Because that’s cheap, quick and profitable. And that exacerbates their problems.

The US is now totally addicted to war, to military contracts, to more and more weapons, and it is having a disastrous impact. You can see what this addiction to war means for working people right here.

GT: How will the leak incident affect allies’ “trust” toward the US? Will the US spy on its allies more wantonly?

Flounders: The US will continue to use every possible form of technology to spy on its allies, its own citizens and its opponents. Imperialist relations are never based on “trust.” It is extortion, intimidation, and ruthless competition.

The latest leaks confirm that the US is in a state of war with Russia. They control every decision in Ukraine. There is a debate on if these leaks are real. Is it a “disinformation” tactic in hybrid war? I have no way of knowing. However, the amount of publicity in the corporate media on these leaks seems to show an opening debate within ruling class circles on the dangers of the current, reckless US policy.

GT: The highly classified leaked Pentagon documents offer a pessimistic US viewpoint about the state of the war in Ukraine. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has dragged on for more than a year. What factors hinder a ceasefire deal? What lessons can the world draw from it?

Flounders: The biggest factor that stops any kind of agreement is the US determination to continue the war and the US determination to continue the expansion of NATO, as we see just recently the admittance of Finland into NATO. Step by step, the US is determined, even though the effort has failed to lead to the collapse of Russia, which was assured to the members of the EU that if they came along on this agreement, they would richly benefit. Instead, it has been a disaster for the EU countries who had a very productive trade with Russia until this time. And then the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which by agreement of everyone was really a US crime. This means that the determination to continue the war rests with the US.

Ukraine is strictly a proxy. They have no independent decision-making ability. They are totally dependent on US and NATO weapons. They have no ability to continue the war, also without the mercenaries and the outside trainers, contractors, and forces that are pouring in.

US strategy is to try to use this war to deplete Russian resources and expand the war. It’s a very dangerous strategy. The force standing in the way and continuing the weapons shipments and the aggressive push comes from the US.


Sara Flounders is a US activist in the New York City area.  She is co-Director of the International Action Center, Contributing Editor to Workers World, and a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition.  Sara has published numberous books, most recently, “Capitalism on a Ventilator” and “Sanctions, a Wrecking Ball in a Global Economy”, Anthologies of works by activists and academics from around the globe.

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