PERHAPS the single most important feature of the contemporary world situation is the stepping up of war preparations by a crisis-ridden imperialism. The United States' economy is being rapidly militarized, so much so that according to current plans direct military spending is likely to apporximate half of a trillion dollars in five years' time; together with other related items of expenditure, it will completely dominate the U S budget. This stepping up of war preparations, this escalation of military expenditure, is not simply another stage in the arms race. It portends the dreadful possibility that imperialism is getting ready to fight actual wars. US imperialism's drive for additional military bases, its establishment of a Rapid Deployment Force, its open declaration that the world's oceans are its vital sphere of influence, its depolyment of missiles in Europe, and its aggressive designs in the Indian Ocean are all indicative of its offensive intent.
Two developments are of particular significance in this context. The first is the production of the neutron bomb which represents more than a mere escalation of the arms race. The second is the actual involvement of U S imperialism in fighting a war in El Salvador. The war in El Salvador can no longer be seen only as a small-scale counter-insurgency operation of a kind that the world has got used to expect from U S imperialism wherever liberation movements challenge the existing exploitative order. The whole of Central America is in a revolutionary turmoil. Nicaragua and Grenada have already seen successful popular struggles overthrowing established, U S-backed dictatorships. U S imperialism's involvement in El Salvador represents not only a last-ditch stand to stem the revolutionary tide, but perhaps even an attempt to roll back the revolutionary advance starting from El Salvador. It is planning subversive raids on Nicaragua as well as on Cuba on the pretext that they are helping the revolutionary guerrillas in El Salvador. The war in El Salvador is not just a war to determine the fate of that country; it is increasingly