This is an excellent book, informative and passionate, which exposes capitalism's responsibility for wars and crises.
Lord Ashdown told us in November 2001 that warnings that invading Afghanistan would lead to a `long-drawn-out guerrilla campaign' were `fanciful'. Jack Straw jeered at those who said that US and British troops might still be fighting there a year later.
Milne looks at the illegal Israeli occupation and siege of Palestine, backed by the USA and the EU. Between 2001 and 2008, 14 Israelis were killed and more than 5,000 Palestinians. Michael Ben-Yair, Israel's attorney-general in the mid-1990s, called the Intifada a `war of national liberation' and wrote, "We enthusiastically chose to become a colonialist society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justifications for all these activities ... we established an apartheid regime."
Kosovo declared its independence against the wishes of the UN Security Council. Russia, China and Spain all deemed it illegal. NATO forces have occupied Kosovo since 1999. It is `an EU protectorate controlled by Nato troops'. But the Independent on Sunday called NATO's war a `triumph of liberal interventionism'. By 2008 Kosovo had 50 per cent unemployment. It also housed a US military base which was a Guantanamo-style torture camp.
In March 2002 David Frost stated that Mugabe supporters had killed 100,000 people between 2000 and 2002. Actually, 160 people had been killed, by both sides. This was the typical wild inflation of numbers killed by official enemies.
Milne opposed the criminal wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Not one terrorist attack or plot against Britain has been sourced to Iraq or Afghanistan, but the `war on terrorism' did not keep our streets safe from terrorism. But, as the CIA reported, the war and embargo against Iraq did kill one million civilians.
In 2003 Milne warned against US attacks on Syria and Iran. In 2005, he warned that rule by radical Islamists was the most likely alternative to Assad.
He points out that we are suffering the failure of capitalism, not of this or that type of capitalism. He argues that capitalism is to blame for war and depression.
Milne writes that the EU is `an undemocratic neoliberal superstate' and remarks on "the economic ideology that has shaped the whole European Union for decades: of deregulation, privatisation and the privileging of corporate power." He also notes, "The government has deliberately used the unregulated EU influx as a sort of twenty-first century incomes policy." He points out that Greece needs an Argentina-style default and devaluation, which means that it needs to exit the euro.
In 2008 New Zealand renationalised its railways and ferry services. Here, British taxpayers give £2 billion a year to the train operating companies. We could renationalise them, at no cost, when their franchises expire.
Private Finance Initiative projects will cost the taxpayer £25 billion more than if the government had paid for them directly. A cross-party House of Commons committee found that PFI was expensive, inefficient, inflexible and unsustainable, but delivered `eye-watering profits', the capitalist class's only real criterion.
By the late 1990s, Russia's national income had fallen by more than 50 per cent, (compared to the USA's 27 per cent in the Great Depression), investment by 80 per cent, real wages by half, and meat and dairy herds by 75 per cent.
In 2010 there was a wave of strikes in China's high-tech export sector, in which workers won 30 per cent wage rises at Foxcomm's production centre in Shenzhen and at Honda's factory in Foshan, and 25 per cent wage rises at the Hyundai supplier in Beijing.
China's share of world manufacturing output has risen from 2 per cent to 20 per cent since 1993. Investment soared, so growth soared too, yet China's deficit is only 2 per cent.
Between 2007 and 2011 US national income rose by just 0.6 per cent, the EU's fell by 0.3 per cent and Japan's by 5.2 per cent; China's grew by more than 42 per cent. No wonder we so often hear wishful forecasts of a Chinese crash.
With capitalism's failure so clear, the ruling class's lies against socialism grew ever cruder. Stalin was `as much an aggressor as Hitler', said Niall Ferguson (Guardian, 1 September 2009). Orlando Figes opined that the Non-aggression pact was `the licence for the Holocaust' (BBC website, `Viewpoint: The Nazi-Soviet Pact', 21 August 2009).
Louise Minchin on BBC Breakfast Time sneered that President Chavez was `famous for his promises of social change' (5 January 2013). In the real world, Chavez's policies nearly halved poverty in Venezuela, provided free health care and education, virtually ended illiteracy, set up thousands of cooperatives, got cheap food to poorer people, brought privatised utilities and oil production back under public ownership and control, raised pensions and the minimum wage, and redistributed land.