It is now universally acknowledged that no country can survive on its own. Experience underscores the imperative for a country to establish relations with other nations. Thus, if the Soviet Union cannot maintain economic progress under autarchy, it would be impelled to search for foreign markets to dispose of its industrial surplus. This became abundantly evident during the war when the Soviet Union had to rely heavily on imports of essential goods from America and Great Britain. If it maintains its pace of industrialisation, the Soviet Union would have to find new markets for its products. When that day arrives, would the Russian policy not assume the same characteristics and adopt the same methods as we have seen in the history of other imperial powers? To put it plainly, Russia would be compelled to make other countries, by some means or other, to buy Russian products in order to keep its labour employed and sustain its economic and industrial growth.
Experience of Other Imperialist Powers
We have seen that when it concerns granting India independence, rousing speeches are made in the Houses of Parliament, but when it concerns economic progress, the experts start pronouncing on the need for protecting the British interests.
No doubt, Russia’s case would be quite similar, though with one important difference. In the case of Great Britain and America it is the private firms that compete, but in the case of Russia it will be the entire socialist system that would compete with the individual foreign trader. It will not willingly close its factories and allow unemployment to rise in the face of foreign competition, but it will adopt all means to make other countries buy its products. And it will direct the entire might of its state — which owns factories and wields total political power — towards achieving that end.
The economically weak neighbouring countries would be particularly vulnerable to the Soviet pressure. At that point, Russia would use all tactics that the big investors employ under capitalism. Since industry in Russia is under State control, the clout of the political power will also be wielded. At that stage, Russia would not just be concerned with protecting its commercial interests, it would also seek to raise the standard of its industry, protect its labour and factories, and attract foreign capital. Thus, the neighbouring economies would end up opening their economies to Soviet goods, as they did for the Western capitalists. But this time it would be a bigger economic shock for the world.
Sometimes an argument is made that the vulnerable countries could escape the onslaught of Russian competition by becoming allies of the Soviet Union and gain all the advantages of the communist system. But a little reflection would establish that this idea is not sound. In the first place, we should not forget that not many countries would put aside all other considerations aside and rush to join the Soviet Union simply to capture some economic gains. The Communists in various countries would, of course, be glad to see the Soviet system introduced everywhere, but it seems doubtful that many would submit their economies to Russian dictates. This would apply to Communists in Great Britain and America and to those of practically every other country. They have a preference, no doubt, for the Soviet system, but they are not eager at all to let Moscow run their country’s affairs.
I cannot say anything about the thinking of Indian communists. We know from experience that they are not given to thinking through important issues and, generally, are not well educated. They are fond of sloganeering, but few understand the implications of their slogans. Many put thought and reflection aside and get carried away by their emotions. It is possible that a large majority of the Indian Communists would not object to India being absorbed into the Soviet Union, but Communists in the rest of the world are not so inclined, and believe that such a situation would bring about ruin and destruction for their countries.