US, NATO, RUSSIA, UKRAINE war ANTHOLOGY #19
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
What’s at Stake: “If people want to understand the war in Ukraine, they need to read widely about it, from different perspectives, including the Russian one, to try and discern the truth about what is going on for themselves.” MR editors. The official rationalizations are receiving massive support from the White House, Pentagon, Congress, and mainstream media (including PBS). In these anthologies we hear some anti-war perspectives.
CONTENTS OF US, NATO, RUSSIA, UKRAINE war ANTHOLOGY #19
ORIGINS, CAUSES OF THE WAR
NATO Exist? Klion Yes. Madar No.
Hawes, “History Returns Again,” Historical Background of the War
Guy Mettan, “Zelenskymania,” Inevitable and Improvised,
Winners and Losers, Switzerland Ruined, CyberWar, “Stratcom”
Alastair Crooke, “War It Is—and Escalation Is Coming”
John Ross, “What Is Propelling the U.S. into Increasing
Eland, “’Unprovoked Attacks’ from 1812 to 9-11.”
Richard Falk. “Why Ukraine?”
Evan Reif, “NED Finances Key Ukrainian
Propaganda….” and a
“Russian Abhorrence of Nazi Influence in Ukraine”
Biological Warfare Labs in Ukraine?
Bhadrahumar, “Migratory Birds of Mass Destruction”
Whitney, “…Possible U.S. Preparations for Biological Warfare”
Bruce Gagnon, Interview on U.S. Goal of Russian Regime Change
CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR
“Nick Turse, Bodies Beyond Bucha”
Nick Turse, “The Civilian Deaths You Haven’t Heard About”
Marcetic, “The U.S. Has No Idea Where Its Ukrainian
Military Aid is Going”
Washington Post Calls for Censoring
Chinese Media, Praises
Purge of Russian Outlets
Jeff Cohen, Corporate Media and Official Enemies
Caitlin Johnstone, Corporate Media Control
New Cold War, WWIII
Michael Klare, A more dangerous world
Guterres, UN Wire
Displaced People, Refugees Increasing
WWIII? West’s War on Russia
Abby Martin, FCNL, “Questions for the US Anti-War Movement”
Rafaela Demerath, Congress Must Invest in Peacemaking
Tom Dispatch, “Andrew Bacevich, American Militarism
A Persistent Malady.”
Bacevich, “Putin Changed the Subject, But Confronting MLKJr’s
‘Giant Triplets’ Is More Urgent.” What would Martin Say?
Vijay Prashad, “We Want a World Without Walls”
Chris de Ploeg, “Weapons Are Not Helping”
Knopf, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
BAS on Nuclear Arms Control
War Abolition 101
ORIGINS, CAUSES OF THE WAR
“Should NATO Exist?” The Nation (5.2-9.2022)
David Klion, “Yes.” “Far from spreading militarism across Europe, NATO’s function now is to contain a war it did not start.” Klion is editor at Jewish Currents and has written for TNYT and other pubs.
Chase Madar. “No.” “This rudderless security pact has made war easier, more salable, and more attractive for Western leaders.” Madar, author of The Passion of Chelsea Manning, is currently teaching a seminar on law and war at NYU Gallatin.
Historical Background to War in Ukraine
After the 2014 coup and eight years of fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists, history has once again exploded and returned to the stage in Ukraine. As Westerners with governments who act blatantly hostile and belligerent to Russia, we should ask: was Russia provoked, and if so, how?
It is important to question how and why this conflict started. There is a saying about Russia many are familiar with: “Don’t poke the bear.” Well, the US and NATO have been poking the bear for 30 odd years since the downfall of the USSR. The West has adopted an absurd, ahistorical stance towards Russia, continuing to expand NATO, all the while knowing this would enflame tensions and demand a response.
The first Russian response in Ukraine was in 2014, after the US-backed right-wing coup which kicked Viktor Yanukovych out of power. I covered it extensively here. Many in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea obviously are ethnic Russians, speak Russian, have family in Russia, and do business with Russia. While some of these same people still may favor a strong and independent Ukraine, clearly many are sympathetic to the formation of an independent Donetsk and Luhansk; and the vast majority in the Donbas has no interest in fighting their eastern neighbor. Many in Ukraine are rightly worried about schools no longer teaching the Russian language, about the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, and about the Right Sector and Svoboda parties infiltrating Ukrainian politics. The past eight years have seen thousands killed in the Donbas region. Compared to how the US or another mid-level world power would react, Russia had shown immense restraint.
Let’s not pretend like they weren’t legitimate concerns when looking from Russia’s national security perspective, which the US is well aware of. The US and NATO have been expanding its military and security apparatus eastward for thirty years, threatening Russia’s security, trade and economic relations, and its sphere of influence. By breaking its promise not to expand, NATO encroached right up to Russia’s borders in the Baltic nations. By invading Iraq and Afghanistan, orchestrating the 2014 coup in Ukraine, along with overthrowing governments and meddling in many other nations, the US blatantly and repeatedly broke international law and any semblance of world order. This undoubtedly led the entire world security architecture to disincentivize international cooperation and gave stronger nations the convenient excuse to take matters into their own hands.
The US and Western Europe continued to “poke the bear” even after Russia countered Western hegemony in Georgia in 2008 and by retaking Crimea in 2014. The US, knowing full well that Russia’s economic and geostrategic vulnerabilities could be exploited to enhance the power of NATO and the EU, has long had its eyes on Ukraine becoming integrated into the West. In short, while US pundits today claim Putin sees the conflict as a “zero-sum game”, it is blatant projection, as the US and NATO have been playing the same realpolitik chessboard to enhance their geopolitical control over Eastern Europe.
Even mainstream political scientists understand this: John Mearsheimer, otherwise a respected, establishment liberal professor, has repeatedly blamed the US and NATO as being primarily responsible for the war in Ukraine, taking heat from both sides of the warmongering Washington consensus.
One has to consider a hypothetical converse situation. If Russia or any other great power was financially and militarily supporting Canada to quell pro-US separatists in Alberta, and the Canadian government sided with the Russians, with thousands of innocent US and Canadian citizens killed in the process, would the US hesitate to invade and install a pro-US government? Not for a second. The US would consider this a threat to national security. This is the basis for the Monroe Doctrine, in which the US considers all of North, Central, and South America its own backyard; any other perceived threat will be ruthlessly invaded, destabilized, or destroyed, just as has occurred in Nicaragua, Chile, and Guatemala, just to name a few instances.
Even warmongering, imperial architects like George Keenan and Henry Kissinger understood that there was no way Russia would allow for Ukraine to be allied with the West. Even though both figures were ruthless, cynical war criminals, they at least understood that other great powers have interests which differ from ours and their economic and geostrategic imperatives which must be taken into account. That basic level of understanding of realpolitik and analysis of material conditions as well as competition between world powers does not seem to exist in US foreign policy anymore.
It should be obvious that we’ve entered the imperial overreach stage. The US meddled to try and cajole Ukraine into the EU and NATO, and got its shit wrecked. We fucked around and now we’re finding out.
Before 2014 Russia would probably have accepted a neutral Ukraine, but no longer. The past eight years have shown that Ukraine would rather kill its own people than negotiate. Ukraine used neo-Nazi forces for eight years and still is in the current conflict, allied to their official National Guard. Ukraine was assisted by the CIA in Eastern Ukraine to help kill separatists. British and US special forces are currently in Ukraine assisting its military. Before the war started, Ukraine was verging on becoming a failed state, Zelensky was widely despised, and the standard of living was falling precipitously for the average Ukrainian.
This does not justify Russia’s response. It does, however, reveal that great powers will react to continuing pressure and low-level war on their borders when it suits them. It is basic common sense; stronger authoritarian nations (the US being exhibit A) pursue their interests at the expense of weaker ones when they can get away with it, and also overreact or become irrational when threatened. If Russia and Putin has become increasingly paranoid and isolated, what were the conditions that led to this new state of affairs?
We have to return to the ahistorical framework US power projects. These were exemplified best in the 1990s in two works: Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. Cresting the wave of the fall of the Soviet Union and unipolar US hegemony, these authors codified imperial hubris of late 20th century America, claiming that only liberal representative democracies guided only by capitalist economic structures would expand worldwide and a new era of peace, globalization and cooperation would begin; a “New World Order”, as it were. All this would be implicitly supported by a globe-spanning military colossus, an imperial pax Americana. Autocracies and other authoritarian regimes would not be able to maintain influence as the “free market” expanded to every corner of the planet; and democratic, capitalistic nations would not go to war with each other, this was referred to by Friedman as the “Golden Arches” theory of foreign policy: no two countries with a McDonald’s, and hence, a global capitalist political structure, would ever fight each other again.
Looking back today, it’s obvious how facile and myopic this view was. Great powers fight over more than ideology: natural resources, security assurances, and the material needs determine how nations compete and jostle for status and hegemony. In hindsight, and without the hegemonic distorting lens of pro-Western propaganda, it’s easy to see that Russia has felt threatened by Western Europe and the USA for generations.
Ultimately, the US will be content in the near future to “fight to the last Ukrainian.” The domestic US and Western European populations need a new distraction from an economy with skyrocketing inflation and a looming recession. A proxy war against Russia suits Western elites just fine, even though it is clear that Biden, Johnson, Macron, and Scholz have no idea how to proceed. Western nations have little leverage or ability to maneuver in this war; US diplomats especially have no interest in navigating the foreign policy repercussions precisely because they are so insulated from the consequences.
The establishment needs a scapegoat for the worsening economic situation in Europe and the USA, and the coming recession will be blamed on Russian destabilization of global markets. The mainstream media has conveniently ignored the eight previous years of civil war in Ukraine, a situation that would not be tolerated by any other global power. The narrative shift to Russia as the next boogeyman was very swift, precisely because Washington has no one else to blame for the disastrous collapse of the world economy led by a failing capitalist model. The West was desperate to find a scapegoat and now it has one. The faltering of international norms and relations due to exploitative and reactionary foreign policy decisions of the West likewise exposed cracks in the foundation of the system with no fix in sight. Only a diplomatic solution can bring an end to this war, and at present, US leadership can at best be described as being out to lunch. With no clear plan or desire to minimize the human suffering in Ukraine, the imperial order continues to stumble along due to its own hubris and overreach, blind to the lessons of history.
“Zelenskymania and Switzerland’s ruined image.”
(Inevitable and Improvised War; Winners and Losers; Switzerland, Cyber War and “Stratcom”)
on by Guy Mettan (more by ) (Posted Apr 26, 2022)
While negotiations seem to be progressing and the first contours of a possible solution in Ukraine are emerging (neutrality and partial demilitarisation of the country, handover of the Donbass and Crimea), the background to the conflict is beginning to be better understood. However, a quick ceasefire is not to be expected: the Americans and the Ukrainians have not yet lost enough and the Russians have not yet won enough to cease hostilities.
Before I continue with my reflections, however, I would like to ask those who do not share my realistic view of international relations to put this text aside. They will not like what is about to come, and it will save them heartburn and the time they would waste denigrating me.
I am of the opinion that morality is a very poor advisor in geopolitics, but in human affairs it is appropriate: the most uncompromising realism does not prevent us from investing time and money, as I am doing, to alleviate the fate of the population affected by the fighting.
The analyses of the most qualified experts (I am thinking especially of the Americans John Mearsheimer and Noam Chomsky), the investigations of investigative journalists like Glenn Greenwald and Max Blumenthal, and the documents seized by the Russians–for example, the intercepted communications traffic of the Ukrainian army from 22 January and the attack plans seized on a computer left behind by a British officer–show that this war was both inevitable and highly improvised.
An inevitable and improvised war
Inevitable because since Zelensky’s declaration of his intention to retake Crimea by force in April 2021, Ukrainians and Americans had decided to trigger the war no later than early this year.
The concentration of Ukrainian troops in the Donbass since last summer, the massive arms deliveries by NATO in recent months, the accelerated combat training of Azov regiments and the army, the intensive shelling of Donetsk and Lugansk by the Ukrainians from 16 February onwards (all this was ignored by the Western media, of course), prove that Kiev had planned a large-scale military operation for the end of this winter.
The aim was to repeat the “Operation Storm” launched by Croatia against the Serbian Krajina in August 1995 and to take the Donbass in a lightning offensive, without giving the Russians time to react, in order to gain control over the entire Ukrainian territory and enable the country to join NATO and the EU quickly. . . .
And instead of attacking the well-equipped and heavily fortified Ukrainian army forces head-on, it was decided to bypass them with a large-scale encirclement/diversion manoeuvre. The invasion opened three fronts simultaneously–north, centre and south–in order to destroy the Ukrainian air force and as much equipment as possible in the first few hours and disorganise the Ukrainian counter-attack.
Had they let Ukraine attack first, their situation would have become critical and they would have either been defeated or condemned to an endless war of attrition in the Donbass. It should be remembered that Russian troop strength is ridiculously low: 150,000 men against 300,000 Ukrainians, including the National Guard.
Considering the circumstances and despite the initial mishaps and losses, the Russian operation was a success and will go down in military history, though of course not as a human example.
With this first phase completed, the Russians can now concentrate on their main objective, which is to liquidate the “pockets” of Kharkiv and Mariupol held by the neo-Nazi Azov regiments and to reduce the Kramatorsk cauldron where the bulk of the Ukrainian army is entrenched.
So much for the military component.
Winners and losers
Let us now look at the political situation. Who are the real winners and losers of this war? I see one main winner, smaller winners and many losers.
The biggest winner is undoubtedly the USA. One has to recognise that the Biden team has manoeuvred masterfully despite the senility of its president. By withdrawing from Afghanistan last August, it has cleared itself in the eyes of the public and avoided being blamed for the disastrous invasion and occupation of that poor country.
By drafting a script in which the born actor Zelensky can shine, they appear to the Western public as brave white knights, although they are the big masterminds in the background. The USA has closed ranks in NATO and turned the Europeans into useful idiots who willingly defend “the democracies threatened by the despicable butcher-dictator Putin”. In the process, they are forced by the USA to buy its shale gas, while the German left and the Greens rush to mobilise 100 billion euros in military loans to buy American F-35 fighter-bombers. Bingo! The only fly in the ointment is that the plan did not go according to plan. The Russians did not fall into the trap. Ukraine will be carved up, neutralised and will not be able to join NATO as hoped.
Other winners are China, India and the countries of the South, which are watching with glee as the West, especially the Europeans, tear each other apart and weaken themselves for a long time. In an unexpected way, they find themselves in the comfortable position of neutrality or non-alignment. The Chinese would have preferred an amicable settlement, but they had no choice: they know that if they drop Russia, they will be next on the list, as shown by the torrent of Sinophobia that the West is pouring out under the pretext of defending the rights of the Uighurs (while the West is completely indifferent to the rights of the Yemenis, who have been bombed mercilessly for six years).
The big loser will of course be Ukraine, which is being needlessly maimed, dismembered, devastated and massacred, as it now loses much more than what it would have lost if the Minsk agreement had been implemented. President Zelensky will have to bear the heavy responsibility for this in history, as he preferred the ruin of his country to a timely compromise.
The other big losers are the Europeans. In the immediate future, it is true, they can brag about their rediscovered unity, their accelerated rearmament, their strong will to defend democracy and freedom to the last Ukrainian, their generosity towards refugees, their future independence from Russia in the field of energy, and so on. . . .
Switzerland’s ruined image
Another big loser is Switzerland. Official Switzerland boasts that it has followed the sanctions demanded by the USA and the European Union with historic speed. Those in a hurry are already calling for swift accession to the EU and NATO. Well done.
But after the Federal Council gave in in the cases of Jewish funds and bank client confidentiality, this is the third time in twenty years that our government has submitted to American dictates: what is left of our law and sovereignty?
Worse still, we have capitulated by surrendering our neutrality in the open field because no one asked us to do so. After standing firm for two centuries, we are now submitting without a fight in less than five days!
This renunciation is serious not only for the country’s identity but also for its credibility. The fact that federal councillors bow to Zelensky on the Bundesplatz and wear scarves in the Ukrainian colours still gets a pass. That is political folklore. But the sacrifice of neutrality is seriously damaging the country, because by aligning ourselves with the West we have gambled away our credit with the rest of the world. . . .
Finally, there is Russia. Winner or loser? Both, actually. On the one hand, Russia will probably win militarily and strategically. At the end of the fighting, Russia could achieve the neutralisation of Ukraine, its partial demilitarisation (no foreign military bases and nuclear weapons) and a possible partition of the country.
Russia will leave the fanatics of American hegemony haunting the offices in Washington and Brussels utterly shocked. It will have shown that there will be no compromise on its security and that of its allies. And Russia will have shown the world that it does what it says and says what it does, having made its red lines clear three months before the conflict. And it will have done so without rocking its economy and currency, as the West had hoped.
Contrary to the opinions of Western countries, economic sanctions, however harsh, will only strengthen Putin, as recent polls by the neutral Levada Institute show, confirming the support of a large majority of the population for the “special operation”. Never before has a sanction succeeded in toppling a government, neither in Cuba, nor in Iran, nor in North Korea.
But Moscow will have to bear the stigma of the warmonger, the aggressor, even if legally its concerns are no less bad than the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the NATO aggression against Serbia in 1999 with the subsequent secession of Kosovo a few years later. The human, cultural, economic and political price to be paid will be high. The tensions created by the conflict will not magically disappear and the Russians will have to deal with the consequences of this war for a long time to come.
Cyber war and Stratcom
We conclude this overview with a word about the incredible success of the Ukrainian propaganda campaign in the West. This war offers the opportunity to witness live the first full cyberwar operation.
If press freedom is suffering in Russia, it is not much better here: we have banned Russian media and forbid dissenting viewpoints, even though we pretend to defend press freedom! Within a few days, there was a zelenscisation of minds, with everyone competing in subservience to listen to the Great Hero and fulfil his wishes. President Macron even wore a three-day beard and an olive-coloured T-shirt to underline his support for the cause, while the media renounced all journalistic ethics in order to give full support to Ukraine. Such a breakdown of sanity in such a short time is unheard of.
Outrageous, but not inexplicable. Dan Cohen, correspondent for “Behind the News”, has closely analysed the sophisticated mechanisms of Ukrainian propaganda and the reasons for its colossal success in our countries.
A NATO commander described the campaign in the Washington Post as “a massive stratcom (strategic communications) operation mobilising media, info ops and psy ops”. In essence, it was about mobilising the media and hypnotising the public with a constant stream of real news, fake news, images and narratives that were likely to stun people in order to keep emotional levels high and shut down the public’s ability to judge. . . .
At the risk of repeating myself, I will close this long article by saying: one can, indeed one must, condemn this war. But please let us stop blinding ourselves. Let us regain our critical spirit and our sense of reality. Only in this way can we rebuild a lasting peace on the shambles that Ukraine has become. (Translation “Swiss Standpoint”)
is a political scientist and journalist. He started his journalistic career with in 1980 and was its director and editor-in chief in 1992–1998. From 1997 to 2020, he was director of “ ” in Geneva. Nowadays he is a freelance journalist and author.
Monthly Review does not necessarily adhere to all of the views conveyed in articles republished at MR Online. Our goal is to share a variety of left perspectives that we think our readers will find interesting or useful.
is – and escalation is coming.”
on by Alastair Crooke (more by ) (Posted Apr 26, 2022)
It is indeed war. NATO is at war with Russia. German legalists may not, but when the West arms Ukraine; when NATO Special Forces are in Kiev (i.e. the ), and are training their militia protégés to use their weapons to kill Russians, is it really relevant (or known) from whose shoulder the (UK made) Starstreak missile, which downs a Russian helicopter, is fired?
In any case, this ‘war’ (proxy war, if you prefer) was effectively launched in 2014, and ratcheted up substantially in 2017, when NATO switched from relying on Ukrainian national forces (that had proved somewhat prone to defects, with their arms, to Russian speaking militia), to the use of internationalists and mercenaries, with the aggressive intent of weakening and miring Russia in a quagmire.
‘War is war’, and this war is set to escalate.
Nobody knows exactly the number of these extreme Right militias mounted by the West, but Reuters has put the figure at one hundred thousand, former senior NATO adviser Jacques Baud and concurs. These paramilitaries, however, take no role in normal field warfare, but rather focus on maintaining ‘order’ [i.e. strict compliance] within cities. And that’s exactly what you have had in Mariupol and elsewhere. These Azov-type militia are not equipped for field operations. They are equipped for urban warfare. Just to be clear, this mode of Idlib-style ruthless urban warfare is not about defeating the Russian army, it is about pulling them into cloying, all-enveloping mud.
Up until February this year, this set-up essentially was intended to unfold as a campaign of attrition; an incipient quagmire. But then suddenly, on 16 February, there was a massive increase in shelling from the Ukrainian side (about 30 times more than on past occasions per OSCE) and coinciding with Biden’s predictions of an imminent Russian invasion. This for the Russians, and for President Putin in particular, was the sign of the start of the expected war of attrition. And so on 24 February, Russia’s Special Military Operation was launched.
Why attrition? Why not ordinary war? Well, because NATO did not want to put its’ boots on the ground. It wanted low-intensity insurgency.
Why? Because it had been decided that the collapse of Russia (the ultimate aim) was primordially to be achieved by all-out financial war (thus avoiding U.S. casualties): Thousands of sanctions; the seizing of Russian foreign exchange reserves; and a concerted effort to sink the rouble. In March, Biden was already boasting in his State of the Union speech that the rouble had collapsed by 30% and the Russian stock market by 40%. The fighting in Ukraine, therefore, was treated as giving the pain from financial war more time to bite in Russia.
But now, we see the calculus is changing. Indeed it must change, because the dynamics and timelines are inverting: MORE
Yet, public opinion has
been hyped to believe that without a European Ukraine victory; without the
utter defeat and humiliation of Russia, the liberal world cannot survive. Thus,
we hear of EU High Representative Borrell that Ukraine can only be
resolved by military means. What he may be saying is that the West must go
maximalist, before inflation ruins the plan. Escalation, or else
“What is propelling the U.S. into increasing international military aggression?” John Ross. Mronline.org (4-25-22).
This article by John Ross (Luo Siyin) was
also published in slightly edited form in Guancha as “It’s pointless to count
on American ‘kindness’.” Introduction.
The international escalation of
U.S. military aggression over a period of more than two decades is clear.
However, even within that framework, the events leading to the Ukraine war
represent a new qualitative step in this U.S. military policy. Before the
Ukraine war, the U.S. carried out military confrontations only against
developing countries which had far weaker armed forces than the U.S. and which
did not possess nuclear weapons. In chronological order these major U.S.
aggressive military actions against developing countries were:
Bombing of Serbia
Invasion of Afghanistan
Bombing of Libya
However, the U.S. threat to extend NATO into Ukraine, which is the fundamental cause of the present war in that country, is a qualitative U.S. escalation from simply attacks on far weaker developing countries than itself. The U.S. was aware in advance that the threat to extend NATO into Ukraine affected the most fundamental national interests of Russia—a country with very strong military forces, including a nuclear weapons arsenal which is equal to the U.S.. U.S. policy towards Ukraine, therefore, explicitly crossed Russia’s “red lines”—something the U.S. entirely understood and which it was prepared to take the risk of undertaking. MORE
. “‘Unprovoked’ Attacks,’ From 1812 to 9/11.”
Independent Institute. May 11, 2011.
The killing of Osama bin Laden reminds us that there are only two disciplines in which uncaused events occur—quantum physics and the history of U.S. foreign policy. According to the version of history expounded by the American media and politicians, the passenger aircraft hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 were a diabolical surprise attack out of the blue by the evil bin Laden against unsuspecting and naïve Americans. Of course, Americans were naïve, but principally about their government’s political and military interventions in Muslim countries since World War II, and especially since 1980. Bin Laden was blunt about this in his pronouncements on why he attacked the United States, but America never wanted to hear.
But this is not the first time in America’s version of its history that uncaused events have just happened. All countries twist their history into a more favorable light, and America is no exception.
The sanitized version of American history begins early with the War of 1812. If causes are discussed at all, the war was allegedly caused by British violation of American rights of neutral shipping during the Napoleonic Wars and the impressment of American sailors to fill shortages of manpower on British warships during those wars. Yet these affronts had been going on for more than a decade, and the region most adversely affected by them—seafaring New England—was almost in open revolt against the U.S. government over war with Britain. A more important reason that the new American nation unwisely declared war on a superpower was the election of “war hawks” to Congress in 1810. They wanted to grab Canada, and when the war started, an American invasion force was quickly dispatched there to do so.
The Mexican War set a precedent for what became a rich tradition in the American democracy of provoking your enemy into firing first. President James Polk—who wanted to and did steal one-third of Mexico’s land by using military force against a much weaker country—deliberately sent U.S. forces into a disputed area on the Texas-Mexico border, because he calculated that the Mexicans would attack that force in defending their border. The Mexicans had a much better border claim than did the Americans. Most historians agree that Polk provoked the war to grab the land, but they don’t focus on the fact that Polk had also blockaded the Rio Grande River—an internationally recognized act of war. So the United States didn’t just provoke the enemy to attack, it started the war, just as in the War of 1812.
Almost erased from the history of the Civil War and the actions of the now-canonized Abraham Lincoln is his deliberate provocation of the Confederates to fire on a supply ship to Fort Sumter. They had already done so on another such ship at the very end of the James Buchanan administration, so Lincoln knew what would happen when he sent the ship. Lincoln even admitted that he was trying to get the Confederates to fire first. As George W. Bush did when he fell into bin Laden’s trap and invaded Iraq after 9/11, the Confederates foolishly took the bait and even went Lincoln one better. They not only fired on the ship but also the fort, thus beginning the most cataclysmic war in U.S. history.
One of the most outrageous distortions in American history is the standard version of the “massacre” of George Armstrong Custer’s forces at the Little Bighorn—as if it just occurred out of the blue with an attack by warlike savages. In the now-erased lead-up to the massacre, the U.S. Army had been “protecting” the Native Americans from the inflow of voracious miners, who had found gold on Indian land, by surrounding the Indians while the miners stole their gold. Furthermore, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse attacked only soldiers at Little Bighorn, whereas the American military, and especially the ruthless Custer, regularly used scorched-earth tactics to kill Native American men, women, and children and burn Indian crops.
In the Spanish-American War, the United States took advantage of the sinking of the Maine in the port of Havana—even at the time, arguments were made that it was an accident, which later was found to be almost assuredly the case—to start a war against weak Spain in an attempt to grab its colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
In World War I, the United States took advantage of the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-boats to enter the conflict—no matter that the U.S. was insisting on neutral rights for a passenger ship carrying weapons for the enemy of Germany through a war zone.
Although the hallowed World War II was fought against the ruthless Imperial Japanese and Nazis, the full story is a bit more complex. The Japanese didn’t just attack Pearl Harbor for no reason, and the Nazis didn’t simply declare war against the United States. At some point in the 1930s, FDR decided that he could not live with Hitler’s regime, so in the spring and summer of 1941, long before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he ordered the U.S. Navy to help the British sink German U-boats in the Atlantic—hoping that would cause Hitler to declare war on the United States. But Hitler refused to take the bait, and the German leader avoided declaring war on the American colossus until his ally Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. That Japanese attack was made in desperation, because the United States, then the world’s largest oil producer, had cut off the supplies of petroleum and other key materials to the island nation in an attempt to economically strangle Japan for colonizing China by force. FDR refused the Japanese prime minister’s attempt to negotiate an end to the dispute; the “Hail Mary” Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor followed.
In Vietnam, American history focuses on the North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, at least one of which was fictitious. Even if the North Vietnamese did attack, what goes unexamined was the secret U.S. raiding of the North Vietnamese coast, which provoked any attack.
In 1979, most Americans thought that the new diabolical theocratic regime in Iran just kidnapped U.S. diplomats and held them hostage out of spite. Long forgotten was the CIA’s overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammad Mossadegh and U.S. restoration and support for the thuggish and oppressive regime of the shah until he was overthrown by the theocrats.
In Grenada in the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan accused the Marxist regime of allegedly threatening U.S. medical students, who weren’t really in harm’s way, in order to justify invading the small Central American country.
And then there was George W. Bush, who unnecessarily invaded Saddam’s Iraq—which had been severely weakened by Bush Sr.’s pounding of it a decade before—on a bunch of trumped up-accusations.
American history vindicates the old saying that “truth is the
first casualty of war,” but the passage of time should allow a republic to
undertake a more honest and dispassionate examination of historical events. It
rarely does, with truth being swept under the rug in favor of assuming uncaused
is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Director of the Institute’s .
It should come as no surprise that Ukraine is the chessboard for deep ideological battles between the US-led West and Russia, with Ukrainians and young Russian soldiers as disposable pawns.
From a column by Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara:
...Another lingering question is ‘why Ukraine’? There have been other horrific events in the period since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, including Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Palestine yet no comparable clamor for criminal justice and punitive action. Certainly, a part of the explanation is that the Ukrainian victims of abuse are white and European, and global media was mobilized effectively by the West and by the related international prominence accorded to Zelensky, the embattled Ukrainian leader given unprecedented access to the most influential venues on the global stages of world opinion. It is not that the empathy for Ukraine or support for Zelensky’s national resistance is misplaced, but that it has the appearance of being orchestrated in ways that other desperate national situations were not, and thus give rise to suspicions about other, darker motives....
...The U.S. approach, while mindful of escalation dangers and taking steps to avoid direct military involvement on behalf of Ukraine, shows no rush to end the fighting, apparently believing that Russia is already suffering the consequences of greatly underestimating Ukrainian will and capability to resist, will be forced to acknowledge a humiliating defeat if the war goes on, which would have the strategic benefit...of discouraging China from aligning with Russia in the future. The Western architects of this geopolitical war with Russia seem to assess gains and losses through a militarist optic, being grossly insensitive to the disastrous economic spillover effects, especially pronounced in relation to food security in the already extremely stressed conditions of the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. As Fred Bergston argues, the overall stability of the world economy is also at great risk unless the U.S. and China realize that their cooperation is the only check on a deep, costly, and prolonged world economic collapse....
Ukrainian Nazis: AZOV AND MEDIA
Reif. “NED Finances Key Ukrainian Propaganda Organ,
the Kyiv Independent.” CovertAction, Apr 13, 2022.
One NED-sponsored journalist even fights with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and openly advocates for the commission of war crimes.
Throughout this war, one of the most prolific voices has been the Kyiv Independent. Through both its website and its Twitter account, it has been posting a nearly endless stream of unconfirmed and often fantastical pro-Ukrainian propaganda along with unverified, and often unattributed tales of the latest Russian atrocities.
Despite never offering even a scrap of evidence, however, it exploded from a few thousand followers before the war to several million now, with millions more following its individual reporters. It is routinely promoted by some of the biggest names in media, such as CNN and Fox News. […]
The post NED Finances Key Ukrainian Propaganda Organ, the Kyiv Independent appeared first on CovertAction Magazine.
Russian Abhorrence of Nazi Influence in Ukraine
“Zelensky brings Nazi to Address Greek parliament” (4-14-22)
Attached is a tweet by the former Finance Minister of Greece condemning Zelensky for bringing a literal Nazi to his address to the Greek parliament. The Ukraine war stinks, just like the several recent U.S. invasions of the Middle East, but so does US/Nazi puppet Zelensky (who pleads for WW3), and the ignored 8 years of US proxy war on East Ukraine that killed 14,000 people, mostly Ukrainian ethnic Russian minorities we are propagandized to not care about.
All this must be kept in perspective to avoid the creeping escalation toward potential nuclear apocalypse we are being dragged toward not only by Russia, but arguably more so even by the U.S. & NATO who refuse to take Russia’s legitimate security concerns into consideration so that serious peace negotiations can occur to put a stop to the killing.
Warfare Labs in Ukraine: Charges and Countercharges
“Migratory birds of mass destruction.” M. K. Bhadrakumar. Mronline.org (4-23-22). Highly sensitive materials from the Ukrainian biological laboratories were exported to the U.S. in early February just before the Russian special operation began, and the rest were ordered to be destroyed lest they fell into Russian hands. But the cover-up was only partially successful. Indeed, Russia is in possession of highly incriminating evidence.
Ukraine War Reveals Possible U.S. Preparations for Biological Warfare By W. T. Whitney, Jr. on Apr 14, 2022 12:16 pm.
War in Ukraine turns people’s lives and affairs upside down. Dirty laundry, previously hidden, is on display. A Russian communication on March 6 mentions “evidence of an emergency clean-up performed by the Kyiv regime was found—aimed at eradicating traces of the military-biological program in Ukraine, financed by @DeptofDefense.”
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson two days later spoke of “26 [U.S.] bio-labs and other related facilities in Ukraine.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded, saying that the United States “does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere.” Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland indicated “Ukraine has biological research facilities …[and] so we are working with the Ukrainians [to] prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported that, as of February 25, “a network of U.S.-linked labs [existed] in Ukraine that work with dangerous pathogens.” Those 26 such facilities are “public and animal health labs.”
The gist of the Chinese and Russian communications is their claim that the U.S. Government is doing bio-warfare. In that regard, the “Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research” in Tbilisi, Georgia, looms large. The U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) paid for the Center’s construction and for its operation, between 2011 and 2018.
Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva produced a report in 2018 alleging the Center had bio-weapons capabilities. She claimed that most of the Center’s staff were U.S. citizens enjoying diplomatic immunity and that at least three U.S. companies were doing bio-weapons research there. She indicates elsewhere that biologic specimens arrive by diplomatic pouch.[…]
The post Ukraine War Reveals Possible U.S. Preparations for Biological Warfare appeared first on CovertAction Magazine.
Apr 16, 2022,
CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR
Uncontrolled, Unpredictable Arms Proliferation
“The US Has No Idea Where Its Ukrainian Military Aid Is Going”BY BRANKO MARCETIC, JACOBIN, 04/21/22.
[Forwarded by Sonny San Juan via uark.onmicrosoft.com 4-25-22]
US officials just admitted they don’t know where their arms shipments to Ukraine will actually end up, and that they could fall into dangerous hands.
Ever since the crisis over Ukraine began last year, a minority of commentators, including the present author, have cautioned about the dangers of inundating the country with weapons, and the risk of fueling extremist groups that could destabilize the country and create blowback for the West, as the United States’ anti-Soviet policy in Afghanistan did in the 1980s. A new CNN report suggests US officials are well aware of these risks.
A suite of anonymous sources told the network that Washington has no way of tracking the weapons they send or knowing where they end up when they enter Ukraine, one of Europe’s largest arms trafficking markets even before the war. “It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time,” one source told CNN.
According to the report, both military analysts and US officials acknowledge that the massive quantity of arms being supplied by more than twenty governments could in the long term “wind up in the hands of other militaries and militias that the US did not intend to arm.” Ukrainian troops pick up trucks loaded with weapons mostly in Poland, states the report, before driving them across the border, at which point it’s entirely up to Ukrainians how and where they’re given out.
This isn’t the first time Western officials and analysts have acknowledged this. Back in March, a senior US military official told Al Jazeera that “we believe that risk is worth taking right now.” Earlier this month, one expert suggested to Radio-Canada that while “after the war, it could be a problem for the extreme right to find itself armed,” it was justified by the “exceptional results on the ground.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced early on in the war that he would give out weapons to anyone willing to fight, suggesting a less-than-judicious attitude about where they end up — understandable given the circumstances, but no less risky. Besides this, members of white supremacist and other far-right extremist groups have infiltrated the country’s military and become part of its National Guard, another potential direct point of access to the arms. The Organized Crime Index notes that most of the arms trafficking inside Ukraine takes place domestically, but is also linked to weapons black markets in nearby Eastern and Central European states and in EU countries.
Ukraine’s ultranationalists have been key drivers of instability within the country over the last decade, toppling one government through violence, attacking marginalized groups and political opponents, and threatening and carrying out anti-government violence across multiple administrations, including Zelensky’s, often to derail peace efforts. Various voices — from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center and the counterterror Soufan Center, to human rights organizations and the mainstream press — warned before the war that the Ukrainian far right not only had their sights set on a coup, but that they stood at the nexus of an international movement of far-right militants looking to take power in Europe, organizing in ways similar to jihadist networks.
As both the CNN and Al Jazeera reports make clear, US officials have judged that while these risks are very real, they’re outweighed by the risks that would be run if Ukraine lacked sufficient arms to defend itself against Russia’s aggression. But this raises the question of US intentions. Is the purpose of the arms shipments to strengthen Ukraine’s hand in reaching a negotiated settlement to the conflict — a process from which the Biden administration and allied governments have so far held themselves aloof? Or is it, as some US and British officials have suggested, to turn Ukraine into an Afghanistan-like quagmire for Russia, weakening it and perhaps even triggering regime change, while sending a message to China in the process?
All the while, there has been too little public discussion of these questions, or of the potential ripple effects of the weapons ending up in the wrong hands — their most immediate victims likely being Ukrainians themselves, as well as countries in its proximity. After NATO toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, for instance, the country’s massive weapons stockpiles were trafficked out of the country in the ensuing chaos, where they soon fueled violence and armed conflict in various North African countries, including Mali, spurring a nine-year-long military campaign by France in the country.
There’s more than a passing resemblance between US officials’ statements today, and the words of Jimmy Carter advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the architect of the policy of US support for the anti-Soviet mujahideen, who told an interviewer in the 1990s: “What is most important to the history of the world? . . . Some stirred up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” A few years later, these “stirred up Muslims” carried out the worst foreign attack on US soil, and thwarting them became the impetus for a destructive and impossibly wasteful “war on terror” that destabilized the Middle East and ramped up domestic authoritarianism.
Unfortunately, a political climate as militaristic as it is conformist means there is almost no public pressure on the Biden administration to do anything other than what it’s already doing: glutting the country with weapons while refusing to engage in negotiations to end the war. The president is about to announce another $800 million worth of military aid for the country, and a White House spokesperson has said that “we are always preparing the next package of security assistance to get into Ukraine.”
These announcements may be good news for weapons manufacturers, who are already rubbing their hands over the massive spending implied by current Western policy demands. But just like Afghanistan in the 1980s, these shipments are also an investment in the next armed conflict they spark, one whose full return won’t come for a while yet — and few are likely to claim credit when it does.
“Washington Post calls for censoring Chinese media, praises purge of Russian outlets.” Editor. Mronline.org (4-16-22).
The Washington Post–owned by billionaire oligarch Jeff Bezos, who has CIA and Pentagon contracts–has called for censoring Chinese news outlets on social media, while praising Silicon Valley for purging Russian publications.
Jeff Cohen. “Turns Out Corporate Media Can Oppose War—When an Official Enemy Is the Aggressor.” Extra! The Newsletter of FAIR (April 2022). Cohen condemns the huge underreporting of civilian victims of the US War on [of!] Terror compared to the huge reporting of civilian victims of the Ukrainian War . Cohen concludes: “all civilian victims of wars and violent coups are worthy, whether Iraqi or Honduran or Ukrainian—and…all criminals who violate international law should be held accountable, whether they’re based in Moscow or Washington, DC.”
“If it feels like you’re being manipulated, it’s because you are.” Caitlin A. Johnstone.
Mronline.org (4-13-22). If you’ve got a gut feeling that your rulers are working to control your perception of the war in Ukraine, it is safe to trust that feeling.
By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout. PopularResistance (4-24-22). Although the United States has tried mightily to undermine the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it became operational in 2002, the U.S. government is now pushing for the ICC to prosecute Russian leaders for war crimes in Ukraine. Apparently, Washington thinks the ICC is reliable enough to try Russians but not to bring U.S. or Israeli officials to justice. On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed S. Res 546, which “encourages member states to petition the ICC or other appropriate international tribunal to take any appropriate steps to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed... -more-
NEW, HARDENED COLD WAR, Nuclear WWIII Threatened
Michael Klare. “A Different World.” The Nation (April 18-25, 2022). In the world we are entering, “NATO will emerge more powerful and politically popular. . .while Russia will become a pariah.” It will be a more dangerous world, divided by “a new Iron Curtain, with the opposing forces prepared to engage at a moment’s notice, nuclear weapons at the ready.”
UN chief warns of Ukraine crisis' impact. UN WIRE (4-13-22).
[The world faces the convergence of catastrophes, each of which alone could end our civilization: ceaseless wars including nuclear nations, climate calamity, pandemics.]
Close to two-thirds of all children in Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing conflict in the country, which has driven more than 4.6 million people from Ukraine and displaced an estimated 7.1 million internally, United Nations agencies report. "The only lasting solution to the war in Ukraine and its assault on the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world is peace," says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warning the crisis is negatively affecting some of the world's most vulnerable people, both inside and outside Ukraine.
WTO warns of effects on global economy from pandemic, Ukraine crisis. The Associated
UN ups Ukraine refugee estimate as Guterres meets Putin. UN Wire (4-27-22).
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres should have visited Ukraine to see the effects of Russia's invasion before meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin -- meetings during which Guterres pressed the Russian officials to allow humanitarian aid to reach Ukrainians stranded in besieged areas. The UN High Commission for Refugees now says it expects the conflict to drive 8.3 million people from Ukraine this year, while International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi says his agency needs urgent access to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to conduct repairs and inspections.
Are we heading to WW III?
So, we need to ask: What is the West’s policy goal in all of this?
See the show at any of these sites:
Abby Martin and Brian Becker discuss the Ukraine war and what it means for the anti-war movement.
Dear James, The horrendous war in Ukraine reminds us how important it is to spot and seize opportunities to prevent conflict and advance peace before fighting begins. Your member of Congress sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which decides how your tax dollars are spent. This gives them unique power to increase funding for peacebuilding.
The U.S. government has two key funds dedicated to peacebuilding. The Atrocities Prevention (AP) Fund allows the Department of State to support efforts to prevent mass atrocities and genocide. The Complex Crises Fund (CCF) is one of USAID’s most important quick-response tools to stem violence and plant seeds of peace. These funds have built roads to peace all over the world. In the Central African Republic, the AP Fund supported communication with long-range radios and conflict resolution training. In Bangladesh, the CCF helped reduce tensions between Rohingya refugees and local communities by improving access to reliable information.
Your member of Congress has unique power to increase funding for peacebuilding—but they need to hear from you. Tell Rep. Womack and Sen. Boozman: America must invest more in peace!
Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, American Militarism, A Persistent Malady
Apr 14, 2022, 8:43 AM (15 hours ago)
I have to admit that, as I read the nightmarish front-page stories daily — and yes, I’m old enough to still read the New York Times in print every morning — and absorb the latest news about Vladimir Putin’s egregious war in Ukraine, I can’t help thinking: how strange that our own nightmarish wars, involving the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries nowhere near our borders, and a set of other conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa, never got this kind of attention. It mattered not at all that, according to the Costs of War Project, they would result in close to a million dead (hundreds of thousands of them civilians) and at least another 38 million of us (or, being American, perhaps I should say them) displaced from their homes. Our wars never got covered like this, front-page-style, day after day, week after week, and by now, sadly enough, we can nearly say month after month, often to the near-exclusion of anything else, including the ongoing destruction of this planet. Today, unbearably little of what once was known as America’s “Global War on Terror” is remembered, no less memorialized. In fact, I can’t remember anything quite like the coverage of the ongoing Ukraine horror since at least the days right after 9/11.
That, I suppose, is the difference between wars started by the good guys on Planet Earth (us, naturally) and those started by the bad guys (the Vlad and crew). And Vladimir Putin is indeed a brutal autocrat, not to speak of a genuinely unnerving and disturbing human being.
It’s sad indeed that, in these years, as TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich, author most recently of After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed, reminds us today, we’ve not had someone like Martin Luther King to speak out against the devastation we (and yes, in this case, I do mean we Americans) have been causing on this planet in this century. I have no doubt that, if he had been alive, King would indeed have spoken out strongly against our wars, as well as the present Russian horror in Ukraine. With that in mind, consider for a moment the world that he might have wished for us, instead of the one we have. Tom
“Putin Changed the Subject
I recently participated in a commemoration of Martin Luther King’s address “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence,” originally delivered on April 2, 1967, at New York City’s Riverside Church. King used the occasion to announce his opposition to the ongoing war in Vietnam. Although a long time coming in the eyes of some in the antiwar movement, his decision was one for which he was roundly criticized, even by supporters of the Civil Rights Movement. He was straying out of his prescribed lane, they charged, and needed to get back where he belonged.
This year’s 55th anniversary event, also held in Riverside Church’s magnificent sanctuary, featured inspiring Christian music and a thoughtful discussion of King’s remarks. Most powerful of all, however, was a public reading of the address itself. “Beyond Vietnam” contains many famously moving passages. King, for example, cited “the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools” and would not allow them to live “on the same block in Chicago.” And he reflected on the incongruity of young Black men being sent “eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.”
For me, at least, what that commemorative moment brought into sharp focus was his lacerating critique of American freedom. And there, to my mind, lies its lasting value.
Between theory and practice — between the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, on the one hand, and the pervasive presence of what King labeled the “giant triplets” of racism, materialism, and militarism on the other — there still looms, even in our own day, a massive gap. His address eloquently reflected on that gap, which, with the passage of time, has not appreciably narrowed.
King was neither the first nor the last observer to note the debased and shoddy nature of American-style freedom as actually practiced. Nor was he unique in pointing out the hypocrisy pervading our politics. Yet because of the moral heights to which he had ascended, his critique had a particular bite.
In 2022, we have arrived at a moment, however belatedly and reluctantly, when most (though by no means all) Americans at least acknowledge that racism forms an ugly thread that runs through our nation’s history, mocking our professed devotion to liberty and equality for all. Of course, acknowledgment alone hardly entails remedy. At best, it makes remedies plausible. At worst, it offers an excuse for inaction, as if merely confessing to sin suffices to expunge it.
The attention given to racism of late has had exactly that unintended effect — relieving Americans of any obligation even to acknowledge the insidious implications of materialism and militarism. In that sense, even now, two of King’s giant triplets barely qualify for lip-service. In the political sphere, they are either ignored or, at best, treated as afterthoughts.
Presidents typically have lots to say about lots of things and Joe Biden has very much adhered to that tradition. Rarely indeed — Jimmy Carter being the only exception I can think of — do they train their sights on the impact of materialism and militarism on American life. On those two subjects the otherwise garrulous Biden has been silent.
Speaking in a prophetic register in his address, King had described the Vietnam War as “but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.” And although that war ended half a century ago, the deeper malady still persists. It can be seen in the widespread inequality and crippling poverty that pervade what is still the world’s richest nation, as well as in our country’s continuing appetite for war, whether waged directly or through proxies. Above all, we see it in a stubborn refusal to recognize the kinship of lingering racism, ubiquitous materialism, and corrosive militarism, each drawing on and sustaining the others.
At Riverside Church, King charged that while the U.S. government might profess a principled commitment to peace, it had become “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Given the crescendo of death and destruction still building in Vietnam, the truth of that statement in 1967 was — or ought to have been — indisputable. Even taking into account the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing destruction and slaughter there, it still remains true today. Tally up the consequences of the various misbegotten post-9/11 campaigns undertaken pursuant to the “Global War on Terror” and the facts speak for themselves.
In 1967, King laid down this challenge: “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” In the decades that followed, no such revolution occurred. Indeed, those who wield power, whether in Washington or Hollywood, on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, generally exert themselves to suppress any such inclination, except perhaps when there is money to be made. So today, materialism and militarism remain hidden in plain sight.
Reloading for the Next War
For those proponents of the status quo intent on sustaining an American proclivity for materialism and militarism, the Russo-Ukraine War could not have happened at a better time. Indeed, it comes as if a gift from the gods.
In terms of immediate impact, that war has affected the American polity in two ways. First, it is diverting attention from Washington’s manifest inability to deal effectively with an accumulation of problems to which our profligate conception of freedom has given rise, preeminently the climate crisis. The horrifying news out of Kharkiv or Mariupol buried the latest report warning that ongoing climate mitigation efforts are almost certain to fall short, with catastrophic consequences.
Meanwhile, naked Russian aggression in Ukraine has also offered an excuse for Washington to treat as old news or no news the embarrassing debacle of the U.S. withdrawal from Kabul in August 2021. The Pentagon thereby effectively shrugs off a humiliating episode that capped 20 years of misguided and mismanaged military efforts in Afghanistan. Among the proponents of American militarism, few things are more important than forgetting — no, obliterating — those two decades of dismal failure and disappointment. In essence, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has enabled Washington to do just that. As if by magic, Putin has changed the subject.
As an illustration of how this works consider a recent essay in Foreign Affairs, the flagship journal of the foreign-policy establishment. It carries the title “The Return of the Pax Americana?“
The question mark is misleading. An exclamation point would more accurately have captured the aims of its authors. Michael Beckley and Hal Brands teach at Tufts and Johns Hopkins, respectively. Both are also senior fellows at the hawkish American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. And both welcome the Ukraine War as the medium that will reignite an American commitment to the sort of assertive and muscular approach to global policy favored in militaristic quarters. Russian President Vladimir Putin, they write, has handed the United States “a historic opportunity to regroup and reload for an era of intense competition” — with not only Russia but also China meant to be in our crosshairs. The call to reload is central to their message.
The authors blame a “prevailing public apathy” and “strategic lethargy” for reducing the U.S. to a position of weakness. Notably, their essay contains only a single passing reference to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no mention whatsoever of what two decades of post-9/11 U.S. war-making yielded and at what cost. At least implicitly, Beckley and Brands deem such conflicts irrelevant.
Considered from this perspective, the war in Ukraine could hardly have come at a better moment. According to Beckley and Brands, it opens “a window of strategic opportunity” to deal with “the coming wave of autocratic aggression” the authors see lurking just over the horizon. Seizing that opportunity will require the United States — its military budget already far and away the world’s largest — to undertake “massive investments in military forces geared for high-intensity combat,” while displaying a “willingness to confront adversaries and even risk war” in the process. That prospect is one they welcome.
From any perspective, in my judgment, the Ukraine War is proving to be a disaster for all parties involved (weapons manufacturers excluded). Whenever and however that conflict finally ends, there will be no victors, just victims. Even so, Beckley and Brand celebrate the war as the occasion for a great awakening in Washington — the moment when policymakers rediscovered “the value of hard power.”
What Would Martin Say?
I cite the views of Beckley and Brands not because they are original or even particularly interesting, but because they capture the essence of the conventional wisdom in Washington. Unapologetic and unembarrassed by its string of recent failures, the war party — the sole surviving expression of Congressional bipartisanship — is once again climbing back into the saddle.
Just as the foreign-policy establishment once absolved itself of responsibility for Vietnam and labored to ignore its lessons, so, too, the current generation of that establishment is palpably eager to move on. Its members welcome the prospect of a “New Cold War” that would enable the United States to relive the ostensible glory days of the last one, which included, of course, not only the Vietnam War but also Korea, a nuclear arms race, and a pattern of CIA “dirty tricks” among other abominations. Beckley and Brands have functionally volunteered to serve as scribes for this diabolical project. Should Washington heed their call to action, they will leave to others the infamies that will inevitably ensue.
Although there’s no way to know with certainty what Martin Luther King would have made of this undertaking, it’s not hard to guess. In all likelihood, he would have condemned it without reservation. He would have rejected any propagandistic effort to disguise the imperial underpinnings of the latest emerging version of a Pax Americana. He would have demanded an honest accounting of our just-concluded wars before embarking upon what Beckley and Brands misleadingly characterize as another “long twilight struggle.” He would have reiterated his call for a radical revolution in values, leading to a society in which people matter more than things. He would almost certainly have cited the impending climate crisis (which Beckley and Brands ignore) to drive home the point that the United States of 2022 has more important priorities than embarking on a new great-power competition likely to yield nothing but tears.
“We are now faced with the fact,” King said, concluding his speech at Riverside Church in April 1967,
“that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.'”
This has become the question of our time: Is it already too late? We must hope not. But if sufficient time remains to save the planet and ourselves — not to mention our troubled democracy — it is likely to prove, at best, barely enough. Certainly, we have no time to waste on further militarized fecklessness of the sort that has, in recent years, cost our country and others all too dearly. We can ill afford to defer King’s revolution in values further. Copyright 2022 Andrew Bacevich
“We Do Not Want A Divided Planet; We Want A World Without Walls”. By Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. PopularResistance.org (4-16-22). The surface of our skin beats with the fear that a new iron curtain will descend, that there is pressure to box in China and Russia, to divide the world into camps. But that is impossible, because – as noted in last week’s newsletter – we live in a knot of contradictions and not in a clean cut world of certainties. Even close allies of the US, such as Australia, Germany, Japan, and India, cannot break their economic and political ties with Russia and China. Doing so would plunge them into a recession, bringing the kind of economic chaos that war and sanctions have already brought... -more-
“Why the Ukraine war does not mean more countries should seek nuclear weapons.” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (4-14-22).
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many observers have concluded that the war offers a clear demonstration of the benefits of a nuclear arsenal. Nonproliferation expert Jeffrey W. Knopf writes that we should not be so quick to embrace this lesson. Read more.
CONTENTS OF US, NATO, Russia, Ukraine War Anthology #18, April 12, 2022 HTTPS://JAMESRICHARDBENNETT.BLOGSPOT.COM/2022/04/OMNI-US-RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-ANTHOLOGY-18.HTML
Control of Information in the US regarding the US, NATO, Russia,
What we mean by alternatives to official war news: that of the US War Party and its media. We have chosen different sources.
of OMNI’s 18 R/U Anthologies, 2014-2022:
Total number of entries: 306.
Most of these entries were necessarily from sources other than the corporate mainstream because US mainstream newspapers support the nation in its wars.
A few examples from #18: The Unz Review, Extra! (FAIR), CovertAction Magazine, Internationalist 360, Orinoco Tribune, The 14th Newsletter, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Multipolarista, Dissident Voice, Consortium News, UN Wire
ORIGINS, CAUSES OF THE WAR
“NATO Is a Problem, Not The Solution.” Popular Resistance.org
“The U.S. proxy
war in Ukraine,” Monthly Review.
US Proxy War and Imperial Strategy
US Peace Council Statement On Russia’s Military Intervention In Ukraine. Popular Resistance.
US DEMONIZING RUSSIA, PUTIN. SANCTIONS
Larry C. Johnson: “The Ukrainian Army Has Been Defeated’”. Unz Review
“Escalation without consequences on the Op-Ed page.” FAIR
“U.S. and NATO allies arm neo-Nazi units in Ukraine as Foreign Policy elites yearn for Afghan-style insurgency.”
“U.S. Congress admits Nazi role in Ukraine.” Orinoco Tribune.
“U.S. Media Decries Brutal Russia Invasion of Ukraine—(But) Russians Were Welcomed as Liberators in Southern Ukraine.” CovertAction Magazine
“US Media Pushing for World War III.” Consortium News (Via Abel Tomlinson)
Scarcity of CRITICAL THINKING (a cause of war too little taught by our public schools):
“This is not the age of certainty. We are in the time of contradictions.” The Fourteenth Newsletter (2022).
“Russia’s non-proliferation disinformation campaign.” Monthly Review.
“What Western leaders need to remember about Zelensky’s emotional appeals.” Roger Peterson.
“Ukraine is brutally repressing the left, criminalizing socialist parties, imprisoning activists.” Monthly Review
Aggressor Nations: US Context of Russia/Ukraine War.
The United States of War: A Global History of America's Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State by David Vine.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR
“Which war crimes might Russians have committed in Ukraine?” BAS (March 24, 2022). Video.
Propaganda of Hatred during Wars
“Fabricating Putin quotes and banning paraplegic athletes to undermine Russia: how low can the West go?” Monthly Review.
Joe Lauria. “Questions Abound About Bucha Massacre.” Consortium.
“The Bucha Provocation.” Moon of Alabama.
CENSORSHIP [both cause and consequence of war, part of the deception inseparable from war].
Peoples Dispatch. “Lee Camp on censoring anti-war voices.”
“Pity the Nation.: Monthly Review
Opposition political parties banned in Ukraine and ‘unified information policy’ imposed. Monthly Review
WHO issues warning over Ukraine as Russia exits HRC. UN Wire
Hunger crisis looms as Ukraine war drives food costs up. UN Wire
George Paulson on book The First Casualty (of war is the truth) by Philip Knightly
Simulations reveal an attack on Ukrainian nuclear facilities could have possibly been worse than Chernobyl. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
“U.S. Leaders Claim to Care About the Suffering of the Ukrainian People, But Will They Step Up and Make the Compromises Necessary to End the War?” Covert Action magazine.
“An antidote to the ‘split’ in the U.S. Peace Movement: anti-interventionism.” Monthly Review
“Divided World: The UN Condemnation of Russia is endorsed by Countries run by the richest, oldest, Whitest people on Earth but only 41% of the World’s population.” Monthly Review
“Halfway to the End of the War.” Monthly Review
“Student event: Discussing Ukraine and the future of arms control with Michael Krepon.” Student Pugwash USA
Dawn Stover. “10 must-read Twitter threads on the war in Ukraine.” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
END US, NATO, RUSSIA, UKRAINIAN WAR ANTHOLOGY #19