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Lavrov explains why Russia sees Ukraine as a threat

Samizdat | October 7, 2022

A call by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky for NATO members to deploy nuclear weapons against Russia is a reminder of why Moscow launched military action against his country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“Yesterday, Zelensky called on his Western masters to deliver a preemptive nuclear strike on Russia,” Moscow’s top diplomat stated during a media conference on Wednesday.

In doing so, the Ukrainian leader “showed to the entire world the latest proof of the threats that come from the Kiev regime.” Lavrov said Russia’s special military operation had been launched to neutralize those threats.

He dismissed as “laughable” an attempt to downplay Zelensky’s words made by his press secretary, Sergey Nikoforov.

“We all remember how [Zelensky] declared in January Ukraine’s intention to acquire nuclear weapons. Apparently, this idea has long been stuck in his mind,” the Russian minister said.

On Thursday, Zelensky told the Australian Lowy Institute that NATO must carry out preemptive strikes against Russia so that it “knows what to expect” if it uses its nuclear arsenal. He claimed that such action would “eliminate the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons,” before recalling how he urged other nations to preemptively punish Russia before it launched its military action against his country.

“I once again appeal to the international community, as it was before February 24: Preemptive strikes so that [the Russians] know what will happen to them if they use it, and not the other way around,” he said.

His spokesman then claimed that people interpreting Zelensky’s words as a call for a preemptive nuclear strike were wrong, and that Ukraine would never use such rhetoric.

October 7, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

A history of US threats to use nuclear weapons

By David North | WSWS | October 5, 2022

The Biden administration and the media present Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in response to military setbacks as an unprecedented break with long-established and hitherto unquestioned rules of international statecraft. This narrative is a lie.

In fact, the United States and other imperialist powers have not only considered on several critical occasions using nuclear weapons to reverse military defeats. They have directly threatened to drop atom bombs in order to extract concessions from their enemies.

There are the well-documented demands of General Douglas MacArthur for the dropping of nuclear bombs on China, President Eisenhower’s weighing of France’s request for the detonation of nuclear devices at Dien Bien Phu, and President Kennedy’s threats during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Far less known and even more serious were the use of nuclear threats by President Nixon against the USSR and Vietnam. Operation Giant Lance was initiated on October 27, 1969, according to Wikipedia, to force a settlement of the Vietnam War on terms favorable to the US.

According to Wikipedia, Nixon “authorized a squadron of 18 B-52 bombers to patrol the Arctic polar ice caps and escalate the nuclear threat … to coerce both the Soviet Union and North Vietnam to agree on favorable terms with the US, and conclusively end the Vietnam War.”

Nixon made use of what was referred to as the “madman” tactic to convince the Soviet Union that he was capable of ordering a nuclear strike. Another operation, related to Giant Lance, was “Duck Hook.”

Its purpose was to force North Vietnam, using the threat of a massive nuclear strike, to accept US terms for ending the war. Wikipedia states that Duck Hook called for the nuclear bombing of military targets throughout North Vietnam. This included “the saturation bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the bombing of dikes to destroy the food supply of much of the population of North Vietnam, air strikes against North Vietnam’s northeast line of communications as well as passes and bridges at the Chinese border …”

Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s criminal accomplice, told the president that the US had to be prepared to use nuclear weapons. In a memo to Nixon, Kissinger wrote: “To achieve its full effect on Hanoi’s thinking, the action must be brutal.”

Eventually, because of doubts about its strategic effectiveness and fear of a violent popular reaction, Duck Hook was not implemented. But Nixon continued to threaten Vietnam and the Soviet Union with nuclear war.

This history proves that 1) the claims that Putin is breaking a previously unquestioned taboo on the use of nuclear weapons are fraudulent; and 2) that the US, if confronted with the prospect of military defeat, would certainly resort to nuclear warfare.

Knowing that the US would use nuclear weapons if confronted with a desperate military situation, the Biden administration’s relentless efforts to push Putin into a corner and force capitulation are totally reckless.

October 7, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

EU must decide where it stands on Ukraine – Kremlin

Samizdat – October 6, 2022

The European Union must decide whether it wants the Ukraine conflict to be resolved diplomatically or in a violent manner, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

Asked to comment on Austria’s reported proposal to host de-escalation talks, Zakharova said Moscow could only contemplate such initiatives after the EU figures out what it stands for regarding Ukraine.

“First of all, the EU should make up its mind about itself,” Zakharova said, urging the EU to decide whether it is pursuing a unified foreign policy or if decisions are handled by individual member states.

Russia, she said, has repeatedly heard “contradicting statements” coming from the EU. Zakharova noted that many supposed initiatives had been put forward by member states and were later retracted or never followed-up on because they were not approved by Brussels.

“Secondly, the EU also needs to make up its mind whether they support the talks [on Ukraine], or the battlefield solution, as [EU foreign policy chief Josep] Borrell had put it,” she said.

Zakharova’s comment comes after Borrell signaled on Wednesday that the EU was ready to seek a “diplomatic solution” to the conflict in Ukraine, but vowing that the bloc would continue to provide Kiev with military and financial support while ramping up pressure on Russia through sanctions.

However, in April Borrell issued a much different statement, claiming then that the conflict in Ukraine “will be won on the battlefield.”

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

During referendums that took place in late September, the two Donbass republics, along with Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law unification treaties with former Ukrainian territories, officially making them part of Russia. Prior to this, the Russian leader vowed to use “all means” necessary to defend the country’s territorial integrity in the face of external threats.

October 6, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Roger Waters says he’s on Ukrainian ‘kill list’

Samizdat – October 4, 2022

British rock star Roger Waters, a co-founder of Pink Floyd, has allegedly been placed on a Ukrainian “kill list” after speaking out against Western military meddling and calling on Kiev to make peace with Russia.

In an interview with Rolling Stone published on Tuesday, the 79-year-old pushed back against accusations that he’s been repeating Russian talking points about the conflict in Ukraine. “Don’t forget, I’m on a kill list that is supported by the Ukrainian government. I’m on the fu**ing list, and they’ve killed people recently… When they kill you, they write ‘liquidated’ across your picture. Well, I’m one of those fu**ing pictures.”

Waters gave the example of Darya Dugina, the Russian journalist murdered in August after appearing on the Ukrainian Mirotvorets list. As the musician noted, her entry on the list was marked “liquidated” after she was killed in a car-bombing. Others who have questioned or criticized the Kiev regime, such as photojournalists Andrea Rocchelli of Italy and Andrei Stenin of Russia, have also been killed after appearing on the Mirotvorets list. The site lists personal information on its blacklist targets, which also include politicians and NGO activists.

Mirotvorets, or “Peacemaker,” is an independent database of individuals whom anonymous moderators consider to be threats to Ukrainian national security. The site denies being a kill list; rather, it claims to be a source of information for law-enforcement agencies and “special services” about pro-Russian terrorists, separatists and war criminals, among others. It allegedly has links to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.

Waters stirred backlash earlier this year, when he suggested that US President Joe Biden was a “war criminal” for fueling the Ukraine crisis and sent an open letter to the wife of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, urging her to help “stop the slaughter” by pushing for a negotiated peace deal with Russia. He later sent an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for guarantees that Russia wouldn’t expand beyond Crimea and the Donbass region.

Pressed by Rolling Stone on why he isn’t supportive of Ukraine’s resistance against Russian forces, Waters said, “Because it’s an unnecessary war, and those people should not be dying. And Russia should not have been encouraged to invade Ukraine.” He also dismissed reports of Russian war crimes in Ukraine as Western propaganda.

Two concerts that Waters had scheduled for next April in Krakow, Poland, may be canceled because of his push for a negotiated peace in Ukraine, the musician said late last month. “Draconian censoring of my work will deny them the opportunity to make up their own minds,” he said of his Polish audiences.

The wide-ranging Mirotvorets kill list also includes Faina Savenkova, a 13-year-old girl in the Lugansk People’s Republic who called for the United Nations to end the fighting that has dragged on in her region since 2014.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Kiev Offers Biden Targeting Control, Seeks Longer Range Weapons

By Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman | The Libertarian Institute | October 3, 2022

The Ukrainian government is prepared to give the Joe Biden administration virtual control over its selection of Russian targets. Kiev made the proposal in a bid to receive longer-range weapons from the White House, according to multiple sources speaking with CNN.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will provide a full list of possible targets while allowing the White House to veto any of the potential sites. Kiev is hoping the increased transparency will pave the path to Biden authorizing more weapons transfers. Zelensky made the offer to Washington to alleviate concerns in the Biden administration that new weapons will be used to target Russian territory.

However, Kiev, Washington and Moscow currently have different views on what is Russian versus Ukrainian territory. After a 2014 coup in Ukraine that saw US-backed elements overthrow a democratically elected government, Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula. Last week, Moscow claimed four additional regions of Ukraine as its own.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to defend all of his country’s territory with the full arsenal at his disposal. The Kremlin stated that it considers its newly added regions as it would the rest of Russia. On Sunday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin acknowledged the possibility that Putin could order a nuclear strike in Ukraine, defending these new regions. The Pentagon chief then vowed Washington would support Kiev’s “efforts” for “as long as it takes” to “take back all of the territories” within its “sovereign borders.”

Concurrently, Moscow claims there has been an increase in Ukrainian attacks within Russia proper, encouraged by NATO. During a recent press conference, Putin publicly noted, for the first time, attempted Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s nuclear power plants.

The US has provided Ukraine with 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), and authorized sending over a dozen more to Kiev in an arms package last week. So far, the White House has only sent Ukraine with munitions for HIMARS that can travel 50 miles. Kiev is seeking Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) surface-to-surface missiles that can fly around 200 miles by the HIMARS. When the Biden administration began providing HIMARS to Ukraine, it was insisted that Kiev had provided “assurances” that these weapons would not be used to target Russian territory. In June, Antiwar.com contacted the State Department to ask if this condition applied to the Crimean Peninsula, a department spokesman replied “Crimea is Ukraine.”

The White House has made clear that they will not recognize the new Russian territories, and NATO has said they will escalate their support for the proxy war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has previously said that if the West provides Kiev with longer-range weapons, then the Kremlin would expand its war goals in Ukraine. In July, Lavrov wrote an article claiming NATO was already on the battlefield coordinating attacks on Russian targets using the rocket systems. NATO instructors and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems aimers are, apparently, already directing the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and nationalist battalions on the ground,” Lavrov said.

In addition to the CIA presence on the ground in Ukraine, NATO commandos from Lithuania, Canada, Britain, and France are also present. Notably, there are several Donald Trump-aligned Republicans in the legislature, including Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) eager to “[go] for the kill” and overtly deploy American military advisors to Ukraine. Former US special operators are already on the ground near the contact line, training Kiev’s forces and developing battle plans.

Harry Kazianis wrote in Responsible Statecraft that in multiple war game simulations, Washington sending advanced weapons led to nuclear war.

I have fought more than thirty combat simulations in wargames under my own direction for a private defense contract… In every scenario I tested, the Biden Administration slowly gives Ukraine ever more advanced weapons like ATACMS, F-16s, and other platforms that Russia has consistently warned pose a direct military threat… In fact, in 28 of the thirty scenarios I have run since the war began, some sort of nuclear exchange occurs.

Kazianis does report that in some of the war games, diplomacy, rather than escalation prevailed, and nuclear conflict was averted.

The good news is there is a way out of this crisis — however imperfect it may be. In the two scenarios where nuclear war was averted, direct negotiations led to a ceasefire. The Biden Administration and its NATO allies should be testing Putin’s recent comments about a ceasefire to test his seriousness.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, America’s top diplomat, has declared Washington’s goal is to see Russia suffer a “strategic defeat” in Ukraine. During the war, he spoke to Lavrov once and for only 25 minutes, they merely discussed a potential bilateral prisoner exchange. Likewise, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has ruled out diplomacy until Moscow is “defeated.”

October 3, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Russian hypersonic missiles superior to anything NATO has: Le Figaro

Samizdat – 02.10.2022

Russian hypersonic missile systems are more advanced than anything being fielded by the North Atlantic Alliance today, France’s Le Figaro has reported, echoing sentiments expressed by Russia’s president in a speech last week.

The French newspaper characterized Russia’s hypersonic weaponry as its main strategic asset, capable of flying at incredible speeds and maneuvering while in flight. It pointed specifically to the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle – a weapon deployable as a part of a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) payload aboard Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“In this specific area, Russia is indeed one step ahead of its NATO adversaries,” the Gaullist newspaper conceded. The paper added that Russia and China proceeded to develop hypersonic missiles in response to NATO’s efforts to construct a missile defense shield.

“Russia undoubtedly has more modern weapons than the NATO countries. The United States has lagged behind in the field of hypersonic missiles, and Moscow’s nuclear arsenal is being replenished with more powerful and destructive projectiles,” Igor Delanoe, deputy director of the Moscow-based Franco-Russian Observatory, said.

In his speech announcing partial mobilization last month, Vladimir Putin accused Western officials of discussing “the possibility and admissibility of using weapons mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.”

“I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff,” Putin said.

The Russian president unveiled five new strategic weapons in a speech to lawmakers in 2018, among them the Kinzhal and the Avangard, plus the Poseidon nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed drone submarine, and the 9M730 Burevestnik (‘Petrel’) nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile.

The Chinese military also possesses hypersonic weapons. In August, Russian-Indian defense joint venture BrahMos announced that it may create a hypersonic missile by 2027 or 2028. North and South Korea, France, Japan, Australia and India are also researching the cutting-edge class of weaponry.

The Pentagon has tasked US defense contractors with developing at least six hypersonic weapons designs for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and DARPA’s Operational Fires program, but to date none have been fielded. The US military has also pitched laser and dust-firing flak guns meant to defeat Russian and Chinese hypersonics, as well as the use of stratospheric balloons to monitor and track their launch.

Russia got a head start on its hypersonics program thanks to Soviet-era research in the field starting in the early 2000s, after the Bush administration unilaterally scrapped of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty – a 1972 Soviet-US agreement which placed severe limitations on the creation of anti-ballistic missile defenses and intended to stop the arms race.

Russia’s military doctrine forbids nuclear weapons from being used unless the country is targeted by enemy nuclear attack first, or a conventional attack so severe that it is deemed to threaten the existence of the state. The United States does not place such restrictions on its nukes, and “reserves the right to use” them on a preemptive basis, even against non-nuclear armed adversaries.

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The Democratic Party, Now the Leading Party of War

By John V. Walsh | The Greanville Post | September 27, 2022

Last May a remarkable column by Stephen Kinzer appeared in the Boston Globe. It was headlined: “Republicans Return To Their Roots As The Antiwar Party.”

More significantly, the subheading ran: “Since the Vietnam era, Americans have come to expect antiwar rhetoric from liberal Democrats. Cancel that.” It began:

With Americans now engulfed in passion for Ukraine, it wasn’t surprising that President Biden proposed sending $33 billion worth of weaponry and other aid to Ukraine’s beleaguered military. Nor was it surprising that Congress raised the number to $40 billion, or that both the Senate and House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor. Hidden within that lopsided vote, though, was a shocker: Every single “no” vote – 11 in the Senate and 57 in the House – came from a Republican.

“Since the Vietnam era, Americans have come to expect antiwar rhetoric from liberal Democrats. Cancel that. This month’s votes in Washington signal a dramatic role reversal. Suddenly it is conservative Republicans who oppose US involvement in foreign wars.”

Strikingly not only did the “conservative” Democrats vote for the $40 billion that included more weapons of death and destruction for Joe Biden’s cruel proxy war against Russia to the last Ukrainian. All the “progressives” did so, including AOC and The Squad, Bernie Sanders, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee and all the rest. It was a clean sweep.

Second, this was not a one-off event. There is another vote coming up in the next few weeks for another $13.7 billion for Ukraine with over $7 billion for weapons. What is the response of the 100 Democrats to this request by Biden? The answer came during the September 11 Week Of Action called for by Code Pink and the progressive Peace In Ukraine Coalition reported here as follows:

“In the nation’s capital CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, together with Colonel Ann Wright and other activists, kicked off the Week of Action, going door to door to the offices of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), …. While some members of the caucus call for much-needed diplomacy and raise concerns about the risk of nuclear war – either through a miscalculation or an intentional first strike – not one member of the nearly 100-member CPC will commit to voting against more weapons for Ukraine.” (Emphasis, jw)

This was also acknowledged in a very dispiriting interview by The GrayZone with prominent activists after the lobbying effort.

The pro-war mentality among the “progressive” Dem pols is not limited to Biden’s cruel proxy war to the last Ukrainian. It extends to a second proxy war now being ginned up in Taiwan. When Nancy Pelosi recently visited the island to stir up secessionist sentiment, not a single progressive Democrat in Congress made so much as a peep of protest. In fact Rep. Ro Khanna, Co-chair of Bernie Sanders’s 2020 Presidential campaign boosted it in rants on CNN and Twitter.

Both of these proxy wars bring the US into conflict with two other major global nuclear powers. If the progressive pols cannot be against military escalation in cases like this, it is hard to see that they have any claim to be for peace. And yet all too many activists in the progressive antiwar movement are loyal to them. In fact some peace organizations have gone so far as to endorse them for election in 2022, even after their vote for the $40 billion to Ukraine for example here!

Moreover this support for the proxy war in Ukraine shows up among rank and file Democrats as well. By every measure in a recent Ipsos poll taken after 6 months of war, support for intervention in Ukraine was higher among Democrats than among Republicans or Independents. IF the roots of this are partisan in nature, that is deeply disturbing because it means that Democrats will follow warhawks simply because they are Dems. Biden may be a case in point for such misplaced loyalty.

Let me end on a personal note. Working in peace organizations and coalitions, I find many activists who labor mightily for the cause of peace also maintain loyalty to the Democratic Party. And that loyalty extends especially to the “progressive” Democratic politicians. This is most disturbing because on the most important issues of war and peace, these peace activists get nothing in return. And since there is no price to pay for their hawkish votes, these politicians will simply ignore such activists. This is an abusive relationship and ought to be terminated forthwith.

The minimal policy of those who work for peace should be quite simple: no votes for politicians who vote to fund war in Ukraine – no matter the Party. Otherwise those who support war and US unipolarity will continue to ignore those who work for peace.

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

Western withdrawal of citizens from Russia may be a provocation

This act looks like a threat of attack and could generate responses. 

By Lucas Leiroz | September 29, 2022

The US and some other Western countries announced the evacuation of their citizens from the Russian territory. In a context of tensions between Moscow and NATO, this type of attitude sounds like a threat, further worsening the scenario of global security crisis.

The US State Department has asked Russia-based American citizens to leave the country immediately. The appeal was posted on the website of the US Embassy in Russia. The justification for the advice was that Moscow could mobilize citizens who have dual nationality, which is why foreigners based in Russia should flee as quickly as possible, before they are mobilized for combat on Ukrainian soil. The statement also highlights that there are currently a limited number of flights from Russia to other countries, and tickets for the next dates may not be available, so US citizens residing in Russia should hurry to leave.

It is interesting to analyze the communiqué issued by the Embassy when the reality of the mobilization promoted by Russia is not only partial but also absolutely moderate. The call-up of combatants has been promoted in a balanced way, with no urgency for foreign citizens to flee in a hurry to avoid being mobilized. Moscow has shown no interest in forcing foreign nationals with Russian passports to serve in the special military operation, which makes the American narrative weak and unsubstantiated. 

However, some other countries also took measures similar to the one of the US. Poland and Bulgaria, for example, called on their citizens to leave Russia immediately. Commenting on the matter, spokespersons for the Polish Foreign Ministry released a note stating: “In case of a drastic deterioration of the security situation, the closure of borders or other unforeseen circumstances, evacuation may prove significantly impeded or even impossible (…) We recommend that the citizens of the Republic of Poland who remain on the territory of the Russian Federation leave its territory using the available commercial and private means”. 

Also, Poland’s foreign minister Zbigniew Rau was more explicit in his words and stated that if Russia uses nuclear weapons against Ukraine, NATO’s response will be “devastating”, which is why Polish citizens should leave Russian territory as soon as possible. In fact, his words were just an endorsement of what had already been previously announced by the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who threatened Moscow by stating that “if Russia crosses this line (the use of nuclear weapons], there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia”, adding that “the United States will respond decisively”.

In fact, evacuating citizens is an elementary measure usually taken by states that are planning some kind of attack or invasion. It is the most direct and simplest way to prevent putting the lives of innocent citizens on enemy soil at risk when a war is breaking out. In this sense, any attempt at a massive withdrawal of Western citizens from Russia sounds like a threat to the Eurasian country at this point, as the Western military alliance has constantly warned of “consequences” against Moscow in the event of an escalation in Ukraine.

The problem is that the situation in Ukraine only tends to escalate because of the attitudes of the western countries themselves, which continue with their provocative military programs against Russia, supporting the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev with lethal weapons and large amounts of money. Moscow has already issued communiqués warning of what it considers a “red line” in the Ukrainian conflict, which is Russia’s sovereign territory. Russian forces are unwilling to tolerate attacks on the Federation’s territory and make it clear that they will respond harshly if such attacks occur.

With the positive result for the integration of the liberated territories into Russia, the new oblasts will become part of the Federation and thus will be under direct protection of Moscow, not being tolerable Ukrainian attacks in these regions. The West, however, insists on not recognizing the referendums and encourages Kiev to attack these regions. This is precisely where an eventual nuclear escalation could happen. Russian military doctrine establishes that nuclear weapons should only be used as a last resort in the event of an existential threat to the Russian state. Moscow may consider Western-funded attacks an existential threat if the targets are within the Federation – including the new territories – which is why there is currently a nuclear danger.

So, it is the West itself that fosters the conditions for a nuclear escalation. And it is also the West that threatens to react to such an escalation by directly attacking Russia and starting a third world war. By evacuating its citizens, the US and its allies are once again provoking and threatening Russia, sending “red alerts” that something is “about to happen”. The objective is to act preemptively and justify a Western response.

In fact, the West seems to be acting in an anti-strategic manner. There no longer seems to be any military realism in the thinking of NATO leaders, who are willing to escalate tensions more and more, even though there are no winners in a possible scenario of world war.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant. 

September 29, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

There’s no debating it: Biden will get billions in new Ukraine aid

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos | Responsible Statecraft | September 27, 2022

Congress is poised this week to approve an estimated $12 billion in new economic aid and military assistance to Ukraine. But don’t expect a lot of debate or even fanfare because it is being rolled into a stopgap measure to keep the entire federal government operating until December.

Called a continuing resolution, the massive spending bill must be passed by Friday to avoid a shutdown. This was obviously the most convenient way for Biden to push the Ukrainian aid measure through: Majority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spearheaded its inclusion in the resolution, and, with most members of Congress in favor of the previous aid packages and precious few days for any floor discussion, any critics of the proposal have little or no time to question it.

And plus, who’s going to chance being accused of wanting to “shut down the government” by raising a stink?

According to the most recent reports on Monday night, lawmakers have agreed to include $12 billion — $4.5 billion for weapons and equipment, and $2.7 for military, intelligence, and other defense support, plus another $4.5 billion to keep the Ukrainian government running for another quarter.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ attention seems to be focused elsewhere, on a completely different potential stumbling block: a permitting reform measure by Sen Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Nevertheless, the first step is a cloture vote to move the massive bill forward, with the Senate beginning deliberations today.

This new money is on top of the $40 billion approved in May. Since the war began, the U.S. has sent more than $15 billion in weapons and military assistance to Kyiv in its war against invading Russian forces.

But critics say there has been little visible oversight in Washington of the money already spent, whether it is getting to where it needs to go, or being used effectively by the forces that need it.

“Oversight of Ukraine aid is sorely needed,” Julia Gledhill, a defense analyst for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), tells Responsible Statecraft. “The State and Defense departments are handling billions of dollars in Ukraine funding, but neither have permanent inspectors general in place to investigate and prevent abuse of funds.”

The word is that the Democrats are unified behind the new aid package (recall no Democrat in either the House or Senate voted against the $40 billion measure in May). Republicans, on the other hand represent the potential opposition, with 11 GOP senators and 57 House Republicans dissenting on that same vote.

According to recent reports, Republican complaints of this latest tranche have focused on the fact it was being tied to the CR and the lack of debate.

“I haven’t seen a detailed list of exactly how they want to spend the money,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said on Sept. 19. “I think whatever we do on Ukraine, we ought to be doing it separately from the CR. I think we’ve gotta have a clean CR that goes through Congress.”

In that same CNN article, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said he was “open for discussion” about the Ukraine aid. The House side seems a bit more restive: a recent Politico article quoted Rep. Chip Roy, (R-Texas) balking at what seemed to be rubber stamping aid for Ukraine.

“There’s no limiting principle. So no, count me against throwing more money at Ukraine without having a serious conversation about guns and butter, a serious conversation about why we’re spending it and how it’s in our national security interest,” he said.

But these primary concerns — oversight and debate over whether continuing aid is in the U.S. interest (and whether, when not paired with diplomatic strategy, we might be prolonging the war at Ukraine’s ultimate expense) — will be likely overtaken this week by the bipartisan desire to keep sending aid. This includes party leaders and chairs/ranking members of the prominent Armed Services Committees who believe that new and more weapons will put Ukrainians in a position of strength from which to eventually negotiate.

In fact, folks like Sen. James Inhofe want to give more. “This aid package is insufficient to provide the Ukrainians with what they need to win,” the Republican ranking member of the SASC complained on Twitter in early September.

Politically, however, Biden is smart to get this through now. If Republicans take over the House after the November midterms, they are expected to throw up many more roadblocks against additional Biden/Democratic spending, and that might jeopardize further Ukraine aid. But that’s not set in stone: Establishment institutions like the Republican Policy Committee are clear the assistance to Ukraine must continue. In fact, they tie it to our foreign policy writ large:

“We must leave absolutely no doubt in the minds of Russia’s, China’s, or any other nation’s leaders about U.S. resolve to support sovereignty and self-determination around the globe,” the RPC said in Sept. 12 paper. “Decisive military aid to Ukraine will accomplish this task.”

Responsible Statecraft will update this story as it develops.

September 27, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , | 3 Comments

The Spoils of War

By Eamon McKinney | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 25, 2022

“The spoils of war” normally refers to the plunder extracted from enemies during and after a conflict. However, in light of recent revelations the assumption that wartime plunder is only visited on “enemies” needs to be re-evaluated. While the Empire’s supposed “ally” Ukraine has already been lined up to be dismantled and pillaged by the Western financial powers post war, it seems as if the resources of the Ukraine will not be sufficient to satisfy the American Empire’s insatiable greed. A recently leaked document from American think tank, The Rand Corporation outlines clearly the next stage in the planned destruction of Europe, where friend and foe alike are fair game for the Cabal’s limitless avarice.

The Rand Corp was established in 1946, it is one of many such think tanks the U.S. establishment outsources its thinking to. Made famous by the “Pentagon papers” leak during the Vietnam war, its role in the planning, operation and continuance of that genocidal conflict left few in any doubt whose interests it serves. Funded primarily by the Pentagon, the U.S. Army and the Air Force, it claims that it is non-partisan, meaning that regardless of the incumbent political party, it serves the permanent government, the deep state.

The strategies for the current conflict were drawn up by Rand back in May 2019. Titled “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia”, it follows the Cold War thinking that successfully bankrupted and brought down the former Soviet Union. Firstly, it states that “Russia must be attacked and its most vulnerable point, that of its oil and gas exports which underpin its economy”. To this end “financial and commercial sanctions must be used, and the same time European countries must be made to decrease the importation of Russian gas and replace it with U.S. supplied liquified natural gas”. So, no conflict of interests here.

It goes on to state that “providing lethal aid to Ukraine will exploit Russia’s vulnerability and force it pay a high cost for the war, calibrated to harm Russia without it leading to a wider conflict”. No mention of any “human cost” associated with their plan, for the sociopathic Rand Corp, collateral damage is just the cost of doing business. The simplistic worldview promoted by Rand rarely considers the law of unintended consequences, such as Russia’s destruction of more than 2000 military bases constructed by the west in the eight year build-up in the Ukraine. It completely underestimated Russia’s military might and strategic savvy, and seemed baffled and disappointed that Russia wasn’t fighting the war the way Rand envisaged. Neither did it anticipate the fact that most of the world’s nations declined to join in the American sanctions, which rather than harm Russia’s economy only served to elevate it to new highs. It seems in Washington you still get to call yourself a think tank, even when you are always wrong.

But the Rand Corp has a larger vision. In another recently leaked report from Rand they outlined how the U.S. intends to further profit from Europe’s misery. Titled, “Weakening Germany, Strengthening U.S.” it posits that “there is an urgent need for an influx of resources from outside to maintain the economy, particularly the banking sector” It further states that “Only European countries, bound by EU and NATO commitments can provide these without significant military and political costs to us” Despite the manufactured appearance of close bonds between the EU and the U.S., the latter has become increasingly concerned about their ability to control their European “allies”. Absent the British influence in the EU post-Brexit, the Europeans, particularly Germany and France, it worried may be developing some independent thought and may in time “develop into an American competitor, both politically and economically”.

“Stopping Russian supplies could create a systematic crisis that could have a devastating effect on the German economy and indirectly on the European Union as a whole. The only possible way to ensure Germany rejects Russian energy is to draw it into a military conflict in the Ukraine”. So states the Rand report, that part they got right. So now a beleaguered Germany limps obediently towards its imminent destruction and plunder. A once proud country with a dynamic and thriving industrial sector is now led by fools, traitors and ideologues, all who lack the spine to stand up for the interests of the German people. The Nordstream 2 pipeline would have served the German people and its economy, yet German politicians refused to bring it online, because America told them to. It will be a leaderless Germany that will be the first to be sacrificed and plundered in the service of “American interests”. Yet even the enormous wealth of the German state alone is unlikely to sate Americas appetite.

After Germany which of Americas “allies” will be next to experience the warm embrace of American friendship? France? Holland? Italy? Any country with resources that America thinks can help prop up its own failing economy, is likely already in the crosshairs of American greed. American financial policies have ensured that all the nations it considered in its sphere of influence will suffer mightily in the coming meltdown. Japan, South Korea, and even remote Australia all have resources, natural and otherwise that can be plucked out of bankruptcy at pennies on the dollar. After all, a good crisis cannot be allowed to go to waste, particularly when the crisis was designed for that very purpose.

Henry Kissinger said many years ago, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests,” these interests of which the reviled Kissinger spoke, are decidedly not the interests of the American people who have already been looted to breaking point. They are the financial and corporate interests, the same interests on whose behalf all America’s wars and interventions are fought. The “one indispensable nation”, to whom everyone and everything is dispensable, considers anything it sees as its to take.

America has underestimated Putin’s Russia, and Europe as a whole will suffer disastrous consequences as a result. But it has also underestimated the Europeans. If it thinks the limp-wristed European political class is representative of the European people, it has a major surprise coming. Years of malaise and political apathy have put the EU nations into a stupor that has allowed a corrupt class of obedient simpletons to achieve political power. The effects of the Ukrainian conflict are now being felt hard and that anger will be on full display as temperatures continue to drop. The previously docile European people are angry, very angry and the Rand Corp and the masters it serves will soon discover that despite their attempts, Europe is not yet a weak third world country incapable of resistance.

September 26, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 3 Comments

US Hard at Work Preparing Taiwan for War with China

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook 26.09.2022

The years leading up to World War I and World War II are often referred to by historians as “diplomatic fever,” because of active mobilization of several powers around the world in both overt and covert alliances. However, such activity was not aimed at preventing conflict, but solely at strengthening their position ahead of the impending war which was their goal all along.

Unfortunately, something similar can be seen in US behavior of late, both in terms of “joining forces” on Washington’s possible European battlefront against Russia, and in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) in confronting China. US recent policies and actions – on the eve of the Chinese Communist Party Congress – have been characterized by the creation of anti-Chinese blocs, unprecedented large-scale exercises in the APAC and close to Chinese borders, and various provocations.

After a provocative visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August, the situation around the island, as well as relations between China and the US in general, escalated. China, which considers the island one of its provinces, condemned the visit, seeing it as support by the United States for Taiwanese separatism.

In the interest of containing China, the White House is provoking tensions around the island of Taiwan, blatantly violating the One China principle, which the Americans once accepted as one of the main conditions for normalizing US-China relations. In pursuing the the anti-China strategy, during August alone four delegations with representatives from the US political establishment at various levels travelled to Taiwan. Apparently in coordination with Washington, a number of European Union political delegations also paid provocative visits to Taiwan and showed support for Beijing’s opponents on the island.

Simultaneously with the political anti-Beijing demarches, immediately after Nancy Pelosi’s visit, Chinese territorial waters in the Taiwan Strait began to be violated more frequently by US naval vessels under the pretext of freedom of navigation. On August 27, for example, two US naval vessels, the missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville, made a demonstrative and provocative passage through the Taiwan Strait, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly opposed. To thwart any further provocation by the US, China’s Army has been put on high alert, according to Shi Yi, an official of the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). On August 28, Taiwan’s Armed Forces recorded the sighting of 23 PLA aircraft and eight PLA ships in sea and airspace near Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian commented on Washington’s provocation on August 29. “US naval vessels flying the flag of freedom of navigation are carrying out a show of force. This is not a commitment to freedom of navigation, but a provocation against it and deliberate harm to peace and stability in the region. The Chinese side again calls on the US to stop emasculating, diluting and perverting the One China principle, strictly respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries and basic international norms on non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and effectively implement the provisions of the three Chinese-US joint communiqués.”

Continuing to escalate the situation around Taiwan, US authorities in early September announced their intention to sell $1.1 billion worth of weapons and military equipment to Taiwan.

At the same time, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved a bill on September 14 that would provide for a comprehensive expansion of support to Taiwan, including military support. As well as imposing sanctions on Beijing under the pretext of seeking to preserve stability in the Asia-Pacific region, said the Committee’s senior Republican, Jim Risch, commenting on the vote. In essence, this initiative by US lawmakers seeks to revise US policy towards Taiwan and, by extension, mainland China. The bill would make Taiwan a “major non-NATO ally” of the United States, increasing its military aid (not just defensive but also offensive weapons, including missiles) to $4.5 billion over the next four years, making it the largest recipient after Israel, Egypt and Ukraine. China has already said that, if passed, the new bill would come as a shock to US-China relations. And China’s Ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, told Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in a meeting on August 23 that Chinese-US relations would be severed if the law went into effect.

Covering up his aggressive policy towards China with the alleged possibility of a Chinese “invasion” of Taiwan, US President Joe Biden assured in an interview with CBS that the US military would stand up to defend Taiwan.

However, by pushing China into military action, the US, Bloomberg estimates, could find itself in a terrible position in the event of a conflict with China within months or even weeks of the outbreak of hostilities. Pentagon arsenals are empty because of significant arms deliveries to Kiev. And China’s Army today is very technically equipped. Defending Taiwan will therefore be very costly, with the United States having to pay a prohibitive price in both personnel and equipment.

The US Navy is now poorly prepared, inferior in numbers to the Chinese, and US naval bases are underprepared, former US Navy Rear Admiral Charles Williams pointed out in an article for The Hill. Furthermore, the US can no longer act on two fronts; against Russia and China at the same time.

The Times also warns that the United States would suffer heavy losses and take years to recover from an open conflict with the PRC, citing analysis by the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. In particular, its analysts predict that the US will lose a significant portion of its fleet and some 900 combat aircraft defending Taiwan against China.

In confronting China, regional allies are unlikely to help the US, and even Germany, which intends, according to remarks made in early September by Inspector General of the Bundeswehr General Eberhard Zorn, to “increase its military presence in the Indo-Pacific region to contain China.”

Despite these provocative actions by Washington and Taipei’s push for military action, the PRC government has reaffirmed its determination to pursue national reunification with Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning reiterated the other day that the Taiwan issue is strictly an internal Chinese matter and the US has no right to interfere in it.

September 26, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

UK to double military spending amid cost-of-living crisis

Samizdat | September 25, 2022

Britain will boost its military spending considerably in the coming years, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has revealed, despite the fact the nation is facing an economic crisis stemming from Covid-19 measures and London’s sanctions on Moscow.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph published on Sunday, Wallace said the British government will shell out at least £52 billion ($56.5 billion) to shore up the military, which is “actually going to grow.” The plans are in keeping with Prime Minister Liz Truss’ campaign promise to boost defense spending.

According to the official, Britain’s annual defense budget will amount to £100 billion by 2030.

Wallace also took aim at former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and the Treasury for what he described as a “corporate raid” of the armed forces which started back in the 1990s. He claimed that the Treasury had even tried to “stipulate the size of the Army.”

“My department has been so used to 30 or 40 years of defending against cuts or reconciling cuts with modern fighting, they’re going to have to get used to a completely different culture,” the defence secretary noted.

Wallace expressed confidence, however, that Sunak’s successor in the office, Kwasi Kwarteng, would show more understanding toward the military’s needs.

The defence secretary, who retained his post after Liz Truss defeated Sunak in the race to become prime minister in early September, told journalists that the new leader’s willingness to spend more on the military was one of the key factors for him in deciding which candidate to back for prime minister.

“The reason I supported Liz Truss was that the risks we were prepared to tolerate in the middle of the decade are not risks I want to tolerate any more in light of Russian aggression,” Wallace said.

Addressing world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York, Truss reiterated her campaign pledge to spend 3% of GDP on defense by 2030.

According to Bloomberg, the new prime minister reversed former PM Boris Johnson’s plans to slash the military by 9,500 personnel.

Commenting on the changes, which are expected to be unveiled by the end of 2022, Downing Street clarified that they were needed to “stand firm against coercion from authoritarian powers like Russia and China.”

The decision comes despite the UK government’s interest payable on debt hitting the highest level on record, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier this week. Inflation, food, and energy prices have also soared, while the British pound and consumer confidence have hit the lowest levels in decades.

September 25, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | | 1 Comment