President Joe Biden declared “America is back” and his administration is ceaselessly heating up Washington’s Cold Wars against Russia and China. There are new sanctions, constant hostile rhetoric, and innumerable threats against both nuclear armed states. Under Biden, the U.S. military and its allies are normalizing frequent, highly provocative military exercises on China and Russia’s coasts as well as their near abroad. Washington is also proud to announce that it will be waging cyberwarfare imminently against Moscow and is hinting Beijing is up next.
On the basis of baseless accusations regarding the SolarWinds hack, the U.S. is launching cyberattacks, and may be adding more sanctions, against the Russians. According to The New York Times, the attack will be a “series of clandestine actions across Russian networks that are intended to be evident to President Vladimir V. Putin and his intelligence services and military but not to the wider world.”
As Dave Decamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, has reported,
The planned cyberattack is being framed as retaliation for the hack of the software firm SolarWinds that affected several US government agencies. The SolarWinds hack was discovered late last year. It was immediately blamed on Russia by members of Congress and Western media outlets despite a lack of evidence that showed Moscow was responsible.
The US formally attributed blame to Russia for the SolarWinds hack in January. The FBI, NSA, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Office of the DNI released a statement that said the hack was “likely Russian in origin.” Missing from the statement was any evidence for the accusation.
The fact is SolarWinds’ update server password was “solarwinds123.” It was posted publicly online four years ago, at GitHub, and almost anybody could have pulled this hack off.
Here’s Decamp again;
The reality is, attributing cyberactivity is difficult as hackers have methods to conceal their identity. One reason US officials and media outlets say it could have been Russia is the sophistication of the hack. But testimony from SolarWinds’ former CEO and a cybersecurity expert made it clear that anybody could have accessed SolarWinds’ servers due to a major security lapse.
After the hack was first discovered, Vinoth Kumar, a cybersecurity expert who advised SolarWinds, said the password for the firm’s update server was “solarwinds123.” Kumar said he warned SolarWinds that anyone could access the server because of this password. “This could have been done by any attacker, easily,” he told Reuters last December.
Kumar’s claim about the password turned out to be true. It was confirmed during congressional hearings in February that not only was “solarwinds123” the password it was also leaked and available to the public on the internet for years. Former SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson blamed an intern for posting the password on GitHub, a platform programmers use to share software information.
“They violated our password policies and they posted that password on an internal, on their own private GitHub account,” Thompson said during a joint hearing by the House Oversight and Homeland Security committees.
Sudhakar Ramakrishna, the current SolarWinds CEO, said the password was publicly available as early as 2017. “I believe that was a password that an intern used on one of his GitHub servers back in 2017,” he said. SolarWinds did not correct the issue until November 2019. According to the timeline from SolarWinds, suspicious activity on their server began in September 2019.
The SolarWinds hack scandal has been and will continue to be cynically wielded by the Deep State, the corporate press, and the hawks in the administration against Biden to hem him in on foreign policy vis a vis Russia where he is already dangerously bellicose.
As Ray McGovern, Russia expert, former CIA analyst and Presidential briefer, along with Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, wrote late last year,
The hyperbolic, evidence-free media reports on the “fresh outbreak” of the Russian-hacking disease seems an obvious attempt by intelligence to handcuff President-elect Joe Biden into a strong anti-Russian posture as he prepares to enter the White House.
Biden might well need to be inoculated against the Russophobe fever.
There are obvious Biden intentions worrying the intelligence agencies, such as renewing the Iran nuclear deal and restarting talks on strategic arms limitation with Russia. Both carry the inherent “risk” of thawing the new Cold War.
Instead, New Cold Warriors are bent on preventing any such rapprochement with strong support from the intelligence community’s mouthpiece media. U.S. hardliners are clearly still on the rise.
Interestingly, this latest hack story came out a day before the Electoral College formally elected Biden, and after the intelligence community, despite numerous previous warnings, said nothing about Russia interfering in the election. One wonders whether that would have been the assessment had Trump won.
Instead Russia decided to hack the U.S. government.
Except there is (typically) no hard evidence pinning it on Moscow.
Ironically, according to a recent report, at the Washington Post, the spooks at the U.S. National Intelligence Council “asses” that indeed Russia, Iran, Cuba, as well as Hezbollah interfered in the 2020 election, or as respectively in China’s case and Venezuela’s “considered” influencing the outcome or had the “intent” to do so.
As Caitlin Johnstone has written;
So what the US intelligence cartel is asking us to believe this time around is that America’s democracy has suffered yet another invisible attack, the evidence for which is of course top secret, and that the culprits involved are most of the governments the US intelligence cartel doesn’t like. Also, we’re being asked to believe that US-aligned nations like Saudi Arabia and Israel have had no similar interventions in the US electoral process at all.
And of course we’re already getting reports that this narrative will be used to justify sanctions against many of the accused nations, including Iran (which would necessarily kill the nuclear deal Biden campaigned on re-entering).
“The Biden admin is expected to announce sanctions related to election interference as soon as next week, three admin officials tell me,” CNN’s Kylie Atwood reports on Twitter. “They didn’t disclose details related to the expected sanctions but said that they’ll target multiple countries including Russia, China and Iran.”
Under the Donald Trump administration, largely due to the pressure of the Russiagate conspiracy theories that dominated media coverage, the neocons’ new Cold Wars ramped up dramatically. U.S.-Russian relations rapidly deteriorated and tensions rose higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Among other antagonistic actions, the U.S. killed Russians in Syria, expanded NATO, expelled Russian diplomats, imposed a multitude of sanctions, armed Ukraine, and withdrew from key arms treaties such as Open Skies and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Despite popular mythology on both sides, it is a fact that under Trump the hawks decidedly won. They aim to keep it that way.
Thus far, the only good thing that has come out of U.S.-Russian relations under this new administration, was the five-year extension of the New Start Treaty. New Start caps the number of nuclear weapons strategically deployed by Washington and Moscow. As recently as last month, Russia indicated their willingness to reenter Open Skies, a treaty that allows unarmed surveillance flyovers of cooperating states. But perhaps imposing sanctions, hurdling new evidence-free election meddling accusations, and attacking the Russians’ cyber infrastructure is not the most optimal way to begin the diplomatic ball rolling. The hawks look to be winning again.
In addition to the economic warfare and cyberwarfare, there have been more belligerent military exercises. This month, the U.S. used B1-B Lancer bombers, which Biden deployed to Norway last month antagonizing the Russians, to conduct flights in their near abroad. The flights were over the North and Baltic Seas, including one bomber making “low flies” over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The U.S. was joined in this exercise by fighter jets from Poland, Italy, Germany, and Denmark.
In another substantial exercise in Russia’s neighborhood, the US was joined by the British as well as the militaries of the Netherlands and Poland. US F-15’s performed mock missile firings over the Black Sea near Russia’s Kaliningrad base sandwiched between NATO states Lithuania and Poland, where the US has a permanent military presence. Biden sent US Navy warships to the Black Sea, where they conducted military drills with the Ukrainian Navy further fueling tensions with Russia. The three warships remained for an unusually extensive 17-day deployment. The U.S. and NATO are looking to further build their presence in the Black Sea region.
Since the implementation of Barrack Obama’s “Asia Pivot” policy, shifting two thirds of U.S. air and naval forces to the Asia-Pacific, the U.S. has been conducting so called Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) in the disputed South China Sea. The regional countries have myriad overlapping claims including various reefs, islands, islets, archipelagos, and rocks. The US policy, under Trump and continuing with Biden, is to reject all of China’s claims and sail warships throughout the waters goading China. Additionally, the U.S. often flies warplanes and reconnaissance aircraft near China’s coast in the South China Sea, Yellow Sea, and East China Sea.
Just days into his term, Biden sent an air craft carrier strike group and multiple warplanes to the South China Sea.
In this warming Cold War climate, America’s European allies, following the bipartisan U.S. hawkish lead, are poking the Russians and Chinese flagrantly. At last month’s Munich Security Conference, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said “the rise of China is a defining issue for the transatlantic community.” Last year, NATO released a report that identified China as a major threat to Europe and suggested the alliance should build up cooperation with states like India, Japan, and Australia. These aforementioned states, along with the U.S., form the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Quad. The Quad is seen as a burgeoning East Asian NATO by many hawks and, since the Trump administration, has been operating together more openly including major naval exercises last year, the Malabar drills, challenging China in the Bay of Bengal. The drills were the largest the dialogue has held since 2007. It has been reported this month, in the Financial Times, that that the Quad is working jointly with the U.S. on vaccine distribution, part of a “broad strategy,” to spite China’s regional influence. Leading the effort is Kurt Campbell, Obama’s “Asia Pivot” architect, who is now Biden’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the National Security Council. Campbell is a former CEO and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, an ultra-hawkish, anti-China think tank funded by, among others, the arms industry, the Japanese embassy, Taiwan’s de facto embassy, Google, Facebook, and big banks. Since, the skirmishes between the Chinese and the Indians last year in the Western Himalayas, the US has increased intelligence sharing with India and signed a military pact with New Delhi. The Germans announced that in August they will sail a warship in Asia that will transit the South China Sea. The British will sail an air craft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth to East Asia and the South China Sea as well. Last month, French warplanes were intercepted by Russian fighters over the Black Sea. And beyond that, a French nuclear attack submarine, with another Navy ship, made a “patrol” in the South China Sea.
The French continue to escalate with China, now the European Union’s top trading partner in goods, after a close call two years ago in the Taiwan strait.
As reported by France 24, “In April 2019, there was a naval incident in the Taiwan Strait when Chinese ships told the French frigate Vendemiaire to leave the waterway that separates the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, another sensitive area claimed by Beijing.”
Under cover of the pandemic, Trump set records last year sailing warships through the Taiwan strait 13 times. Under Biden, the US has already sent warships through the Taiwan strait three times. Trump sold Taipei Lockheed’s upgraded F-16’s and Boeing Standoff Land Attack Missiles that can be fired from the F-16’s to hit “far inland” Chinese civilian and military targets. Neoconservative Senator Tom Cotton wants to draw a series of “crystal clear” redlines that for China would mean war with the U.S., including if Beijing invades India, Taiwan, or attempts to seize an island claimed by Taipei. Cotton also supports the decoupling of the economies of America and China.
Last year, Australian Senator Jim Molan who supports the US and Canberra’s partnerships on these anti-China policies, said “We are likely in the next three to five years or in the next five to ten years to be involved in a war between China and the United States.”
Likewise, Steve Bannon, a China hawk, who desires regime change and runs an influential anti-Beijing think tank with arch neoconservative Frank Gaffney, has predicted “we’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years.” That was five years ago. Bannon is fond of spreading conspiracy theories about COVID-19 emanating from the Wuhan lab supposedly linked to a covert biowarfare program.
“Anti-neocon” Tucker Carlson advocates “…treating China like the dangerous Cold War level adversary it has clearly become.”
“Normalcy” was promised in Biden’s campaign rhetoric. However, what constitutes “normalcy” to the average American is not what Biden’s hawks have in mind. The problem is that the neoconservatives and their fellow travelers’ top priority of “full spectrum dominance” and/or global “primacy” has been deliberately normalized since the end of the previous Cold War and particularly since the beginning of the War on Terror. The neocons’ new Cold War is really a desperate attempt to conserve Charles Krauthammer’s fleeting “unipolar moment” in an increasingly multipolar world.
The foreign policy wing of the “Cathedral” desperately clings to Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol’s vision of the “new American century,” that is what they believed could have been: world domination, preventing the rise of another great power, the successful waging of multiple concurrent large wars, etc. They have only themselves to blame. George Bush, Barrack Obama, and Donald Trump were stupid to listen to these same neocons and blew America’s post-Cold War wad. The U.S. spent trillions of dollars, wasting untold capital, productive capacity, goodwill, and energy by killing, maiming, and displacing millions of people, and destroying Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, etc.
Had these administrations simply not launched and indefinitely continued the above various unconstitutional, illegal, aggressive, sometimes genocidal, often treasonous, and wholly unnecessary wars then the U.S. would be incomparably wealthier. But now the country is an imperial police state that is broke, still largely locked down, and falling apart. Thankfully Americans are rapidly losing their remaining faith and trust in our corrupt, increasingly totalitarian, exploiter class that maybe liberty, peace and prosperity have a chance.
However, in their bitterness, and to deflect from their countless failures, the corporate press, dutifully hype up copious distrust, fear, jingoism, and hatred against the Russians and Chinese. They concurrently sow similar rage and dysfunction amongst us and our fellow countrymen. This is done to distract the populace from uniting against the common enemy, namely them, the same American ruling class that impoverishes us is stoking this so called “great power competition,” leading potentially to, global scale, catastrophic wars.
From the imperialists’ point of view, mulcting the citizenry silly is a necessity. After all, global supremacy is a most expensive endeavor, our government doles out well over a trillion dollars of welfare every year to the Empire, the military, and its industrial complex ensuring the project continues with the absurd aim of forever controlling the “full spectrum” battlespace on land, up in the air, across the seas, into outer space, and throughout the cybersphere. The American people must renounce the entire agenda.