Shoving Match: Biden Pushes Around China and Russia

Shoving Match: Biden Pushes Around China and Russia

After killing and displacing millions of people—and wasting trillions of dollars—in the Middle East our imperial apparatchiks picked concurrent fights with Russia and China. Joe Biden’s military budget is the highest Americans have ever seen and yet it is never enough to satisfy the imperial Congress. Biden has been heating up America’s Cold Wars, but now they may soon be getting hot. Biden and his hawks are playing with fire.

On Thanksgiving, eyeing Russia, the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet sailed yet another warship, a guided missile destroyer, the USS Arleigh Burke into the Black Sea. At the beginning of November, the U.S. sent two warships to these waters—the destroyer USS Porter and the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney—they have only just exited the area. These warships are operating with America’s NATO allies, integrating their surface and air forces, running military exercises, and otherwise preparing for war on Russia’s very doorstep.

As Ron Paul has noted, these hostile provocations would be unthinkable if conversely Russia was drilling for war off the Texas coast or the Gulf of Mexico. However, this year there has been an almost constant presence of American warships in the Black Sea.

This month, U.S. Strategic Command’s Global Thunder exercise saw nuclear capable warplanes, strategic bombers, flying within 12.4 miles of the Russian border and simulating a nuclear attack. According to Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu American bomber activity near his country’s borders has increased 2.5 times compared to last year. There have been 30 such flights this month.

The Biden administration is reportedly planning another large weapons transfer to America’s partner, Ukraine’s Nazi infested coup regime. It is also is engaged in a proxy war with Russia. In the Donbas, since the late Obama years, Kiev has been waging war against ethnic Russians in the who refused to be ruled by the anti-Russian, U.S. backed government. After Kiev deployed ultra-right, neo Nazi militias against these restive populations, Russia began supporting their resistance. The war has killed well over 10,000 people. Notably, in 2015, a referendum was held and the people of the Donbas voted to join the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin refused the request. Since the 2014 coup, U.S. military aid to Ukraine has greatly exceeded $2 billion. This newly proposed package apparently includes stinger missiles, mortars, and more Javelin anti-tank missiles. In addition to U.S. aid, Ankara has been selling Ukraine the Turkish Bayraktar combat drones. Along with the new weapons, the Americans may soon be deploying military “advisors” to Ukraine. The Russians say the Ukrainians are already working in conjunction with U.S. and NATO advisors. Washington has been accusing Russia of a military build-up near Ukraine with the intent to invade, Russia denies this and says the inflamed tensions are the fault of NATO and their aggressive actions. Now an American State Department official is saying “all options are on the table” for dealing with Russia, an unveiled threat of war.

Things are not much better with China. For the 11th time this year, the U.S. just sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait. It has been revealed as well that, compared to the previous year, the U.S. has more than doubled the presence of spy planes surrounding China. There have been more than 2,000 such flights this year over the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Yellow Sea. Biden continues to say the U.S. is committed to defending Taiwan, which is directly contradictory to 40 plus years of Washington’s official “strategic ambiguity” policy. Tsai Ing-wen, the hawkish Taiwanese President, is boasting in major media about the island’s U.S. troop presence. China, along with much of the world, considers Taiwan a part of China. The U.S. still does not recognize Taiwan and officially adheres to the One China policy. This means Washington is deploying troops to Chinese territory to prepare the island’s armed forces for war with the mainland. Such a war would send the world economy into a tailspin, destabilize all of Asia, and surely go nuclear including possibly in continental American cities.

In addition to demanding more welfare for the Pentagon, the legislative branch is demanding the Constitution be formally eschewed, specifically Article 1, Section 8 which plainly states that it is Congress whom must declare war. Should Beijing attack Taiwan, lawmakers from both parties are demanding Biden assume illegal war powers to swoop in and defend the island “immediately.”

This is, in essence, a rubber stamp pre-authorization for a war that must never be fought.

The U.S. is further nuclearizing the Asia Pacific region with the AUKUS military pact, newly formed between Washington, London, and Canberra. The U.S. will provide nuclear submarine technology to Australia whose government is following America’s lead and wants to encircle China with attack submarines. These will be substantially more lethal, less detectable, and much faster than the French diesel-powered subs the Aussies were originally poised to purchase. These subs already seriously undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty as they run on 90%+ enriched uranium, weapons grade levels. Australia’s Defense Minister says it is “inconceivable” that if Beijing moved against Taiwan they would not join the U.S. defense coalition.

These nuclear subs are officially not armed with nuclear weapons. However, China cannot simply trust that that is true just because the would be belligerents preparing for an attack say so.

As Professor Noam Chomsky recently warned,

One U.S. submarine can destroy almost 200 cities anywhere in the world with its nuclear weapons. The United States is sending a fleet of nuclear submarines to Australia, that’s the AUKUS deal…The right measure is not increasing provocation, increasing the threat of an accidental development, which could lead to devastating, even virtually terminal nuclear war. But that’s the direction the Biden administration is following.

With all life hanging in the balance, Americans are not paying attention to how often their criminal ruling class militarily goads Moscow and Beijing. Quite the contrary, the American people are usually eager to parrot dumbed down, fearmongering talking points about the Russians and the Chinese. Tragically, when it comes to foreign affairs propaganda, even the element in the U.S. populace that rightfully distrusts and despises government tyranny at home, is all too inclined to give this same lying and murderous institution the benefit of the doubt.

As a result of disastrous economic policies largely put in place to support the endless war establishment, America is in decline. As we move rapidly into a multipolar world, the U.S. Empire is being continually disabused of its neoconservative “unipolar moment” fantasies. America is picking drunken closing time brawls it cannot possibly win.

In September, Pat Buchanan issued his own dire warning,

And, regularly now, U.S. planes stationed in Alaska scramble to intercept Russian military aircraft. This year, the number of intercepts, 14, is on pace to set a record since the Cold War. In the most recent case, two Russian bombers and two fighters came within 30 miles of the Alaskan coast.

This summer, Russian naval vessels came within 34 miles of Hawaii.

Russian ships and planes off Alaska are perhaps responding to US warships and planes in the Black Sea.

World War II began in Europe when the British, Sept. 3, 1939, declared war on Germany over its invasion of Poland to retrieve what Berlin claimed were its territories, including Danzig, taken from Germany at Versailles against the will of the people of Danzig and in violation of their right of self-determination.

If World War III breaks out between China and the U.S., it is likely to be over islands of Asia claimed by China, with the U.S. fighting not for its own territory but for the island territory of allies, probably islands in no way vital to the security of the United States.

Which is how world powers often end their days as world powers, fighting unnecessary wars on behalf of other nations.

As a result of the ramped up culture war—as the American Empire’s war pigs dance on the edges of Russia and China’s red lines—our people are divided, indeed committed to attacking, killing, beating, locking down, force vaccinating, robbing, and hating each other. In our lifetimes, we may well see the return of conscription, millions upon millions of unnecessary deaths, as well as the use of nuclear weapons.

It’s not too late to stop this, but rational people must demand no wars with Russia and China.

Enough already, we need to get our military to return home and stay there now.

Americans Must Demand ‘Maximum Peace’ With Iran

Americans Must Demand ‘Maximum Peace’ With Iran

In Vienna, at the end of November, the indirect talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will resume. Of the original P5+1, five states remain within the nuclear deal: Iran, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Of course, the missing country is the United States. The JCPOA was inked during the Barack Obama administration. It is seen as a bright spot—a true accomplishment—on a foreign affairs record that was otherwise bloody,  imperialist, often treasonous, and even genocidal. President Joe Biden and his team truly do have an opportunity to, like Obama before them, remove from the table the neocons’ long sought war with Iran. However, Biden’s hawkish, arguably Trumpian, Iran policy promises nothing good.

Former President Donald Trump, under the influence of the late Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s money and ilk, withdrew from the agreement and launched the “maximum pressure” campaign wreaking havoc on the Iranian economy. During Biden’s reign, the Iranians have made considerable concessions. They have stayed in the deal and agreed to come to the negotiation table absent prior sanctions relief. They refused to do so during the previous administration.

The sanctions regime is devastating the Iranian people by devaluing their currency, drastically increasing the costs of living, driving up the prices of housing, automobiles, and staple foods. Bipartisan American policies have made such necessities prohibitively expensive. Obtaining many lifesaving medicines is difficult or impossible. Trump and Biden’s “maximum pressure” policies have hit hardest people with cancers, multiple sclerosis, hemophilia, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and epilepsy. The intent of sanctions is to cause severe economic pain to the country’s average men, women, and children. In economic warfare, killing people by depriving them of desperately needed medication is a feature not an unintended consequence. As a result of Uncle Sam’s sanctions, it is estimated that 100,000 Venezuelans have died. Americans will hang their heads in shame when Iran’s sanctions caused excess death rates are finally exposed. In 2020, the Trump administration blocked the Iranians’ $5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. Tehran requested the loan to help combat the Coronavirus. Other countries received these loans, though the IMF denied Caraccas’ request as well, revealing the obvious political motivations involved. At the U.N., Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi called U.S. sanctions during the Covid-19 pandemic “crimes against humanity.”

As Associated Press reported,

U.S. sanctions, while allowing for humanitarian aid, have made international purchases of medicine and equipment much more difficult. Iran has endured multiple waves of the coronavirus, with nearly 118,000 deaths recorded—the highest in the region.

Human Rights Watch has published studies demonstrating how American sanctions have frightened away foreign companies and banks from facilitating humanitarian trade including “vital medicines and medical equipment.”

A group of U.N. experts recently warned Iran is experiencing medical shortages because “[m]any banks and businesses, including pharmaceutical and medical companies around the world, over-comply with sanctions out of fear of potential penalties

But American policymakers will proclaim “the price is worth it.”

During the initial round of talks in Vienna, Biden refused to lift all of Trump’s sanctions forcing Tehran to negotiate limited sanctions relief, another major concession. Throughout the first round of talks, Israel attacked Iran’s civilian infrastructure, ships, and allies. It has been revealed that Biden’s team made clear during this first round of talks that they will not commit to the JCPOA for his term’s duration, even assuming an initial American return to the deal and Iran’s full compliance.

Biden and his men have long intended to use Washington’s perceived Trumpian sanctions “leverage,” and the threat of sanctions reimposition, to force Iran to negotiate a “longer and stronger deal.” They also seek concessions from Tehran related to their ballistic missile program and their support for their regional allies.

From Iran’s perspective, both of these are nonstarters. Tehran’s network of allies across the Middle East provides them critical breathing room as the Israelis and their neocon amen corner regularly threaten war. The Americans would foolishly allow themselves to be dragged into such a war, if not take the lead. However, what makes the American axis hesitate most is Iran’s latent nuclear deterrent and their missiles. More immediately, Iran maintains countless asymmetrical capabilities in the form of friends within striking distance of myriad U.S. troops, allies, assets, and bases.

Iran’s ballistic missiles are essential to their national security. According to a recent survey conducted by the Iran Poll and the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies, the Iranians are well aware of this and overwhelmingly support their government’s missile program.

As foreign policy expert Jim Lobe has written,

Seven out of 10 respondents, however, defended Iran’s advanced ballistic missile program—a key concern of the United States, Israel, and Iran’s Persian Gulf Arab neighbors—as “very important.” Another 20 percent said it was “somewhat important.”

In an attempted regime change, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, backed by Jimmy Carter and then Ronald Regan, invaded Iran. As Scott Horton, director of The Libertarian Institute, details in his book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, this led to a brutal decade long war that saw a million people killed, split about evenly between the Iraqis and the Iranians. With the CIA’s satellite intelligence and Washington’s European allies’ chemical weapons purchased with U.S. taxpayer money, Hussein killed tens of thousands of Iranian conscripts with “mustard and nerve gasses such as sarin and tabun.”

In this century, Iran witnessed illegal, protracted American invasions and occupations both in Iraq, on its western border, and Afghanistan, on its eastern border. These conflicts saw well over a million people killed.

In a savage covert war against Iran’s close ally Damascus, the CIA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and their friends backed al Qaeda and their affiliates, at least half a million people were killed. Israel still bombs the country weekly while the Syrians themselves remain crushed under U.S. sanctions and occupation. Antony Blinken, America’s top diplomat, has declared Washington is resolutely opposed to Syria’s reconstruction, which the bipartisan Caesar Act sanctions designedly prevent. The American military control Syria’s oil and, due to the sanctions, the U.N. says a majority of the population is facing starvation.

In the face of this recent history, the Iranians are unlikely to consider ceding their leverage, their expanded civilian nuclear program, albeit monitored and safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To return to full compliance with the JCPOA’s strict limits only to be sanctioned again and threatened with war if they refuse disarmament? Iran may calculate that the risks involved in returning to full compliance under the JCPOA—in exchange for Washington’s empty promises nobody believes – are worse than the status quo.

Additionally, if the U.S. rejoins the JCPOA, the hawks ability to inflict economic damage will be greatly enhanced. As Trita Parsi explains,

These considerations have caused Tehran to view a U.S. return to the JCPOA as eminently risky, not just because of the unreliability of the sanctions relief but also fears that the JCPOA will collapse over Washington’s desire for a longer and stronger deal. If so, with the United States back in the deal, Washington will have a greater ability to punish Iran economically, including the use of the snapback mechanism in the Security Council to automatically reimpose all JCPOA sanctions on Iran, which Trump tried but failed to do.

Making the deal “longer and stronger” necessarily means Iran will probably neither be able to normalize their nuclear program, as was intended under the JCPOA, nor open their economy to Western investment in any substantiative way. Businesses will not take the investment risk with the ever present threat of the American Empire reimposing sanctions. This is a substantial liability, be that under Biden or the next Republican administration.

Iran is in an extremely difficult situation. If the Americans do not return to the JCPOA, Washington can still work with the Israelis to stoke war telling the big lie that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Iran would still, as they have for decades, have an IAEA monitored program under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, some experts suspect the hawks may be trying to goad Iran into leaving the NPT. This may be accomplished by a continued refusal to lift sanctions, cornering Tehran into a vulnerable position surrounded by enemies, armed to the teeth, constantly threatening to attack. This would make a region wide war practically inevitable.

At the end of last month, after Tehran announced they were ready to return to the negotiation table, Washington levied yet more sanctions. Blinken, the Biden administration’s Rent-A-Pompeo, again hinted at a coming war with Iran and ominously repeated what appears to be his favorite slogan these days “every option is on the table.” In the midst of this U.S. aggression, an American B1-B bomber circumnavigated the Arabian Peninsula menacing Iran. At different points, the bomber was accompanied by Israeli, Egyptian, and Saudi Arabian warplanes.

Although Iran seems to be warming ties with the Saudis. Since 2020, talks between the two states, largely brokered by Baghdad, have been ongoing. Iran recently resumed exports to its longtime rival. Riyadh has said it will even support the JCPOA if it prevents Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. According to a report in Middle East Eye, the Saudis have considered helping Tehran skirt Washington’s sanctions by selling Iranian oil. There is also discussion of reestablishing diplomatic ties and reopening consulates.

Despite Trump and Biden’s “maximum pressure,” Iran has been both turning east and working with other sanctioned countries to give their economy a boost.

As Ted Snider, columnist at Antiwar.com, has written,

No longer able to trade with America or its allies, Iran has turned to other sanctioned nations as partners. Iran recently signed a twenty-five year strategic and economic partnership with China that is worth $400 billion. They have signed an agreement with Russia for an advanced satellite system. Iran has also become a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. And just this month, Iran announced that they will sign a 20 year cooperation accord with fellow member of the sanction community Venezuela.

These are welcome developments but the Iranian people should no longer live under sanctions. Nor should they live in fear of an attack by the Americans, the Israelis, and their allied Gulf Arab dictatorships. Incidentally, eyeing Iran, the U.S., Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are currently holding joint military drills in the Red Sea. As these exercises reveal, Trump’s faux peace deals, the Abraham Accords are a thinly veiled U.S. and Israel led military buildup against the Islamic Republic.

As Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com news editor, has reported,

One purpose of the US-brokered normalization deals was to further isolate Iran in the region, and the Red Sea exercises are a clear message to Tehran. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly floated the idea of creating an anti-Iran NATO-style alliance that includes Israel and the Gulf states in his meeting with President Biden back in August.

The drills also come after the US formally moved Israel under US Central Command’s area of operations. Previously, Israel fell under US European Command because so many of Washington’s Arab allies did not recognize Israel. The Trump administration ordered the change in January, and Israel sent a representative to CENTCOM headquarters in October, solidifying the move.

It does not have to be this way. Iran never had a nuclear weapons program and never sought one. The deal is only necessary to stop the hawks’ coveted war. Tehran does not threaten the U.S., nor do they threaten their former “best friend” Tel Aviv. Apartheid Israel and the American military industrial complex both required an enemy after the Cold War to justify stealing billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers every year.

The Iranian boogeyman schtick is a racket propping up the military’s wildly unpopular, indefinite Middle East presence. It is a convenient excuse to ensure the continued flow of the Pentagon’s welfare checks and America’s illegal military aid to Tel Aviv, a clandestine nuclear weapons power.

As Benjamin Netanyahu would say, “it’s absurd.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has put forward three utterly reasonable conditions for the coming Vienna talks: the U.S. must take responsibility for leaving the JCPOA, lift all sanctions imposed after Washington’s illegal withdrawal, and guarantee another American administration will not exit the JCPOA. The American people must insist their government honor these conditions and return to the 2015 deal.

But better than that, we should stop falling for this tired scheme altogether. Demand Washington lift all sanctions.

Americans can and must live up to Ron Paul’s foreign policy of peace “the very opposite of isolation: diplomacy, free trade, and free travel.”

Let us finally trade and make friends with 80 million Iranians.

The Hawks Are Encircling Iran…Again

The Hawks Are Encircling Iran…Again

Washington and Tel Aviv’s threats against Iran are rapidly proliferating. The Israelis reportedly just approved a $1.5 billion budget for a possible military attack on Iran. Israel’s Air Force is currently training “intensely” to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Under Joe Biden’s watch, the Iranian people continue to be crushed under the same cruel “maximum pressure” sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration. In fact, on multiple occasions, Biden has imposed new sanctions on Iran. The ceaseless economic warfare is justified by the lie that Iran was or is seeking nuclear weapons as well as the ever present ancillary alarmism that this would imperil Israel.

Apartheid Israel has maintained nuclear weapons for decades, numbering perhaps hundreds. Worryingly, Americans aware of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are significantly outnumbered by their fellow citizens who believe Iran possesses (nonexistent) nukes. Washington and Tel Aviv have a long tradition of cynically pretending Israel does not have these weapons. The corporate press makes no efforts to rectify this crisis of ignorance. The Israelis exploit this public relations luxury by warning that Iran acquiring a bomb is a unique evil that would lead to a “nuclear arms race” in the Middle East.

Along with other officials, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi threaten to attack Iran on a regular basis. In August, before speaking with Biden in Washington, Bennet remarked to the New York Times that he would implore Washington against returning to the nuclear deal and share his “strategic vision” for Iran which consists of more “clandestine attacks” and “the gray area stuff.” During a joint press conference with Bennet, Biden warned the U.S. will “turn to other options” if “diplomacy fails.” The Islamic Republic denounced this as an illegal threat against their country, adding it “establishes Iran’s right to reciprocate…against ‘available options.’”

Recently, Bennet threatened Iran again, saying “we’re not going to wait,” emphasizing there are “other routes” besides the “peaceful route.” The current sanctions campaign is an act of war, the status quo is anything but a “peaceful route.” He proclaimed the Iranians were ”…blatantly violating the IAEA commitments.” But Israel, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which both makes U.S. aid to Israel illegal and of course leaves Tel Aviv subject to no International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Whereas Iran, under the deal, is acting within its rights by ceasing voluntarily compliance with the so-called Additional Protocol, an aspect of the deal which permits snap IAEA inspections. This decision was made by Tehran to build leverage for sanctions relief and as a protest to Israeli sabotage against Iran’s nuclear program. Incidentally, the IAEA has not condemned the sabotage.

For months, Israeli officials have been calling for the U.S. to enact what they refer to as “Plan B.” Israel demands that Washington eschew the diplomatic track outright and levy more sanctions, thereby escalating the economic war against Iran. To some extent, the U.S. already seems to be doing this by targeting more sanctions against foreign companies and individuals accused of facilitating oil exports to East Asia, a vital lifeline for Iran’s long strangled economy. In July, a U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal that because there is not much remaining in Iran that Washington has not already sanctioned, these oil sales to China are “the prize.” Tel Aviv has also reportedly presented Biden’s administration with a plan for Iran described as “death by a thousand cuts,” a series of successive diplomatic and economic attacks against the Islamic Republic.

The Israelis argue the multilateral indirect talks—which hope to see the U.S. reenter into the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA)—have already failed. If they have failed, it is due to the dreadful continuity in American foreign policy. Biden, known for decades as “Israel’s man in Washington,” has refused to lift all of his predecessor Donald Trump’s sanctions. Worse still, it is now being reported that the Americans have made clear if Iran returns to the deal, even assuming their full compliance, sanctions may still be imposed and reimposed during this presidential term’s remainder. The talks began in April with the latest round finishing June 20, coinciding with the new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s election. Though presented as hardliners, Iran’s current administration has said repeatedly that they soon intend to return to the negotiation table. The talks are expected to begin again next month.

Notable neoliberal Rent-A-Pompeo, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has now said all options are on the table with respect to Iran. Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, has made similar threats. For months, Blinken has been warning that time is running out for a return to the nuclear deal. This unhinged rhetoric by America’s “top diplomat” is justified by Israel and the U.S. hyping up Iran’s expansion of its internationally safeguarded civilian nuclear program. The same program which under the JCPOA is subject to the IAEA’s most comprehensive and intrusive inspections regime.

Indeed, the Iranians have responded to American and Israeli hostility by expanding their nuclear program outside the parameters set by the JCPOA, including by increasing uranium enrichment and building their stockpile. They are permitted to do so under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal which state that Iran, if the other parties have done so, may walk back their commitments. The U.S. as well as the Europeans, for fear of secondary sanctions, have left their obligations woefully unfulfilled. And as far as the growing stockpile is concerned, this is a result largely of the fact that the U.S. policy prevents Iranian exports of their nuclear material. These Iranian moves are quite simply negotiating tactics obviously meant to induce some substantive diplomacy on the part of the Americans and to discourage further Israeli attacks.

The Israelis’ covert sabotage campaign against Iran ramped up tensions at times when international stability was crucially needed. The Israelis attacked an Iranian cargo ship in the Red Sea after the talks in Vienna were announced. Following the commencement of said talks in April, Israel then attacked the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, causing an explosion, damaging centrifuges, and power outages. Natanz is Iran’s main center for building centrifuges and enriching uranium. As the last round of talks, in June, wound down, the Israelis sent delegations to Washington to discuss Iran. Reportedly, they concurrently attacked, with a drone, the Karaj centrifuge building site. This attack caused damage to the IAEA’s cameras and the ceiling of an industrial shed, necessitating a roof replacement. These attacks are never condemned by Washington. Contrarily, Blinken appears to have endorsed them. If Biden and the Democrats truly wish to return to JCPOA negotiated by Biden’s old boss, Barack Obama, this is an Israeli sabotage campaign to overrule that policy.

Tel Aviv is also constantly attacking Iran’s allies. This past summer, Israel launched airstrikes in Lebanon. Israel frequently bombs Syria as well. Though they are usually killing Shi’ite militiamen and Syrian Arab Army soldiers, when they rarely acknowledge their countless bombings of Syria they always claim to be targeting Iran. Israel bombed the country hundreds of times during the war and continues to do so on an almost weekly basis, sometimes multiple times per week. The Russians protest though they cannot seem to put a stop to the unrelenting assaults against its ally in Damascus. When the U.S. bombed Iraqi militias in Syria, sitting in the oval office next to his Israeli counterpart, Biden boasted that it was a message to Iran.

The Iranians are not enriching uranium to weapons grade levels, which are 90 percent or higher. Nor is there is evidence of them doing so previously. They are converting some enriched uranium tetrafluoride to uranium metal to make fuel plates for use in the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). The 54 year-old reactor was built by the U.S. back when Washington’s puppet dictator, the Shah Reza Pahlavi, ruled Iran. As a direct result of U.S. sanctions, this reactor, which uses 20% enriched uranium is critical for Iran’s nuclear medicine.

The Iranians are also enriching some uranium hexafluoride to 60 percent in small amounts purely as a protest to the Israeli covert attack campaign and American sanctions. This is both legal under the NPT and completely supervised by the IAEA. Tehran’s actions were ordered by the parliament and provoked by the Israelis’ killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and the above-noted attack on the Natanz facility. The Iranians have no use for uranium enriched above 60% and presumably will dilute that material after they have made their point or receive sanctions relief. By pointing to Iran’s nuclear expansion without providing proper context, the hawks have built a rather convenient propaganda device.

Building on the Abraham Accords, Israeli hawks and their American friends desire for Israel a NATO style alliance to target Iran and its allies. But the Abraham Accords were not peace deals between the Arabs and the Israelis as they were sold to the American public. American and Israeli allies, armed to the teeth, encircle Iran. The Palestinians suffering under Israel’s apartheid and occupation were thrown under the bus while the arms industry got some huge welfare in the form of U.S. brokered deals with authoritarian regimes.

However, there is a sea change afoot. The U.S. is still sloppy drunk on imperial hubris and seems to be making good on its promises to pivot to Asia, the “Indo Pacific.” At the same time, major actors across the Middle East are interpreting America’s Afghanistan withdrawal as anything but a one off. For the time being, it appears that diplomacy is breaking out amongst longtime rivals including even between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran maintains strong relationships with Moscow as well as Beijing and they recently joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Moreover, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar were brought onboard as “dialogue partners.” As more influence is gained by China and Russia in the region, it is less likely America’s beloved Gulf dictatorships will attack and threaten war with Iran. If the U.S. reenters the JCPOA and begins earnestly reducing its Middle East footprint, Israel will likely back down. Tel Aviv should avoid war with Iran, favoring good business ties with China albeit over the American protests. The Israelis will finally have to drop the act, quit pretending Iran is threatening them, and give up this long coveted war.

Iran was never seeking nukes. The nuclear deal itself was a way of taking that war off the table. Iran has remained in the JCPOA even after the U.S. unilaterally broke its commitments, abrogated itself from the deal, reimposed sanctions, bombed its allies in Iraq, and assassinated Iran’s top General Qasem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport.

The Israelis have been cashing in on this big phony Iran threat since the Clinton era. In 1987, then Defense Minister and later Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Iran is Israel’s “best friend.” Israel took Tehran’s side in the Iran-Iraq War. But after the Cold War, the Israelis badly needed an excuse to justify its “special relationship” with the Americans. Israel deliberately turned Iran into an enemy and made sure the U.S. Empire never normalized relations with the Islamic Republic. Ironically, this betrayal of an old friend was Rabin’s idea.

In the book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, author Scott Horton details this shift in policy;

…Israel was also worried that the U.S. and Iran had too many things in common, such as hatred of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Taliban’s Afghanistan, and, of course, the oil business. America could end up leaning back toward their old ally and put Israel’s interests on the back burner. So the Israelis feared a U.S.-Iran dialog more than Iran itself. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh explained, “We were against [U.S.-Iranian] dialogue… because the interests of the U.S. did not coincide with ours.” AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations made a massive and successful push for the dual containment policy [of Iran and Iraq] and new sanctions against Iran, at Rabin’s insistence, to hedge against any second thoughts or new overtures. They were seeming to insist on being enemies with Iran by self-fulfilling prophecy.

Attacking Iran covertly and thwarting Uncle Sam’s return to the JCPOA serves the same old purposes. The perpetual cold war with Iran provides a convenient common enemy to be shared by Washington and Tel Aviv. This helps justify billions in military and financial aid the American people are forced each year to fork over to Israel and the arms industry.

As Dave DeCamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, has written,

If the Israelis really cared about Tehran’s enrichment levels, it would favor a US return to the JCPOA since would limit Iran’s enrichment level to 3.67 percent. But instead, the Israelis are pressuring the US not to return to the JCPOA and are constantly threatening military action.

Beyond the trillions spent on the Iraq war, countless American and Iraqi families paid for it all with their children’s lives. Along with thousands of American troops, more than a million Iraqis were killed. Iraq was a paralyzed, bombed out, starved, blockaded country lacking an air force, a navy, and anti-aircraft weapons. With approximately 80 million people, Iran’s population dwarves Iraq. Iran has a strong ballistic missile deterrent, a formidable military, as well as extensive asymmetrical defensive capabilities and allies scattered across the region well within range of U.S. forces, assets, and allies. This would be a catastrophic, illegal war based on lies. War is not an option.

The American people must demand Biden lift the sanctions and return to the JCPOA unilaterally without conditions. The Iranians have said if they receive a U.S. guarantee that they will not withdraw from the JCPOA again, as they did in 2018, and they can verify sanctions relief they will immediately resume full compliance with the deal. Diplomacy is the only way to rectify this impasse. If that is not good enough for the Israelis and their American partisans, too bad.

Next on the Agenda: War With China

Next on the Agenda: War With China

In 2014, Lew Rockwell wrote, “Clearly the empire is targeting China…The U.S. seeks to encircle China and make it bow down before the hegemon. The increasing prosperity and freedom of China threatens the empire’s self-image.”

America’s new Cold War with China is a bi-partisan imperial project. In 2011, former President Barack Obama began it in earnest, dubbing it the “Asia Pivot.” The ‘pivot’ entails surrounding China with hundreds of bases and shifting two thirds of all U.S. naval and air forces to the Asia-Pacific, the greatest military buildup since World War II.

Putative outsider Donald Trump took office and sizably enlarged the U.S. military’s footprint in what is now referred to as the “Indo-Pacific” region and significantly increased provocations of China.

Now President Joe Biden and his hawk infested administration are escalating tensions with Beijing to heights previously unseen.

Biden has said bluntly that the U.S. is in “extreme competition” with China. In his first address to Congress, Biden said we are competing with China to “win the 21st century.” Space Force has plans for the moon to be a “militarized front.” They see it as a venue for a future war. Washington is spending more on the military and so called “defense” than at any time in the nation’s history. The Republican Party’s neocons say that even Biden’s 2022 national security budget request for more than $750 billion is not enough to counter China and are demanding that number be increased by tens of billions.

The Pentagon’s excuse for its record high spending is Beijing, the so called “pacing threat.” China poses a threat to the hawks’ world domination, at least that is what has been said by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. According to the general, since the end of the previous Cold War, America has held “unchallenged global military, political and economic power. With the rise of China, that is changing and changing fast.”

The U.S. Military Is Incessantly Goading China

Last year, while Americans were distracted by the COVID-19 crisis, Trump’s war cabinet seized the opportunity to dramatically expand military activity around China. U.S. warships and aircraft carrier group strike forces sailing in the South China Sea were reported constantly. In July 2020, according to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing based think tank, the U.S. flew record numbers of aerial surveillance flights in the South China Sea and near China’s coast. The number of reconnaissance flights averaged three to five per day. In the same month, the Trump administration formally rejected almost all of China’s claims to the waters in the South China Sea. This policy has since been reaffirmed by the Biden regime. Under both administrations, the U.S. has been challenging China, using the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, inserting itself into disputes between regional actors there whom all have overlapping claims on the waters including over various, sometimes unmanned, rocks, reefs, islands, islets, and archipelagos.

Even if it means war with China, Biden’s administration has pledged that the U.S. will defend Japan‘s claims to the disputed Senkaku Islands. The Senkaku Islands are claimed by Beijing, Tokyo, and Taipei. Similarly, Washington has promised the U.S. military will come to the Philippines’ defense in the event of a violent conflict with China, including in the South China Sea, potentially over the disputed Whitson Reef. The Whitson Reef, the site of recent tensions, is claimed not only by China and the Philippines but by Vietnam as well.

The Navy routinely conducts what it calls Freedom Of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), in the waters surrounding China, sailing warships through the waters, particularly in the South China Sea, usually provocatively close to Chinese controlled or claimed islands. Biden’s regime just conducted its fourth FONOP. Under Trump, in 2020 the U.S. conducted a record high total of nine FONOPs poking China.

In September 2020, record numbers of U.S. warplanes and spy planes near China’s coast were spotted and recorded. There were at least 60 flights including over the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Yellow Sea. The U.S. was sending refueling aircraft from Guam to replenish the spy planes enabling them to continue their operations. As Dave DeCamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, has written, the SCSPI interprets these sorties as the U.S. potentially “preparing for long-distance attacks on targets in the South China Sea.” In February 2021, 75 U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flights in the South China Sea were documented.

Indeed, the Chinese Defense Ministry has declared that since Biden took office, the volatile situation in the region has considerably worsened.

As the South China Morning Post reported,

On the day that Biden targeted Beijing in his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said operations had increased by more than 20 per cent for US warships and 40 per cent for planes in and around waters claimed by China, compared with the same period last year under Donald Trump’s administration.

During the current administration’s reign, U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups have been repeatedly sent to the South China Sea, including, in one instance, for dual carrier drills.

As Patrick Macfarlane, writer and podcaster at the Libertarian Institute, has elaborated,

In February, 2021, U.S. a reconnaissance plane flirted with the same airspace as a sortie of Chinese warplanes. More recently, on May 14, 2021, the U.S. Navy announced the deployment of two MQ-4C Triton drones from Guam to Northern Japan, the first such deployment of high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (HALE-UAVs) to Japan.

These drones spy on the Taiwan Strait, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) bases on the coast, and military installations in the South China Sea.

In March, a U.S. Air Force RC-135U flew within 25.33 nautical miles of the Chinese coast, closer than any U.S. military plane recorded yet. In April, an American destroyer conducted close surveillance of a Chinese aircraft carrier the Liaoning as it was taking part in exercises in the South China Sea. The U.S. often deploys military aircraft to shadow Chinese drills as well.

The U.S. Navy even released a photo of officers on the deck of a guided missile destroyer, the USS Mustin, staring down the Liaoning. Also in April, satellite imagery revealed that another U.S. guided missile destroyer actually entered into the Liaoning’s strike group and sailed with it for a time, the aircraft carrier was returning from a deployment in the South China Sea to the East China Sea. DeCamp has explained that considering such reconnaissance can be accomplished with the use of satellites, the goal of these hyper-aggressive maneuvers is solely to ramp up tensions.

In July, reports indicated the Navy has been quite busy this year establishing an almost nonstop deployment of surveillance ships in the South China Sea.

As DeCamp has reported,

…U.S. Navy ocean surveillance vessels were operating in the South China Sea for at least 161 days out of 181 days in the first half of this year. The U.S. has five of these vessels stationed in Japan, which are typically active in the South China Sea for more than 10 days at a time, and there is virtually no time between deployments.

The SCSPI report said that the primary purpose of these deployments is “to monitor the dynamics of China’s underwater forces, analyze the scope of submarine activities in key waters and their entry and exit routes, and provide intelligence support for anti-submarine operations.”

Allies Increasingly Join the Pivot

In his aforementioned first Congressional address, Biden boasted he “also told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with NATO in Europe…”

Thus, Washington’s allies are getting in on the Asia Pivot. The British will soon be sailing their new aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth and its strike group which includes an American destroyer and warplanes as well, into the South China Sea. The warship HMS Defender is already there. London will soon permanently deploy two warships in Asia. This was declared in a joint statement with Japan.

Japan is a part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, otherwise known as the Quad, along with the U.S., India, and Australia. The hawks hope to make the Quad into an East Asian NATO style alliance.

Financial Times was told by a source “familiar with the strategy,” that “[t]he Biden administration is making the Quad the core dynamic of its Asia policy.”

Last year, in an unmistakable message to China, the Quad’s navies held war drills in the Bay of Bengal, their largest such exercises in more than a decade.

Tokyo has recently been hyping up the threat to Taiwan posed by China. In the event of a “major incident” in Taiwan, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso went so far as to say that “Japan and the US must defend Taiwan together.” With more than 50,000 troops, Japan hosts the largest overseas U.S. military presence.

The End of “Engagement?”

In May, Biden’s top Asia official Kurt Campbell, head of Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council, was speaking at an event hosted by Stanford University where he portentously stated that our “engagement” with China is over. Campbell is known as the architect of Obama’s Asia Pivot.

“The period that was broadly described as engagement has come to an end,” Campbell says, “the dominant paradigm is going to be competition.”

“For the first time, really, we are now shifting our strategic focus, our economic interests, our military might more to the Indo-Pacific,” he added.

Taiwan, Nuclear War, and the Neocons

In 2016, on 12 occasions, Obama sailed warships through the sensitive Strait of Taiwan. Trump beat Obama’s record last year by sending warships through the strait 13 times. Biden has been in office for just over six months and has already sailed warships through the strait seven times.

After the latest passage, China protested. The PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command issued a statement saying, “[t]he US is the biggest destroyer of peace and stability…and the biggest maker of security risks across the Taiwan Strait.”

Carlos del Toro, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Navy, recently vowed to the Senate Armed Services Committee that, if confirmed, he will “exclusively” focus on China and “…moving our maritime strategy forward in order to protect Taiwan and all of our national security interests in the Indo-Pacific theater.”

Republican Senator Josh Hawley asked Del Toro if it’s “vital” for the U.S. to be able to prevent an attack on Taiwan by China, the nominee ominously responded “absolutely.”

In the worst case scenario, this policy could kill millions of people or more. This fact apparently did not mean nearly as much to Del Toro as his own petty career advancement.

As Senior Fellow at Defense Priorities and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis has explained,

It is crucial to understand that for China, the Taiwan issue is not merely a core interest, but an emotionally charged one. They are far more willing to pay extraordinary costs, sacrifice many men, and could risk it all to eventually compel unification with Taiwan. The issue does not directly affect our national security unless we get involved.

If we eventually choose war with China over Taiwan, we will at best suffer egregious losses in ships, aircraft, and troops; in a worst-case, the war could deteriorate into a nuclear exchange in which American cities are turned into nuclear wastelands, killing millions.

America should never take such risks unless our security and freedom are directly threatened. Fighting China for any reason short of that would be a foolish gamble of the highest order.

Although designed and overseen by liberal hawks such as Campbell, and led officially by Democrats like Biden, Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Asia Pivot as well as its ancillary exploitation of the Taiwan issue as a means to goad China has roots in infamous neoconservative circles. That is, namely the now defunct, Project for a New American Century (PNAC) think tank, founded by Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan.

For instance, PNAC’s notorious September 2000 document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” contains an outline of the Asia Pivot;

Raising U.S. military strength in East Asia is the key to coping with the rise of China to great power status.

Reflecting the gradual shift in the focus of American strategic concerns toward East Asia, a majority of the U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all carrier battle groups, should be concentrated in the Pacific. A new, permanent forward base should be established in Southeast Asia.

These are the same neocons who led the push for war in Iraq, in which maybe more than a million Iraqis were killed.

The New (Psychological) Cold War

As is the case with Russia, Washington is also hyping up the threat of China’s cyber-attacks on the U.S. using unsubstantiated allegations spread like wildfire by the imperial press. This is likely done to create a state of hysteria amongst our domestic population. But it serves more than one purpose. In March, Andrei Ilnitsky, an advisor to Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, accused the U.S. of executing a “new type of warfare,” a “mental war,” a war being “waged for people’s minds.”

Without sufficient evidence, Moscow is endlessly accused of election interference, hacking the DNC, paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers, poisoning Alexi Navalny or the Skripals, the SolarWinds hack, as well as assorted ransomware attacks.

These unsubstantiated accusations are deliberately capitalized on by America’s hardliners and used often as grounds for the eschewing critical diplomacy such as arms control talks. This tactic is also deployed to garner support for further expansion of NATO, the mass expulsions of diplomats, cyber-attacks, internet censorship, and more sanctions.

Similarly, the sadistic, ultra-hawkish Mike Pompeo, in one of his last acts as Secretary of State, formally accused the Chinese of “genocide” against its Uyghur Muslim population. Antony Blinken, our current Foggy Bottom chief and Pompeo’s neoliberal analogue, has since reaffirmed this position. This claim is circulated all over the media again and again with weak evidence that relies on “flagrant data abuse and outright falsehoods,” as well as highly questionable sources. The hype is used by Washington to justify multilateral sanctions and increasingly its selective decoupling from China in regions like Xinxiang.

Decoupling from China is an option that is talked about more often all the time by neocons in government like Senator Tom Cotton and others. It would drastically increase the likelihood of war.

Beijing is now being accused by Washington, NATO, the U.K., and others of hacking Microsoft’s Exchange Server, an email platform used by various corporations and governments worldwide. This hacking allegation dates back a few months and, in keeping with the established pattern with the claims against Russia, no evidence has been brought forward yet. The claim is unproven but may be exploited to levy more sanctions on China. Alarmingly, NATO recently included cyberattacks among other things that could trigger the invocation of the Article 5 mutual defense clause. And Biden is now saying cyber-attacks could be used as a pretext for a “real shooting war with a major power,” eyeing Beijing and Moscow.

Ali Abunimah, of the Electronic Intifada, has noted these unverified claims against China over Beijing’s suspected involvement in the Microsoft hack have been amplified and endorsed by western governments and the corporate press. Whereas in contrast, so many of these same entities seem unconcerned about Washington’s satellite Tel Aviv and its direct responsibility in the massive Pegasus spyware scandal.

Microsoft, incidentally, is a major donor to the Center For A New American Security (CNAS), the anti-China, neoconservative foreign policy think tank founded by the likes of Asia Pivot architect Campbell and war criminal Michele Flournoy. Flournoy has openly stated her desire for the Pentagon, in the event of a war, to acquire the ability to completely destroy China’s entire civilian merchant and military fleet within 72 hours. Before former Raytheon board member Lloyd Austin was chosen, Flournoy was considered a shoe in to head Biden’s War Department. She was failed candidate Hillary Clinton’s pick for the post as well.

As this columnist has written previously, CNAS holds enormous sway over the Biden administration, with many of its hawkish co-founders, associates, former CEOs, and members proliferating throughout the regime in several key positions. CNAS is also funded by a veritable who’s who of the ruling elite including, among others, the U.S. State Department, Taiwan’s de facto embassy, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Comcast, Exxon, Mastercard, the Japanese Embassy to the United States, Citigroup, Facebook, Georgetown University, Google, and Raytheon.

The Hawks and Their Death Toll

On the world stage, the American Empire is rapidly losing any vestiges of credibility it has left. While mass murderers like America’s top diplomat Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan condemn China’s alleged violations of the so called “rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Washington backs some of the most criminal, genocidal, and totalitarian regimes flagrantly violating international law today, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The U.S. ruling elite relentlessly wages economic warfare against weaker nations like Syria and Iran targeted by the above “allies” as well.

Washington also maintains bipartisan crushing sanctions still levied against other impoverished nations, posing zero threat to the American people, like Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. Under these sanctions, just within Venezuela, experts say more than 100,000 people have been killed, many deprived to death of their vital medicines.

Robert Kagan’s wife Victoria Nuland, now the highest ranking member of the Foreign Service, along with then Vice President Biden, led a 2014 coup in Ukraine that put neo-Nazis in power on Russia’s doorstep. Paraphrasing Robert Parry, the late investigative journalist and founder of Consortium News, the ‘mess Nuland made’ caused the ongoing war in the east of the country which has claimed the lives of well over ten thousand people, mostly civilians and militiamen murdered by Kiev’s forces. The bipartisan U.S. policy now includes piling sanctions on Moscow, sending hundreds of millions dollars’ worth of arms to Kiev, and constantly conducting military exercises in the Black Sea. This has largely led to the current state of affairs, the worst U.S.-Russian relations since the previous Cold War.

Americans can no longer ignore that it is, in fact, their government, the world empire, with some 800 bases in 70 countries, that began this new Cold War and remains the aggressor. The U.S. Empire is the single greatest threat to peace and global stability. After all, it was Washington that unilaterally withdrew from major 20th century arms control pillars such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and Open Skies. It is these jingoistic moves which have triggered a nuclear arms race in the 21st century.

The U.S. government has still not been held responsible for its recent atrocities including George W. Bush’s torture program, the devastating 20-year Afghanistan war, the Iraq War, as well as the ongoing U.S.-Saudi total war and siege on Yemen, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. At the highest levels, Washington has even committed outright treason against the American people taking the side of al Qaeda and its affiliates notably in the wars on Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Hundreds of thousands of people have been slaughtered in these conflicts alone.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said during the Vietnam War, in which successive U.S. regimes butchered millions, it is this government that is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

Getting Off the Path to War

There is no reason for war and brinksmanship, nor this mammoth buildup. “Renewed Power Competition” with Russia and China is a project of neoconservatives and other American imperialists. These hawks are ideologically bent on global primacy and “full spectrum dominance.” Their chosen brand of “competition” serves doubly as a gargantuan public works project for the military, particularly the Air Force and the Navy, and is a multi-trillion-dollar corporate welfare scheme for the military industrial complex. However, America is broke and $30 trillion in debt. This “competition” is at our direct expense, it undoubtably will further impoverish and imperil the American people. The new Cold War era will also surely suffocate any and all of our remnants of liberty.

To avoid the coming calamity, Americans and especially libertarians of all stripes can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while their corrupt ruling class recklessly drives us towards war with Beijing and Moscow. At a minimum, we must promptly regain control of our foreign policy and, in the spirit of the Ron Paul Revolution, unceasingly pursue diplomacy, free trade, free travel, and cultural exchange. We can still choose peace.

China has not attacked us, but has been surrounded by myriad American warplanes, warships, submarines, missiles, and hundreds of military bases.

For what ultimate purpose do we suppose these hawks, who have killed so many, intend to use those warplanes, warships, submarines, missiles, and bases?

Faux Populists Shill for the Permanent War State

Faux Populists Shill for the Permanent War State

American imperial policy has sharply trained its sights on Russia and China. Under President Joe Biden, sanctions have been levied against both countries and, along with its allies, the U.S. military, has maintained a near constant, hostile, military presence in both states’ near abroad. This is occurring most frequently in the Black Sea and the South China Sea.

Washington decidedly blew its coveted post-Cold War shot at so called “unipolarity” by getting itself bogged down in the disastrous War on Terror. The American government, instead of taking its lessons and abandoning the “fool’s errand” of world dominance, like a drunk at a bar, is instigating closing time brawls it cannot possibly win.

Regardless of which party is in power, the U.S. is becoming increasingly belligerent toward Moscow and Beijing.

The Global War on Terror, including the nearly two decades long occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the wars and interventions in Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, etc. killed and caused the deaths of multiple millions of people and displaced tens of millions more across North Africa, the Middle East, and South Central Asia.

Studies have determined the ultimate price of the war at well over $6 trillion. The interest alone on the debt accumulated to fund the war is expected to cost $8 trillion. Washington attempts to still justify, at the American people’s continued direct expense, further growth of its bloated and unsustainable, globe-spanning, hyper-interventionist military presence.

To do this, American government foreign policy apparatchiks and the arms industry funded neocon think tanks, along with their cohorts in the military, point to their new favorite red menace: China.

Enter Saagar Enjeti, Krystal Ball’s co-host on the world’s number one hit politics podcast “Breaking Points.” Ball was formerly an MSNBC talking head. Enjeti is a neocon disguised as a populist. Ball’s previous cohost on The Hill’s “Rising,” the show which preceded “Breaking Points,” was Buck Sexton. Sexton incidentally hailed from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Enjeti was the subject of a recent exposé, on Mintpress News, by investigative journalist Alan Macleod. Enjeti is explicitly committed to opposing the emerging multi polar world and prefers to the stick with the now defunct neoconservative Project for a New American Century’s priority of preventing the rise of another great power. Enjeti postures as a pro-worker, pro-union, populist outsider who can work with the left. However, his hawkishness on Beijing is more in line with those of the neoconservative ideological persuasion who ceaselessly promote war, higher military spending, and further confrontation.

Macleod documents Enjeti’s bizarre trajectory of studying “counterterrorism” at a Deep State connected Israeli university to working at neocon think tanks with the likes of Scooter Libby and the Kagan clan.

Like his former boss Tucker Carlson, Enjeti is part of a larger trend of putative outsiders carrying water for the neocon China hawks. Carlson is the Rachel Maddow of Fox News when it comes to China. Like Enjeti, Carlson somehow successfully markets himself as a kind of populist outsider even though, as Macleod writes he is the “stepson of the heir of the Swanson food empire.”

Moreover, Carlson attempted to join the CIA, worked for Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard, and has had his own shows on CNN, MSNBC, and now Fox News. How many people have that kind of résumé? Additionally, Carlson’s father, Richard “Dick” Carlson, was deeply enmeshed in the National Security State serving not only as a Cold War era director of Voice of America, but also as the public liaison for the U.S. Information Agency, as well as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. From 2003-2011, “Dick” also served as Vice Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the notorious anti-Iran neocon think tank.

The implications of faux populists connected to the neoconservatives, spreading anti-China propaganda from their large platforms, ultimately manufacturing consent for Washington’s new Cold War is deeply troubling.

In 2018, the Pentagon announced a shift away from their failing policy of counterterrorism in the Middle East and North Africa toward a new National Defense Strategy of so called “Great Power Competition,” with Russia and China. Instead of turning toward peace, free trade, and diplomacy, this policy change will come at enormous opportunity costs such as further distorting our economy, practically guaranteeing boom-bust cycles of ever intensifying severity, as well as reducing the average American’s standard of living. It would impoverish the very people who desire genuine populism.

Cold War 2.0 will doubtless also entail the sacrifice of our last vestiges of liberty in exchange for a dubious security, and put Americans on the fast track to brinksmanship (or worse) with China and Russia, the next two greatest nuclear superpowers.

Any sort of kinetic military conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan could almost certainly mean Beijing’s three stage intercontinental ballistic missiles hitting Americans here at home. A conflict with Moscow over the Donbass region in Ukraine or what NATO members refers to as Russia’s “temporary occupation” of Crimea, in a worst case scenario could mean hypersonic and/or nuclear powered cruise missiles hitting the continental United States.

The word “détente,” or the concept of mutually assured destruction, is but a ghost in our self-obsessed, drunken jingoist culture. When pundits publicly pontificate about how best to stick it to Russia or China, the likely chance of nuclear war goes unsaid.

The Pentagon calls China, already surrounded by hundreds of U.S. bases, its “pacing threat,” or alternately the “number one pacing challenge.” Biden has emphatically declared we are in “extreme competition” with Beijing to “win the 21st century.”

Biden has taken up the mantle from ultra-hawk Hillary Clinton and more specifically his old pal, former President Barrack Obama who launched the “Asia Pivot.” This “pivot” amounts to a dramatic expansion of Washington’s military footprint in East Asia.

As foreign policy expert and documentary film maker John Pilger has said, “American bases form a giant noose encircling China with missiles, bombers, warships—all the way from Australia through the Pacific to Asia and beyond.”

He adds,

I have reported from Asia for many years. In 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the South China Sea was a “security interest” of the United States…In 2011, President Obama announced the “pivot to Asia”—which meant that two-thirds of US naval and air forces would concentrate in the Asia-Pacific, the biggest build-up of military forces since World War II. This was aimed, clearly, at China.

Biden’s regime is spending more than the U.S. government ever has on the military and on so called “defense,” as well as its new Space Force. As ever, the hawks intend to ratchet that spending up, into the future, indefinitely. Genuine conservative populists should be on the front lines alongside libertarians and anti-imperialist leftists opposing this absolute lunacy.

After all, for at least a decade, the U.S. Empire has burdened American taxpayers to the tune of over $1 trillion per year. This figure includes the expenditures involved in running the Veterans’ Affairs Department, as well as the Energy Department’s role in managing the nuclear arsenal, and also the other National Security State bureaucracies such as the “monstrous” Department of Homeland Security.

During the George W. Bush administration, Robert Higgs, the libertarian economist and historian, determined a good rule of thumb to estimate the true yearly price of American imperialism is to double the Pentagon’s official budget, which is currently a whopping $715 billion.

After years of Russiagate and pervasive neocon propaganda, our society has absorbed and sadly grown accustomed to the neoconservative/neoliberal foreign policy consensus. This coopting of the alternative media scene ensures those too smart for the TV news propaganda their parents tragically fell for during the Bush II years, can be scared to death by other means.

As the contrived, and sleep inducing, “woke mob” vs. Bari Weiss’ “Intellectual Dark Web” culture war saga drowns out any discussion of these critical issues, we gladly march, knowingly or unknowingly thanks to the corporate press, into simultaneous wars with Russia and China.

The Robert Kagans and Bill Kristols of the world envisioned the Empire, in this long-awaited era, finally establishing permanent control over the world.

As Scott Horton, Director of The Libertarian Institute, has said,

…at the end of the last Cold War the American foreign policy community, led by the neoconservatives, adopted a doctrine of global dominance… to remake the world our way and keep it that way. They call it leadership, hegemony, preeminence, predominance or even Full Spectrum Dominance. No really, it’s all for their own good though. Keeping the peace; protecting the sea lanes; enforcing the global rules-based liberal international order.

Dick Cheney’s Defense Department’s post-Iraq War I, “Defense Planning Guidance” from 1992 defined the doctrine for the new decade and into the new millennium: The U.S. must remain the single dominant power on the planet, and must maintain enough military power to prevent any possible strategic rivals, such as Germany, Japan, Russia or China, from even considering an attempt to challenge U.S. power.

But it does not have to be this way at all. “Renewed Power Competition” and preserving Charles Krauthammer’s “unipolar moment” is the American Empire’s fight, not the American people’s fight.

The American people’s fight, is our struggle for liberty, peace and prosperity. Our only quarrel is with the American Empire, not China or Russia.

Have We Learned Nothing? Biden Backs Mass Murder in the Middle East

Have We Learned Nothing? Biden Backs Mass Murder in the Middle East

The Gaza Strip, measures only 25 miles long and five miles wide. It is one of the most densely populated places on the planet.

Since 2007, Israel has imposed a full blockade on Gaza from the air, land, and sea. The two million Palestinians living there (half of which are under the age of 18) are trapped in an open air prison where food, potable water, electricity, medicine, building materials, etc. are severely restricted by the Israeli authorities.

The latest Israeli military operation in Gaza was called “Guardian of the Walls,” a reference no doubt to the walls enclosing the Palestinian population of mostly refugees, victims of Zionist settler colonialism, forcibly prevented from returning home. Highlighting the unfairness of the fight, at the war’s onset reports described Israeli tanks and 80 aircraft, including  F-35’s, being deployed against a people militarily conquered and occupied since 1967. The Gazans have no air force, no navy, and no control over their borders, airspace, or coasts.

Following 11 days of bombing, an Egypt brokered ceasefire was accepted after multiple offers were rejected by Tel Aviv.

Ethnic Cleansing in Jerusalem

Last month’s war on Gaza was largely precipitated by an ethnic cleansing campaign occurring in East Jerusalem, illegally occupied by Israel. The threatened evictions of dozens of families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood sparked protests among the Palestinians.

Writer and researcher Yanis Iqbal provides some background;

Beginning from May 2, 2021, Israel has begun its attempts to forcibly evict 26 Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. These families consist of refugees since the Nakba (the 1947-49 expulsion and forced exile of over two-thirds of the population by Zionist forces) and have been denied their United Nations (UN)-mandated right to return home. They were relocated in the neighborhood when it was under Jordanian control between 1948 and 1967.

Israeli propaganda attempts to present the idea that the homes being seized were once owned by Jews. This is a complete lie – the Jordanian authorities were the ones to finance the construction of the homes. Since the early 1970s, Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have been battling a series of Jewish settler organizations who filed lawsuits claiming the land belonged to them. Many Palestinians have been kicked out of the neighborhood and replaced by Israeli settlers. The current standoff and protests came about after an Israeli court ruled in favor of Nahalat Shimon International – an organization based in the US – and Ateret Cohanim, another settlement group that seeks to take over the properties.

In its bloody quest to eliminate Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah, the settler state has left no stone unturned. Combat-clad murderers have been sent in to terrorize Palestinian sit-ins with skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades. Protesters have been physically assaulted, kneeled on, choked, and shot at with live rounds. On May 7, 2021, the Israeli police forced its way into the neighborhood as Palestinians and solidarity activists gathered to break their Ramadan fasting in solidarity with 40 Palestinians, including 10 children.

Far right violence had already been ramping up in Jerusalem. In one illustrative example from late April, a Israeli brownshirt-like group named Lehava led marches with memorable choruses such as “your village will be burnt down,” “may your village burn,” “Arabs get out,” and “death to Arabs.” The demonstrations saw large groups of Jewish youths hurling rocks at Palestinians, including inside their homes and vehicles. Participants were encouraged to arm themselves and get violent. Haaretz reported on a social media group administered by far right Knesset member, Itamar Ben-Gvir, that included somebody enthusiastically promoting plans to burn Palestinians with Molotov cocktails. A video shared on social media showed an Israeli man driving through East Jerusalem firing his gun in the air to frighten the occupied Palestinian residents. The Lehava event was explicitly promoted to “restore Jewish dignity” to Jerusalem. Palestinian counter protests at Damascus Gate in the Old City were responded to by police using similar measures to those deployed against the sit ins described above by Iqbal: 105 people were injured, with 22 hospitalized.

During Israel’s crackdown on early May protests against the planned dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah, settlers again chanted “death to Arabs” and the police used cannons to fire the aforementioned “skunk water” into people’s houses. The pervasive stink spray smells like sewage and remains for weeks. After drying, it is only made worse when it coming into contact with water making it especially arduous to clean.

Attacks at the Al Aqsa Mosque

Just prior to the war on Gaza, tens of thousands came to worship during the final days of Ramadan, at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque (the third holiest site in Islam) and its surrounding compound. The Israeli police, four times over five days, stormed the holy site making the area a battleground. They fired off stun grenades, sound bombs, tear gas, and rubber bullets, including inside the Al Aqsa Mosque terrorizing the unarmed occupied population. These rubber coated steel bullets were often aimed at the heads, faces, and eyes of worshippers and protesters.

In an interview with Scott Horton, journalist Alan Macleod discussed the corporate media’s cynical efforts to create a “both sides narrative” despite the huge power disparity painted by vivid scenes of occupied civilians armed with “stones and prayer rugs” standing off with the Israeli security forces sporting their “machine guns and stun grenades.”

Even clinics were not spared. At Mondoweiss, Yumna Patel reported[v]ideos from a clinic in East Jerusalem where injured Palestinians were being treated showed Israeli forces firing sound bombs into the clinic itself.”

As a result of consecutive days of Israeli violence and “clashes,” hundreds of Palestinians were injured and hospitalized. On May 10th, even before the rockets and bomb attacks, those at the Mosque and the surrounding neighborhood described the area as a “war zone.”

Hamas Retaliates on Behalf of The Palestinians

The armed brigades of Hamas, the militant group ruling the Gaza Strip, gave Israel an ultimatum that evening to withdraw from Sheikh Jarrah, the al Aqsa Mosque, and release Palestinian prisoners. The Israelis refused. Hamas retaliated on behalf of Palestinians throughout the occupied territories. Those Palestinians have essentially no other armed force to deter or defend against Israeli aggression. The first of the crude rockets launched by Hamas into Jerusalem killed nobody and “lightly injured” one Israeli. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza that killed 20 people, nine of which were children.

As Al Jazeera reported:

Most of the children belonged to the same extended family. Two siblings, 11-year-old Ibrahim and seven-year-old Marwan, were the only children of Yousef al-Masri.

The children were playing outside their homes before the Ramadan iftar meal in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, before two explosions rocked the street.

Youssef al-Masri, the father of the siblings was quoted in the media as well, “My children were martyred. I cannot find any justification whatsoever for targeting someone passing through overcrowded civilian neighborhoods where dozens of children usually play.”

For nearly two weeks Israel then proceeded to pummel Gaza with high explosives.

Disgracing The American People

Along with the already massive but growing military and financial aid to Israel, the American government underwrote every bit of the massacre with diplomatic cover as it ensued. At the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. blocked three successive statements urging a ceasefire and cessation of attacks against Palestinians in just the first week of bombings. The third statement blocked was introduced by Norway, China, and Tunisia.

The French later introduced a draft Security Council Resolution demanding a ceasefire which the U.S. threatened to veto.

On the domestic scene, mainstream media sprang into action providing an abundance of hasbara to American audiences attempting to muddy the waters sufficiently to keep people from taking the obvious moral position against the U.S. backed canned hunt.

Along with his underlings, though given countless opportunities, Biden, long known as “Israel’s man in Washington,” repeatedly refused, to condemn the apartheid state even as it mass murdered children.

Indeed, both the executive branch and much of the legislature are eager to provide “more for Israel” at the American people’s expense. In early June, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who in a video message during the war threatened “Gaza will burn,” visited Washington D.C. to request another billion dollars in military aid. Many in Congress are thrilled at the opportunity to fulfill his request and Biden has promised to “replenish” Israel’s U.S. funded Iron Dome missile defense system.

Once again, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a complete mockery of his post as America’s top diplomat. As Dave DeCamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, has written:

In a pathetic attempt to pretend that the Biden administration cares about the suffering Israel is causing… Blinken announced additional aid for the Palestinians after the truce was reached. The assistance includes about $5.5 million to rebuild Gaza, a pittance compared to what the US is poised to give Israel.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12, Blinken somehow claimed that Israel took “significant steps” to avoid killing civilians in Gaza. This ignores the deliberate targeting of civilian homes. In one Israeli air raid, bombs hit a residential building in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, killing 10 people; two women and eight children…

The violence was not limited to Gaza. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, at least 29 Palestinians were gunned down by Israeli security forces.

Not to be outdone by the Democrats, in the neoconservative wing of the Senate, Marco Rubio used Israel’s slaughter in Gaza as a political opportunity to sabotage renewed talks with Tehran. Rubio led an effort, backed by more than forty other Republican lawmakers, to thwart all sanctions relief and end talks with Iran. Rubio was hoping to preclude any U.S. return to the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA constitutes the most intrusive international inspections regime in history over Iran’s civilian nuclear program. Iran is a long time signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty unlike Israel, who has a clandestine but well known nuclear weapons arsenal.

Killing Gazans

More than 250 people were murdered in Gaza, including 67 children, another 2,000 were wounded. Almost 17,000 homes were demolished, displacing tens of thousands within Gaza. The Israeli airstrikes and artillery onslaughts hit water supplies, refugee camps, apartment buildings, schools, Gaza’s only Covid-19 test center, a Doctors Without Borders clinic, and towers housing media offices.

On top of the annual $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel, five days before the war, Biden approved another $735 million weapons sale. The sale consists primarily of Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). The JDAMs are used to convert unguided bombs into precision guided munitions or “smart bombs.” JDAMs were a weapon of choice during the assault on Gaza.

In one instance, Israel dropped a “smart bomb” on a building that contained offices used by the Associated Press, Middle East Eye, and Al Jazeera.

As Newsweek reported,

The targeting and destruction of Al-Jalaa Tower have been condemned by a number of local and foreign media groups, including two of its occupants, The Associated Press and Al Jazeera, which launched its own investigation identifying the weapon that wrecked its offices as a GBU-31, one of several JDAM variants known to have been exported by the U.S. to Israel in past years.

Israel even bombed roads around hospitals impeding ambulances from helping victims reach healthcare centers. A week into the war, Gaza’s Ministry of Information was reporting $18 million worth of damage done to streets and other key infrastructure alone.

“Why Do They Hate Us?” 20 Years Later

In the wake of the events of September 11th, 2001, Americans often pondered “why do they hate us?” The best way to answer this question is to analyze the words of Osama Bin Laden, the words he used to convince others to follow him and join his cause.

Throughout the 1990s, he called for violence against the U.S. explicitly for the U.S. Army and Air Force bases occupying Muslim holy land on the Arabian Peninsula. He railed against America, under then President Bill Clinton, for making the Peninsula a “staging post” for the bombing and blockade of Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims. He also pointed to U.S. support for myriad authoritarian Middle East dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. He hoped to bait us into a protracted war that would bleed us dry. The plan is for us to eventually leave, but only after bankrupting ourselves and destabilizing the region, making al Qaeda’s long desired local revolutions more plausible. His plan is working better than expected.

In 1996, Bin Laden issued his first “fatwa” against the United States, he did not incite hate against Americans for their love of freedom and liberty. Contrarily, he specifically complained about U.S. support for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

From his “Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,”

The youths hold you responsible for all the killings, evictions, and displacements of the Muslims and the violation of their sacred places which were carried out by your Jewish brothers in Palestine using moneys and arms you supplied them with. [emphasis added]

Bin Laden later told CNN in 1997,

We declared jihad against the U.S. government because the U.S. government is unjust, criminal, and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal, whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation of [Palestine]… we believe the U.S. is directly responsible for those who were killed in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq. [emphasis added]

Along with some of the other fellow lead hijackers, Mohammed Atta, the man who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, was motivated to attack Americans over their government’s support for Israel. In the book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, Scott Horton details Atta’s trajectory,

…as Lawrence Wright reported in The Looming Tower, in April 1996, after Israel launched their Operation Grapes of Wrath campaign in Southern Lebanon,… Atta signed his last will and testament, a symbol of his willingness to die in the fight against those he blamed for the war. As journalist Terry McDermott explains in Perfect Soldiers, his book on Atta’s so-called “Hamburg cell” of September 11th plotters, they had all agreed it was the Americans who were responsible for what Israel was doing since the U.S. government gives Israel so many billions of dollars in military equipment and other financial aid.

During Operation Grapes of Wrath, in what is called the First Qana Massacre, the Israelis infamously bombed a U.N. compound killing more than one hundred civilians seeking shelter. Qana was referenced often by Bin Laden in the speeches and writings that influenced Atta and his associates to join up the jihad.

In reality, Israel is ruthlessly occupying about six million people in Palestine with virtually no rights while expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The so called “Two State Solution” is dead. Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, Israel’s top human rights organization, issued reports this year calling the situation in Israel/Palestine a one-state situation akin to apartheid. As Sheldon Richman says, one state “dedicated to Jewish supremacy or domination.” Lately, Israeli ultra-nationalism, with the accompanying street violence, has been on full display without the establishment media’s filters. During the war, evidence proliferated across social media with videos exposing, yet again, the dystopian reality that is the life of Palestinians not just in the occupied territories but, within the 1948 borders too, in what is called Israel proper. In cities like Bet Yam and Lod, Arabs were attacked in the streets by roving mobs of Israelis destroying Palestinian owned businesses and storefronts.

What Must Be Done

It’s been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks. On Memorial Day, neoconservative spokesman and Senator Lindsey Graham, with an ear to ear grin, stood next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and lied to the American people’s faces. He said “nobody does more to protect America from radical Islam than our friends in Israel.” He was lobbying his own country for another billion dollars in weaponry for the Israelis. Ironically, Tel Aviv has, for years, supported al Qaeda during the war in Syria against their common enemy in Damascus. So much for our ‘greatest ally’ in the Middle East.

From the beginning, the al Qaeda/terrorism issue was framed in a kind of unreality that shared little to no resemblance with the truth. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Al Qaeda was only a few hundred men, formally backed by Ronald Regan against the Soviets, tucked away in Nangarhar Province. It was the U.S. and its allies that started this fight when we supported Israel’s occupations, put troops on Saudi soil and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

And therefore, aside from dealing with those directly responsible for the attack, whom the Taliban offered to hand over anyway, there was no need to become further bogged down in the region. As it would only kill exponentially more innocent people, create more enemies, more war, more blowback, and destroy our economy.

But we were ceaselessly told by our government that September 11th, 2001 changed everything. Under the spell of the Cathedral, our society accordingly goosestepped into an era of totalitarianism at home to defeat the artificially inflated threat abroad. And what do we have to show for it? Record breaking “defense” budgets, unending mass surveillance, trillions of dollars in crushing debt, indefinite global wars against vaguely defined enemies, millions killed and displaced, torture prisons, assassinations of American citizens, thousands of dead and maimed soldiers, a suicide epidemic among veterans, militarized police, hyper divisive fake corporate news, ongoing economic crises and moral decay. In the end, we sacrificed our character and our way of life. And none of it was necessary.

U.S. support for Israel is a travesty, a stain on our history and present. And because of our own corrupt, imperialist government, Americans are still in the line of fire as Tel Aviv continues to kill men, women, and children on our dime and in our name. We can no longer morally, financially, legally, or strategically afford to offer aid to a regional superpower violating international law. Israel, an internationally notorious apartheid state, killing civilians, perpetually at war, armed with nuclear weapons, and comfortably surrounded by friendly dictatorships, has received well over $200 billion in U.S. money, adjusted for inflation, since its founding. Netanyahu himself once remarked, it is “absurd.”

As Jason Ditz, news editor at Antiwar.com, points out, “Israel’s relationship to the US has long centered around intense lobbying and getting embarrassingly large amounts of military aid ($58 billion in 20 years, more than all other US aid recipients combined).”

Israel uses its American taxpayer-funded, state of the art military to subjugate Palestinians, stealing their property in East Jerusalem and the West Bank while bombing those held prisoner in the Gaza concentration camp. Israel is also constantly attacking its neighbors, such as Syria, whom the Israelis conduct airstrikes against on a weekly basis.

It is a supreme disservice to the victims of 9/11, their memory, and their survivors, to continue down this road, year after year, still funding Israel’s atrocities and fighting the endless Middle East wars. It is time for the American people to not only renounce Washington’s permanent war agenda but emphatically refuse to foot the bill for Israel’s crimes against humanity.

Or have we learned nothing?

Biden Turns Up the Heat on America’s Cold Wars

Biden Turns Up the Heat on America’s Cold Wars

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.

Joe Biden Will Embroil America In ‘Great Power’ Politics

Joe Biden Will Embroil America In ‘Great Power’ Politics

Since the George W. Bush era, when it comes to presidential elections, the American people have come to expect that the final contestants will be jingoes. After the primaries have finished and the nominees have been named, it can be presumed that both candidates will support, among other horrible things, an indefinite continuation of the overseas economic warfare, endless counter terrorism missions, support for authoritarian governments, and the assorted regime change operations synonymous with American foreign policy.

At this point, we have entered an era where the options are even worse. It almost goes without saying that whomever the process turns out will still back the above hyper-interventionist foreign policy. But now it is practically certain that the so called ‘serious’ or ‘electable’ contenders will be ultra-belligerent toward Russia and China, the next two greatest nuclear superpowers. With hindsight, we can say this was ultimately true even in former President Donald Trump’s case.

This is in keeping with the 2018 National Security Strategy focusing on ‘great power competition’ with Moscow and Beijing, Barrack Obama’s so called “Asia Pivot,” as well as the decades long policy of continued NATO expansion goading Russia.

Contrary his orange, cartoonish caricature in the corporate press, Trump was a dangerous hawk on Russia. By his second month in office, he was sending U.S. troops and tanks to Russia’s next-door neighbor, Estonia, to participate in NATO military exercises. In February 2018, while illegally occupying eastern Syria, the Trump administration actually bombed and killed Russians. An early Reuters report said some 300 mercenaries “working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm“ were killed or injured in a battle with US occupation forces and their allies. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman claimed these numbers were wildly exaggerated, but said five of those killed were Russians. Trump bombed Syria’s government over chemical weapons attack allegations that turned out to be false flags. This was the case in Douma, where elements in the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons perpetrated a cover-up since exposed by whistleblowers. Trump imposed myriad sanctions on Russia and expanded NATO. He sent anti-tank missiles to the U.S. installed regime in Ukraine, something even Obama, who launched the coup there, as well as a devastating proxy war backing al Qaeda against Moscow’s allies in Syria, wouldn’t do.

He also directed massive amounts of taxpayer money, more than a trillion dollars over three decades, toward revamping U.S. nukes. This focus on the nuclear arsenal was largely done with an eye toward Moscow.

As Caitlin Johnstone has written, “…Trump’s Department of Defense rolled out a Nuclear Posture Review which CNN itself called ‘its toughest line yet against Russia’s resurgent nuclear forces.’”

“In its newly released Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Department has focused much of its multibillion nuclear effort on an updated nuclear deterrence focused on Russia,” CNN reported last year.

This revision of nuclear policy includes the new implementation of “low-yield” nuclear weapons, which, because they are designed to be more “usable” than conventional nuclear ordinances, have been called “the most dangerous weapon ever” by critics of this insane policy. These weapons, which can remove some of the inhibitions that mutually assured destruction would normally give military commanders, have already been rolled off the assembly line.”

During their first call together, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin successfully saved the New Start Treaty. Post-Trump administration, New Start is the only significant arms control agreement between Washington and Moscow left standing. Trump withdrew the U.S. from both the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and Open Skies. New Start, negotiated during the Obama administration, restricts the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons between the two countries. For all of humanity, this five-year extension is very good news.

But that’s where the good news abruptly runs out. Biden is continuing this trend of bellicosity aimed at Russia and China.

During the call with Putin, Biden hypocritically harangued the Russians about respecting Ukrainian sovereignty. Biden was intimately involved in the aforementioned National Endowment for Democracy coup there that killed thousands of civilians and started a war. He along with Victoria Nuland, potentially Biden’s Assistant Secretary of State, helped put neo-Nazis in power on Russia’s very doorstep and more than 10,000 people died in the ensuing war.

Biden reportedly went on to baselessly accuse Russia of paying bounties to the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. The “Bountygate” canard is a months old propaganda narrative which the military has denied. And many, if not most, U.S. intelligence agencies including the National Security Agency, have not backed the story up. It remains unproven. At any rate, there have been no U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan during the past year. He threatened Moscow further over still unverified allegations of involvement in the SolarWinds hack and predictably trotted out the tired conspiracy theory of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Biden has done more than taunt Moscow. It was recently reported that Biden is deploying four B-1 bombers to Norway in a message to Putin. Following the Trump administration, Biden seeks to increase US military assets and personnel in the Arctic baiting Russia.

Again emulating Trump, less than a week after taking office, Biden sent three warships into the Black Sea, where NATO desires an increased presence.

As Dave Decamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, reported,

The USS Porter, a guided-missile destroyer, entered the waters on Thursday, joining two U.S. ships that were already there. The USS Donald Cook, another guided-missile destroyer, and the oiler USNS Laramie transited into the Black Sea on Sunday.

Russia noticed the U.S. warships operating near its coast and deployed a mobile coastal defense anti-ship system in Crimea. The Russian military said it tracked the USS Donald Cook as it entered the Black Sea.

Russia hawks and NATO are hoping the U.S. keeps up the military activity in the Black Sea this year.

According to Stars and Stripes, the U.S. Navy spent 82 days in the Black Sea in 2020, down 19 days from the previous year.

Later that weekend, a Russian fighter plane made a low pass over the USS Donald Cook. The next day, the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet stated the USS Porter was conducting military drills in the Black Sea with the Ukrainian Navy.

Biden would include Ukraine and Georgia in NATO; which, before the ink is dry, would start a war pitting the U.S. against Russia. Antony Blinken, Biden’s Secretary of State and right hand man on foreign policy, also supports bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

Before his being in office for even a week, Biden made several antagonistic, provocative moves against Beijing, including sending an aircraft carrier group, and U.S. warplanes, to the South China Sea. Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the U.S. attended Biden’s militarized inauguration, after receiving an official invitation, an unprecedented, aggressive gesture aimed at China.

Defense Secretary General Lloyd Austin, who up until just recently sat on the Raytheon board, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Japan to honor their claims over the East China Sea’s, uninhabited, Senkaku islands. Implicitly the commitment stands even if it means war with China. In addition to Japan and China’s conflicting claims, the islands are also claimed by Taiwan.

It could be worse. War criminal Michele Flournoy, an arch anti-China hawk, was originally assumed to be Biden’s Defense Secretary pick. In the event of a war, she advocates for the U.S. to build the capability to sink the entire Chinese military and civilian merchant fleet within the first 72 hours.

Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies have described Flournoy’s weapons wish list, “Flournoy’s solution to what she presents as a growing threat from China is to invest in a new generation of weapons, including hypersonic and long-range precision missiles and more high-tech unmanned systems.”

Back in December, Trump’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley echoed similar recommendations calling for US superiority in advanced weapons systems. Saying as well that, “If you put in artificial intelligence and you do man-machine teaming, add that to robotics, put in precision munitions and the ability to sense and see, throw in a few hypersonic weapons, and you’ve got a fundamental shift.”

Flournoy likely still holds great influence over the current administration’s foreign policy being the former business partner of Antony Blinken at WestExec Advisors, their military-industrial complex linked consulting firm. Their slogan was “bringing the situation room to the board room.” Also critical is her role as founder at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), the neoconservative think tank, where Victoria Nuland was CEO. CNAS is one of the think tanks where multiple people on Biden’s Pentagon team hail from, including another China hawk recently appointed as an advisor to Defense Secretary Austin, Ely Ratner. Ratner said, in report for CNAS, the US must counter China with a “combat-credible posture in the Indo-Pacific.”

Flournoy, her ilk, and CNAS, have a history of getting what the military escalations they want. Here’s Benjamin and Davies again,

In 2016, Flournoy was tipped as Hillary Clinton’s choice for Secretary of Defense, and she co-authored a CNAS report titled “Expanding American Power” with a team of hawks that included former Cheney aide Eric Edelman, PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan and Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. The report was seen as a view of how Clinton’s foreign policy would differ from Obama’s, with calls for higher military spending, arms shipments to Ukraine, renewed military threats against Iran, more aggressive military action in Syria and Iraq…all of which Trump has adopted.

CNAS is funded by, among others, the US State Department, Taiwan’s de facto embassy, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Comcast, Microsoft, Exxon, Mastercard, the Japanese Embassy to the United States, Citigroup, Facebook, Georgetown University, Google, and Raytheon.

Kurt Campbell, former CEO at CNAS and one of the main players behind Obama’s “Asia Pivot,” has been selected by Biden to be the National Security Council’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs. In the Council on Foreign Relations’ journal Foreign Affairs, Campbell recently co-authored a piece that argued the US should counter China by “…investing in long-range conventional cruise and ballistic missiles, unmanned carrier-based strike aircraft and underwater vehicles, guided-missile submarines, and high-speed strike weapons.”

Avril Haines, the new Director of National Intelligence, at the CIA was deeply involved in Obama’s infamous drone program as well as covering up the crimes committed in Bush’s torture prisons. As Deputy Director of the CIA, she rewarded those at the agency who hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers during their torture investigation and oversaw the redaction of more than 90% of their 6,000-page report. Haines was the legal advisor to former CIA director John Brennan. She sat on the CNAS board of directors and was a consultant at WestExec Advisors. During her confirmation hearing, she made clear her anti-China postions.

Here’s Decamp again, ““[she] said she believes the US should take an “aggressive stance” against Beijing. Haines said that as DNI, she will prioritize countering the threat of China’s “counterintelligence.””

The “diplomats” are no better. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s nominee for UN ambassador, has sworn to, if confirmed, act “aggressively against Chinese malign efforts.” Following in the ultra-hawkish former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s footsteps, Blinken has reaffirmed the US rejection of all Beijing’s claims over the waters in the South China Sea. Conducting what it calls “Freedom of Navigation Operations” (FONOPS), the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet will continue to unnecessarily insert itself into disputes between regional actors there who all have overlapping claims over the waters. Blinken has also said former President Donald Trump “was right in taking a tougher approach to China.”

Said “approach” included flying record numbers of U.S. warplanes and as often as three to five daily reconnaissance aircraft flights in the South China Sea close to China’s coast. Trump sailed U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait 13 times. And last October, the Air Force confirmed that a US RC-135W Rivet Joint surveillance plane flew directly over Taiwan.

Trump sold Taipei Lockheed Martin’s upgraded F-16s, not since George H.W. Bush has a president sold such arms to the Taiwanese. He also sold them Boeing’s AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missiles (SLAM) that can be fired from the F-16s to hit military and civilian targets inside China’s Nanjing region.

As Gareth Porter reported at the Grayzone,

…[U.S. policy shifted] sharply toward a much more aggressive stance on the geo-strategic island at the heart of military tensions between the United States and China.

Branded “Fortress Taiwan” by the Pentagon, the ambitious arms deal was the engineered by Randall Schriver, a veteran pro-Taiwan activist and anti-China hardliner whose think tank had been financed by America’s biggest arms contractors and by the Taiwan government itself.

Since assuming the post of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in early 2018, Schriver has focused primarily on granting his major arms company patrons the vaunted arms deals they had sought for years.

The arms sales Schriver has overseen represent the most dangerous U.S. escalation against China in years.

This constant military poking of China continued throughout 2020. Under Biden, this does not seem to be changing, nor relenting. Last week, the Biden administration sent its first warship, the USS John McCain, through the Taiwan Strait. The following day, using the same guided-missile destroyer, the Navy ran its inaugural South China Sea FONOP under the Biden regime coming within 12 nautical miles of the Beijing-controlled Paracel Islands.

The British and French will be getting in on the action this year. On the eve of 2021, Lyle Goldstein, Research Professor at the U.S. Naval War College, wrote,

A recent NATO report broke new ground by fingering China as a military threat to Europe for the first time. At first glance, this would seem to indicate that Europe has been listening to Washington’s repeated warnings and has finally come around to the American point of view on the salience of “great power competition” that recognizes both Moscow and Beijing as dangers, with the latter perhaps constituting a more ominous threat.

Next year, both the French and British navies are planning major naval exercises, together with the U.S. and Japan, in the Western Pacific, namely in maritime domains proximate to China.

This week, a French Navy ship and submarine made “patrols” of the South China Sea. The U.S. sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to conduct drills there as well for the first time since last July.

In late January, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech warning against a “new Cold War.” He said “we should respect and accommodate differences, avoid meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and resolve disagreements through consultation and dialogue.”

In response to a question about the speech, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied “…our approach remains what it has been…” “We’re in a serious competition with China,” she said.

In its final days as the global hegemon, the American Empire is lashing out. In our lifetimes, this new Cold War could possibly soon morph into a hot war, or a World War, which would imperil all human life.

There is perhaps no greater imperative for the peace movement, the antiwar movement, or the libertarian movement than to expose and oppose these constant military provocations against Russia and China. These occur mostly out of sight and out of mind for the vast majority of the American population. The antiwar movement should permanently change that, as well as dismantle the mass media and government created artificial consensus of enmity toward both countries which could easily translate into war fever as economic and social conditions worsen. The hawks exploit the U.S. government’s numerous failures, political and financial, as well as in dealing with the pandemic, to redirect anger American anger at these targeted states. The American people should shut the U.S. Empire down. It is putting all human life in the crosshairs; it costs us more than a trillion dollars each year. The Empire is what is bankrupting America, along with the Federal Reserve System used to distort the economy to temporarily stave off the inevitable results of all the spending and money printing necessary to fund the endless wars year by year. As these crises spiral out of control, the harsh domestic consequences of U.S. polices  are reframed as Russian and Chinese abuses. This occurs while the corporate press and Congress ensure the targeted governments are painted as the ultimate evil. We must smash the bipartisan propaganda paradigm and prevent this imperialist strategy from causing the very conflicts being fomented by the military, neoconservatives, arms dealers, and think tankers.

As Biden Improves Yemen Policy, Activists Must Push Him Further

Surprisingly, Joe Biden has done some good as President. On Yemen, he ostensibly looks to be favoring diplomacy and ending support for the Saudis’ “offensive” operations, including stopping all “relevant” arms sales. Two U.S. sales of precision guided munitions, from Boeing and Raytheon, have been indefinitely paused. And the administration just rescinded the State Department’s designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization as well. The designation was a vicious last-minute move by the Trump administration. It was a transparent attempt to criminalize aid and diplomacy with Yemen, as well as to tighten the Saudis’ stranglehold over the country where nearly a quarter of a million people have already been killed or starved to death.

Some 70% of the Yemeni population live in northern Yemen’s Houthi territory. Since the war began, north Yemen has been under a savage U.S.-backed, Saudi naval blockade. 80% of the country relies on aid to survive and north Yemen is where the widespread malnutrition is most intense. In essence, the designation was a death sentence for those civilians. The Houthis have been in power in Sanaa for six years. The U.S.-backed, Saudi puppet President has spent much of that time on house arrest in Riyadh. Aid groups who wished to help Yemenis in the north, would necessarily have to work with the Houthis and therefore open themselves up to being hit with U.S. sanctions. This policy was designed to tie the hands of the Biden administration as well, who had, during the campaign, already indicated their intention to end the war.

But the U.S. should force the Saudi/UAE coalition to end the war now. At a minimum, Biden should: end all arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE, have the U.S. military promptly discontinue enforcing the coalition’s blockade, immediately lift all sanctions, cease intelligence sharing with the Saudis, cut off logistical assistance, pull all U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia, remove the fighter plane squadron there, and flex America’s diplomatic muscle insisting the coalition, its allies, and enablers end the war.

For years, the U.S. and its Saudi allies have conflated the Houthis with Iran. The administration should drop this propaganda and quit lying about Iran supplying arms and drones to the Houthis that supposedly necessitates still further U.S. “defense” of the Saudi dictatorship. For almost six years, since the Barrack Obama administration began the war, the poorest country in the Middle East where, even prior to the war, 90% of food was imported, has been blockaded by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The coalition has bombed civilian infrastructure continuously. This, combined with the blockade, caused a massive outbreak of cholera; with over two million cases, and thousands of deaths, it was the worst in recorded history. Under the Trump administration, desperately needed aid to Yemen was cut during the COVID-19 pandemic, making matters worse. The Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia were a direct retaliation for Washington and Riyadh’s six-year, genocidal war, waged against the Yemeni people. UN aid groups have referred to the war as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” The coalition’s mass murder spree was bound to cause some blowback.

Biden’s National Security Advisor, the hawkish Jake Sullivan, has assured us Biden will continue the Special Forces’ war against al Qaeda in Yemen. But Biden should end that unconstitutional and absurdly counter-productive war as well. As if watering a plant, the drone war against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which often kills civilians, has only increased the group’s ranks and made them stronger. Given their role on the ground as part of the U.S. backed coalition, AQAP has grown immensely more powerful since the war against their enemies, the Houthis, began. Unfortunately, like the other post 9/11 counterterrorism operations afflicted with much the same myriad intrinsic and strategic flaws, an end to this war is unlikely to come any time soon. There is far too much political and imperial value involved for the hawks to put America first, much less the local populations’ security and peace.

It remains to be seen what “offensive” operations and “relevant” arms sales means exactly. As they say, the devil is in the details. But tentatively, there seems to be reasons for hope. But make no mistake, right now is the time for activists, and concerned citizens opposed to the brutal Yemen war, to redouble their efforts and apply the most pressure on the administration, as well as Congress.

The Macabre ‘Normalcy’ of Joe Biden

The Macabre ‘Normalcy’ of Joe Biden

The laughable campaign sales pitch the American people were suffocated with over the past year and before was that Joe Biden, apartheidIsrael’s man in Washington” as well as the de facto author of the Patriot Act, was going save us from President Donald Trump’s fascism and restore “normalcy.”

We were endlessly told that the Trump era’s racism and authoritarianism were an unfortunate, ugly aberration, a hiccup, in the long, progressive arc of history. An arc we are all encouraged to simply love and adore. Of course, all of this is ludicrous.

Biden, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with his right-hand man and now Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in their role overseeing hearings on whether or not to invade Iraq lied the American people into the second of almost four American wars. For thirty years, since this January, the U.S. has been bombing Iraq. As a result of the Iraq War, more than a million people were killed.

In his new book covering the sordid history of U.S. interventions and wars in the Middle East, Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, Scott Horton tells the story of Biden’s role rolling America into the invasion of Iraq:

Biden did not just support the war. He served as Bush and Cheney’s Senate gatekeeper and whip, guaranteeing a majority vote for the war in the upper chamber while controlled by the opposition party. If Biden had any moral courage at all, he would have stopped that war. All he would have had to do was bring in real experts like former UN weapons inspection chief Scott Ritter and former CENTCOM commander General Anthony Zinni to debunk the case that Iraq was stockpiling banned weapons of mass destruction or had programs that necessitated that war. The senator could have asked Gen. Scowcroft to testify. He could have held up the authorization vote and refused to support an aggressive war. Instead, Biden conspired with the White House to force the authorization through.

His red baiting, ‘National Security Democrat’ Vice President Kamala Harris (formerly California’s top cop) has manically cackled while discussing how she imprisoned poor people for non-violent offenses. She also told us that “very smart people” say the controversy around American cops killing black people, and popular support for Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests, really “wasn’t a thing” and was artificially boosted by “Russian bots.”

Blinken, along with Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Samantha Power, Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), helped engineer the disastrous wars in Libya and Syria. Power served on Barrack Obama’s National Security Council at the time, before being promoted to be UN ambassador, and was one of the main players advocating for the Libyan war.

As Dave Decamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, reported,

Power argued in favor of U.S. intervention in Libya under the guise of protecting human rights and preventing genocide. She was joined in her crusade by then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Susan Rice, who served as the UN ambassador at the time.

Reports from 2011 say the pressure from Power, Rice, and Clinton is what led Obama to intervene militarily in Libya, even though his other top advisors were against it. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates would later say that in a “51 to 49” decision, Obama decided to bomb Libya.

The U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya that led to the brutal murder of former Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi was an absolute disaster. Destabilizing Libya turned the country into a haven for al-Qaeda-linked militants, resulted in targeted killings of black Africans, sparked a refugee crisis in North Africa, and even led to the creation of slave markets.

Additionally, the aforementioned Rice has been tapped to be Biden’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Half a million people were killed in Syria as a result of the CIA’s proxy war against the Bashar al Assad government. The main beneficiaries of this treasonous policy in this case were the former CIA director John Brennan’s proxies, al Nusra, the Syrian variant of al Qaeda in Iraq. In the early stages of this war, Sullivan boasted to his boss, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that, in Syria, al Qaeda was on “our side.” In fact, the whole Benghazi scandal, and its partisan war of words, was a cover up over this policy and its true cause. Susan Rice lied and said the embassy was hit over an offensive internet video. The attack was actually blowback, encouraged by al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, after a U.S. drone assassination in Pakistan. In the early days of the Syrian operation, under the auspices of Secretary of State Clinton and then CIA director David Petraeus, guns were being run from that embassy to al Qaeda linked militants to aid them in their war against Damascus.

Just over a week into his term, a spokesmen from Biden’s State Department said the administration intends to continue Trump’s policy of an indefinite occupation of northeastern Syria. Of course, instead of saying it’s to ‘take the oil,’ like Trump, the Foggy Bottom spokesman said this is now about supporting the Kurds.

Blinken, and the Obama/Biden administration, deliberately took the side of the Saudi/UAE coalition in its war against the people of Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country. By January 2015, the Houthis, north Yemen’s Zaydi Shi’ite tribesmen, who seized the capital from the Saudi backed puppet government there in late 2014, had an active alliance with CENTCOM  against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). This was when General Lloyd Austin, Biden’s pick for Defense Secretary, led the Middle East command. The Houthis were then betrayed by the likes of Blinken, then Deputy Secretary of State, and John Kerry, then Secretary of State now Climate Czar. The U.S. backstabbed the Houthis in favor of their enemies AQAP and the Islamic State, both of whom fight for and alongside the Saudis’ coalition. Austin oversaw the double cross and while he gossiped about how he was displeased about it behind the scenes, he never resigned and did what he was told. Before being recently confirmed as ‘War Secretary,’ Austin left CENTCOM and found a seat on the Raytheon board, so he could profit off the war’s countless civilian deaths. The U.S. Navy and Air Force, along with the Saudis, launched effectively a full blockade of the country, where, even prior to the war, 90% of food was imported. The country has since been decimated with conservative UN estimates of nearly a quarter of a million dead, about half due to violence and half from mass starvation, as well as widespread disease, and malnutrition. For years human rights groups and UN agencies have declared this war to be the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

In his Senate confirmation hearings, Blinken promised the Biden regime would end U.S. support for the Saudis’ war in “short order.” Some arms sales have been paused and are under review. The war continues, Yemeni children are still being starved to death and bombed. When will they get to have some “normalcy?”

In 2014, when she was Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Joe Biden infamously teamed up with Victoria Nuland, to put the finishing touches on a US multi-billion dollar coup launched in Ukraine. The street putsch managed by Nuland and the National Endowment for Democracy enabled a coalition infested with fascists and Nazis to take power in Kiev. A proxy war between the coup government and Russian backed separatists in the east has taken the lives of more than 10,000 people. Trump then sent Ukraine anti-tank missiles from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, a move even Obama wouldn’t make.

During the early years of the Iraq War, Nuland was Dick Cheney’s National Security Advisor. She’s the wife of Robert Kagan, the arch neoconservative, ardent Russia hawk, and cofounder of the notorious Project for a New American Century. Kagan was a longtime advocate of “arms shipments to Ukraine.” During her 2016 campaign, he advised Hillary Clinton to do so. Biden has nominated Nuland to the number three position at the State Department. Her appointment, in and of itself, is a major escalation with Russia. Putin detests Nuland. She is an avid proponent of regime change in Moscow.

In the words of the great Ron Paul,

More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland not only passed out snacks to the coup leaders, she was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared.

Unlike the fake Capitol “coup,” this was a real overthrow. Unlike the buffalo horn-wearing joke who desecrated the “sacred” Senate chamber, the Ukraine coup had real armed insurrectionists with a real plan to overthrow the government. Eventually, with the help of incoming Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, they succeeded – after thousands of civilians were killed.

All of the above cannot be accepted as any kind of normal. The American people can neither afford this “normalcy” financially nor morally. Empire costs trillions of dollars. The debt is skyrocketing, just a shade under $30 trillion, and growing every second. Interest payments on the wars alone will cost multiple trillions. The cost is in lost lives and liberties will be catastrophic. We are all now in the crosshairs of nuclear annihilation as well due to our government’s unprovoked aggressions. America’s new Cold Wars with Russia and China are rapidly warming. The American Empire is the most dangerous, destructive, and cruel entity in the world and we must stop its rampage.

From the genocide in Yemen, to Israel’s apartheid regime that Palestinians suffer under daily, to the myriad regime change operations, the NATO drills on Russia’s borders, the American aircraft carriers sailing in the South China Sea, the U.S. warships in the Black Sea, the B-52s flying over the Persian Gulf, etc.

Empire always comes home, which is why we are now seeing a burgeoning domestic terror war, as well as the hideous spectacle of Biden’s fascistic, taxpayer funded militarized inauguration. The wars are coming home to terrorize the Empire’s host population. At home and abroad, let us permanently break from these norms immediately.

Will Trump’s Hawkishness on China Become Joe Biden’s ‘New Normal’?

Will Trump’s Hawkishness on China Become Joe Biden’s ‘New Normal’?

Since 2020, Americans have been implored, even trained, to accept fiat realities at home that would not so long ago have seemed inconceivable. The “new normal” includes arbitrary lockdowns, curfews, censorship, the burgeoning domestic terror war, and a de facto government economic assault on small businesses, the poor, and the middle class. The American people have been encouraged to wear two masks and binge Tiger King on Netflix instead of rightfully objecting to this faux humanitarian tyranny.

Now it seems the ruling class is preparing us to not only accept but support an ever intensifying, hostile stance against China. This other potentially catastrophic “new normal” is rapidly morphing into a war footing.

Even during this pandemic and financial crisis, cash strapped Americans are expected to pay the tab, one way or the other, now or in the future, for military budgets and government spending levels greater than those of the George W. Bush and Barrack Obama years. This is in accordance with the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s absurd priority to redouble efforts toward so called ‘great power competition’ with Russia and China. In keeping with this new strategy, President Joe Biden said, while on the campaign trail, that he expected the military budget to increase during his rule.

Picking up where Obama’s “Asia Pivot” left off and under the cover of the coronavirus, now former President Donald Trump’s war cabinet seized the opportunity to drastically step up provocative interventions in East Asia. They say never let a good crisis go to waste. The year 2020 saw myriad escalatory military maneuvers there, often termed Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), particularly in the South China Sea. These FONOPS represent the U.S. unnecessarily inserting itself, often using the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, into disputes between regional actors there who all have overlapping claims on the waters including various, sometimes unmanned, rocks, reefs, islands, and archipelagos. In July, the U.S., under the hawkish neoconservative Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, formally rejected all of China’s claims in these waters. Biden’s recently confirmed and ultra-hawkish Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has already reaffirmed the U.S. rejection. This anti-Beijing policy, including the FONOPS, began in earnest during the latter Obama years and is not expected to change during Biden’s reign. The Trump era saw U.S. troop levels increased by more than 23,000 in East Asia. In September, record numbers of U.S. warplanes and spy planes near China’s coast were recorded.

As Dave Decamp, news editor at Antiwar.com reported,

According to a Beijing-based think tank that monitors flights in the region, the U.S. flew at least 60 warplanes near China’s coast in September, The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) recorded 41 US flights over the disputed South China Sea, six over the East China Sea, and 13 over the Yellow Sea.

In a report released on Monday, the SCSPI said, based on refueling activity, the U.S. could be preparing for long-distance attacks on targets in the South China Sea. The report said the US sent planes from Guam to refuel surveillance planes over the South China Sea.

In July, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative reported “three to five” U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flights each day. Back in November, naval exercises, designedly challenging China, were also held between the U.S. and its allies including India, Japan, and Australia. These states make up the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad. Some hawks hope to soon combine these states into an East Asian NATO equivalent. These Malabar drills, in the Bay of Bengal, were the largest held between the above allies in more than a decade.

Throughout this last year, U.S. warships and aircraft carrier groups, strike forces, sailing in the South China Sea were constantly reported, albeit not on the front pages of The New York Times or The Washington Post.

The anti-China panic was sent into full swing as the neocons both inside and outside the Trump administration, as well as assorted right wingers in the media, etc. often sneeringly referred to the ‘Wuhan virus’ or the ‘China virus.’ As early as January last year, Bill Gertz, who peddled Iraqi WMD and Iranian nuclear weapons program lies, even went so far as to baselessly blame China for originating the COVID-19 virus in a Wuhan lab supposedly linked to a covert bioweapons program. Right wing figures Steve Bannon and his partner, the notorious neoconservative Frank Gaffney, ramped up the rhetoric through a revamped Cold War era think tank renamed the Committee on the Present Danger: China.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson inflamed the anti-China mania before his audience on an almost nightly basis. Considering Carlson’s resume includes working for Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard, hosting shows on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and applying for a position with the CIA, one wonders how he has been able to so successfully market himself as a populist, anti-establishment hero. Vis a vis China, he has essentially assumed the Rachel Maddow role. This all seems less puzzling given who his father, Dick Carlson, was. Richard W. Carlson was the public liaison for the U.S. Information Agency, director of Voice of America during the Cold War’s final years, and President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Tucker now plays an anti-neocon on TV, but bizarrely from 2003-2011, his father was the Vice Chairman of the anti-Iran, neoconservative think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

From his father’s insidevoa.com profile,

Other significant aspects of Carlson’s term as director included opening a Moscow bureau and coverage of the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations in 1989, the end of Soviet jamming, and establishment of the Creole Service. He also oversaw the newly-launched Radio Martí broadcasting to Cuba.

It seems obvious where Tucker gets his knack for assisting America’s propaganda campaigns against its Cold War foes.

In their insatiable bid for global “primacy” and “full spectrum dominance,” the neoconservative imperialists know they need the American people to be brought along, at least passively or preferably with enthusiasm, into this new Cold War paradigm pitting the U.S. against Moscow and Beijing, targeted governments armed with nuclear weapons. The TV eye presents a distorted reality that would lead one to believe that at least half the country hates China and the other half hates Russia. The evidence-less Russiagate scandal followed and consolidated the gains of a previously existing and multi-faceted US media campaign against Vladimir Putin. Together these media blitzkriegs stoked fear and vastly grew Americans’ suspicion of Russia and Russians. Hillary Clinton, during an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the former’s podcast, even suggested Trump may have been taking phone calls from Putin during the January 6th Capitol protests. The Trump years’ anti-China climate has made great progress toward these ends as well.

The early days of Biden’s tenure as President should serve as a warning to us all. Ostensibly Biden was elected to mercifully restore “normalcy.” However, he has already continued to turn up the heat on Washington’s cold war with Beijing. Four days into his term, Biden sent an aircraft carrier group into the South China Sea. Seven U.S. warplanes were spotted flying in the area as well.

Nothing Delivered: Trump’s ‘Antiwar’ Deception

Nothing Delivered: Trump’s ‘Antiwar’ Deception

President Donald Trump seems uninterested in ending any “endless wars.” Before leaving office, he could and should do so in Afghanistan, for example, where U.S. forces—while losing the longest war in our history—have led a brutal occupation for nearly 20 years.

Afghanistan is just one of the places where Donald Trump has set records for the numbers of bombs dropped, in yet another country sadistically and ceaselessly attacked by the U.S. This goes for the unconstitutional, illegal, genocidal wars in Yemen and Somalia as well. Of course, none of these countries, nor their long-suffering populations pose any threat whatsoever to the American people.

In a previous column, this author covered the appointment of the antiwar, retired Col. Douglas Macgregor as senior adviser to Christopher Miller, the new acting Secretary of Defense. Many were cautiously optimistic that the recent Pentagon personnel shake up, that included the appointment of both aforementioned men, could herald an era of genuine last minute ‘America First’ foreign policy decisions. Namely, full U.S. exits from not only Afghanistan, but potentially Iraq and Somalia too.

Last month, the news arrived that after all the rosy predictions by some and the mainstream media pearl clutching over the appointments, Trump delivered virtually nothing.

The War Department announced that troop levels would be down to 2,500 in both Iraq and Afghanistan by January 15.

But under the U.S./Taliban peace plan, the timeline already established was to have troop levels down to 2,500 in Afghanistan by early January.

Due to the previous troop withdrawals from Iraq, which were initiated by Trump to his credit, there are approximately 3,000 soldiers deployed there now. So, all this amounted to was essentially that Trump made plans to take a token 500 troops out of Iraq. The Iraqis have been bombed and savaged by the U.S. military for nearly 30 years, including with chemical weapons such as white phosphorous and depleted uranium. Successive administrations have killed upwards of 2 million people there.

The president has ordered the removal of nearly all ground troops from Somalia, whom were mostly sent there by Trump himself. Even if he withdraws all the boots on the ground, if he doesn’t end America’s air war in Somalia based out of Kenya and Djibouti, where thousands of U.S. troops are stationed, and where these ground troops will largely be relocated, this does not constitute ending the war at all. This is a cynical, empty gesture. It is all too transparent that he is not “bringing troops home from Africa” as Rand Paul claims, this is just optics.

Unfortunately, the likelihood is that Joe Biden will not change his stance on Afghanistan and will use that number, 2,500, as a floor not a ceiling for future deployments. He will probably keep US forces there indefinitely. Biden has said he will also maintain the troop presence in Syria and Iraq, without any plans for extrication, because its ‘complicated.’

With Trump, the people thought they voted for something different, but what they received was more of the same. Like Obama and Bush II, Trump was lying to his base, despicably pretending to be opposed to unnecessary wars in faraway lands. Trump made snide comments about the military industrial complex, etc. while looting the American people to pay for it all. He carried on with his “antiwar” façade while bombing to smithereens the same far flung countries that Bush and Obama nearly destroyed. At the same time, he was starving some of the poorest people in the world, from Venezuela to North Korea, with “maximum pressure” sanctions. He prioritized satiating the Israel first crowd first, and set the stage for brinksmanship with Beijing, as well as Moscow, while ensuring ever higher military budgets.

Like Obama’s, his administration is synonymous with America’s six year Yemen war, the worst thing happening in the world today. This conflict provides an instructive case of Trump’s shameless duplicity on the war issue. Trump has gladly continued U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, logistical, and military support for the Saudis’ total war and siege on Yemen, deliberately slaughtering and starving the civilian population. The majority of which live in areas controlled by the Houthi rebels, the enemies of not just the US/Saudi coalition but al Qaeda as well. And why are we still bombing the Houthis after all this time? Over six years ago, the Houthis overthrew the American/Saudi installed sock puppet President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Hadi was “elected” in a U.S. managed plebiscite where his name was the ballot’s only option. The empire holds grudges. Ironically, Trump’s administration, with Israel, is provoking Iran now, and might even start a war, partially because, more than forty years ago, the Shi’ite revolutionary government overthrew their U.S.-installed dictator.

The air war in Yemen has designedly eviscerated this poorest Middle Eastern country, the Americans have overseen and underwritten bombings of hospitals, school busses, fishing boats, marketplaces, cholera treatment centers, farms, bridges, warehouses, food storage sites, water works, sewage facilities, roads, factories, etc.

Cholera, along with the coronavirus pandemic, has further devastated the country as a result of the strategic deprivation of the civilians there. Yemen has seen the greatest cholera epidemic in recorded history, with over 2 million cases and thousands of deaths.

In the waning days of his administration, Trump is not shutting down this moral catastrophe he has forever bylined. Experts agree, the U.S. has the power to end the war but Trump has refused to many times before. This is a president, after all, who infamously celebrated U.S.-Saudi arms sales with Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince and butcher of Yemen, in his oval office as a great boon for the weapons industry. No instead, his administration is working to designate the Houthis as a terrorist group, further thwarting the delivery of what little aid is able to get through the U.S./Saudi blockade and reach Houthi controlled areas. This measure is designed to prevent Biden from ending the war and further tighten the blockade strangling Yemen. He has also threatened to veto resolutions opposing new arms sales to the UAE including reaper drones, thousands of munitions, and F-35 fighter jets. Trump has previously used his veto powers to block bills that attempted to end the war, including War Powers resolutions. The UAE is allied with al Qaeda on the ground in Yemen, and have been for years, Trump can read about it in the Associated Press. In Yemen, there is little to no distinction between the Islamic State fighters and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This reminds one of Trump’s “bomb the shit” out of ISIS quote. He is, in effect, selling them weapons instead. In the end, Trump did not even have to veto the above efforts, tragically the Senate voted against all the endeavors to block the arms sales.

Trump’s foreign policy was brutal. The UN has said nearly a quarter of a million people have been killed in the treasonous Yemen genocide alone. His trademark sanctions, for instance, have killed more than one hundred thousand Venezuelans.

The president has let his base down. And his base encouraged this by rallying to his defense repeatedly, without ever pressuring him to follow through on his myriad unfulfilled “antiwar” promises. For one thing, maybe they could have used their power to force him to leave Syria, the war he ran most against in 2016. Instead, Trump illegally occupies the country with ground troops ostensibly to take Syria’s oil, further hobbling their recovery after the war.

The antiwar movement knows the hawks will not give up their wars and the loot of said wars easily. The powers that be understand their wars are growing unpopular and have learned to accept that, going forward, the usual, overt John McCain/Hillary Clinton style, across the board jingoism may not win elections. Trump is part of a larger pattern. In the last several years, we have seen a stream of “anti-establishment,” so called “outsiders” who market themselves as “antiwar” by comparison with the former, but who have their own hawkish foreign policies: Steve Bannon, Bernie Sanders, and Tulsi Gabbard to name a few. Furthermore, Ilhan Omar opposed Trump’s talk of withdrawals from Syria, saying it would empower, among others, Russia. Astoundingly, she even put her signature on an AIPAC circulated, anti-Iran letter. The letter supported an extension of the now lifted, imperialist, UN arms embargo.

The silver lining here is that that Trump has cynically, and for his own nefarious reasons, convinced his base that they are “antiwar.” Thus, he has substantially enlarged the already sizeable ranks of many on the broad right who consider themselves “antiwar.” Perhaps this can be exploited by non-interventionists and the antiwar movement during the coming Biden years. His base may have been too reluctant to call out Trump’s hypocrisy and mass murder. However, they should have no qualms full throatily opposing Biden and his trigger-happy cabinet, insisting they listen up and do what we say.

The American people have grown tired of trillion dollar, “endless wars” but they must cease being placated with mere rhetoric and persona. We must begin demanding, everywhere, that the US immediately get “out now.”

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