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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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 cornerregularly 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 friendsdesire 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.
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
American imperial policy has sharply trained its sights on Russia and China. Under President Joe Biden, sanctions have been leviedagainst 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 positionagainst the U.S. backed canned hunt.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
…[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvMoJE7pxh4 Join Dr. Ron Paul and Tom Woods, plus very special guest Glenn Greenwald in Texas for an event you won't want to miss! Ron Paul's two campaigns for president (2008 and 2012) were watershed moments for liberty-minded people...
We don’t need “the global village”; we need a “globe of villages”. And when I say need here I don’t mean it in an ethical, or moral, or aesthetic sense. I mean it in the most practical sense: in order to survive we must re-localize. The global village idea is a...
From their state most people demand – at least – protection of life, liberty and property. In exchange, they are willing to pay for it. So why not put the relationship between citizen and state on a purely contractual basis? Such a Citizen Contract would offer much...
Jon Schwarz wrote an article for the Intercept last month that stirred up quite a buzz. In the piece, Schwarz makes the argument that, because it’s hurting creditors and shrinking the real value of debt, inflation should be viewed as good news for most people. Scott...
Scott was joined by Gilbert Doctorow on Antiwar Radio Sunday to talk about Russia and Ukraine. The recent Russian build-up of forces on its border with Ukraine’s Donbas Region has been highly publicized in American media, but the greater context has been all but...
Scott is joined by journalist and primary source documentarian Ford Fischer to discuss the recently released footage of Johnny Hurley’s death at the hands of an Arvada police officer. Fischer made a short documentary about the tragedy shortly after it occurred this...
Scott interviews Patricia Hynes about a piece she wrote back in 2017 highlighting the devastation caused by burn pits on American military bases over the last thirty years. Scott wanted to discuss this now because the Federal Government has finally started looking for...
87 Minutes PG-13 Scott and Pete livestreamed episode 7 of their new podcast, The End of the Empire. Dave Smith joined for the second half to discuss Omicron and whether he believes this tyranny will continue, or switch focuses. Sponsors Soho Forum Discover 2022 THC...
90 Minutes PG-13 Stephen Carson is the host of the Radical Liberation channel on YouTube Pete asked Stephen to come on after seeing a discussion he was having about Democracy vs. Monarchy to talk about classical liberalism, democracy, monarchy and the eventual...
79 Minutes PG-13 L.B. Muniz is the proprietor of BeenAwakedotcom and the author of the article "The Post-Libertarian Moment" L.B. joins Pete to talk a little about his article "The Post-Libertarian Moment" but mostly to talk about how people who adopt an ideology have...
58 Minutes Some Strong Language Aaron is one of the hosts of the Timeline Earth podcast. Aaron and Pete complete their series reading the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski's, Manifesto, "Industrial Society and Its Future" while commenting on it. Soho Forum Discover 2022 THC...
Scott and Pete discuss the most recent guests on the Scott Horton Show, Gilbert Doctorow and the War Nerd podcast guys. They talk about Johnny Hurley who confronted a cop killer and then himself was killed by cops, and the Ukraine unrest with Russia. Antony Blinken...
Scott and Pete returned on Thursday for End of the Empire episode six. Pete gives an explanation of Evergrande, the Chinese real estate company that is just barely avoiding default thanks to the CCP. They then discuss Scott’s recent interview with geopolitical author...
Scott and Pete are back for episode 5 of End of the Empire. The two discuss the legacy of the great Will Grigg. Just about all of Will’s work can be found at the Libertarian Institute website and is absolutely worth checking out. Scott and Pete also have a lengthy...
Pete and Scott returned Thursday to record episode 4 of their new show End of the Empire. They discuss China, vaccine mandates, anti-mandate mandates and libertarian strategy. A recording of the live stream can be found on the Libertarian Institute’s Youtube Channel. ...
On COI #197, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The World Bank and UN are attempting to deliver aid to the Afghans. However, U.S. sanctions continue to prevent the aid from reaching suffering people. Back in Washington., Biden is...
On COI #196, Dave DeCamp - News Editor at Antiwar.com - returns to explain escalating tensions with Russia over Ukraine. In recent weeks the US has engaged in military drills along Russia’s western border while encouraging a Ukrainian military build-up. The result has...
On COI #195, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman discuss recent developments in the new Cold War with China as well as the resumed JCPOA talks in Vienna. Kyle details recent reports about how Taiwan, eyeing China, is building its own submarine fleet with assistance from...
On COI #194, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the growing tensions in Eastern Europe. The US is simulating nuclear war with Russia, conducting war games in Latvia, and deploying warships to the Black Sea. Meanwhile, Ukraine is engaging in military build-ups/drills on its...
https://youtu.be/SeDZ5YqEpaI Justifications, rationalizations, for butchery and mass murder have been served up by every State and cheerfully adopted by the over whelming majority of their citizens. Murray N. Rothbard, Ph.D., Left and Right, p. 449 Find Bird Archist...
https://youtu.be/nvzjyJuXqy0 It was Stalin who had invaded six western neighbors between 1939 and 1941, alarming the Germans and other neighbors who were afraid of being devoured next. The Soviet invasions of Finland and Romania had backfired spectacularly, as these...
https://youtu.be/C2Mys-HO54Q The only means to raise wage rates permanently for all those eager to earn wages is to raise the productivity of labor by increasing the per-head quota of capital invested and improving the methods of production. The better the tools are...
https://youtu.be/lDtN9wat_IE Ideology has always been vital to the continued existence of the State, as attested by the systematic use of ideology since the ancient Oriental empires. The specific content of the ideology has, of course, changed over time, in accordance...
https://youtu.be/QvMlgKvR0Bw Researcher Adam Fitzgerald joins me to discuss his recent video on Psychological Operations (Psyops) and mind control from MK Ultra to the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. We define Psyops, discuss who perpetrates them and how, and give examples....
https://youtu.be/5AhHXy2aZZU This week, I invited Monica Perez and Brad Binkley on to discuss one of their Rokfin deep dive episodes. We address several topics including DARPA brain mapping, conditioning soldiers to kill with implants, the future of warfare, and the...
https://youtu.be/WHI187hU8bY I've often heard it said that we are living through unprecedented times. History, however, provides a parallel for many of the events unfolding today. In this weeks episode, I brought on CD McRae to help us make sense of the Kyle...
https://youtu.be/h-QMxXAwRk8 Hunter DeRensis joins me to discuss his recent featured article at the American Conservative. This piece tells the little remembered story of a congressional inquest into war profiteering during the first World War. Hunter's piece also...
Reed joined me once again. This episode we stay awake and hav a lively discussion about supply chains, current events, and post libertarians. Reed Twitter Naturalist Capitalist Libertarian Institute 19 Skills Pdf Autonomy Course Critical Thinking Course Donate Patreon...
Legalman came back on the show to discuss the prosecutor’s malfeasance in the Rittenhouse trial. Legalman Twitter The Quash Libertarian Institute 19 Skills Pdf Autonomy Course Critical Thinking Course Donate Patreon RyanBunting.com
Michael Boldin of The Tenth Amendment Center joined me to discuss moving local communities in such a way that the local legislation nullifies federal powers and enforcement. Michael Boldin Twitter Tenth Amendment Center Libertarian Institute 19 Skills Pdf Autonomy...