Or to the last living thing on Earth
While expressing support for Ukrainian civilians living in a war zone, US leaders are openly saying they don’t want the war to end. They want to trap Russia in a “quagmire” to “bleed” Vladimir Putin until his regime collapses.
Historian Niall Ferguson wrote on Bloomberg.com in early March “The only end game now,” a senior administration official was heard to say earlier this month, “is the end of the Putin regime. Until then, all the time Putin stays, [Russia] will be a pariah state that will never be welcomed back into the community of nations.”
When and if Putin falls, the US hopes to replace him with a government friendlier to US corporate interests, who will sell off Russian natural resources — and who knows — maybe their nuclear weapons. What could possibly go wrong ?
This regime change goal is why there have been no serious peace negotiations. Last week, Ryan Grim of The Intercept asked Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki what the US was doing to promote negotiations. She replied,”We are Ukraine’s largest provider of military and humanitarian and economic assistance, to put them in a greater position of strength as they go into these negotiations.”
In other words, we’re helping Ukraine to keep fighting and civilians to keep dying, but not doing anything to stop the carnage. Biden has not talked with Putin, nor Secretary of State Blinken with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. They don’t want peace.
Using wars to bleed countries they don’t like is traditional American policy. Before US entered World War 2, then Senator Harry Truman said, “If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.”
I can’t even wrap my mind around that level of evil, but as Paul Atwood, author of War and Empire: the American Way of Life. writes on Counterpunch, the US has carried out this policy in Ukraine ever since WW2 ended.
“In the same year that NATO was formed,” he writes, “the Central Intelligence Agency trained Ukrainian anti-communists, some of whom had also been pro-Nazi collaborators, to use Ukrainians to bleed the Soviet Union, a gambit that demonstrated a cold ruthlessness on the part of the CIA, because the agency knew that the Ukrainian resistance had no hope of success without wider American military involvement.”
So, Atwood says, “America was in effect encouraging Ukrainians to go to their deaths.” CIA policy still encourages and arms extremist elements such as Ukrainian neo-Nazis, jihadists in the Muslim world and far-right militias in Latin America, because those groups are more likely to fight against governments and social movements the US doesn’t like. They literally tore apart the former Yugoslavia by exploiting historical conflicts and resentments to provoke separatist movements in places like Croatia and Kosovo. They inflamed anger between Shia and Sunni in Iraq to divide the resistance to US occupation, creating generations of jihadists on both sides, according to Moroccan journalist Zouad Muehkennet in her powerful book, “I Was Told To Come Alone.”
We’re still sending Ukrainians to their deaths and calling it solidarity. Former US Ambassador Chas Freeman says, “The US is fighting Russia “to the last Ukrainian.” This strategy is horrible for Ukraine, but could turn out far worse than one destroyed country. It could cause the end of higher life on Earth.
The nuclear option
For 50 years, US and Russian nuclear arsenals have grown far past the point where any sane person could consider using one. This policy was called “mutual assured destruction,” (MAD) the understanding that neither side could attack the other without being destroyed itself. MAD has prevented world war since the 1950s, although there have been constant proxy wars between client states, killing people in the global South.
Now US economic and proxy wars have forced Russia into a corner and Putin has responded by putting his nuclear forces on “high alert.” War hawks in Western governments and media are calling for a “No-fly zone,” which means sending US planes to keep Russian planes out of Ukrainian air space. What would happen when one of these planes gets shot down?
In such tension, even the slightest miscalculation could start a nuclear exchange that could kill everyone. Nuclear explosions and resulting fires could loft large amounts of dirt into the high stratosphere, where it could block sunlight for several years, a calamity called nuclear winter. Crops wouldn’t grow; everyone would go hungry.
Of course, nuclear winter theory cannot be tested, and some Western pundits are saying it wouldn’t be so bad. But on top of the hundreds of millions who would die in the war itself, the radioactive fallout killing for centuries to come, and the destruction of most necessary infrastructure, sane people consider the nuclear option an unthinkable risk.
But our rulers can apparently consider that risk. Putin seems to feels he has to risk it, and Biden and NATO apparently are willing to push him and see what happens. Otherwise, why would they pursue an all-out economic and propaganda war against Russia? Maybe they have bunkers that can last out a few years underground after a nuke war. Most of us don’t.
War against the Earth
Even if it doesn’t go nuclear, war kills millions. The huge arms shipments to Ukraine could be or are already being diverted to right-wing militias and organized crime around Europe. We will likely see long term mid level violence throughout the West because of this war, as we have seen in Pakistan and Afghanistan when they were flooded with weapons. We already have economic disruption and infrastructure destruction diminishing health and survival in Ukraine and in Russia.
All wars make environmental problems worse. In previous wars, the US military has used depleted uranium (DU).shells that have turned areas of Iraq, Serbia, and who-knows-where-else into radioactive wastelands.
Even when not at war, the US military is the world’s biggest polluter and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Over 140 present and former US bases, perhaps as many as 600 are superfund sites because they are so polluted. Other countries’ militaries, including Russia’s aren’t much better, although they are much smaller than the American version.
Aside from direct pollution and blowing things up, war makes it impossible to confront climate change and other environmental crises. President Biden’s proposed 2023 budget would spend 18 times more on the military than on environmental issues. A visiting alien or an AI computer (or most of the world’s 8 billion people) might ask ‘Don’t you people have anything better to do? Your temperatures are rising; your forests are disappearing; animals and plants are going extinct; farmland is turning to deserts. Why aren’t you working on that?’
Other questions: How can people collaborate on healing Earth when they are at war with each other? Which is more important, that our grandchildren survive, or that military industry profit margins increase?
It looks as though leaders like Biden and Putin, and all their oligarch billionaires in finance, tech, arms, drugs, and energy industries would go for the profits. But the world’s people and animals disagree.
We don’t have time for this crap
Imagine if our leaders made a worldwide commitment to restoring the Earth, instead of dominating it. This might seem impossible, but wouldn’t it just be a change in attitude? There’s nothing hardwired about endless militarism and war or about seeking power and wealth. They’re just habits society has adopted because it makes some people very rich. We could stop.
The time to stop is now, and the place to stop is Ukraine. As Australian journalist Caitlin Johnstone writes, “Our civilization is like a patient wasting away as cancer spreads throughout our body. And the US empire is the tumor… The empire will happily feed every man, woman and child in Ukraine into the mouth of this war if it means unseating a disobedient leader from a nuclear-armed seat of power, which has become intolerably comfortable with intervening against US imperial agendas.”
“All the Ukrainian-flag-waving westerners,” she says, “with their #StandWithUkraine Instagram activism and blue and yellow profile pics will cheer for [regime change] every step of the way.” This war hysteria is what we have to stop.
We need to make peace the baseline of communication, not Russia-bashing. We need to bravely speak out and stand up against the world conflict narratives being pushed down our throats. This is not time to keep quiet. Tell people
● No more sanctions.
● No more arms shipments.
● Immediate peace negotiations with US pressure for settlement, not against it.
● Guarantee Ukraine’s territory and Russia’s safety.
● Full attention to healing Earth, not dominating it.
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