Over Whether to Go to War Against Russia
Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
On January 23rd, Joe Biden virtually threw his hat into the 2020 U.S. Presidential contest, by producing for the neoconservative-neoliberal Council on Foreign Relations, a speech, and an accompanying article in their influential journal Foreign Affairs, titled, “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy Against Its Enemies”. He made clear that no one in American politics is going to stand to Biden’s right on international affairs and the military, when (or “if,” if one still doubts that) he will enter the 2020 U.S. Presidential contest formally. He’s already making the matter clear right now. He says in their journal:
“Given Russia’s aggression in Georgia and Ukraine, NATO must continue to forward-deploy troops and military capabilities to eastern Europe to deter and, if necessary, defeat a Russian attack against one of the alliance’s member states. But the threat of unconventional and nonmilitary coercion now looms larger than ever. More than a decade has passed since Estonia became the first NATO country to see its government institutions and media organizations attacked by hackers based in Russia. In the intervening period, the risk of a far more debilitating attack has increased, but planning for how to defend against it has lagged. One step NATO members can take would be to broaden the responsibility for such planning beyond their militaries and defense ministries. The EU and the private sector need to be part of such efforts, so that Russian strikes on infrastructure can be isolated and backup systems can be put in place.”
He writes and speaks as if Russia and its allies were surrounding NATO, instead of America and its allies surrounding Russia — as if the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact had continued beyond 1991, and America and its NATO alliance had broken up and ended in 1991. Of course, that’s the exact opposite of the reality.
If Russia were massing its troops and weaponry on America’s borders, Americans would have good reason to hate Russians, but instead America and its allies are massing weapons and troops on Russia’s borders, and they not only aren’t apologizing for it, but they even have the gall to call Russia the aggressor. The U.S. would be terrified if Russia did to America what America is doing to Russia. Biden’s article says, “The United States and its allies must improve their ability to deter Russian military aggression.” What?
America’s not already military enough? (True, “Americans Support Military-Industrial Complex Above All Else”; and, “The military” is, itself, respected by Americans above any other institution — including, the government, the press, or any church, or anything else — but hasn’t this militarism on the part of the American people now gotten out of hand? Certainly, the world seems to think so.) The U.S. spends at least a trillion dollars annually on ‘defense’; and, even if one strips out of that, like SIPRI does in their calculations (which are designed to low-ball America’s military expenditures), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Energy Department (whose spending is 65% for military — nuclear weapons etc.), and NASA, CIA, etc., it’s still — just for the ‘Defense’ Department — $611 billion according to SIPRI, and America’s allies add to that (and SIPRI doesn’t low-ball them), Saudi Arabia’s $64 billion, and France’s $56 billion, and UK’s $48 billion, and Japan’s $46 billion, and Germany’s $41 billion, and South Korea’s $37 billion, and (here going beyond the world’s ten largest) Italy’s $28B, Australia’s $24B, UAE’s $23B, Israel’s $18B, and Canada’s $15B — then the total would still be $1,011 billion, over a trillion dollars, using SIPRI’s numbers, and this would be competing up against China’s $216 billion, and Russia’s $69 billion (both of which also are not low-balled), or $285 billion total, versus the U.S. group’s $1,011 billion (using SIPRI’s low-balled $611B figure for the U.S.). So, the U.S. alone spends already around ten times what Russia alone spends on its military, and the real figure for the U.S. — especially if its allies are included — is far higher, but Joe Biden and the other salespeople for Lockheed Martin etc., say, “The United States and its allies must improve their ability to deter Russian military aggression.”
That’s why, this year, U.S. federal spending is rising 8% for the military, and going down sharply for everything else (since destroying Russia takes precedence, as displayed in these figures), as follows:
-29% State Dept.
-21% Ag. Dept.
+6% Veterans Affairs
+7% Homeland Security
Biden wants to top that? Apparently.
Biden describes Russia as “corrupt” 16 times, as using “aggression” 2 times, as “kleptocratic” 2 times, as “weak” 1 time, and as having the goal “to weaken and divide Western democracies internally” 1 time. He says, “Russia’s leaders have built a Potemkin democracy in which democratic form masks authoritarian content.” But he wants the public to believe that he’s no kleptocrat himself. Maybe he wants the public to believe that only his son is, who got a sweetheart Ukrainian board-membership as soon as Obama’s 2014 coup in Ukraine installed fascist Ukrainian leaders who promptly appointed, to be a powerful local governor, a certain billionaire who had hired Biden’s son Hunter Biden not only as a board member to his gas company but with shares that were thought to be potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Biden (the father) says that “After the Cold War, Western democracy became the model of choice for postcommunist countries in central and eastern Europe. Guided by the enlightened hands of NATO and the EU, many of those countries boldly embarked on the transition from dictatorship to democracy.” NATO and those other ‘enlightened hands’ also helped Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and so many other countries that they invaded (or else overthrew by coup), and now the EU is getting the spin-off ‘benefit’ of millions of refugees from American (and U.S.-financed, such as in Ukraine) bombing, who help to create lots of competition in the European labor-markets, especially in low-end jobs where the native workers who don’t have the connections that upper-class ones do and which connections enabled upper-class workers to obtain their upper-class jobs, will now have harder times than ever to find work, because these native workers will now be competing against all those newcomers, who don’t even speak the local language, much less have such local connections, and so will will be even more desperate (and thus accept even lower wages and worse working-conditions) than those struggling natives, whose conditions will become even worse than before.
America drops the bombs (good, American-made bombs, of course, paid for with generous American taxpayers’ dollars — not with American kleptocrats’ profits), and Europe gets the far end of the human debris, with all these newcomers who arrive in Europe penniless because America (sometimes with help from other ‘democratic’ countries) has destroyed their homes, and killed so many of their relatives, and made these millions of people so desperate, that they’ll take any job they can get, after their social-services from European governments run out, which are paid for by European taxpayers, including those low-wage European natives, who are already suffering.
Of course, Hunter Biden knows the benefits that well-connected people such as he have, and so maybe he’ll be able to be commissioned to advise European governments on how to teach those ‘skills’, to the millions of destitute immigrants that Europe now has.
Even the neoconservative-neoliberal The Atlantic magazine expressed concern about Hunter’s new-found board seat, when it noted, on 7 June 2014, that, “Beltway ethicists seem to be mixed about whether this arrangement is kosher or not. What is clear is that relatives of high-level American political figures have benefited from their ties for generations now. It’s practically a tradition at this point.” But wasn’t it supposed to be only Russia that’s a ‘kleptocracy’? Should one kleptocracy criticize another (if that’s what Russia is — but I’m an American, and I know that this country is)?
Joe Biden’s Foreign Affairs article says, “By attacking the West, the Kremlin shifts attention away from corruption and economic malaise at home, activates nationalist passions to stifle internal dissent, and keeps Western democracies on the defensive and preoccupied with internal divisions.” He asserts that “To safeguard its kleptocratic system, the Kremlin has decided to take the fight beyond Russia’s borders to attack what it perceives as the greatest external threat to its survival: Western democracy.” Biden is militant about protecting such ‘Western democracy.’ He writes:
“To fight back, the United States must lead its democratic allies and partners in increasing their resilience, expanding their capabilities to defend against Russian subversion, and rooting out the Kremlin’s networks of malign influence. The United States has the capacity to counter this assault and emerge stronger, provided that Washington demonstrates the political will to confront the threat. However, since the Trump administration has shown that it does not take the Russian threat seriously, the responsibility for protecting Western democracy will rest more than ever on Congress, the private sector, civil society, and ordinary Americans.”
“In contrast to the Soviet Union, however, contemporary Russia offers no clear ideological alternative to Western democracy. Russia’s leaders invoke nationalist, populist, and statist slogans or themes, but the Kremlin’s propaganda machine shies away from directly challenging the core precepts of Western democracy: competitive elections, accountability for those in power, constitutionally guaranteed rights, and the rule of law. Instead, the Kremlin carefully cultivates a democratic façade, paying lip service to those principles even as it subverts them.”
When the Obama Administration brought their ‘Western democracy: competitive elections, accountability for those in power, constitutionally guaranteed rights, and the rule of law’ to Ukraine, which already had a democratically elected President whom Obama then ousted and whom Obama had actually been preparing ever since 2011 to overthrow, all that Ukrainians got, from America’s coup, was soaring misery, and also a civil war in which the far-eastern region (Donbass), which had voted over 90% for the ousted President and refused to accept the U.S.-installed junta, were subjected to a bombing campaign by the U.S.-installed Government in order to eliminate those voters from the rolls so as to be able to stay in power beyond the first post-coup election.
Joe Biden is a great champion of American ‘democracy’, and he wants to help the entire world, like he and his boss had helped Ukraine.
In his article’s close, he says:
“What if these recommendations are ignored? The White House seems unlikely to act. Too many times, President Donald Trump has equivocated on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, even after he received briefings from top intelligence officials on precisely how Moscow did it. After meeting privately with Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam last November, Trump told reporters that Putin “said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.” Pressed about whether he accepted Putin’s denials, Trump replied: “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.” Trump has made a habit of lavishing praise on Putin and even reportedly sought to lift sanctions against Russia shortly after his inauguration. We are not questioning Trump’s motives, but his behavior forces us to question his judgment.
If this administration cannot or will not stand up to Russia, other democratic institutions, including Congress and civil society organizations, must mobilize. A starting point would be the creation of an independent, nonpartisan commission to examine Russia’s assault on American democracy, establish a common understanding of the scope and complexity of the Russian threat, and identify the tools required to combat it. The 9/11 Commission allowed the United States to come to terms with and address the vulnerabilities that made al Qaeda’s attacks possible. Today, Americans need a thorough, detailed inquest into how Russia’s strike on their democratic institutions was carried out and how another one might be prevented.
In the absence of an independent commission with a broad mandate, the United States will be left with only the relatively narrow investigations led by the special counsel Robert Mueller, the congressional intelligence committees, and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The good news is that Congress has already demonstrated its clear understanding of the Russian threat: in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, it passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by a margin of 419 to 3 in the House of Representatives and by 98 to 2 in the Senate.”
Biden has there laid down the gauntlet against the few Democrats in the U.S. Government who were opposed to that bill, including the 3 in the House and 2 in the Senate. (So, it passed 98-2 in the Senate, and 419-3 in the House). One of the few “Nay” votes on it happened to be by America’s most high-favorability-rated politician, Senator Bernie Sanders, from whom the Democratic Party’s 2016 Presidential nomination was stolen — and quite clearly stolen — by the Democratic National Committee, even though Sanders always performed vastly better than Hillary Clinton did in polled matchups against Trump or any other Republican. The dozens of billionaires who control the national Democratic Party thus were far more concerned to avoid having a Democratic President whom they might not be able to control, than they were to avoid having a Republican President (whom Republican billionaires always control) — for billionaires, class means even more than Party does. Democratic Party billionaires overwhelmingly prefer a Republican over any honest Democrat. Recent U.S. history shows it. That’s why Sanders could rely only upon a “movement,” not really upon either existing Party.
However, even Sanders said (perhaps sincerely) that the reason why he had voted against the bill was that it also includes sanctions against Iran, and would therefore ease the way for Trump to renege on the deal that Obama had reached with Iran to suspend Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of U.S. sanctions. Sanders tweeted: “I am strongly supportive of sanctions on Russia and North Korea. However, I worry very much about President Trump’s approach to Iran. Following Trump’s comments that he won’t re-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement I worry new sanctions could endanger it.”
So, the high likelihood is that whomever the next U.S. President will be, will be continuing the lie that the overthrow of Yanukovych in Ukraine was a ‘revolution’ instead of a U.S. coup; and, so, the economic sanctions against Russia, and the massing of NATO troops and weapons on and near Russia’s borders — both of which are ‘justified’ by the 20 February 2014 Ukrainian overthrow’s having been a ‘democratic revolution’ instead of “a U.S. coup” — will almost certainly continue, until a hot war against Russia results. The domestic U.S. political divisions exclude any division over the allegations that have been and are leading (since February 2014) to World War III — the U.S. political system is virtually unanimously in favor of those clearly false allegations.
Consequently, within the Democratic Party, the ‘war’, if any, is between the vicious lie, which is blatantly psychopathic, versus the incomprehensible lie, which might simply be shockingly misinformed. But it’s the same lie, in either case. The Democratic Party is virtually united, on that lie. (And, of course, the Republican Party, likewise, is virtually united the same, regarding this same lie.)
America and its allies have been nonstop in a Cold War, supposedly against communism, but which after the end of communism in 1991 has become revealed actually to have been against Russia, even without its communism; and now it’s heading toward a hot war, because of all those ‘historical’ lies, which still are not being faced and ’fessed-to, they’ve simply accumulated as fake ‘history’, and could soon reach critical mass. For example, perhaps the most-highly-honored U.S. ‘journalist’ and ‘historian’ on national-security issues, is Thomas E. Ricks, of the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, and other ‘non-partisan’ but actually neoconservative newsmedia; and he’s best known for his book and articles and interviews obsessing that the 2003 invasion of Iraq (to oust the Moscow-friendly Saddam Hussein) was a “Fiasco” because it was done incompetently — not because it was based upon lies, which Ricks and all other prominent ‘journalists’ failed to call to the public’s attention before the invasion on the basis of lies; and so they’re partly responsible for that invasion on the basis of lies — which they hid at the time and some of which lies they still haven’t reported; they still hide. Ricks has even carried his neoconservatism to such a point as to praise in one article General James Mattis, General H.R. McMaster, and Eliot Cohen — three of Washington’s top neoconservatives — and to criticize the neoconservative but more cautiously so, President Barack Obama, for having fired Mattis in 2013. America honors liars and hiders of lies. And what’s at issue now is the mega-lie, which still is being hidden from the American public.
The conclusion seems inescapable, therefore, that unless and until the mega-lie, that the overthrow of Yanukovych was a ‘revolution’ instead of a “coup,” becomes publicy acknowledged by the U.S. Government to be a lie, the march toward World War III will continue forward, on a straight line to nuclear oblivion, because the mega-lie is the foundation for ‘the restoration of the Cold War’, and the only way to stop this ‘restoration’ from metasticizing into the hot war that will end everybody, is to end the mega-lie upon which it’s based, and to do it soon enough.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was clearly based upon lies, but this war won’t be like getting rid of Saddam Hussein was in 2003. It will be unimaginably worse than that horror. And the only way to end the marching toward that great cliff, is to end the mega-lie, upon which it’s based. The U.S. regime must “fess-up,” and apologize to Russia (and to the American people, and to the entire world), for this enormously dangerous fraud.
Biden is heading in exactly the opposite direction — he wants to capitalize on the fraud.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.