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Lurching to War - Octber 15 issue of Connexions Other Voices now available
October 16, 2016The October 15, 2016 issue of Other Voices, the Connexions newsletter, is now out.
The theme of this issue is Lurching to War.
There was a moment, after the long nightmare of the Cold War ended a quarter of a century ago, when it seemed as if the danger of war had finally diminished. To be sure, there has never been a moment in all those years when wars werent raging somewhere, but at least the possibility of nuclear war, we hoped, was less.
Foolish optimism. The risk of nuclear war is as great now as it was at the height of the Cold War. From the time the Warsaw Pact dissolved itself and the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States has single-mindedly pursued a hyper-aggressive strategy of surrounding Russia with hostile military forces and missiles aimed at the Russian heartland. The long-term goal is to bring about the collapse and dismemberment of the Russian federation, with the pieces that emerge subsequently turned into U.S. client states that provide raw materials but dont compete with American corporations or Americas military. In a parallel strategy (the pivot to Asia) the U.S. is making increasingly threatening military moves off the coast of China.
Those who thought that the collapse of the nominally socialist Soviet Union, and the transformation of China into a capitalist powerhouse, would mean an end of American hostility to those two communist countries, failed to recognize that what the U.S. seeks is world dominance. It doesnt want capitalist competitors; it wants capitalist client states. Russia and China stand in the way of the U.S. agenda because, even though they cant match U.S. military or economic power, they are strong enough to assert their independence. They are therefore seen as increasing threats as they pursue projects, such as major railway and pipeline projects, which would be outside U.S. control. Capitalism hates competition, and the U.S., the worlds dominant capitalist power, has never tolerated competitors, rivals, or leaders who dare to put their own country ahead of U.S. interests. If small countries like Grenada, El Salvador, and Nicaragua have to be crushed if they act independently, then, from the point of view of the U.S. elites, Russia and China are much greater threats to American hegemony which cannot be tolerated.
One of the driving forces underlying U.S. aggression and militarism has always been the military-industrial complex, arguably the most important sector of the U.S. economy. There are enormous profits to be made in supplying weapons and military systems, and therefore in inventing threats and stoking conflicts. The economies of many of the NATO states are highly integrated into this militarized economic system, making their elites willing accomplices in U.S. militarism.
Perhaps the most dangerous element in this picture is the fact that the American ruling elite is so used to getting its own way, domestically and internationally, that they have become increasingly oblivious to the dangers of what they are doing. Voices of sanity within the elite are increasingly marginalized by those are prepared to risk, and even plan for, all-out war. The ominous parallels to the outbreak of World War I a century ago are all to apparent.
In a long list of irresponsible actions, perhaps the most appalling are the actions the U.S. has been taking in relation to nuclear weapons. They have officially announced that they no longer adhere to the no first strike pledge that both Russia and the U.S. made during the Cold War. Now the U.S. says that it might (again) use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. The Russians and the Chinese, who well remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are undoubtedly taking this aggressive posture into account in their own contingency planning.
As if this werent enough, the U.S. is also looking a developing mini nuclear weapons, an act of madness that makes sense only if you intend to use them. And now the U.S. is starting to deploy anti-missile systems right on the Russian border. The sole use of such system would be to prevent retaliation after an American first strike. It is equivalent to declaring an intent to attack Russia when it judges the time is ripe. Inevitably this will force the Russians to be on higher alert, increasing the risk that a provocation will turn into an all-out war.
In this issue, we take a close look at the risks we face as we lurch ever closer to war. We especially look at the role of the mainstream media in manufacturing justifications for war.
The October 15 issue is online at http://www.connexions.org/Media/CXNL-2016-10-15.htm. You can receive Other Voices by email, free, by signing up via the contact form. To see past issues, go to
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