By Doug Bandow
Even New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is getting worried about America sliding into war with Russia. The problem is not the ends, which he shares with the Biden administration. Rather, it is the means.
Despite President Biden’s assurance that Washington would not send troops to Ukraine, US involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian war has steadily expanded. Officials from the president on down have been telling the world and, more importantly, Moscow that America is essentially using Ukraine as a weapon to fight the Russian Federation.
Observed an obviously disturbed Friedman: “Loose lips sink ships – and they also lay the groundwork for overreach in warfare, mission creep, a disconnect between ends and means and huge unintended consequences.” Such as war with Russia, perhaps with nuclear weapons.
Friedman is not alone in his fears. My church home group met shortly after Biden announced that his administration was going all into the war with $33 billion in aid to Ukraine. Most of that will be lethal. The attendees, largely politically conservative and strongly patriotic, some with military backgrounds, generally opposed the president’s plan. Why are we getting so deeply involved, they wondered? They understood that the more Washington did and Washington officials said, the greater the tensions with Russia. They believed Biden’s actions contradicted his promises of military noninvolvement.
Then I watched a webinar on Biden’s fitness and the potential of removing him from office. The host and participants were all right-leaning, a couple extremely so, and none were friends of Moscow. However, they generally agreed that one of the most important reasons to force Biden from office was his administration’s increasingly irresponsible stance toward Russia.
For instance, they noted, saying that Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power and should be put on trial for war crimes was playing with fire. Shifting the administration’s objective from defending Ukraine to defeating Russia made full-scale war increasingly possible.
Coming through these views is a basic common sense lacking in Washington’s War Party. The American people, in contrast to those who make US foreign policy, understand that the worst outcome of the Russo-Ukraine war is not a loss by Kyiv, but entry by Washington, with horrors that could only be imagined.
How to think about the ongoing conflict?
- Ukraine deserves America’s sympathy, not America’s defense. There is no vital interest at stake that warrants the US going to war. Nor does Moscow’s botched campaign indicate that such a battle would be easy. Russians would fight better for their nation if attacked by Washington than when attacking Ukraine. Moreover, as the weaker power Russia likely would turn to tactical nuclear weapons as an equalizer. Having escaped the Cold War without triggering another catastrophic global conflict, Washington should step extra carefully now.
- Europe should take the lead in providing aid to Ukraine. US peace activists across the spectrum disagree on the appropriateness of military assistance. However, all agree that Washington’s involvement has become increasingly risky. Surely any role should be carefully limited and calibrated, while emphasizing the goal of ending the conflict. Ostentatiously shipping weapons of war, celebrating involvement in sinking Russian ships and killing Russian generals, and proclaiming plans to weaken Moscow are reckless acts, inviting retaliation and war. Congress was demanding blood over the fake news story of Russian payments to the Taliban for killing US personnel. Imagine the reaction of Russians, people as well as officials, to the real news of American participation in killing Russian personnel.
- Washington should be working to end the war. Moscow’s brutal invasion was murderous, unjustified aggression. It should fail. However, the imperative is to end the conflict. Ukraine, the battleground, is suffering grievously, with thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, multiple cities wrecked, and an economy in collapse. It is up to Kyiv to decide its future, but the allies should indicate their support for a negotiated settlement. The longer the conflict continues, the greater the chance that the fighting will spread, with catastrophic consequences. Any war is dangerous. One in which some combatants and potential entrants have nuclear weapons is far worse.
- Europe requires a new security order. It should begin with the Europeans taking over their own defense. They appear vulnerable to Russian threats only because they have spent nearly eight decades cheap riding on the US. It is difficult to blame them, since Washington allowed them to get away with their irresponsible behavior. However, there no longer is any reason for America to risk a nuclear confrontation with Moscow because the Europeans prefer to fund generous welfare states than robust military establishments. In fact, Vladimir Putin has never indicated much interest in invading Europe and the performance of his military in Ukraine suggests that continental conquest is beyond his means. It is time for burden-shifting, not burden-sharing, in Europe.
- The US and its allies should seek a long-term outcome that avoids a new Cold War. Treating Russia like a very large and much better armed North Korea would make for a more dangerous world. A policy of permanent hostility and isolation would fuel continuing conflict. And new global divisions would not be as simple as the West might desire. Even today Moscow is isolated from America and Europe, not the world. The most populous nations – including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, and Bangladesh – and most of the Global South have remained aloof from the allied campaign against Russia. They are even less likely to back a permanent cordon sanitaire.
- The American people should insist that the War Party become the Peace Party. The Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine. However, Western policy was dishonest, foolish, and reckless, ignoring Moscow’s security concerns and daring Vladimir Putin to respond. Indeed, Washington policymakers would never have tolerated similar conduct by the Russians in the Western hemisphere. Yet as was said of the Bourbons who once ruled France, America’s neoconservatives and other hawks have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Without a sharp break in policy, Americans will find themselves again at war for nothing, other than a vain desire to dominate the earth.
US policymakers may be glorying in Russia’s distress in Ukraine. For having started a war of conquest, Moscow should lose. However, Washington’s conduct risks broadening and intensifying the conduct, which would put Europe and America at risk.
Instead of talking about victory, the Biden administration should promote peace. Ukraine is being ravaged. Europe would be the immediate target if the conflict spreads. And America’s homeland would be the final target if a US-Russian military confrontation spiraled out of control. Nothing involved in today’s conflict is worth taking these kinds of risks.
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.
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“Moscow’s brutal invasion was murderous, unjustified aggression.” The deffinition of it in american mouth shows that it don´t mean the same in all the countrys. None of the russian war´s get near the destruction left by american one´s.
” as the weaker power Russia likely would turn to tactical nuclear weapons as an equalizer” In what is Russia weaker than the U.S? Economicaly? That didn´t counted when fighting Vietname, Iraq, Hamas, or even the berefoots in Afghanistan, let alone the most powerfull military country.
L. Paul Bremer III | Head of US counter terrorism in 1995- 1999. He is the one person in the world, that knows the 911 Planned Demolitions, for never ending wars. He left his GOV Job and leaded, Marsh & McLennan Companies in both towers. He FIREPRPROOFED BOTH TOWER I & II FLOORS. Remarkably that is where the explosions took place. Supposedly he was the only survivor of 1700 in the towers. He misses his ride to work and showed up at CNN and named Osama Bin Laden as the a likely suspect. Bush later name Bremer as L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer served as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004. Who can make him sing.
“Globalists of all countries have united” and are building a World state. Globalism is the main enemy of the American, Russian, Ukrainian and all other peoples of the world. And we don’t want a war. We know how devastating it can be. Especially during 1941-1945.
Agreed. We have a common enemy, which is the Globalists.
USA does not want direct war with Russia, but they love a proxy war. Everything to get the Russians angry. They have been doing that for decades already. Most of American intelligence whether Foreign policy whether CIA has a large pack of German or Eastern European zealots in it. Take a guy like Brzezinski, who started to invest in Afghan fundamentalist rebels against the then communist government. All to lure Russia into Afghanistan.
We have seen the outcome. Afghan warlords fight for who pays best. So Al Qaida, IS and Taliban was born and funded by the USA.
Article is written by a person clueless about the military reality on the ground on Ukraine. The Russians are doing to the Ukrainian AFU what the Afghan rebels did to the American military, except on steroids. And the Russians are actually sorry that they are forced to annihilate Ukrainian conscripts who don’t want to be forced into this slaughter. Anyway, no amount of fantasyland will cover up the results a year from now. Furthermore it looks to me like the Russians are prepared to go all the way to Washington if Rothschild and his demented lapdog push it that far. Hint about what this is all about, multipolar world or no world at all.
You speak the truth, man!
America does NOT go to war because it makes sense. We are driven into our wars by the same dark cabal that brought us 9/11. That was the most horrific attack on the USA since WWII. The rational behind the so-called War on Terror was the narrative that emerged within hours of the attacks, that 19 Arabs armed with boxcutters hijacked the planes the brought down the Twin Towers. The official narrative was total BS and we’ve known that for over two decades now.
It’s hardly “mission creep” when our true motives for fighting wars are secret to begin with. Tom Friedman is hardly the person to be pointing fingers at Biden since he and the illustrious New York Times were instrumental in disseminating the false narrative of 9/11 twenty years ago. We are being forced into a catastrophic war with Russia in much the same way.
Tommy please have your focus on where the money is. It’s all about the money.
Friedman knew that the Arab banana republics are easy targets to make the MIC rich. Cakewalk. He just didn’t think that it would get this far with Russia. Most Likudniks were wrong about their Putin reading.
They only go as far as making the maximum shekels without getting Israel hurt. That’s why Iran has not been hit. Otherwise Iran according to that stupid Trump is what was going to make America great again.
Deep deep into Q-Anon ideology there is an anti Iran hatred that never comes to the surface.
Let me ask you this, Newt, how many Americans thought invading Afghanistan was a good idea in August of 2001? By the end of Semptember fully 80% of Americans and all but one lonely Congress Critter were all for it. The so-called War on Terror has bankrupted the USA both monetarily and morally.
Looks like a false-flag attack blamed on Russia will do the same thing in 2022. May Heaven preserve the crew of the carrier USS Sitting Duck as it descends beneath the waves.
Tommy i have to insist on you focusing on what Ike said on Jan 17th 1961.
Tans to answer your question of how many Americans thought invading Afghanistan was a good idea, definitely over 60 million. That’s just to start and that’s the estimated people who get their paychecks from the DOD. They estimate that number to be all deployed personnel and vets and their families. Vets against the war are in the minority.
Everyone in Afghanistan says that if only 1% of what was intended for “nation building” of their country by NATO had actually made it to its destination, the place would have been a heaven.
Not only the contractors made several trillion dollars in shekel intended to rebuild Afghanistan but after the pullout the US decided to use the remaining Afghan central bank’s assets to compensate the victims of 911.
Time to refocus buddy.
“Americans thought invading Afghanistan was a good idea, definitely over 60 million.” I end yslkinh about SUGUST of 2001, BEFORE 9/11, Newt. 60%? You have to be joking!
No one said anything about percentage. I have read somewhere that it is estimated that the entire MIC is about 60 million people.
You are losing your focus again Tommy. It’s not about the number of people who benefited from wars since 9/11, it’s about the money where between one-third and half of the nearly $14 trillion the Pentagon has spent since then that went to for-profit defense contractors.
It doesn’t matter what people want. The system of MIC with its whatever you estimate their numbers are decide for the country and it’s immune from politics.
I can only hope the Ukranians figure out they are being used as cannon fodder for the UK/US world dominance cabal. The cabal will forget about Ukraine as soon as they can start a fire somewhere else. Will the Ukrainian military “grow a pair” and stop the sacrifice of a generation? Don’t bet on it! Cargo planes stuffed with pallets of “Benjamins” are as powerful as any proposed military aid.
Bingo, Jimmy. Zelensky will fly to Miami Beach, and the rest of the ukranian chumps that aren’t dead will be flushed down the drain. I think we’ve seen this movie before. And so has Putin.
Nobody wants war, not even American. But, American public don’t make the decision no-more. All wars are make and planned by the elite that controls the USA administration, be it Democrat or Republican.
Lol … Friedman … With him it’s always been about them $$$hekels. Be it Israel or Saudi Wahhabia where they dump billions of $$hekels in arms, for him its always about $$$.
“Ukraine deserves America’s sympathy” $$$hekels shekels …
“Europe should take the lead in providing aid to Ukraine” $$$hekels shekels .. I’ll never forget Sarkozy.
Friedman is feeling the weight of Putin’s cojones on his face … the despicable Likudnik never imagined that the rest of the world is not bluffing.
By the way Erbil which is where Likud is getting bombed by IRGC right now, is “between ´Iraq’ and a hard place” lol …
For those of you with a sense of humor and proficiency in French language this is the equivalent of The Muppet Show in France and that’s what Sarkozy was doing in France with his immigration policy when at the same time he was imposing harsh banking sanctions on Iran after taking his orders from Cheney in Crawford:
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