The Drums of War Thunder Across America – And the World

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The Conversation’s experts were watching the debate with an eye across the candidates’ performances and the key policy areas. Their responses follow.

The U.S. government beats the drums of war, the mainstream media picks up the sound and amplifies it across America;  the war-weary American people hear the drums and think, “Oh, no, not again”; while people around the world shudder at the thought of what might happen next.

In many cases when an egregious miscalculation is made, the individual or entity that made it learns a painful lesson and vows never to make that same mistake again. Not so with the U.S. government that, quite apparently, does not have the capacity to learn from its mistakes and is prone to make them again and again and again.

Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, all military debacles, should have taught this government two very important lessons: the first, that you should never use military power to invade and occupy a nation that poses no direct threat to America; and secondly, that massive military power cannot overwhelm and conquer nations and people who simply refuse to be dominated and controlled by outside forces. This was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in those three countries. After those humiliating experiences, you would think that this government would find ways other than war to deal with volatile situations.

Here’s the real problem; the people of America may be war-weary but those who wield the power in Washington most certainly are not. Unfortunately, they haven’t learned anything from the mistakes of the past because they are entirely incapable of shaking off their addiction to and obsession with war; they simply wait for their next opportunity to unleash the U.S. military.

So, once again, we watch as the U.S. government and its very reluctant European allies seem to be gearing up for a direct confrontation with Russia over the issue of Ukraine. What our “leaders” should clearly understand is that Russia is not just another Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, relatively small countries. This is a very extensive country with a huge military, massive firepower and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, totaling some 8,000 weapons.

It might be a good idea for Mr. Obama and those that are thirsting for yet another war to give this situation some very deep thought. Why in the world are they even thinking about going to war over this issue of Ukraine? Why should this be considered such a massive problem? It is not. If Russia and Ukraine have serious differences, that’s their business and they have to work it out.

Some key questions: is Russia encroaching upon any of the European NATO countries; has it threatened any of them in any way? Has it taken the initiative in setting up missile systems aimed at key European countries and military facilities or is it NATO and the U.S. that have done exactly that against Russia? Is Russia the country that has a military empire with bases all over the world and Special Forces in some 150 countries? No, that’s the U.S.

Is Russia launching deadly drones in any part of Eurasia and surrounding regions to attack supposed enemies such as the U.S. is doing almost every day in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia? Was it Russia that took over the Ukraine government in Kiev, forced changes in its leadership and started calling the shots and directions that the government would take? No, based on reliable, independent reports, that was orchestrated by one Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.

Now, as this situation in Ukraine continues escalating, hope for some kind of resolution and compromise between the combatants has just surfaced. Thanks to the strong leadership provided by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a ceasefire agreement has been reached; we’ll see if it remains in effect since a previous one reached in September didn’t last very long. These marathon talks involved leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia without the presence of the U.S. There are many provisions to be ironed out and it may be a very difficult task indeed to fully stop the fighting but, at least there’s a chance.

However, while this is a positive development, Ukraine is still like a ticking time bomb that has the potential to explode at any moment. The U.S. has shown no real interest in cooling off this situation; that is, unless Russia bends to its dictates. So Mr. Obama most likely will continue to use various forms of powerful sanctions and the threat of military force to try to bring the Kremlin to its knees. Good luck with that.

So don’t look for Mr. Obama and the U.S. government to suddenly back off their aggressive stance toward Russia because that simply is not going to happen. Don’t think that they will walk away from their main objective of encircling Russia with military power, using NATO as an active participant, because they won’t; and don’t think that they will stop trying to incorporate Ukraine into the NATO establishment.

As this latest march to war gains momentum the voices of reason and rationality in America are slowly but surely being silenced; the muzzles on the mouths of the parrot-like mainstream media are being tightened. This is like watching a nightmare that we have seen numerous times, one that just won’t go away; one that repeats the same plot involving military hubris while only the actors, this president, and government officials, have changed.

One thing is certain; the U.S. government is not going to change of its own free will, it is not going to suddenly reject war and embrace diplomacy. When corporations are making monumental profits from manufacturing the weapons of war and those in the Pentagon thrive on endless war, does anyone think that they will sit by and watch as their livelihoods are decimated? Not a chance.

While these drums of war continue to reverberate throughout America one of the most troubling aspects of all is that the vast majority of Americans continue to say absolutely nothing, seemingly caught up in a state of mental paralysis as they prepare themselves to, once again, accept and condone this government’s agenda of military hubris. Some things never change.

What happens next? If the ceasefire takes hold, the fighting ends and the various sides begin working on implementing the provisions of the agreement then it’s possible that we’ll see this deadly confrontation come to an end. But suppose that it does not because the deep differences between Russia and Ukraine are just too great. Then what?

Well, here are two scenarios that might evolve. In the first, the positive one, the EU nations, after further talks with Putin and then Obama, will decide that they will not be a part of any direct confrontation, that they will not destroy a trade relationship that could sink their declining economies; and they will strongly urge the U.S. to refrain from sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. What will the U.S. government then do?

In the second scenario, the EU nations will, as they have done so many times before, fail to stand up to the U.S. and will, once again, submit to its demands, giving their grudging approval to sending the lethal weaponry to Ukraine. Now if Mr. Obama and company actually send that weaponry, then even before it arrives, it is almost inevitable that Russia will deploy a huge military force in Ukraine and occupy it from the East to the West. Checkmate!

At that point this grand geopolitical chess game in Eurasia will have reached its most volatile point; the next move will be up to the U.S. government. And then here’s the key question; will this government make yet another grave miscalculation and send U.S. and NATO troops into Ukraine, or will it come to its senses and finally learn its lesson?

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