Chris Hedges on NATO

Chris Hedges: NATO — Most Dangerous Military Alliance on Planet

At no time, including the Cuban missile crisis, have we stood closer to the precipice of nuclear war.
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To Control ‘Compatible Left’

During the first cold war, the CIA poured money into funding and cultivating a pro-imperialist, anti-communist “compatible left.” Today, the US government uses social media to censor anti-war news outlets and activists.

The oligarchic rulers of the United States use many tools to disrupt and disorganize the anti-war and anti-imperialist left.

This article addresses three tactics:

  • corporate control of the news media, which gives the ruling class free reign to spread disinformation and fake news against foreign and domestic targets;
  • foundations, which are financed by governments and corporations in order to fund and promote a “compatible left” to counter the anti-imperialist left;
  • domination of social media and the internet to censor dissident voices.


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The Global Monroe Doctrine

The Lethality of the Global Monroe Doctrine


From its attacks on Global South countries to its willingness to go to war with a great power such as Russia, the U.S. is increasingly employing military force to compensate for its economic decline, writes Vijay Prashad.

LeRoy Clarke, Trinidad and Tobago, “Now,” 1970.

By Vijay Prashad
Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

This month, as part of its policy to dominate the American hemisphere, the United States government organized the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

U.S. President Joe Biden made it clear early on that three countries in the hemisphere — Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela — would not be invited to the event, claiming that they are not democracies.

At the same time, Biden was reportedly planning a visit to Saudi Arabia – a self-described theocracy. Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s exclusionary stance, and so Mexico, Bolivia, and Honduras refused to come to the event. As it turned out, the summit was a fiasco.

Down the road, over a hundred organizations hosted a People’s Summit for Democracy, where thousands of people from across the hemisphere gathered to celebrate the actual democratic spirit which emerges from the struggles of peasants and workers, students and feminists, and all the people who are excluded from the gaze of the powerful.

At this gathering, the presidents of Cuba and Venezuela joined in online to celebrate this festival of democracy and to condemn the weaponization of democratic ideals by the United States and its allies.

Next year, 2023, will be the bicentennial of the Monroe Doctrine, when the U.S. asserted its hegemony over the American hemisphere. The malign spirit of the Monroe Doctrine not only continues but has now been extended by the U.S. government into a kind of Global Monroe Doctrine.

In order to assert this preposterous claim on the entire planet, the United States has pursued a policy to “weaken” what it sees as “near peer rivals,” namely China and Russia.

Philip Guston, Canada, “Blackboard,” 1969.

In July, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research — along with Monthly Review and No Cold War — will produce a booklet on the reckless military escalation by the U.S. government against those whom it sees as its adversaries — mainly China and Russia. It will include essays by John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review, Deborah Veneziale, a journalist based in Italy, and John Ross, a member of the No Cold War collective. In the vein of that booklet, No Cold War has also produced Briefing No. 3, “Is the United States Preparing for War with Russia and China?” on Washington’s sabre-rattling and alarming march toward nuclear primacy.

The war in Ukraine demonstrates a qualitative escalation of the United States’ willingness to use military force. In recent decades, the U.S. launched wars on developing countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Serbia.

In these campaigns, the U.S. knew it enjoyed overwhelming military superiority and that there was no risk of a nuclear retaliation. However, in threatening to bring Ukraine into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the U.S. was prepared to risk crossing what it knew to be the “red lines” of the nuclear armed state of Russia. This raises two questions: why has the U.S. undertaken this escalation, and how far is the U.S. now prepared to go in the use of military force against not only the Global South but major powers such as China or Russia?

Military Force to Compensate for Economic Decline

The answer to “why” is clear: the U.S. has lost in peaceful economic competition to developing countries in general and China in particular.

According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2016 China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. As of 2021, China accounted for 19 percent of the global economy, compared to the U.S. at 16 percent. This gap is only growing wider, and, by 2027, the IMF projects that China’s economy will outsize the U.S. by nearly 30 percent.

However, the U.S. has maintained unrivalled global military supremacy — its military expenditure is larger than the next nine highest-spending countries combined. Seeking to maintain unipolar global dominance, the U.S. is increasingly substituting peaceful economic competition with military force.

Ikeda Manabu, Japan, “Meltdown,” 2013.

A good starting point to understand this strategic shift in U.S. policy is the speech given by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on May 26. In it, Blinken openly admitted that the U.S. does not seek military equality with other states, but military supremacy, particularly with respect to China:

“President Biden has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead.”

However, with nuclear armed states such as China or Russia, military supremacy necessitates achieving nuclear supremacy — an escalation above and beyond the current war in Ukraine.

 Pursuit of Nuclear Primacy

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the U.S. has systematically withdrawn from key treaties limiting the threat of use of nuclear weapons: in 2002, the U.S. unilaterally exited  from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; in 2019, the U.S. abandoned the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty; and, in 2020, the U.S. withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty. Abandoning these treaties strengthened the U.S.’ ability to seek nuclear supremacy.

Natalia Goncharova, Russia, “Angels Throwing Stones on the City,” 1911.

The ultimate aim of this U.S. policy is to acquire “first strike” capacity against Russia and China — the ability to inflict damage with a first use of nuclear weapons against Russia or China to the extent that it effectively prevents retaliation.

As John Bellamy Foster has noted in a comprehensive study of this U.S. nuclear build up, even in the case of Russia — which possesses the world’s most advanced non-U.S. nuclear arsenal — this would “deny Moscow a viable second-strike option, effectively eliminating its nuclear deterrent altogether, through ‘decapitation.’ ”

In reality, the fallout and threat of nuclear winter from such a strike would threaten the entire world.

This policy of nuclear primacy has long been pursued by certain circles within Washington. In 2006, it was argued in the leading U.S. foreign policy journal Foreign Affairs that “It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike.” 

Contrary to these hopes, the U.S. has not yet been able to achieve a first-strike capacity, but this is due to development of hypersonic missiles and other weapons by Russia and China — not a change in U.S. policy.

From its attacks on Global South countries to its increased willingness to go to war with a great power such as Russia to attempting to gain first strike nuclear capacity, the logic behind the escalation of U.S. militarism is clear: the United States is increasingly employing military force to compensate for its economic decline. In this extremely dangerous period, it is vital for humanity that all progressive forces unite to meet this great threat.

Shefa Salem, Libya, “KASKA, Dance of War,” 2020.

In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Global South remained gripped by a never-ending debt crisis, the United States bombed Iraq despite entreaties from the Iraqi government for a negotiated agreement. During that bombing, the Libyan writer Ahmad Ibrahim al-Faqih penned a lyrical poem, “Nafaq Tudiuhu Imra Wahida” (“A Tunnel Lit by a Woman”), in which he sang, “A time has passed, and another time has not come and will never come.” Gloom defined the moment.

Today, we are in very dangerous times. And yet, the despondency of al-Faqih does not define our sensibility. The mood has altered. There is a belief in a world beyond imperialism, a mood that is not only evident in countries such as Cuba and China, but equally in India and Japan, as well as amongst the hard-working people who would like our collective attention to be focused on the actual dilemmas of humanity and not on the ugliness of war and domination.

Vijay Prashad, an Indian historian, journalist and commentator, is the executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the chief editor of Left Word Books.

This article is from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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The Rise of NATO in Africa BY VIJAY PRASHAD


The Rise of NATO in Africa



Anxiety about the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) toward the Russian border is one of the causes of the current war in Ukraine. But this is not the only attempt at expansion by NATO, a treaty organization created in 1949 by the United States to project its military and political power over Europe. In 2001, NATO conducted an “out of area” military operation in Afghanistan, which lasted 20 years, and in 2011, NATO—at the urging of France—bombed Libya and overthrew its government. NATO military operations in Afghanistan and Libya were the prelude to discussions of a “Global NATO,” a project to use the NATO military alliance beyond its own charter obligations from the South China Sea to the Caribbean Sea.........

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Sunday, May 29, 2022 

It was, Plato, in his book “The Republic” who first used the phrase, “necessity is the mother of invention”, that whenever problems arise, we must find creative and innovative solutions for them. This phrase comes handy today when the Western world, led by the US is slapping sanctions on Russia, China, and other countries they disagree with, and is causing global turmoil, all because the grandchildren of former slave owners seek to maintain global hegemony. The US has weaponised world trade, energy, and the dollar which many analysts argue could lead to its faster decline than ever thought.

By this week, the US and allies had slapped 6000 sanctions on Russia because of Ukraine and other issues. Venezuela has 632 sanctions. Some world economists have postulated that the US dollar is an inflated currency printed whenever its economy is in trouble. Considering that the US injected its Black population with syphilis under a public health program for forty-two years from 1932 to 1972, accusations that it prints the dollar whenever convenient may not, entirely be unfounded. Accusations that US, the only country to have used atomic bombs on another, has twenty five biological weapon laboratories in Ukraine, becomes difficult to ignore. 

With hindsight, pundits argue that the world has been too timid, stupid or compromised to let US run against established rules whenever its interests come to odds with them. Too much mistaken trust was placed in the US and allies, and they have taken full advantage to our collective detriment. Wealth stolen when Soviet Union collapsed, and stored in the US and Europe are now being seized arbitrarily under the guise of punishing ‘oligarchs’ linked to Vladimir Putin.

It’s never too late for countries to begin gradual repudiation of the dollar and shift to rupees, Yuan, yen or rubble for global payment. The BRICS group, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and countries under the Road and Belt Initiative could provide an international payment system similar to Swift. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict should engender a new global re-alignment and we shouldn’t take anymore crap from bullies who fear direct war with Russia, but instead prefer to wreck their client, Ukraine.

China is buying Saudi Arabia oil in Yuan, not dollars. India is buying oil, gas and arms from Russia in rupees, and Russia is its major arms supplier. NATO and EU members so dependent on Russian oil, gas and wheat are buying through third parties at higher prices because if they don’t, they will freeze and starve. OPEC should repudiate the dollar monopoly in settling oil transactions. In 2015 many talking heads in the US urged Obama to impose unilateral sanctions and seize Iranian reserves but he declined. However last year Biden seized Afghanistan reserves of 7bn dollars of regular savings that have nothing to do with the Taliban which has now been liquidated.

These acts of desperation in times when US and its leaders no longer command unquestioned respect, loyalty or trepidation of its military might, hitherto considered invincible, signals decline. With the recent multiple humiliating defeats since Somalia in 1993, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Afghanistan, US leaders ought to demonstrate some humility. The last five years of trade war and sanctions against China failed to provide improvements to its respectability or exceptional economic performance over China. Even with a lot of wealth from the failed USSR stolen and transferred to the US and Europe, they remain on tenterhooks.

It should be noted that small Cuba, only 90 miles away, but with valiant peoples has withstood 64 years of US military, trade, business, investment, economic, technological transfer, diplomatic and political blockade. Iran, has rebuffed sanction regimes since its 1979 revolution which overthrew a US puppet monarchy. Venezuela has survived US terrorism, political intrigue, blackmail and direct sabotage including the confiscation of its huge oil dollar reserves kept or invested in the US because late president, Hugo Chavez canceled US monopoly over its oil. 

These countries economically outperformed many US clientele states in Latin America, Middle East and Africa. Other countries too can, and the dollar can decline, after-all, the glorious Roman, Greek, and British Empires collapsed under their own weight. Unlike the Soviets, who had cheap health, education, food and housing support from government when the USSR collapsed, the US would blow up in a social upheaval because fifteen million Americans don’t have social safety nets.

UN agency reports show that in Afghanistan five million children are fleeing insecurity and looking for food yet remain so unimportant perhaps because they are not White while their country is being destroyed and wealth robbed by despotic White men. The same Whites have been shouting around the world that wars are evil and victims deserve support, yet barely mention that by March 2005, the US military had killed 24,865 civilians and 500,000 more died due to the illegal sanctions they imposed. It’s happening in Afghanistan today. For this hypocrisy, Europeans lose any credibility left from slave trade, slavery, and colonial legacy.

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Truth Exposed on Twitter by US Army Vets

U.S. Army: 0 — Internet: 1, by David Swanson

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Let’s Try Democracy
Originally posted May 26, 2019
May 29, 2022

The U.S. Army tweeted a harmless rah-rah tweet and got hit with a burst of reality never encountered on corporate-controlled media. Score one for the internet.

The Army asked: “How has serving impacted you?”

Here’s a tiny sample of the responses:

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U.S. Militarism and Climate Catastrophe

U.S. Militarism and Climate Catastrophe

Black Alliance for Peace

  • In 2017, the DoD consumed over 85 million barrels of fuel to power ships, aircraft, combat vehicles, and contingency bases at a cost of nearly $8.2 billion. But, by far, the most fuel-thirsty equipment in the military is aircraft. In fact, of the 100 million gallons of fuel the Defense Logistics Agency bought in 2018, about 70 million gallons were jet fuel. 
  • Heavily armored vehicles used by domestic police departments during Black Lives Matters protests contribute to air and water pollution through emissions and runoff and significantly impact local ecosystems.
  • One of the most harrowing cases of U.S. military pollution activity was the nuclear weapons testing performed in the Marshall Islands. From 1946 to 1958, the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons in what is now known as the Republic of the Marshall Islands. These weapons tests have been equated to being 1,000 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. Radiation poisoning, birth defects, leukemia, thyroid and other cancers are just a few of the detrimental life-threatening consequences experienced by the residents of those islands more than 75 years later. 
  • A second devastating case of U.S. military nuclear testing affected a Navajo Indian reservation. Between 1944 and 1977, Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state released radioactive toxic gasses and fluids, affecting the fish that provide food and economic subsistence to the residences. In addition to this, uranium mining and aboveground nuclear-weapons tests had been occurring for approximately 50 years on and around these reservations. These actions have caused dramatic increases in cancer rates among indigenous people that reside in this region.
  • Ian Zabarte, spokesperson and the Principal Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians, reports that as a result of decades of nuclear testing, they are the most bombed nation on earth. Shortly before the end of World War II, they were overrun by the military industrial complex. In violation of treaties, their land has now become the Nevada national security site. Since 1951, approximately 928 nuclear tests took place on the Shoshone territory – 100 in the atmosphere and more than 800 underground. The fallout from these tests covered a wide area, and contaminated water and  killed flora, fauna and all wildlife and people.
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“ 103 Putin Has Given the Masters of War Exactly What They Wanted

Putin Has Given the Masters of War Exactly What They Wanted

This is a recipe for global war. CHRIS HEDGES March 15, 2022 by Scheerpost

The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism....

Peace has been sacrificed for US global hegemony. It has been sacrificed for the billions in profits made by the arms industry. Peace could have seen state resources invested in people rather than systems of control. It could have allowed us to address the climate emergency. But we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace. Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war. They prepare for the worst, ensuring that the worst will happen....

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Bruce Gagnon- Ukraine history 90 minute video



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