MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘war’

War With Russia, China, Iran: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2022

by Walt Zlotow

antiwar.com

The US is locked in endless proxy war with Russia over Ukraine.

The US is locked in rapid escalation with China leading to possible war over Taiwan.

The US is locked in a collision course with Iran over their imaginary nuclear program that could blow up the Middle East.

I’ve not been as concerned about the world stumbling into nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis, 60 years ago next month. A high school senior then, I worried about being denied a long life. Now, at 77, I fret more about my children and grandkids being denied that privilege.

US world dominance since collapse of the Soviet Union is over, but it doesn’t realize it. Like a wounded animal, the US is lashing out on 3 fronts, none of which may have an ending short of nuclear war, and none of which can resurrect American world dominance.

Once the US falls into to abyss of uncontrolled war, we will be no better off than Humpty Dumpty.

Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.

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Biden Keeps Pledging Direct US War With China Over Taiwan

Posted by M. C. on September 20, 2022

This Taiwan situation is getting uglier and uglier, much faster than many expected, and the president of the world’s mightiest war machine is either two stupid, too bloodthirsty, too careless or too demented to navigate this situation with the sensitivity it deserves. Things never should have been allowed to get this far, and the US empire is showing us every indication that it intends to take things much, much further.

Caitlin Johnstone

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/biden-keeps-pledging-direct-us-war

The president of the United States has once again committed the US military to direct hot war with China in the event of an attack on Taiwan, a commitment that was once again walked back by his White House handlers.

In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Biden was asked point-blank by CBS News’ Scott Pelley if US forces would defend Taiwan from an attack by the mainland.

“Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack,” Biden said.

“After our interview a White House official told us US policy has not changed,” Pelly narrates after the comment. “Officially, the U.S. will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan. But the commander-in-chief had a view of his own.”

“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US Forces, US men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Pelley asked.

“Yes,” Biden replied.

This is by my count the fourth time the US president has made such remarks in transgression of his government’s standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” on this issue only to have them walked back by administration staff.

See the rest here

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Is a US-Russia War Becoming Inevitable?

Posted by M. C. on July 15, 2022

Will joining NATO be a death sentence for Finland?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

At the NATO summit in Madrid, Finland was invited to join the alliance. What does this mean for Finland?

If Russian President Vladimir Putin breaches the 830-mile Finnish border, the United States will rise to Helsinki’s defense and fight Russia on Finland’s side.

What does Finland’s membership in NATO mean for America?

If Putin makes a military move into Finland, the U.S. will go to war against the world’s largest nation with an arsenal of between 4,500 and 6,000 battlefield and strategic nuclear weapons.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of making such a commitment — to risk the survival of our nation to defend territory of a country thousands of miles away that has never been a U.S. vital interest.

To go to war with the Soviet Union over the preservation of Finnish territory would have been seen as madness during the Cold War.

Recall: Harry Truman refused to use force to break Joseph Stalin’s blockade of Berlin. Dwight Eisenhower refused to send U.S. troops to save the Hungarian freedom fighters being run down by Soviet tanks in Budapest in 1956.

Lyndon B. Johnson did nothing to assist the Czech patriots crushed by Warsaw Pact armies in 1968. When Lech Walesa’s Solidarity was smashed on Moscow’s order in Poland in 1981, Ronald Reagan made brave statements and sent Xerox machines.

While the U.S. issued annual declarations of support during the Cold War for the “captive nations” of Central and Eastern Europe, the liberation of these nations from Soviet control was never deemed so vital to the West as to justify a war with the USSR.

Indeed, in the 40 years of the Cold War, NATO, which had begun in 1949 with 12 member nations, added only four more — Greece, Turkey, Spain and West Germany.

Yet, with the invitation to Sweden and Finland to join as the 31st and 32nd nations to receive an Article 5 war guarantee, NATO will have doubled its membership since what was thought — certainly by the Russians — to have been the end of the Cold War.

All the nations once part of Moscow’s Warsaw Pact — East Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria — are now members of a U.S.-led NATO — directed against Russia.

Three former republics of the USSR — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania — are now also members of NATO, a military alliance formed to corral and contain the nation to which they had belonged during the Cold War.

Lithuania, with 2% of Russia’s population, has just declared a partial blockade of goods moving across its territory to Kaliningrad, Russia’s enclave on the Baltic Sea.

To Putin’s protest, Vilnius has reminded Moscow that Lithuania is a member of NATO.

It is a dictum of geostrategic politics that a great power ought never cede to a lesser power the ability to draw it into a great war.

In 1914, the kaiser’s Germany gave its Austrian ally a “blank check” to punish Serbia for its role in the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne. Vienna cashed the kaiser’s check and attacked Serbia, and the Great War of 1914-1918 was on.

In March 1939, Neville Chamberlain issued a war guarantee to Poland. If Germany attacked Poland, Britain would fight on Poland’s side.

Fortified with this war guarantee from the British Empire, the Poles stonewalled Hitler, refusing to talk to Berlin over German claims to the city of Danzig, taken from her at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.

On Sept. 1, 1939, Hitler attacked and Britain declared war, a war that lasted six years and mortally wounded the British Empire.

And Poland? At Yalta in 1945, Winston Churchill agreed that a Soviet-occupied Poland should remain in Stalin’s custody.

Putin is a Russian nationalist who regards the breakup of the USSR as the greatest calamity of the 20th century, but he is not alone responsible for the wretched relations between our countries.

We Americans have played a leading role in what is shaping up as a Second Cold War, more dangerous than the first.

Over the last quarter-century, after Russia dissolved the Warsaw Pact and let the USSR break apart into 15 nations, we pushed NATO, created to corral and contain Russia, into Central and Eastern Europe.

In 2008, neocons goaded Georgia into attacking South Ossetia, provoking Russian intervention and the rout of the Georgian army.

In 2014, neocons goaded Ukrainians into overthrowing the elected pro-Russian regime in Kyiv. When they succeeded, Putin seized Crimea and Sevastopol, for centuries the home base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

In 2022, Moscow asked the U.S. to pledge not to bring Ukraine into NATO. We refused. And Putin attacked. If Russians believe their country has been pushed against a wall by the West, can we blame them?

Americans appear dismissive of dark Russian warnings that rather than accept defeat in Ukraine, the humiliation of their nation, and their encirclement and isolation, they will resort to tactical nuclear weapons.

Is it really wisdom to dismiss these warnings as “saber-rattling”?

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Peace through Strength? Excessive US Military Spending Encourages More War

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2022

The surge in US military spending over the last two decades mirrors a dramatic increase in the number of US military interventions.

https://mises.org/wire/peace-through-strength-excessive-us-military-spending-encourages-more-war

Mihai Macovei

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought America’s foreign policy interventions under the limelight once again. Ryan McMaken argues that the US administration’s claim that countries should not have the right to a sphere of influence, implicitly addressing Russia, is hypocritical. The US opposes a sphere of influence for Russia and other regional powers, while at the same time has steadily expanded its own global outreach. Among other, one can judge how true this is by looking at the amount of US military spending and size of its foreign military interventions.

The USA not only spends a disproportionately high amount of money on military relative to the rest of the world, but has also continued doing so when the Cold War was over and it could have set in motion a virtuous cycle of international disarmament. The USA has also multiplied its foreign military actions and engaged in controversial and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, harming both international peace and the global economy. From this point of view, Lew Rockwell’s scathing criticism of the US military interventions in Iraq and global hegemonic ambitions in general, appears still relevant after almost twenty-five years.

US Military Spending in Perspective

The US spends about 11 percent of its federal budget on defense, which is the third largest item after Social Security and Health, and costs almost twice as much as education. The US defense budget was $754 billion for the financial year 2022, before President Biden increased it by another $29 billion following the war in Ukraine.

However, this is not the full picture, because other federal spending is also closely tied to defense. The budgets of Department of Veterans Affairs ($113 billion), Homeland Security ($55 billion), the State Department ($64 billion), and the FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($10 billion) add another $242 billion to the base budget of the Department of Defense (DoD). By adding it all up, defense spending is set to exceed $1 trillion in 2022—i.e., 14 percent of the federal budget and 4 percent of gross domestic product.1

The US defense budget represents not only a significant burden on the domestic economy, but looks completely disproportionate relative to other countries’ military outlays. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) the US military spending is greater than those of the next ten largest military expenditures combined. At around $800 billion in 2021, the US military budget was almost three times higher than China’s ($293 billion) and twelve times larger than Russia’s ($66 billion).

Except for China’s military budget which has increased about ten times over the last two decades, albeit from a very low level, the steady increase in the US military spending has widened the gap with the rest of the World (graph 1). Together with its allies in Western Europe, the US spent on military three times more than Russia and China combined in 2021. As the annual spending differential between the US and other countries took place over many years, it means that the United States’ overall military supremacy in terms of stock and quality of military equipment is undisputable.

Graph 1: Annual military spending

mahai_picture_1.png

Mahai Picture 1
Source: SIPRI

The key question is why the USA has not decreased dramatically its military spending when the Cold War was over and the main threat to its security disappeared. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union’s military spending was very high at about $220 billion and almost in the same ballpark with the $300 billion spent by the US. However, when the Soviet Union disintegrated and its economy collapsed in the early 1990s, Russia’s military spending shrunk to a puny $10 billion on average during that decade. Yet, despite being a nuclear superpower, the US kept its military spending at the Cold War level of around $300 billion and later increased it exponentially during the War on Terror.

Endless Foreign Military Interventions Post–Cold War

The surge in US military spending over the last two decades mirrors a dramatic increase in the number of US military interventions. Monica Duffy Toft shows that US military interventions—i.e., the deployment of US armed forces to other countries—intensified over time, in particular after the Cold War.

See the rest here

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Back to War: Biden reverses Trump withdrawal, sends ground troops into greater Middle East

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2022

First Ukraine, now Somalia.

Jordan Schachtel

President Biden has signed a non-public executive order deploying hundreds of American soldiers into the failed state of Somalia.

It’s official: America is back at war in the greater Middle East. In addition to the ongoing defense industry enrichment project in Ukraine, Somalia has been added to the client list. America’s military industrial cartel is back in the saddle under President Biden.

President Biden has signed a non-public executive order deploying hundreds of American soldiers into the failed state of Somalia. According to The New York Times, which was given exclusive access to the Biden order, the E.O. includes “standing authority” for the Pentagon to bomb the country on demand.

Charlie Savage @charlie_savageEXCLUSIVE: Biden secretly signed an order in early May authorizing the military to redeploy 100s of Special Forces into Somalia & to target about a dozen Al Shabab leaders. Reverses Trump’s last-minute decision to withdraw from Somalia. w/ @EricSchmittNYT Biden Approves Plan to Redeploy Several Hundred Ground Forces Into SomaliaThe president also signed off on targeting about a dozen Shabab leaders in the war-torn country, from which Donald J. Trump largely withdrew in his final weeks in office.nytimes.comMay 16th 2022324 Retweets570 Likes

The Times reports:

“Mr. Biden has approved a Pentagon request for standing authority to target about a dozen suspected leaders of Al Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda, three of the officials said. Since Mr. Biden took office, airstrikes have largely been limited to those meant to defend partner forces facing an immediate threat.”

According to the report, Biden signed the order in “early May,” but we are now just hearing about it. 

The news comes just one day after a new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was “elected” in Somalia with a voting population of a mere 327 people, in a country of 16 million. Mohamud was previously elected president during the Obama years, with a term spanning from 2012-2017.

Surely, these two news items on back to back days are remarkable coincidences, and there is no further story to be found here. 

The BBC has fascinating details on the “election” within the failed state. 

Here’s a couple interesting tidbits from the report.

“​​Mr Mohamud was sworn in shortly after the final results were announced, prompting supporters in the capital to cheer and fire guns into the air. He will serve for the next four years.”

But wait, there’s more: 

“Explosions could be heard nearby as voting was taking place, but police said no casualties were reported,” the BBC report adds.

Life in Somalia is pretty much hell on earth.

See the rest here

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WAR, H’uh… What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

Posted by M. C. on May 16, 2022

By Capt. Randall

There is an out. To openly disregard chickenshit regulations and mandates breaks the grip of default compliance. It is called civil disobedience. Let’s keep it peaceful people as you claw back your rights to BE the government, think for yourselves and shape your destiny. BE a proud advocate for peace and a vocal antivaxxer.

Here we go again.  Neo-conned into another expensive quagmire. So congress approved WWIII?  I hadn’t heard.  I thought the Big Guy might have been influenced by the squad of posers surrounded him…or maybe he’s carrying out orders that came wrapped in oodles of cash…or maybe.. naw.. he couldn’t be that stupid to blunder into another war? The U.S. subsidiary of Ukraine is the stage, the hilarious Z-Man and his clown-car of unabashed actors in Kiev provide the drama and we get to pay for the whole production; a hot war with Russia.  I wonder how “Winken” Blinken sleeps at night from his stiff-nut approach to non-diplomacy and the mountain of bloody bodies that has accrued?

Of course the official narrative must suppress all opposition to military excursions by any means necessary. Comedians who once poked fun at power became conduits of administration propaganda and one even became a president.  RT and OAN were blacked-out as this unauthorized proxy war was launched “oddly” with zero objection broadcast over CIA controlled networks and social media.  To question the years of Russia bashing, silly sanctions, strong arm “diplomacy”, banned biological/chemical weapons, our nefarious relationship with the zionist Israeli government and the sacred Industry of NATO became a danger to our propensity to loot the planet.  If you don’t see the globalist mafia’s pentagon and intelligence agency fingerprints on all our dirty deeds and take sides as a staunch republican or democrat; I’d say, “You’re a goddamn idiot!” Doesn’t all this go back at least as far as November 22, 1963, the infamous “Day the Music Died?”https://zx4.bc9.myftpupload.com/forum-comments/

Manufactured events have characterized our foreign policies at least since Viet Nam in modern times to evoke acceptance among the American public. 

See the rest here

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Is Ukraine’s War Now America’s War?

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2022

By claiming credit for Ukraine’s most visible military successes, we diminish the achievements of that country’s own forces.

By bragging publicly that we helped engineer the killing of Russian generals and the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, we taunt Russian President Vladimir Putin. We provoke him into retaliating in kind against us, thereby raising the possibility of a wider U.S.-Russia war that could escalate into World War III.

The US goal of imposing a crushing defeat of Russian aggression is secondary to our far more vital interest in avoiding a U.S.-Russia war.

by Patrick J. Buchanan

antiwar.com

Last week, sources leaked to The New York Times that, in Ukraine’s targeting and killing of Russian generals and the sinking of Russia’s Black Sea flagship, the Moskva, U.S. intelligence played an indispensable role.

Apparently, our intel people identified and located for the Ukrainian forces what became the targets of their deadly attacks.

Why US intelligence would do this seems inexplicable.

By claiming credit for Ukraine’s most visible military successes, we diminish the achievements of that country’s own forces.

By bragging publicly that we helped engineer the killing of Russian generals and the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, we taunt Russian President Vladimir Putin. We provoke him into retaliating in kind against us, thereby raising the possibility of a wider U.S.-Russia war that could escalate into World War III.

Moreover, US boasting like this plays right into Putin’s narrative that Russia is facing and fighting in Ukraine a U.S.-led alliance that is out to crush Russia.

Indeed, why are we going beyond assistance to the Ukrainians in defending themselves, into making this American’s war?

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Poland following her visit to Kyiv, she virtually embraced the idea of the Ukraine-Russia war as now being America’s war, declaring, “America stands with Ukraine. We stand with Ukraine until victory is won.”

Accompanying Pelosi to Kyiv was a delegation of House Democrats, one of whom, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, echoed Pelosi in Poland:

“The United States of America is in this to win.”

Their visit followed that of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who came out of Kyiv and declared the US strategic goals in Ukraine’s war:

“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kind of things it has done in invading Ukraine.”

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Using War to Assault Freedom

Posted by M. C. on April 21, 2022

War is the health of the state and the graveyard of liberty. The drug war was a disaster for freedom. The war in Ukraine will be so as well, only if we permit it.

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Most judges and lawyers agree that the war on drugs in the past 50 years has seriously diminished the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Now a small group of legal academics is arguing that the war in Ukraine should be used to diminish property rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment was written to guarantee that the government may only search and seize persons, houses, papers and effects pursuant to a search warrant issued by a judge after the presentation under oath of evidence demonstrating that the place to be searched more likely than not contains evidence of crime. And the warrant itself must specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

These requirements — the work of James Madison, who was the scrivener of the Constitution in 1787 and the author of the Bill of Rights in 1791 — were intended to have two effects.

The first effect was to uphold the quintessentially American right to be left alone. The second was to compel the government to focus its law enforcement personnel and assets on crimes for which there is probable cause, not fishing expeditions or hunches.

Madison’s language prohibited absolutely the use of general warrants, a favorite tool of the British government against the colonists. General warrants were based on whatever the government wanted or claimed it needed.

The colonists were tormented by, and driven to revolution over, general warrants, as they authorized British agents to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. Surely, the dreadful colonial experience with general warrants was a driving force behind the wording and ratification of the Fourth Amendment.

Sadly, during the war on drugs, prosecutors and police persuaded judges to craft “emergency” exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. These included allowing police to look for whatever they wanted in cars and homes, and using the CIA for warrantless surveillance, lest the drugs supposedly being sought be destroyed before capture.

The effect of this was to destroy a fundamental liberty in deference to easing police work; that’s the definition of a police state. The courts effectively ruled that somehow the Constitution prefers liberty — rather than evidence of crimes — to be destroyed.

The Fifth Amendment protects the life, liberty and property of all persons from destruction or aggression by the government without due process of law. Due process requires a jury trial at which the government must prove fault.

Thus, property cannot be seized temporarily or taken permanently without either a search warrant or a jury trial.

Now back to the war in Ukraine.

See the rest here

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Facing Unpleasant Facts: What You aren’t Supposed to say about the War in Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2022

The empowerment of far right extremists since the 2014 coup, a significant number with openly Neo-Nazi affiliations, is reflected in the dramatic rise in attacks on Jews, feminists, and the LGBTQ and Romany communities. It has further led to the banning of books that question Kyiv’s nationalist propaganda, which itself features the whitewashing of Nazi collaborators.

https://mises.org/wire/facing-unpleasant-facts-what-you-arent-supposed-say-about-war-ukraine-0

Joseph Solis-Mullen

Having been lied into war in Iraq in 2003, the American public swore it had wised up. Sure, it went on to drop the ball by supporting the Libya intervention, itself prefaced by lies, and supported the government’s intervention in the civil war in Syria (or at least didn’t mind it), even though the US sided with the very Sunni extremists it had been fighting a few years before in Iraq. But these were admittedly obscure conflicts, made all the more so by the blatantly biased coverage of events by Western media, which parroted obvious lies about impending massacres and staged chemical weapons attacks.

But in Europe, where the US had extensive military alliance commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US population should ostensibly have been more informed and less prone to beguiling, it has been disappointing to see the American public once again so easily led down the path to supporting a war that never had to be—never would have been—but for the policies enacted by our government.

And just as with the baseless rush to war with Iraq, which every outlet of mainstream media loyally supported, those who refuse to repeat slogans of “Ukrainian democracy” or “Russian aggression” are denigrated, either as cowards or as apologists for the heinous actions of others, for which they are obviously not responsible. Besides being inaccurate, the latter accusation is particularly perfidious because it effectively makes reasoned dissent impossible.

But by pretending that history started with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the story is made simple, a clear case of right and wrong. And while it is true that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine and so is responsible for the present war, such a Manichean telling of the story does little to further informed policy discussion. Indeed, that is precisely the point: to ignore the decades of declared Russian security interests in the orientation of states directly at its border, as well as to obscure a history of US meddling in Ukraine.

So unless you think context is irrelevant, that recent history is unimportant to understanding current crises, here are four things you aren’t supposed to say about Ukraine but that are absolutely true and that all Americans should be aware of before forming a hasty opinion regarding a deadly serious matter that until a few weeks ago most knew nothing about.

The “Revolution of Dignity” Was a US-Backed Coup

The 2014 ouster of slightly Russian-leaning Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who drew his support primarily from the ethnic Russian–dominated eastern parts of the country, was spun by Ukrainian nationalist and Western media as a ”revolution of dignity.” It was in fact, in the words of Western security analyst George Friedman, ”the most blatant coup in history.” In case the obvious nature of events on the ground weren’t enough, this was confirmed by the leaked phone call between then assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, then the US ambassador to Ukraine, during which they picked their favorites for the new Ukrainian leadership and plotted how to prevent the meddlesome EU from screwing it all up by moving too slowly, potentially allowing Russia a chance to interfere in the obviously illegal ouster of an elected government through a street putsch.

The proximate cause of the coup was Yanukovych’s taking of what was essentially a large Russian bribe to eschew an EU association agreement. In a country ranked 122nd in corruption, literally the most corrupt country in Europe, none of this was a surprise. But what was a surprise was the US move to sweep in and take Kyiv—something US foreign policy insiders publicly bragged about in the immediate aftermath.

There Is a Significant Neo-Nazi Problem in Ukraine

This is something that until a few years ago the mainstream media reported seriously on; of course, that was before they knew they were going to have to try and lie us into another war. Now any mention of what was taken to be an obvious problem just a year ago is decried as “Russian propaganda!”

The empowerment of far right extremists since the 2014 coup, a significant number with openly Neo-Nazi affiliations, is reflected in the dramatic rise in attacks on Jews, feminists, and the LGBTQ and Romany communities. It has further led to the banning of books that question Kyiv’s nationalist propaganda, which itself features the whitewashing of Nazi collaborators.

What are we to think when at the same time that public witch hunts for supposed white nationalists are carried out domestically with something near hysterical zeal, state-of-the-art shoulder-fired antiaircraft and antitank weaponry is shipped in great volumes to extremist white nationalists in Ukraine that would make the top of any of our own domestic terrorist watch lists?

We aren’t supposed to think about it all, at least not critically—just like we aren’t supposed to think critically about anything else.

The Russians Always Objected to NATO Expansion into Ukraine

For example, how about the fact our government always knew the Russians vigorously objected to any NATO involvement in Ukraine but downplayed or dismissed the obvious steps they were taking in that direction—downplayed it to themselves, to the American public, and tried to downplay it to the wider European community. Of course, Germany and France knew better and refused to grant a membership action plan to Ukraine despite Washington’s intense pressure. And though blocked from de jure absorbing Ukraine into the alliance, Washington was taking de facto steps to that effect—conducting joint military exercises in Ukraine at the same time that it was shipping the US-coup-installed government sophisticated heavy weaponry whose only obvious use was against Russia. Since at least 2014, when Putin ordered Russian forces to seize the Crimea to protect the only warm water port of the Russian navy after threats by Kyiv to evict them despite Moscow’s legal lease, Washington has known Putin feels particularly threatened in Ukraine. Even in the years since then, Washington has rejected repeated attempts by Moscow to establish an officially neutral Ukraine, including in the weeks leading up to the invasion.

Biden Could Have Prevented the War

Yes, even at that late date in January 2022—and all it would have taken was agreeing to Putin’s minimum terms: Ukraine could never join NATO, and new missiles could not be deployed in eastern European NATO member states. Outrageous and rightly rejected? Not according to Joe Biden, who claimed NATO membership for Ukraine was not on the table nor a serious priority at any point in the foreseeable future. Taking him at his word, why wouldn’t Biden simply agree to put it on paper and prevent what he himself repeatedly said were imminent Russian plans to invade and destroy Ukraine? What we’re told, and have been told since NATO expansion began, is that “keeping the door open” to alliance membership is a ”sacred principle.”

Perhaps it should be made public exactly how many Ukrainian lives the State Department and the Pentagon reckon this principle to be worth and how such calculations are made.

Conclusion

Really, what this looks like is a tragic combination of the brief 2008 Russo-Georgian War and the decade-long Soviet-Afghan War. In the first instance, US encouragement of actions by Tbilisi directly contrary to Russian interests led directly to a Russian military intervention; in the latter case, the leading US policy maker at the time, Zbigniew Brzezinski, admits precipitating that war on purpose: provoking the USSR into fatally overreaching in an attempt to protect an allied government from being undermined by the US—in this case by funding the proto-Taliban mujahideen in Afghanistan from bases in neighboring Pakistan.

As Poland gets set to potentially play Pakistan to Ukraine’s Afghanistan, serving as a staging area and training ground for rebel fighters slipping back and forth across the border to Ukraine, thereby further threatening war between NATO and Russia, we should recall that this all, in a sense, happened because the local governments in Donetsk and Luhansk could see the obvious: what had happened in Kyiv in 2013–14 was a coup, and they refused to recognize the new government. Further, we should remember that it was only when the Ukrainian military attempted to retake these regions by force that Russia intervened—and that since the Minsk Two peace accords failed to bring about a durable ceasefire, over 80 percent of those killed have been ethnic Russians living in the breakaway regions, and they were killed by the government in Kyiv.

With Democrats and Republicans fighting about who supports intervening in Ukraine more, and with uninformed and misled people increasingly calling for even more disastrous interventionist measures, the American public needs to be reminded that it is entirely possible for us to have a foreign policy that keeps us perfectly safe while not getting large numbers of people killed elsewhere, and further, that most of the various crises around the world that we are told the US needs to play a direct and integral part in solving are themselves the direct result of previous US interventions in those places.

Author:

Joseph Solis-Mullen

A graduate of Spring Arbor University and the University of Illinois, Joseph Solis-Mullen is a political scientist and graduate student in the economics department at the University of Missouri. A writer and blogger, his work can be found at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Eurasian Review, Libertarian Institute, and Sage Advance. You can contact him through his website http://www.jsmwritings.com or find him on Twitter.

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Trading with the Enemy: An American Tradition

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2022

Large numbers of deserting sailors, furthermore, left to join the merchant marine for large-scale smuggling and trade with the enemy. New York City was a lively center for deserting sailors, and New York merchants systematically hid the sailors from the British troops. The British compelled their return in 1757 by threatening to conduct a deliberately brutal and thorough house-to-house search, and to treat New York as a conquered city. British troops were quartered upon New York against the vehement opposition of the citizens they were supposedly “protecting.” In Philadelphia, pacifist mobs repeatedly attacked recruiting officers and even lynched one in February 1756.

https://mises.org/library/trading-enemy-american-tradition

Murray N. Rothbard

During the French and Indian War (1754–1763), Americans continued the great tradition of trading with the enemy, and even more readily than before. As in King George’s War, Newport took the lead; other vital centers were New York and Philadelphia. The individualistic Rhode Islanders angrily turned Governor Stephen Hopkins out of office for embroiling Rhode Island in a “foreign” war between England and France.

Rhode Island blithely disregarded the embargo against trade with the enemy, and redoubled its commerce with France. Rhode Island’s ships also functioned as one of the major sources of supply for French Canada during the war. In the fall of 1757, William Pitt was told that the Rhode Islanders “are a lawless set of smugglers, who continually supply the enemy with what provisions they want…”

The Crown ordered royal governors to embargo exports of food and to break up the extensive traffic with the West Indies, but shippers again resorted to flags of truce and trade through neutral ports in the West Indies. Monte Cristi, in Spanish Hispaniola, proved to be a particularly popular intermediary port.

The flags-of-truce device particularly irritated the British, and the lucrative sale of this privilege—with the prisoners’ names left blank—was indulged in by Governors William Denny of Pennsylvania and Francis Bernard of New Jersey. French prisoners, for token exchanges under the flags, were rare, and therefore at a premium, and merchants in Philadelphia and New York paid high prices for these prisoners to Newport privateers. The peak of this trade came in 1759, for in the following year, with the end of the war with New France, the Royal Navy was able to turn its attention to this trade and virtually suppress it.

However, in the words of Professor Bridenbaugh, “Privateering and trade with the enemy might have their ups and downs … but then as now, government contracts seemed to entail little risk and to pay off handsomely.”1 Particularly feeding at the trough of government war contracts were specially privileged merchants of New York and Pennsylvania. Two firms of London merchants were especially influential in handing out British war contracts to their favorite American correspondents.

Thus, the highly influential London firm of John Thomlinson and John Hanbury (who was deeply involved in the Ohio Company) received a huge war contract; the firm designated Charles Apthorp and Company its Boston representative, and Colonel William Bayard its representative in New York.

In addition, the powerful London merchant Moses Franks arranged for his relatives and friends—David Franks of Philadelphia, and Jacob Franks, John Watts, and the powerful Oliver DeLancey of New York—to be made government agents, New York, furthermore, was made the concentration point for the British forces and the general storehouse of arms and ammunition, thus permitting “many merchants to amass fortunes as subcontractors if they enjoyed the proper family connections.” By 1761, however, all the great ports in America were suffering badly from the severe dislocation of trade wrought by the war.

Smuggling and trading with the enemy were not the only forms of American resistance to British dictation during the French and Indian War. During the French wars of the 1740s, Boston had been the center of violent resistance to conscription for the war effort, an effort that decimated the Massachusetts male population. During the French and Indian War, Massachusetts continued as the most active center of resistance to conscription and of widespread desertion, often en masse, from the militia.

Thomas Pownall took over as governor of Massachusetts in early 1757, and cracked down bitterly on Massachusetts’ liberties: he sent troops outside Massachusetts without Assembly permission, threatened to punish justices of the peace who did not enforce the laws against desertion (hitherto interpreted with “salutary neglect”), and threatened Boston with military occupation if the Assembly did not agree to the arrival and quartering of British troops. In November, English recruiting officers appeared in Boston, and the Assembly and the Boston magistrates forbade any recruiting or any quartering of troops in the town. Pownall vetoed these actions as violations of the royal prerogative, especially in “emergencies.”

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