It’s hard to believe this excellent article was in Newsweek, it’s so non-mainstream media. From William M. Arkin at newsweek.com:
A peace agreement with the Taliban and a May 1 deadline for American withdrawal of troops. A new pledge by President Biden to end the war. A Congressional step toward revoking the 20-year-old consent to use military force in Iraq. Talk, even, of rescinding the post-9/11 authorization to pursue Al-Qaeda. You might think America’s forever wars are finally coming to an end. They’re not—because everything we’ve learned from the past two decades at war has made it more difficult to actually end the wars.
Though the new administration seems intent on ending America’s oldest war and there is growing fatigue over endless wars in the Middle East, and though the Pentagon is scrambling to refocus resources and attention away from counterterrorism to big war pursuits against the likes of Russia and China, war isn’t going to actually end. That’s because there is something about the way the United States fights—about how it has learned to fight in Afghanistan and on other 21st-century battlefields—that facilitates endless war.
This transformation of the American military happened gradually as the armed forces shifted the preponderance of tasks away from boots on the ground, away even from dependence on regular soldiers. The new American way of war moved even the means of bombing and killing—mostly through aircraft and drones, but also virtually in cyberspace—out of the actual war zones.
The Belt and Road Initiative, but it is also a statement against America global hegemony. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
The U.S. will ignore the message from Anchorage. It is already testing China over Taiwan, and is preparing an escalation in Ukraine, to test Russia.
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (c. 500 BCE) advises that: “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands; yet the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself … Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will; and does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him”. This is the essence of the Chinese resistance economy – a strategy which has been fully unveiled in the wake of the Anchorage talks; talks that silenced any lingering thoughts in Beijing that America might somehow find some modus vivendi with Beijing in its headlong pursuit of primacy over China.
Although earlier there had been tantalising glimpses of déshabillé, the full reveal to China’s tough stance and rhetoric has only been permitted now – post-Anchorage – and the talks’ confirmation that the U.S. intends to block China’s ascent.
If it is assumed that this ‘resistance’ initiative constitutes some tit-for-tat ‘jab’ at Washington – through sinking Biden’s Iran ambitions, as revenge for America loudly crying ‘war crimes’ (‘genocide’ in Xingjian) – then we miss wholly its full import. The scope of the Iran pact by far transcends trade and investment, as one commentator in the Chinese state media made plain: “As it stands, this deal (the Iran pact) will totally upend the prevailing geopolitical landscape in the West Asian region that has for so long been subject to U.S. hegemony”.
The military doesn’t cost nearly as much for a country that minds its own business as it does for one that wants to run a global empire. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
The Napoleonic Wars consumed the lives of between 2.5 million and 3.5 million soldiers, most unwilling draftees. Although defeated, discredited, and exiled after years of brutal conflict, the self-anointed emperor responsible for those deaths today is honored – lionized, actually – in Paris. His tomb is located in the Hotel Les Invalides surrounded by commemorations of his many great but costly victories.
Aggressive war and mass slaughter obviously look better through the mists of time. And conscription, which Napoleon used to terrorize a continent, is still routinely employed by nations today.
Today millions of people can be dispatched by a few bombs launched from half the world away. A couple people sitting in a missile silo can unleash hell and more by turning a couple keys. However, the tragic propensity of mankind to engage in war obviously goes back to humanity’s beginning. The horror and cruelty of ancient conflict is almost unimaginable. It was mass killing at its most personal. Massacres required many hands and took much time and effort.
As political control fractured European warfare eventually turned into the far more restricted game of kings. Unless you were unlucky enough to live near a battlefield, you probably wouldn’t be bothered. Indeed, you might not even notice that a war was going on. And reliance on mercenaries helped keep casualties down. They wasted neither their time nor effort, and certainly not their lives, on silly notions like patriotism and loyalty. Protracted conflicts could still be costly, but the numbers of combatants involved look shockingly small compared to modern wars.
“Rules-based international order” is US foreign policy blob-speak for the US calls the tune for the rest of the world. From Scott Ritter at globalresearch.ca:
For decades, America styled itself the ‘indispensable nation’ that led the world & it’s now seeking to sustain that role by emphasizing a new Cold War-style battle against ‘authoritarianism’. But it’s a dangerous fantasy.
It seems a week cannot go by without US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bringing up the specter of the ‘rules-based international order’ as an excuse for meddling in the affairs of another state or region.
The most recent crisis revolves around allegations that China has dispatched a fleet of more than 200 ships, part of a so-called ‘maritime militia’, into waters of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines. China says that these vessels are simply fishing boats seeking shelter from a storm. The Philippines has responded by dispatching military ships and aircraft to investigate. Enter Antony Blinken, stage right:
“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of the PRC’s maritime militia amassing at Whitsun Reef,” Blinken tweeted. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order.”
Blinken’s message came a mere 18 hours after he tweeted about his meeting in Brussels with NATO.
“Our alliances were created to defend shared values,” he wrote. “Renewing our commitment requires reaffirming those values and the foundation of international relations we vow to protect: a free and open rules-based order.”
Our rules, our order
What this actually means, of course, is that the order is rules-based so long as it is the nation called America that sets these rules and is accepted as the world’s undisputed leader.
Blinken’s fervent embrace of the ‘rules-based international order’ puts action behind the words set forth in the recently published ‘Interim National Security Strategy Guidance’, a White House document which outlines President Joe Biden’s vision “for how America will engage with the world.”
While the specific term ‘rules-based international order’ does not appear in the body of the document, the precepts it represents are spelled out in considerable detail, and conform with the five pillars of the “liberal international order” as set forth by the noted international relations scholars, Daniel Duedney and G. John Ikenberry, in their ground-breaking essay, ‘The nature and sources of liberal international order’, published by the Review of International Studies in 1999.
Any country that’s so benighted that it thinks it can run itself better than the US government can deserves permanent occupation by the US military. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
US intelligence agencies have warned the Biden administration that if the United States withdraws its military presence from Afghanistan under current circumstances, the nation would be at severe risk of falling under the control of the people who live there.
ANew York Times article titled “Officials Try to Sway Biden Using Intelligence on Potential for Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan” warns that an intelligence assessment has predicted that if “U.S. troops leave before any deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, the militant group will take over much of the country.”
“The intelligence estimate predicted that the Taliban would relatively swiftly expand their control over Afghanistan, suggesting that the Afghan security forces remain fragile despite years of training by the American military and billions of dollars in U.S. funding,” NYT reports.
When your empire is crumbling, it’s often hard to separate friends and enemies. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:
Anyone who expected a change in tone in foreign policy due to the transition from Trump to Biden has to be disappointed.
There are certainly a number of reasons why the United States government is now only viewed favorably by the Israelis, but totally tone deaf foreign and economic policies have to be right up there in how the world sees Washington. Rather than conform to how other nations are expected to behave, the U.S. has elevated “exceptionalism” and “leader of the free world” nonsense to a dogma where it believes itself allowed to behave without restraint in defense of what it claims to be its interests. As all countries act in support of interests, that would at least be understandable but the odd thing is that the various constituencies that make up the U.S. government do not even have any clear vision of what is and is not good for the country and American people as a whole.
President Joe Biden’s recent labeling of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer” combined with a threat to make Russia “pay a price” due to its alleged meddling in American elections is a perfect example of imperial over-reach by the clowns currently prowling the corridors of power in Washington. The not so thinly veiled threat was derived from an intelligence assessment that claimed that Russia had favored the candidacy of Donald Trump and had been circulating disinformation to damage Biden and his family. The assessment provided no evidence to back-up what was claimed, which was innocuous in any event, but it was enough to trigger a malaprop response from the U.S. president. The more canny Putin has responded by suggesting a live televised “debate” with Biden, who, refused to take up the offer, knowing that if he had he would have quite likely “gaffed” his way to incoherence.
This rebuke to the “Five Eyes” follows a strong dressing down delivered by Yang Jiechi, a ruling member of the Chinese government to the Biden regime at the Alaska talks.Yang Jiechi told the US delegation that “the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.”In other words, who do you think you are?Where did you get the idea that your self-serving position constitutes international public opinion and that you can lean on us to comply with your position?
In their most recent public statements President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have stopped pleading with the West to be nice.Putin acknowledged that Washington only wants a hegemonic relationship with Russia, a relationship inconsistent with Russian sovereignty, and Lavrov said that the EU’s hostility to Russia could result in Russia breaking off relations with Europe.
Washington is probably too arrogant to hear what it is being told.This is why I am concerned that Washington’s hegemonic aspiration can result in a devastating war.It is easy to rouse Americans, especially patriotic Trump supporters, against Russia and China.The American Establishment did not allow Trump to improve relations with Russia, but it did permit him to worsen relations with China.But what sense does it make for Trump supporters, defined by the Biden regime as “Trump insurrectionists,” “enemies of democracy,” and “America’s greatest threat,” to support the Biden’s regime’s propaganda against Russia and China?
In the last couple of weeks, thanks to Biden blunders, Russia and China have served notice that they were no longer going to pay attention to the US’s unipolar and exceptional nation delusions. From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) in Beijing, China on March 23, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency
It took 18 years after Shock and Awe unleashed on Iraq for the Hegemon to be mercilessly shocked and awed by a virtually simultaneous, diplomatic Russia-China one-two.
How this is a real game-changing moment cannot be emphasized enough; 21st century geopolitics will never be the same again.
Yet it was the Hegemon who first crossed the diplomatic Rubicon. The handlers behind hologram Joe “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, Nance” Biden had whispered in his earpiece to brand Russian President Vladimir Putin as a soulless “killer” in the middle of a softball interview.
Not even at the height of the Cold War the superpowers resorted to ad hominem attacks. The result of such an astonishing blunder was to regiment virtually the whole Russian population behind Putin – because that was perceived as an attack against the Russian state.
Then came Putin’s cool, calm, collected – and quite diplomatic – response, which needs to be carefully pondered. These sharp as a dagger words are arguably the most devastatingly powerful five minutes in the history of post-truth international relations.
In For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska, we forecasted what could take place in the US-China 2+2 summit at a shabby hotel in Anchorage, with cheap bowls of instant noodles thrown in as extra bonus.
China’s millennial diplomatic protocol establishes that discussions start around common ground – which are then extolled as being more important than disagreements between negotiating parties. That’s at the heart of the concept of “no loss of face”. Only afterwards the parties discuss their differences.
Yet it was totally predictable that a bunch of amateurish, tactless and clueless Americans would smash those basic diplomatic rules to show “strength” to their home crowd, distilling the proverbial litany on Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea, “genocide” of Uighurs.
Oh dear. There was not a single State Dept. hack with minimal knowledge of East Asia to warn the amateurs you don’t mess with the formidable head of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the CCP’s Central Committee, Yang Jiechi, with impunity.
The US is going to have to face the fact that the two largest countries on the Eurasian land mass—China and Russia—are going to dominate it. From Alfred McCoy at consortiumnews.com:
Like the British establishment of the 1950s, current leaders of U.S. foreign policy have been on top of the world for so long that they’ve forgotten how they got there, writes Alfred W. McCoy.
The World Heritage Site Wulingyuan in Zhangjiajie of Hunan, China. (cncs, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)
Empires live and die by their illusions. Visions of empowerment can inspire nations to scale the heights of global hegemony. Similarly, however, illusions of omnipotence can send fading empires crashing into oblivion. So it was with Great Britain in the 1950s and so it may be with the United States today.
By 1956, Britain had exploited its global empire shamelessly for a decade in an effort to lift its domestic economy out of the rubble of World War II. It was looking forward to doing so for many decades to come. Then an obscure Egyptian army colonel named Gamal Abdel Nasser seized the Suez Canal and Britain’s establishment erupted in a paroxysm of racist outrage. The prime minister of the day, Sir Antony Eden, forged an alliance with France and Israel to send six aircraft carriers to the Suez area, smash Egypt’s tank force in the Sinai desert, and sweep its air force from the skies.
But Nasser grasped the deeper geopolitics of empire in a way that British leaders had long forgotten. The Suez Canal was the strategic hinge that tied Britain to its Asian empire — to British Petroleum’s oil fields in the Persian Gulf and the sea lanes to Singapore and beyond. So, in a geopolitical masterstroke, he simply filled a few rusting freighters with rocks and sank them at the entrance to the canal, snapping that hinge in a single gesture. After Eden was forced to withdraw British forces in a humiliating defeat, the once-mighty British pound trembled at the precipice of collapse and, overnight, the sense of imperial power in England seemed to vanish like a desert mirage.
The basis for these sanctions is listed as “human rights” violations in Xinjiang province, as US Secretary of State Tony Blinken explains:
“Amid growing international condemnation, the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. The United States reiterates its calls on the PRC to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities.”
Blinken’s allegations are unfounded, as explained in this recent article from The Grayzone and in this comprehensive video by the Youtube channel Bay Area 415. While it’s entirely possible that human rights violations could be happening in Xinjiang in some form and to some extent, the extremely flimsy and blatantly manipulated evidence we’ve seen so far for western claims of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” should draw immediate incredulity from anyone who remembers the lead-up to the Iraq invasion. The only sane response to unfounded claims by known liars is skepticism and agnosticism until we are presented with proof that rises to the level required in a post-Iraq invasion world.
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