Tag Archives: War Mongering

US media escalate anti-China propaganda over alleged hacking

By Thomas Gaist
June 6, 2015
World Socialist Web Site


After receiving a quiet go-ahead from the Obama administration this week, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the US television networks trumpeted unsubstantiated accusations that Chinese hackers have stolen personal data on millions of government employees from US government servers.

The alleged cyberattacks, which the corporate media strongly suggests have originated with the Chinese government, supposedly involved lifting files on some 4 million federal workers from servers of the Office of Personnel Management.

While the Obama administration has stopped short of directly accusing the Chinese government of involvement in the hacking, belligerent voices in the media and political establishment are already speaking as if Beijing’s involvement is certain.

None of the media reports is based on actual journalism. Instead, the reporters involved, whether at the major daily newspapers or the television networks, are taking their cues from the White House, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The report by the New York Times, for example, “Chinese Hacking of US Data May Extend to Insurance Companies,” has all the appearances of a semi-official US government press release. It lays out, not demonstrable facts, but rather an argument that serves the political aims of the US ruling class.

In the upside down, war-mongering narrative advanced by the Times, a growing wave of Chinese cyberattacks has been launched against the US, in spite of supposed efforts by the Obama administration to de-escalate cyber-tensions between the two governments.

“The intrusions also suggest that President Obama’s efforts over the past three years to engage China’s leadership in a dialogue that would limit cyberattacks has failed. The pace of the attacks is unabated, and the scope has grown,” the Times warned.

Painting the alleged hacks in grandiose and ominous terms, the Times proclaimed that the world is facing a “new era in cyberespionage,” in which the US population at large will face cyberattacks similar to those allegedly launched against US business and state institutions in recent years.

“Spies are no longer stealing just American corporate and military trade secrets, but also personal information for some later purpose,” the newspaper warned. “The attackers seem to be amassing huge databases of personal information about Americans.”

Readers should perhaps stop now to rub their eyes in disbelief. Only a few days ago, the main news story in the United States was the effort of the US National Security Agency to “amass huge databases of personal information about Americans.”

Moreover, this was accomplished, not by a murky hacking operation, but by a massively funded government program, authorized at the highest levels, that seized all telecommunications and Internet data generated by all telecoms, ISPs and corporations like Google and Yahoo!

The legislation signed into law by Obama Tuesday, and hailed by the Times as a breakthrough for civil liberties, only changed one aspect of this massive surveillance operation—described by the NSA internally as an effort to “capture it all”—by shifting responsibility for collecting telephone metadata from the NSA to the telecoms. All other NSA programs to spy on the American people and the population of the world continue entirely as before.

The media attack on China thus serves two purposes: to distract attention from the real and growing threat to democratic rights and privacy in the United States, which comes from Washington, not Beijing, and to further the campaign of anti-Chinese provocation and saber-rattling which the Obama administration calls its “pivot to Asia.”

Whatever the reality of the latest hacking allegations, the attribution to China is extremely dodgy and unsubstantiated. While the Times assured readers that there is “little doubt among federal officials” that the attacks were launched from China, it acknowledged that the White House has declined to publicly finger the Chinese state as the source “because of a broader diplomatic strategy.”

In part, the unwillingness of the White House to publicly stand behind the accusations against the Chinese government, even as the American corporate media screams them at the top of its lungs, is a demonstration of the extremely inflammatory nature of the charges, which verge on declaring that China is at war with the United States.

Even as it orchestrates a military, political and media campaign aiming to intimidate China and whip up public support for military action in the Far East, the Obama administration wishes to preserve its ability to maneuver diplomatically and extract concessions from Beijing through political and diplomatic pressure.

The announcement that discussion on cyberwarfare will be central to the upcoming meeting between US and Chinese officials on “Economic and Strategic Dialogues” indicates that the issue is being used to bully China.

In April, the US Defense Department issued a report claiming that China launched a wave of hacks against US military information networks during 2014.

It cannot go unremarked that the hysterical condemnations of alleged Chinese cyberattacks by the US establishment have been steadily escalated even as the US has developed massive data mining operations against the Chinese government and military.

NSA internal documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the spy agency has implanted “persistent” forms of malware technology on Chinese servers. Once embedded, the advanced malware technology used by the NSA can remain concealed indefinitely while transmitting data back to its controllers, performing manipulations of infected systems, and replicating itself on other networked computers.

There is little doubt that China conducts cyberespionage against the US government and military. But such efforts are dwarfed by the massive resources employed by the Pentagon, CIA and other US government agencies.

This week’s events make clear that the alleged hacking will provide occasion for expanded use of similar technologies within the US. In response to supposed cyberthreats, the NSA demanded authority this week to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance against US-based Internet users and networks.

Previously, the National Security Agency has technically only enjoyed legal authorization to conduct dragnet electronic surveillance against servers and networks located overseas, despite the fact that the distinction between “overseas data” and “US data” has been rendered largely meaningless by the globalization of production and the revolution in communications and information technology that has unfolded since the 1970s.

“Nuclear War our Likely Future”: Russia and China won’t accept US Hegemony, Paul Craig Roberts

June 3, 2015


25a0a-war-looms-for-obama-in-iran-syria-and-north-korea-img_The White House is determined to block the rise of the key nuclear-armed nations, Russia and China, neither of whom will join the “world’s acceptance of Washington’s hegemony,” says head of the Institute for Political Economy, Paul Craig Roberts.

The former US assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, Dr Paul Craig Roberts, has written on his blog that Beijing is currently “confronted with the Pivot to Asia and the construction of new US naval and air bases to ensure Washington’s control of the South China Sea, now defined as an area of American National Interests.”

Roberts writes that Washington’s commitment to contain Russia is the reason “for the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and for its use as anti-Russian propaganda.”

The author of several books, “How America Was Lost” among the latest titles, says that US “aggression and blatant propaganda have convinced Russia and China that Washington intends war, and this realization has drawn the two countries into a strategic alliance.”

Dr Roberts believes that neither Russia, nor China will meanwhile accept the so-called“vassalage status accepted by the UK, Germany, France and the rest of Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia.” According to the political analyst, the “price of world peace is the world’s acceptance of Washington’s hegemony.”

“On the foreign policy front, the hubris and arrogance of America’s self-image as the ‘exceptional, indispensable’ country with hegemonic rights over other countries means that the world is primed for war,” Roberts writes.

He gives a gloomy political forecast in his column saying that “unless the dollar and with it US power collapses or Europe finds the courage to break with Washington and to pursue an independent foreign policy, saying good-bye to NATO, nuclear war is our likely future.”

Russia’s far-reaching May 9 Victory Day celebration was meanwhile a “historical turning point,” according to Roberts who says that while Western politicians chose to boycott the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, “the Chinese were there in their place,” China’s president sitting next to President Putin during the military parade on Red Square in Moscow.

A recent poll targeting over 3,000 people in France, Germany and the UK has recently revealed that as little as 13 percent of Europeans think the Soviet Army played the leading role in liberating Europe from Nazism during WW2. The majority of respondents – 43 percent – said the US Army played the main role in liberating Europe.

“Russian casualties compared to the combined casualties of the US, UK, and France make it completely clear that it was Russia that defeated Hitler,” Roberts points out, adding that “in the Orwellian West, the latest rewriting of history leaves out of the story the Red Army’s destruction of the Wehrmacht.”

The head of the presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, told RT earlier this month that attempts to diminish the role played by Russia in defeating Nazi Germany through rewriting history by some Western countries are part of the ongoing campaign to isolate and alienate Russia.

Dr Roberts has also stated in his column that while the US president only mentioned US forces in his remarks on the 70th anniversary of the victory, President Putin in contrast“expressed gratitude to ‘the peoples of Great Britain, France and the United States of America for their contribution to the victory.’”

The political analyst notes that America along with its allies “do not hear when Russia says ‘don’t push us this hard, we are not your enemy. We want to be your partners.’”

While Moscow and Beijing have “finally realized that their choice is vassalage or war,” Washington “made the mistake that could be fateful for humanity,” according to Dr Roberts.

US brinkmanship with China over South China Sea

By Peter Symonds
June 1, 2015
World Socialist Web Site


Asia_US_It does not require a great deal of imagination to work out how the United States would respond to China sending its aircraft carrier into the Gulf of Mexico to assert its “right” to “freedom of navigation”, or Russia dispatching military reconnaissance aircraft just outside the 12-mile territorial limit off the coast of New York State.

Such actions would immediately be denounced as flagrant aggression, if not acts of war. US warships and aircraft would—at the very least—closely shadow the “intruders”. And, a clamour would erupt in the media demanding American retaliation and preparations for war.

Yet that is exactly what the US is doing thousands of kilometres from the nearest American territory. State-of-the-art surveillance aircraft now routinely patrol close to Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea. Last month the littoral combat ship, the USS Fort Worth, prowled around the same atolls. Now the Pentagon is provocatively preparing to directly challenge China’s territorial claims by sailing or flying within the 12-mile limit.

These reckless military actions are being accompanied by a mounting propaganda campaign in the American and international press branding China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea as illegal, aggressive and aimed at securing control of the strategic waters. The United States is transforming “freedom of navigation” into a casus belli for war with China.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter exploited last weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore—a security forum originally established to ease regional tensions—to condemn China for being “out of step with international rules and norms” and to solicit further participation from other Asian countries in the massive US military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Carter declared that he was “personally committed” to the next phase of the US military “rebalance” aimed at encircling China. The Defence Department, he said, “will deepen longstanding alliances and partnerships, diversify America’s force posture, and make new investments in key capabilities and platforms.”

He continued, “The Department is investing in the technologies that are most relevant to this complex security environment, such as new unmanned systems for the air and sea, a new long-range bomber, and other technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers, and new systems for space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones.”

Carter emphasised that the US would “bring the best platforms and people forward to the Asia-Pacific.” These include “the latest Virginia-class [nuclear] submarines, the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, the newest stealth destroyer, the Zumwalt, and brand-new carrier-based E-2D Hawkeye early-warning-and-control aircraft.”

Having outlined this vast array of military might, Carter went on with a straight face to declare that the US opposed “any further militarisation of disputed features” in the South China Sea—a reference to two small mobile artillery guns that Washington claims China has placed on one of the islets.

While Carter declared that “there is no military solution to the South China Sea disputes,” the US has exploited these same disputes to secure new military basing and access arrangements with countries directly adjacent to its waters—the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

US imperialism is now actively preparing for war with China. It is not China that threatens “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea, but the United States. Central to the Pentagon’s war strategy against China are plans to cripple its economy by imposing a naval blockade to sever shipping routes on which it heavily relies for energy and raw materials from Africa and the Middle East.

The Obama administration has made clear that it is willing to threaten, risk and provoke war in order to ensure its untrammelled domination in Asia in general and over China in particular. The historic decline of US imperialism during the past two decades has been matched by the eruption of American militarism in the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia. Now Washington is engaged in increasingly reckless brinkmanship in Asia in its efforts to force Beijing to back down.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Kaiser Xi’s Navy” ominously drew a parallel with the situation in Europe immediately prior to World War I, comparing China to Germany and Chinese President Xi Jinping to the German Kaiser. Its false depiction of China as an aggressive imperialist power was aimed at justifying the call for a vast US naval expansion “to convince Beijing that a naval race is unwinnable and not worth running.”

The US is setting itself on a collision course with China whose strategic and economic interests are directly threatened by the aggressive American intrusion into the South China Sea. Beijing is well aware that any concessions to Washington will be quickly followed by more strident demands. Admiral Sun Jianguo, head of the Chinese delegation in Singapore, rejected US condemnations of China’s activities and calls for a halt to land reclamation.

The implications of escalating geo-political tensions were obviously heavy in the air at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Calling for a diplomatic resolution to territorial disputes, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein warned: “If we are not careful it would escalate into one of the deadliest conflicts of our time, if not our history.”

American imperialism’s provocations against a nuclear-armed power do indeed threaten to plunge humanity into another, even deadlier world war that will not be stopped by diplomacy or appeals to reason. The only social force capable of preventing such a disaster is the international working class, through a unified struggle to put an end to its root cause—the bankrupt profit system and its outmoded division of the world into rival nation states.



US defence secretary challenges China at Singapore security forum

By Peter Symonds
May 31, 2015
World Socialist Web Site


Asia_US_At the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore this morning, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter provocatively threw down the gauntlet to China, demanding “an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation” in the South China Sea. “We also oppose the further militarisation of disputed features,” he said.

While his remarks were addressed to “all claimants” in the South China Sea, Carter was unmistakeably targeting China. He blamed its “unprecedented” land reclamation for making these waters “the source of tension in the region and front-page news around the world.” The United States, he declared, had “deep concerns about any party that attempts to undermine the status quo and generate instability, whether by force, coercion, or simply creating irreversible facts on the ground, in the air, or in the water.”

In reality, the US has deliberately stoked tensions in the South China Sea by directly intervening in longstanding maritime disputes and encouraging China’s neighbours, including the Philippines and Vietnam, to more aggressively assert their claims against Beijing. The Obama administration has exploited the issue as part of its “pivot to Asia” to undermine Chinese influence and justify a US military build-up and the strengthening of alliances throughout the region.

In the lead-up to the Shangri-La Dialogue, the Pentagon ensured that the South China Sea would be “front-page news” by allowing a CNN news crew to join a US navy surveillance flight close to Chinese-controlled atolls. Yesterday the US claimed further evidence of China’s “militarisation” of the sea, citing the presence of two mobile artillery vehicles on one of China’s islets. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a US official acknowledged there was “no military threat,” but said “it is about symbolism.”

The Pentagon’s moves have been accompanied by inflammatory statements by US officials, as well as in the American and international press, magnifying the “threat” posed by China and indicating further military provocations. After last month denouncing China’s land reclamation as building “a great wall of sand,” Admiral Harry Harris, the newly installed head of the US Pacific Command, on Wednesday dismissed Beijing’s territorial claims as “preposterous.”

In what can only be interpreted as a threat to China, Harris declared there would be “no shortage of challenges that confront us. If called upon, we will fight tonight to defend American interests in the vast Indo-Asia-Pacific. This is not aspirational. It is in our DNA. Our nation deserves no less.”

In today’s speech, Defence Secretary Carter reaffirmed that the US would continue to challenge China’s claims through “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea. “There should be no mistake,” he said. “The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as US forces do around the world.”

Carter has reportedly ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for US warships or aircraft to enter the 12-mile territorial limit around Chinese-controlled reefs, actions that risk a clash leading to an escalating conflict with China’s armed forces.

While asserting the “right” to freedom of navigation and overflight of territory claimed by China, the US routinely denounces similar activities by China in the East China Sea near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands administered by Japan as “provocative” and unjustified. Indeed, US President Obama has publicly pledged to back Japan in any war with China over the rocky, uninhabited outcrops.

Carter’s main pitch was an appeal for regional cooperation to ensure “peace and stability.” Nothing could be further from the truth. As outlined in his speech, the US has for the past five years engaged in a comprehensive military build-up and strengthening of strategic partnerships directed against China throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Carter’s long list of “cooperative” arrangements focussed on stronger military ties with Japan, South Korea, Australia and India. He noted that the navy’s state-of-the-art littoral warship, the USS Fort Worth, which has just completed a “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, is based in Singapore. Carter foreshadowed the signing of a new operational cooperation agreement with Vietnam and a new US-India Defence Framework when he visits those two countries this week.

To underscore Washington’s commitment to its Asian allies, Carter declared that the US Defence Department would “continue to bring the best [weapons] platforms and people forward to the Asia Pacific, such as the latest Virginia-class [nuclear] submarines, the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, the newest stealth destroyer, the Zumwalt, and brand-new carrier-based E-2D Hawkeye early warning-and-control aircraft.”

Carter announced a Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative, which is clearly centred on the South China Sea. The US Senate Armed Services Committee has just approved the measure, which will provide $425 million over the next five years to help train and equip the armed forces of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The committee chairman, right-wing Republican Senator John McCain, is at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Yesterday he added his voice to the denunciations of China. He highlighted the Pentagon’s claim that China had placed artillery on one island, describing it as a “disturbing and escalatory development.” Indicating his support for US military provocations, McCain declared that the US needed to “take certain measures which will be a disincentive to China to continue these types of activities.”

The sharp escalation of tensions in the South China Sea in recent months is generating growing concern in Asian capitals about the danger of war, even among closer supporters the US “pivot.”

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who delivered the keynote opening address to the Shangri-La Dialogue yesterday, declared that without cooperation the Pacific Ocean could be divided between the US and China, “each with its own sphere of influence, circumscribing options for other countries, and increasing the risk of rivalry and conflict between two power blocs.”

Lee called for China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to conclude a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible, “so as to break the vicious cycle and not let disputes sour the broader relationship.” He warned: “On the other hand, if a physical clash occurs, which escalates into a wider tension or conflict, either by design or more likely by accident, that would be very bad. But even if we avoid a physical clash, if the outcome is determined on the basis of might is right, that will set a bad precedent.”

During question time following Carter’s speech, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo challenged Carter’s criticisms of China, calling them “groundless and not constructive.” He pointed out that “freedom of navigation and overflight” had never been at issue in the South China Sea and insisted that China’s land reclamation was “legitimate” and justified. Zhao questioned Washington’s “harsh criticism” and military reconnaissance.

Carter brushed aside these comments, falsely declaring that the US was doing nothing new in the South China Sea. The exchange presages further verbal clashes over the weekend between China and the US and its allies, including Japan, Australia and the Philippines, whose defence ministers are present. Several Chinese officers are slated to speak, including the head of the Chinese delegation, Admiral Sun Jianguo, a PLA deputy chief, who is due to address the forum tomorrow.

Pivot Insanity: Why is Obama Goading China?

By Michael Whitney
May 30, 2015


US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is willing to risk a war with China in order to defend  “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. Speaking in Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, Carter issued his “most forceful” warning yet, demanding “an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation” by China in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Carter said:   “There should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world.” He also added that the United States intended to remain “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.”

In order to show Chinese leaders “who’s the boss”, Carter has threatened to deploy US warships and surveillance aircraft to within twelve miles of the islands that China claims are within their territorial waters. Not surprisingly, the US is challenging China under the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,  a document the US has stubbornly refused to ratify.  But that’s neither here nor there for the bellicose Carter whose insatiable appetite for confrontation makes him the most reckless Sec-Def since Donald Rumsfeld.

So what’s this really all about?  Why does Washington care so much about a couple hundred yards of sand piled up on reefs reefs in the South China Sea? What danger does that pose to US national security? And, haven’t Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines all engaged in similar “land reclamation” activities without raising hackles in DC?

Of course, they have. The whole thing is a joke. Just like Carter’s claim that he’s defending the lofty principal of “freedom of navigation” is a joke. China has never blocked shipping lanes or seized boats sailing in international waters. Never.  The same cannot be said of the United States that just  recently blocked an Iranian ship loaded with humanitarian relief–food, water and critical medical supplies–headed to starving refugees in Yemen. Of course, when the US does it, it’s okay.

The point is, Washington doesn’t give a hoot about the Spratly Islands; it’s just a pretext to slap China around and show them who’s running the show in their own backyard. Carter even admits as much in his statement above when he says that the US plans to be “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” China knows what that means. It means “This is our planet, so you’d better shape up or you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt.” That’s exactly what it means.

So let’s cut to the chase and try to explain what’s really going on, because pretty soon no one is going to be talking about Ukraine, Syria or Yemen because all eyes are going to be focused on China where our madhatter Secretary of Defense is trying to start a third world war.

Here’s the scoop: Washington has abandoned its China policy of “containment” and moved on to Plan B:  Isolation, intimidation and confrontation. In my opinion, this is why the powerbrokers behind Obama dumped Hagel. Hagel just wasn’t hawkish enough for the job. They wanted a died-in-the-wool, warmongering neocon, like Carter, who is, quite likely, the most dangerous man in the world.

Carter’s assignment is to implement the belligerent new policy of incitement and conflict. His actions will prove to the skeptics that Washington is no longer interested in integrating China into the US-led system. Rather, China has become a the biggest threat to Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia. And, just to remind readers how important the pivot is to America’s future, here’s an Obama quote I lifted up from Tom Engelhardt’s latest titled “Superpower in Distress”:

“After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region….As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority.”

The so called pivot is Washington’s “top priority”, which means that China’s unprecedented ascendency must be slowed and its regional influence curtailed. Thus, the dust up over the Spratly Islands will be used in the same way the US has used other incidents, that is, by demonizing China’s leaders in the media, by assembling a coalition that will publicly oppose China’s activities, by implementing harsh economic sanctions, by launching asymmetrical attacks on China’s currency and financial markets, by excluding China from critical trade agreements, and by inciting social unrest (color-coded revolution) through the support of dissidents living in China. These are the all-too-familiar signs of US meddling directed at “emerging rivals” who threaten US global hegemony. China now finds itself at the top of the list.

US powerbrokers know that bullying China involves significant risks for themselves and the world. Even so, they have decided to pursue this new policy and force a confrontation. Why? Why would they embark on a strategy so fraught with danger?

The answer is: They don’t see any way around it. They’ve tried containment and it hasn’t worked.  China’s growing like crazy and its regional influence threatens to leave the US on the outside looking in. Carter even admitted as much in a recent speech he gave at the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. He said: “We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets…forging many separate trade agreements in recent years, some based on pressure and special arrangements…. Agreements that…..leave us on the sidelines.  That risks America’s access to these growing markets. We must all decide if we are going to let that happen.  If we’re going to help boost our exports and our economy…and cement our influence and leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world; or if, instead, we’re going to take ourselves out of the game.”

See? It’s all about markets. It’s all about money. Here’s more from Carter’s speech:  (The) ” Asia-Pacific…is the defining region for our nation’s future”… “Half of humanity will live there by 2050″ and that “more than half of the global middle class and its accompanying consumption will come from that region.”….”There are already more than 525 million middle class consumers in Asia, and we expect there to be 3.2 billion in the region by 2030…President Obama and I want to ensure that… businesses can successfully compete for all these potential customers. ….Over the next century, no region will matter more… for American prosperity.”

This is why the Obama administration is making a general nuisance of itself in the South China Sea. It’s so the big US mega-corporations will have new customers for their IPADs and toaster ovens.

For that, they are willing to risk a nuclear war.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.


Iran, 47 Republicans and Israeli Control of Congress

By Margaret Kimberley
March 20, 2015
Black Agenda Report, March 20, 2015


Benjamin Netanyahu, Joe Biden, John BoehnerRepublicans and Democrats in Congress have more in common than they like to admit. There is more pretense of difference than actual divergence of ideology between the two parties. Both bend to the will of the ruling class, both support American interventions abroad, both promote austerity and are ready to cut what remains of the safety net. Republicans may agitate against raising the minimum wage, but despite all talk to the contrary, Democrats didn’t raise it either when they had control of the White House and Congress in 2009 and 2010.

Both parties are also controlled by the Israel lobby, one of the most powerful in the country. Israel and its allies exercise control over politicians with the power of fundraising. Dissenters from Zionist orthodoxy may face well funded opponents and find themselves out of office. That simple fact explains much that seems inexplicable about recent events in this country.

It is true that Republicans invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress but in the end most Democrats groveled before him just like their leader Barack Obama did. The Netanyahu speech was a spectacular piece of theater and was soon followed by another when 47 Republican senators sent an open letterto the Iranian government. The goal of the missive was to scuttle nuclear energy negotiations between Iran and the P5 +1 group, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

The Republicans looked ham fisted and are easily mocked. Yet it is important to remember that they would never have attempted to commit such mischief if they didn’t have the possibility of Democratic help. The negotiations are not bound by a treaty and as such do not need congressional approval. However if the 54 Republicans in the Senate can get 13 Democrats to join them they would have a veto proof majority in any effort to limit the president’s authority. To date, 15 Democrats have at various times expressed a willingness to go along with the Republicans and end any chance for negotiations with Iran.

It isn’t hard to sneer at the amateurish senator Tom Cotton and his cohorts but more difficult to see through the soap opera and the Democrats who have already declared themselves ready to kill this process too. Republicans and Democrats all follow the lines drawn by AIPAC and other pro-Israel power brokers in Washington. This most recent letter was not the first of its kind. There have been others written by both Democrats and Republicans which exhorted the president not to engage in negotiations with Iran.

The worthlessness of the Democratic Party and its supporters is most evident when Republicans show bad manners. At such moments even progressives use the language of the right wing, condemning Republicans for “strengthening the hard liners” in Iran and other such propagandistic drivel. They call Republicans “traitors” and demand that the seldom used Logan Act be used to prosecute them. It would be amusing if it weren’t so sad.

No one is willing to speak the truth and say that the entire process is a sham. For years Democrats have joined Republicans in telling lies about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and covering up the easily provable existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal. Unlike the secret nuclear power Israel, Iran is a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty and has always been willing to prove its peaceful intent. Neither the corporate media nor the two-party duopoly explained these facts and the Democrats suffer because of their complicity. Now that the president wants to make a deal he and his party are stuck with all the lies they told in the past.

Both parties are true believers in American imperialism. They differ only in style, not in substance. The Republican strategy of appealing to the yokels in their base is problematic because it lets Democrats off the hook. There is no Democratic equivalent of Tom Cotton, getting facts wrong in an undiplomatic letter to a foreign country and getting sarcastic rebuke in return. But Democrats don’t stand up for peace and justice either. When Israel committed daily atrocities in Gaza every congressional Democrat joined Republicans in voting to approve the war crime.

Every Republican outrage produces a rube du jour. The 47 senators will be joined by the Koch Brothers, Russ Limbaugh, and other right wingers who are turned into bogeymen and used to keep passive Democrats within their party line. If they didn’t exist they would have to be invented. Because they exist Democrats get away with doing little or even joining in their plots.

As long as Netanyahu and friends can tell Americans what to do there will be some sort of Israeli outrage played out in Washington. There will always be congressional speeches or bizarre letters to foreign governments. One would do well to disbelieve the hype and know that the two parties are too often one and the same, and the letter signed by 47 senators may as well have been signed by 100.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

Breedlove Promulgating “Dangerous Propaganda”; German-US Split Deepens

By Steven MacMillan
March 18, 2015
New Eastern Outlook


B423232323The split between Berlin and Washington is becoming more pronounced by the week, as German patience seems to be running out for the war-hungry and belligerent US. This is leading to NATO becoming more fragmented, as many in Europe now see certain factions in the US as impeding any chance of reaching an enduring peace deal in Eastern Ukraine.

The latest episode in this deteriorating relationship was when the four-star General in the US Air Force and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove, stunned German leaders by giving a ludicrous and inaccurate statement claiming that Russia had “upped the ante” in Eastern Ukraine.  Breedlove’s comments were viewed by many in the German Chancellery as “dangerous propaganda”, as he frequently exaggerates the number of Russian troops and tanks close to the Ukrainian border in a bid to increase tension between East and West.

Straight from the Western propagandist’s songbook, hyperbole and hyping the threat of “Russian aggression” is the song that Breedlove is signing along with many other Western military leaders and politicians. Total demonization of the Russian Federation is the order of the day in the West; as facts play an increasingly limited role in public discourse regarding Moscow.

Individuals in the top echelons of the German government and intelligence services are repeatedly seeing their attempts at diplomatically reaching a peaceful solution in Ukraine torpedoed by “hawks in Washington”, hawks that Breedlove seems to represent. As Sputnik reported in an article titled, Washington’s War Agenda Toward Russia Unnerves German Leaders:

“Hawks in Washington seem determined to torpedo Berlin’s [diplomatic] approach” over the Ukraine conflict, reported German media. The German government feels that Americans are trying to undermine its recent efforts to arbitrate a political solution to the Ukrainian conflict, which has caused at least 6,000 deaths. Germany also expressed discontent that the violence between the ultranationalist regime in Kiev and the independence supporters in the east is threatening to spill over into a wider war that could involve Russia and the rest of Europe. Berlin has also lately expressed the view that General Breedlove and US State Department official Victoria Nuland are working together to destabilize the Minsk ceasefire.”

Many in Europe are growing increasingly tired of Washington’s obsessive desire for global hegemony and their attempted subjugation of the Russian state. The sooner European states turn their back on US pressure, the safer the world will become. Crazed neocon hawks have been directing US foreign policy for far too long, in what US four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark calls a “policy coup”.

Berlin has taken a more rational stance than the more extreme factions in the West in respect to the situation in Eastern Ukraine. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, stated at the beginning of February that she was opposed to NATO countries supplying the Ukrainian government with lethal military aid, despite many in Washington pushing for such an escalation in the crisis. Other nations in the West perhaps didn’t heed her sound advice however, as Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said after a meeting in Hungary that Western nations are already supplying weapons to Kiev. German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also spoke out at the end of last year against Ukraine joining NATO, although he did believe a partnership was possible. Steinmeier told Der Spiegel “that it is possible for NATO to have a partnership with Ukraine, but not membership.”

Cohesion and consensus on policy among member states is essential to any alliance; and the deepening split between the US and Germany illustrates the growing fractures within NATO. Europe should emancipate itself from US pressure and pursue independent foreign policies devoid of imperial aspirations. Disbanding NATO is a key step towards this, and one that is long overdue!

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Global Threat? US Policymakers Admit Iran is Defending Itself

By Tony Cartalucci
March 15, 2015
New eastern Outlook


I83151290411610789_6US policymakers admit that Iran’s strategy is “largely defensive,” and both aggressive and defensive tendencies are largely in response to US policy in the Middle East and Central Asia.

The US-based RAND Corporation, which describes itself as “a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis,” produced a report in 2009 for the US Air Force titled, “Dangerous But Not Omnipotent : Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East,” examining the structure and posture of Iran’s military, including its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and weapons both present, and possible future, it seeks to secure its borders and interests with against external aggression.

The report admits that:

Iran’s strategy is largely defensive, but with some offensive elements. Iran’s strategy of protecting the regime against internal threats, deterring aggression, safeguarding the homeland if aggression occurs, and extending influence is in large part a defensive one that also serves some aggressive tendencies when coupled with expressions of Iranian regional aspirations. It is in part a response to U.S. policy pronouncements and posture in the region, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Iranian leadership takes very seriously the threat of invasion given the open discussion in the United States of regime change, speeches defining Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and efforts by U.S. forces to secure base access in states surrounding Iran.

Such a narrative stands in direct contradiction of daily propaganda emanating from Western media monopolies portraying Iran as a global threat to peace and stability, and in particular, “bent on” attacking the US and its allies, particularly Israel, for no other reason but fulfilling fanatical, ideological hatred.

The recent political theater centered around the US and Israel, portrays a US attempting to accommodate Iran versus an Israel fighting an existential battle against a determined aggressor. Behind the rhetoric, however, the RAND Corporation lays out the specific facts, revealing a reality quite to the contrary.

It reveals an embattled, besieged Iran seeking to stave off foreign encirclement, destabilization, and literal invasion. RAND openly notes that the conflict is not about “defending” Israel or preserving US national security, but instead, centered on America’s attempts to project power into the Middle East – half a world away from its own shores, and Iran’s attempts to resist foreign hegemony.

The question of Iran’s potential menace, should it obtain nuclear weapons is also covered in the report. The report openly admits that Iran sees nuclear weapons as a psychological deterrence, not a practical means of war fighting. It would state:

Others have argued that Iran will seek to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies on deploying, posturing, and targeting nuclear weapons, believing that the mere acquisition of the bomb (or even nuclear technology itself) will be a sufficient psychological deterrent. Press statements, writings in military journals, and other glimpses into Iranian thinking on this issue appear to support the conclusion that Tehran regards nuclear weapons as powerful psychological assets but poor warfighting tools.

It would also state:

The actual military components of this deterrence strategy include, most obviously, the drive for an indigenous enrichment capability and a potential nuclear weapon; short- and medium-range ballistic missiles; asymmetric warfare and terrorism; and popular mobilization to defend the homeland, should an invasion occur. While this may appear to Western observers as a push for hegemony, Tehran likely sees it as a multilayered form of strategic defense that extends deep into the enemy’s camp and encompasses a variety of political, military, and economic levers.

Claims made by politicians and commentators across the Western media, portraying Iran as a hegemonic regime bent on nuclear holocaust are betrayed by the actual tactical, strategic, and political assessments of the West’s very own policymakers.

Nowhere in RAND’s report is it mentioned that Iran seeks to pass nuclear weapons onto non-state actors. In fact, possession and control of any potential nuclear weapon would fall under Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which currently controls the nation’s chemical and biological stockpiles, estimated in another RAND document to include an inventory of up to 2,000 tons. If, for decades, these weapons of mass destruction have remained safely under the control of the IRGC without being proliferated among Iran’s many regional proxies, why would Iran risk proliferating a nuclear weapon among these groups?

Of course, US policymakers admit, Iran is hesitant to wage even a conventional war against its enemies. Also in 2009, another prominent US policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, would build an entire document around lamentations over Iran’s reluctance to be provoked into war with the US and its regional partners, including Israel.

In its report, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran,” Brookings would first openly admit to a conspiracy aimed not at defending against Iranian aggression, but to intentionally, and maliciously provoke it. It would state:

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

It would add:

In a similar vein, any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

And despite overt provocations Brookings policymakers conspired to carry out against Iran, they feared Iran might still not retaliate. It would claim:

It would not be inevitable that Iran would lash out violently in response to an American air campaign, but no American president should blithely assume that it would not.

The report continues:

However, because many Iranian leaders would likely be looking to emerge from the fighting in as advantageous a strategic position as possible, and because they would likely calculate that playing the victim would be their best route to that goal, they might well refrain from such retaliatory missile attacks.

Behind the West’s rhetoric of a “dangerous” Iran committed to a policy of “regional hegemony” and “nuclear holocaust,” more honest, if albeit less public assessments of Iran, reveal the nation to be committed to self-preservation, so much so that it may resist attempts to provoke it into war despite the West arming and funding both political sedition and armed terrorism within their country, and outright, unprovoked military attacks upon it.

In this light, the global public might find an interestingly different conclusion as to who is behind regional and even global chaos – those who secretly assess the non-threat of a nation, while publicly manufacturing threats to justify otherwise unjust wars built on hegemony, not self-defense.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

Unmasking Israel: Netanyahu Creates An Opening for Resistance

By Caleb Maupin
March 13, 2015
New Eastern Oultook

I43234234Barack Obama is not an anti-Zionist, or opponent of Israel. Under Obama, Israel has been able to depend on the continued support of the United States. Israeli officials openly describe this support as vital to Israel’s existence. Each day approximately $18 million in official US aid is delivered to Israel. In addition, billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment are also provided annually. Obama has not in any way scaled back support for what US officials have called an “unsinkable battleship”, extending US and western power in the Middle East.

Obama may have deeper experience with and knowledge of Islam than other US leaders, and the early years of his political career involved politics much further to the left than those he currently espouses, but this is irrelevant. Obama has overseen continued US complicity in Israeli atrocities and human rights violations. Despite occasional words of consolation, Obama has been completely loyal to the US tradition of support for Israel and its crimes. This tradition began with Harry S. Truman, who once thundered “I am Cyrus!” at a Zionist gathering in New York City, and it continues with Obama, who has received standing ovations from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

In US politics, the first years of Obama’s presidency were unique, not due to any policy or statement of Obama, but the historical importance of Obama’s taking office. Obama is a dark skinned man of African descent, and he is the first non-white man to ever assume the office of President of the United States.

The reasons for the extreme euphoria resulting from his 2008 electoral victory are rooted in the history of the United States. The United States very existence as a country is the result of white settler colonialism. Black Americans came to the United States in chains from Africa, with millions not surviving the initial journey. Slavery continued until the bloody civil war, which was followed by decades of racist apartheid conditions. African-Americans continue to struggle against discrimination, police brutality, and higher rates of unemployment, imprisonment, and poverty. The recognition of even the basic humanity of African-Americans has been the result of centuries of struggle and confrontation.

Obama’s assumption of the presidency was the cause for so much celebration across the United States because of its symbolism. An event that could not have taken place in the 1950s, or even in the 1990s, had come about. A Black man assumed the office of commander-in-chief, despite the extreme amount of ugly racism in both the present and past of the country. The event was seen as the culmination of decades of struggle against racism, and different sectors of US society reacted to it on that basis.

Israel’s Changing Image

In its early years, the Zionist political movement attempted to portray itself as a progressive struggle for national liberation. The Israeli “Labour” party painted deceptive images of Israel as a kind of socialist garden of Eden. Repeating this falsehood, the majority of the world communist movement and many otherwise progressive and anti-imperialist groupings wrongfully supported Israel, in its early years. In 1948, the opposition to Israel in the United States was dominated by the isolationist right-wing.

However, over the course of the last several decades, Israel’s “socialistic” and “humanitarian” imagery has been torn down by reality. The Jewish settlers who piled into Palestine under the Balfour Declaration, directed by wealthy British bankers, were not socialist utopians but racist white settlers, not much different from those in other parts of the world. They slaughtered and oppressed the Palestinian people with the same Euro-centrist hatred, and expressed the same mentality as that expressed in Rudyard Kippling’s poetry about the “white man’s burden.”

Since 1948, Israel has been torturing, slaughtering, and shocking humanity with its brutality. Palestinians live in horrendous conditions, many homeless and imprisoned within their own homeland. They have been slaughtered on many occasions. Israel’s aggression has not been limited to the Palestinians, but has extended to many other parts of the region.

The current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu represents the right wing current which has assumed dominance in Israeli politics. The rise of Netanyahu’s Likud party is linked to the reality of Israel becoming more apparent. As the reality of Israel as a white colonial apartheid settler regime becomes inescapable, the “Labour Zionist” current, with its socialistic rhetoric has been pushed aside.

Netanyahu’s base of support is the extremist right wing of the Zionist movement, that includes those who establish settlements beyond the 1967 borders. The settlers are known to watch air strike bombings in lawn chairs, like they are a form of entertainment. They are also known to persecute local Palestinians as a form of sadistic entertainment.

Recently, there was a great deal of outcry when photographs surfaced on social media of Israeli high school students staging a mock lynching. Dressed in full Ku Klux Klan attire around a student dressed in “black face” make-up, these high school students appeared to be almost celebrating one of the ugliest atrocities of racism in the southern United States, in which Black men were extra-judicially executed in a carnival like atmosphere.

The Extremist Right-Wing Minority

Since Obama’s election, there has been a section of US society that has refused to recognize his presidency as legitimate. They have frivolously tried to claim Obama has no legitimate birth certificate, and was actually born in Kenya. They attempted to link Obama to the Communist Party USA, or to armed anti-capitalist groups which operated during the 1970s. They have tried to claim he is secretly not a Christian, but a Muslim.

While a certain level of extreme hostility is expected from the political opponents of any president, the extreme rage of the almost entirely white “Tea Party” movement in the first years of Obama’s presidency was unique. In one instance an elderly white Tea Party activist at a town hall screamed “What’s happened to my America!” in front of TV cameras.

A certain sector of US society has seen Obama’s presidency as a defeat for the white establishment of the United States. They see it as a defeat for the racist historical set up of the United States, and a victory for the anti-racist movement. Regardless of Obama’s actions and policies, this sector continues to insist that he is dismantling the “American Way of Life.”

These extreme forces are a minority of US society. Even much of the Republican Party has distanced itself from them. They are the extreme right-wing fringe of US politics, which is currently facing an identity and political crisis. Different currents including conspiracist libertarians, anti-immigrant bigots, Christian fanatics, isolationists, and “Anarcho-Capitalists” seek to point the US right-wing in different directions. A generational crisis has plagued the US far right, and a slew of different narratives explaining their grievances compete for believers. The recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which selected Rand Paul as its favorite candidate, was a display of the crisis facing the extreme right-wing in the United States. Many conservatives are longing for the Bush years, when the simplistic politics of “Support Our Troops and Their Commander-In-Chief” and “United We Stand” were in command.

Netanyahu’s invitation to speak at a joint session of the US congress is an extreme blunder for Israel in terms of public relations. The speech, and the controversy it has aroused has effectively linked Israel to the weak and confused extreme right-wing in the United States. Polls show that a majority of US voters do not approve of Congressman Boehner’s invitation of Netanyahu against the wishes of the President.

The Republican Party’s celebration of Netanyahu, and Netanyahu’s acceptance of this celebration, further reveals what Israel has often tried to conceal.

The Israeli settlers who cheered as bombs were dropped on Palestinian families, and the right-wing fanatics who believe Obama is secretly a Muslim Communist born in Kenya, are political clones. They are defenders of empire and the legacy of colonialism. They are white supremacists, who view dark skinned people as inferior. They are growing enraged as this worldview has become more and more thoroughly repudiated and threatened over the course of the last century.

Though the Soviet Union is gone, and countries struggling for national liberation can no longer depend on its support, the anti-racist and anti-imperialist sentiments it boosted have not declined. The rise of Bolivarianism in Latin America, the rise of Russia and China on the global markets, all point toward the decline of the global imperialist set up, where bankers in Wall Street and London have complete hegemony.

An Opening for Resistance

The height of Israel’s strength was when it could deceive the world about its nature. When Israel could align itself with figures like leftist Vice President Henry Wallace, and promote itself with films like “Exodus”, it was able to gather far more approval for its actions. The myth of Israel as a socialistic incarnation of the national aspirations of Jews was very effective in furthering Israel’s aims, and gaining approval and funding for its crimes.

However, this image has fallen into almost complete disrepair. The decline of Israel’s public relations has been a lengthy process. The Soviet Union and China’s support for Palestinian resistance, the revelations of Israeli cooperation with apartheid in South Africa, the Goldstone Report documenting war crimes and abuses, have all played a role in redefining Israel’s image and narrative in global discourse.

Netanyahu’s alliance with the Tea Party’s Anti-Obama fanaticism, and his participation with them in a joint political assault on the sitting president, pushes Israel further down the fatal road it cannot escape. With the entire global set-up increasingly on the defensive, the future of a white settler regime is obviously in great danger.

Netanyahu’s blunder creates an opening for forces opposed to Israel and its crimes. It creates potential allies in all who find the Tea Party extremist right-wing in the United States, to be disturbing. It opens millions of those who know nothing of middle eastern politics, but are opposed to racism within the United States, to suddenly view forces of resistance in Palestine as potential allies. The Ferguson uprising and the many Black Lives Matter protests show the widespread anger within the United States against racism and the rising police state.

As Israel’s public image declines, it will be the duty of Palestine’s allies to make the important connections to anti-imperialist struggles around the world. The predictions from the CIA about the pending collapse of Israel were not made frivolously, and the following decade could be one of vital importance for the global movement of resistance, specifically its forces in the middle east.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Danger of war with Russia grows as US sends military equipement to Ukraine

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier
March 13, 2015
World Social Web Site


UkraineUSWashington has begun delivering military hardware to Ukraine as part of NATO’s ongoing anti-Russian military build-up in eastern Europe, escalating the risk of all-out war between the NATO alliance and Russia, a nuclear-armed power.

The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it would transfer 30 armored Humvees and 200 unarmored Humvees, as well as $75 million in equipment, including reconnaissance drones, radios and military ambulances. The US Congress has also prepared legislation to arm the Kiev regime with $3 billion in lethal weaponry.

Washington is at the same time deploying 3,000 heavily armed troops to the Baltic republics, near the Russian metropolis of St. Petersburg. Their 750 Abrams main battle tanks, Bradley armored personnel carriers, and other vehicles are slated to remain behind after the US troops leave. This handover is aimed at “showing our determination to stand together” against Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Major General John O’Connor said in the Latvian capital, Riga.

Washington is pressing ahead despite stark warnings from Moscow that it views massive weapons deliveries by NATO to hostile states on its borders as an intolerable threat to Russian national security.

“Without a doubt, if such a decision is reached, it will cause colossal damage to US-Russian relations, especially if residents of the Donbass [east Ukraine] start to be killed by American weapons,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said last month. He called NATO’s plans “very worrying,” adding: “This is about creating additional operational capabilities that would allow the alliance to react near Russia’s borders… Such decisions will naturally be taken into account in our military planning.”

The decision is also sharpening tensions between Washington and Berlin, which backs the current policy of sanctions and financial strangulation of Russia, but opposes moves that threaten all-out war with Russia.

Visiting Washington yesterday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged a continuation of the strategy of “economic and political pressure” on Russia. Arming Ukraine, could “catapult (the conflict) into a new phase,” he warned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank.

The mood in broad sections of the American ruling elite has turned increasingly hysterical, however, after the Kiev regime’s defeat prior to last month’s ceasefire in Ukraine negotiated by German, French, Russian, and Ukrainian officials in Minsk.

In a comment denounced by the Russian Foreign Ministry, retired Major General and TV pundit Robert Scales declared, “It’s game, set, and match in Ukraine. The only way the United States can have any effect in the region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians.”

This week, Pentagon and Congressional officials called for Washington to arm Kiev, pressing for faster action from the White House. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey are pressing for large-scale weapons deliveries to Kiev, as are leading members of Congress from both big-business parties.

“I applaud President Obama for sending a strong signal both to the people of Ukraine as well as to the Kremlin,” said Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. “But more can and must be done for Ukraine, including defensive weapons as soon as possible.”

“The fact that it appears that the president may have made a commitment to [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel while she was here, or the German ambassador, not to do that certainly has created a lot of concern on both sides of the aisle,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker.

“I don’t buy this argument that, you know, us supplying the Ukrainian army with defensive weapons is going to provoke Putin,” said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

With a toxic combination of maniacal aggression and thoughtlessness, the NATO alliance is lurching towards a war with Russia that could destroy the entire planet. Warnings about US policy from Berlin, which itself has led the European imperialist powers in supporting the February 2014 putsch in Kiev and backing the Kiev regime’s bloody war in east Ukraine, have at most a tactical character. The only force that opposes war is the working class, in America and Europe and internationally.

Despite Berlin’s misgivings as to US policy, the NATO alliance is pursuing its escalation against Russia. At a press conference Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO Supreme Commander of European forces General Philip Breedlove laid out the ongoing military build-up across eastern Europe. They spoke at the Supreme command Headquarters of Allied Personnel in Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, which oversees NATO operations in Europe.

Stoltenberg declared that due to the Ukraine crisis, NATO has to “expand its collective defense, as it has never done since the end of the Cold War… We will double the rapid response force from 13,000 soldiers to 30,000. We will equip the rapid response force with a spearhead of 5,000 men, which will be ready to deploy within 48 hours. And we will establish six command centers in the Baltic states and three other eastern European countries.”

Referring to NATO member states’ pledge to massively increase defense spending at the recent Wales summit, Stoltenberg pledged to “keep up the momentum.” Besides the escalation in the Baltics, naval exercises are taking place in the Black Sea, and NATO is preparing for the largest exercises for many years, with 25,000 men, in southeastern Europe.

Breedlove said he had never seen greater “unity, readiness and determination within NATO to tackle the challenges of the future together.” He was sure that this would continue.

In reality, tensions between Washington and its European allies, above all Germany, have increased in recent weeks. In its latest edition, Der Spiegel reports that Berlin is angry that “Washington’s hardliners are inciting the conflict with Moscow, first and foremost the supreme commander of NATO in Europe.”

The German Chancellor’s office criticized Breedlove for “dangerous propaganda” and making “imprecise, contradictory and even untruthful” statements.

“I wish that in political matters, Breedlove would express himself more cleverly and reluctantly,” commented a foreign-policy specialist of the Social-Democratic Party, Niels Annen. Instead, NATO has “repeatedly spoken out against a Russian offensive in the Ukraine conflict precisely at the point when in our view, the time was right for careful optimism.”

According to Der Spiegel, the US-German dispute is “fundamentally because the transatlantic partners [have] different objectives… While the German-French initiative [a reference to the Minsk peace agreement] aimed to stabilize the situation in Ukraine, for the hawks in the American administration it is about Russia. They want to push back Russia’s influence in the region and destabilize Putin’s rule. Their dream goal is regime change in Russia.”

German imperialism backed the coup in Ukraine, using the crisis to create political conditions for it to rearm within the framework of NATO and pursue its economic and geostrategic interests in eastern Europe militarily. It fears an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, however, as it could expand into all-out war between NATO and Russia, for which the German army is not yet ready.