Nuclear War Is a Real and Serious Danger
World Socialist Web Site
(April 27, 2022) — In mid-March, US President Joe Biden repeatedly stated that he would not allow direct conflict between the United States and Russia, because “that would mean World War III.” A month later, this is precisely what the Biden administration is doing.
On Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin presided over a meeting of the representatives of forty nations in a council of war assembled by Washington on its Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the headquarters for the US Air Force in Europe and the NATO Air Command.
Austin, fresh from a visit to war-torn Kiev, confirmed that the war in Ukraine is a war between US and NATO, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other. He announced that Washington would be assembling every month going forward a comparable international gathering of high-ranking military figures—which he termed the Ukrainian Contact Group—to “focus on winning” the conflict with Russia.
The aims of the war are now clear. The bloodshed in Ukraine was not provoked to defend its technical right to join NATO, but rather was prepared, instigated and massively escalated in order to destroy Russia as a significant military force and to overthrow its government. Ukraine is a pawn in this conflict, and its population is cannon fodder.
…The pretense that the US and NATO are not at war with Russia has also “melted away.” Former US Army Europe Commander Ben Hodges stated on Sunday that the US aim in the conflict was “breaking the back” of Russia.
Lavrov raises fear of nuclear war: Austin calls warnings “unhelpful”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded, accusing the United States of pressuring the Ukrainian government to sabotage peace talks and of conducting a proxy war in Ukraine. He warned that there was a “serious, real” danger of nuclear war. Austin dismissed Lavrov’s warning as “dangerous and unhelpful.”
What nonsense! Washington assembles a war camp and states that it aims to “break the back” of Russia. When Russia responds that such language and goals raise the danger of nuclear war, Washington declares this to be … unhelpful.
The United States has made clear that it aims to crush Russia and topple its government. Faced with such an existential threat, the use of nuclear weapons becomes a tactic the Russian ruling class will weigh. Washington is determined to win the war, the Putin government is determined to prevent that from happening.
There is no way out for either side but escalation.
Lavrov is, in fact, correct:
nuclear war is a real and serious danger.
The real driving forces behind the war have emerged in the course of the conflict. The US and NATO powers goaded Russia into invading Ukraine, refusing to negotiate over Russia’s demand that Ukraine not be made a member of NATO. Russia termed its invasion a special operation, signaling that it intended a contained, tactical maneuver to stabilize its position in the region.
The US, however, would not allow such a rearrangement and sought either to sink Russia in the quagmire of a “grinding occupation,” or to organize its defeat. To this end, Washington worked to undermine all efforts at a negotiated settlement. The rhetoric of Washington justifying this policy has deepened the conflict. Biden accused Putin of war crimes, then of genocide, and called for regime change in Moscow. Each new formulation had an irreversible, escalatory character, a click in the ratchet of war….
With its arms shipments, sweeping declarations and councils of war, the United States has staked its entire credibility on the defeat of Russia in this conflict. “The stakes reach beyond Ukraine and even beyond Europe,” Austin declared on Tuesday. The fate of American hegemony, including the credibility of its threats against China, hangs in the balance. The reckless decisions made by Washington have thus become the major premise in the logic of further escalation….
The leaders of the imperialist powers, above all the US, are proceeding with a recklessness bordering on criminal insanity. But it is a recklessness that arises out of class interests and the logic of the capitalist crisis. Driving the escalation of the conflict are not only geopolitical interests but, even more significantly, the intractable economic, social and political crisis in every major capitalist country, above all the United States.
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