In his article ‘A return to permanent war is here: First it will bankrupt America, then destroy it’ published on May 26, 2022. Chris Hedges criticized America’s Joe Biden Administration trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism; pouring billions of dollars into Ukraine while ignoring spiraling inflation in the US, 17 million American children going hungry to bed every night, 100,000 Americans dying of drug overdoses annually, no minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation, spiraling gas prices etc.
Hedges further wrote that the monopolization of capital for militarization has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $6 trillion more than the US GDP of $24 trillion, while servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. He added that the US spent more on the military, $813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.
The above article was published in May, but the US treasury report published in the first week of October says that America’s national debt has already crossed $31 trillion, which according to the Peter G Peterson Foundation averages to $93,000 debt for every person in the country. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that $4.8 trillion will be added to the deficit by 2031. Concurrently, the Florida residents hit hard by the powerful Hurricane ‘Ian’ are outraged that the Joe Biden Administration is actively allocating billions of dollars for weapons to Kiev but does not help its own citizens.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the law to admit DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions into the Russian Federation. Acting heads of these regions have been appointed acting Governors. The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant has also been declared part of the Russian region. As fighting continues on the frontline, Putin has said that the situation will be stabilized. Integration of these regions with Russia is progressing and Putin will ultimately prevail according to some American strategists. The US propaganda earlier was that the voting in these regions would not be in Russia’s favour and that the public was being forced to vote but all this was proved wrong.
Ukraine’s counter offensive and Russian losses must be seen in the backdrop of billions of dollars worth of lethal and long-range weaponry and weapon platforms given to Ukraine by the West. In addition is the training of Ukrainian forces in various camps in Europe and Britain, supporting Kiev in planning operations, intelligence and combat support and pumping mercenaries-cum-regulars into Ukraine. US Space Force General Jay Raymond, describes the Ukraine conflict as the "first war where commercial space capabilities have really played a significant role".
Sabotaging the Nord Stream pipeline, together with blaming Russia through the United Nations for massive undersea methane gas leak shows another insidious side of the Biden Administration; this sabotage was without doubt an act by the US. It can have worldwide repercussions if the conflict spreads beyond Ukraine; by way of targeting oil pipelines and undersea internet cables in other regions.
The US is the only country that has used both nuclear and chemical weapons (and biological) in foreign countries. Yet, the Biden Administration has been raising the rhetoric of the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, knowing full well that Putin is not likely to do so. Biden has threatened that if Russia does so, the US would “wipe out” Russian forces in Ukraine, without elaborating how the US would do so, would that not imply ‘direct’ war with Russia and why would that not lead to World War III?
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is clowning to new heights by publicly calling for pre-emptive nuclear strikes on Russia by the West. His desperation is visibly apparent with Washington ordering him to clear Southern Ukraine of Russian troops before the full onset of winter, as if Putin will let that happen. Poland says it has discussed with the Biden Administration deployment of nuclear weapons in Poland though the US says it has not received any “request”. It is evident that the US wants to keep up the nuclear hype to rally friends and make more money out of it. For the same reason the Biden Administration has ordered anti-radiation pills - to spread the fear.
The Ukraine conflict was planned by the US years back; expansion of NATO including to the Baltic States contrary to the agreement with the Soviet Union, installation of Zelenskyy in Kiev and genocide in the Russian-speaking Donbas region over past eight years was part of the plan to rally Europe and NATO behind it. Today, the US is not even bothered that Europe is going into recession because of the US-engineered conflict in Ukraine. European leaders appear more interested in retaining power any which way. It is for the same reason that Angela Merkel opened the doors for Syrian refugees (though all were not Syrian) to get an additional term as Germany’s Chancellor.
America’s campaign to cap Russian oil prices has backfired to an extent with the OPEC announcing a cut in oil production to the tune of two million barrels daily. If this was not bad enough for Europe, the Biden Administration has hiked prices of American gas. The strategy appears to be that more the economic woes of Europe, they would remain tethered to the US even more. Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck has accused the US and other friendly gas supplier states of astronomical prices for their supplies, suggesting they were profiting from the fallout from the Ukraine conflict. At the same time, Habeck has called for more solidarity “from the US” in assisting its energy-pressed allies in Europe.
The chances of peace in Ukraine are nil as of now with Zelenskyy rejecting the offer by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mediation between Ukraine and Russia. Zelenskyy has categorically ruled out any talks with Russia, which was more than expected; Zelenskyy being the American mascot. The bottom line is that the Biden Administration wants the conflict to continue, hoping it would “kill” Russia. The fact that this is leading to global recession (Europe and Britain included) is of no concern to Capitol Hill.
Calls are being raised for taking away the “veto” of Russia, which are absurd and impossible. British Prime Minister Liz Truss is demanding a World sans Russia in a bid to cozy up to Washington after the US-backed IMF forced her to do a back-flip on tax cuts. Before her becoming the prime minister there was speculation that Boris Johnson could even make a comeback since Biden preferred him over Truss because of Johnson’s focus on Ukraine.
The moot question is where is the Ukraine conflict heading? The US obviously doesn’t want it to end and will continue to escalate it notch by notch – one example being the sabotage of Nord Stream. But will America cross “that” Russian redline which forces Putin to go for chemical attacks – and/or tactical nukes? Would the US then respond with biological attacks using the bio-weapons developed in Ukraine since 2005 which will also equally harm Ukrainian forces and the West at large, or will it go for a nuclear response; also taking down Washington, New York, London, Berlin and other cities along with it?
The US would do well to cut out the nuclear rhetoric since there are no winners in a nuclear war. The joke in circulation is that every time Biden orders boiled eggs for breakfast, North Korea fires a missile. There is speculation that North Korea is gearing up for another nuclear test. If that happens, the US can do little beyond condemnation, UN resolution and more sanctions. The question of taking out the nuclear capability of Russia through pre-emptive strike is laughable.
Russia needs the Donbas region as a land bridge to Crimea and will not let go, even if it means escalating the conflict. These regions were part of the Soviet Union but the US and NATO backtracked on the agreement made with the Soviets of not expanding NATO. Earlier, the US acknowledged this, better for itself, Europe, Britain and the world. The need to negotiate a ceasefire directly with Russia was never more. As of now, the US is leading the world into recession, hunger and energy shortages, with poor nations hit the hardest. It could end up in a nuclear exchange for which any amount of anti-radiation pills will not suffice.
The article first published by Indian Defence Review on 7th October 2022 was republished with permission of the author.
Lt Gen Katoch is renowned special forces officer with an unparalleled service record. He has been a prolific writer with his articles published in leading Defence magazines like FORCE & Fauji India.
(Views expressed are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Mission Victory India)
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