A Republican senator on the Armed Services Committee told Fox News on Tuesday that he strongly supports keeping US military action on the table if Russia invades Ukraine, up to and including a first-use nuclear attack.
"I would not rule out military action," Senator Roger Wicker told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. "I think we start making a mistake when we take options off the table. So I would hope the president keeps that option on the table."
"What does military action mean, senator?" Cavuto asked.
"Well, military action could mean that we standoff with our ships in the Black Sea and we rain destruction on Russian military capability," the senator replied. "It could mean that. It could mean that we participate - and I would not rule that out - I would not rule out American troops on the ground. You know we don't rule out first-use nuclear action. We don't think it will happen. But there's certain things in negotiations - if you're going to be tough - that you don't take off the table."
Wicker emphasized that his position was entirely bipartisan.
"To the extent that you've had Democrats on the show right before me saying that we should be tougher, I support that and I appreciate that," Wicker said. "I think they represent the fear that we have, the realization that we have in the Congress, that losing a free democratic Ukraine to Russian invasion would be a game-changer for a free Europe."
Top Biden administration diplomat and neoconservative Ukraine coup plotter Victoria Nuland didn't go quite as far, but did assert that a perceived attack on Ukraine would see Russia financially cut off from the entire world.
"What we are talking about would amount to essentially isolating Russia completely from the global financial system, with all the fallout that would entail for Russian businesses, for the Russian people, for their ability to work and travel and trade," Nuland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
It remains to be seen whether tensions between NATO powers and Moscow over Ukraine will improve or get worse after a two-hour talk between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, but it is already abundantly clear that we are as usual being aggressively deceived about the situation. As the Moon of Alabama blog explained the other day, the narrative that Russia is poised for an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is flimsy at best, and could easily be designed to frame Russia as the aggressor should a future attack on rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine by US, NATO and Ukrainian forces cross one of Putin's red lines and provoke a military response from Moscow.
Whatever's happening, hawks in the US political/media class keep trying to amp the public up for a direct military confrontation between nuclear superpowers.
"If Russia invades a non-NATO partner vital to US-led operations in Iraq/Afghanistan, whose integrity we guaranteed in 1994 and defense we materially support, so soon after the abandonment of our allies in Kabul, the damage done to US credibility and hegemony will be immeasurable," tweeted MSNBC's Noah Rothman in contribution to the Ukraine controversy.
There's a lot going on in that post, like the ridiculous claim that Ukraine played a "vital" role in US-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the bizarre suggestion that Washington guaranteed it would militarily defend Ukraine's integrity in 1994. But what's most interesting is Rothman's refreshingly honest admission that if the hawks get their way in the event of a Ukraine conflict, people's sons and daughters would be sent to kill and die in a war over something as stupid as "US credibility and hegemony."
Indeed, all US wars in recent memory have been over US hegemony. When they occur they are always portrayed as heroic acts of defense against evil hostile aggressors; self-defense, defense of human rights, defending freedom and democracy, defending populations which can't defend themselves, etc. In the imperial doctrine of the US political/media class, the empire never attacks, it only "defends."
But if you break down the underlying causes of those military interventions they always boil down to preserving US unipolar hegemony, i.e. undisputed planetary domination. It's not an accident that US military interventionism is consistently most concentrated in areas of high geostrategic value, focused on maintaining the ability to control the world's crucial resources and shipping lanes, militarily surrounding disobedient governments, and continually expanding the ability to quickly launch devastating attacks on any population which acts against the will of the empire.
That's the real reason you're hearing so much hysterical shrieking about China lately, as well as governments which cooperate with it like Russia. It's got nothing to do with Ukraine or Taiwan or election meddling or human rights concerns in Xinjiang, it's because China is the head of a rising bloc of non-empire-aligned governments which threatens US hegemony. It's because Russia and China have been getting closer and closer after Western empire managers predicted the exact opposite would occur.
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last month that she'd "heard for years that Russia would become more willing to move toward the West, more willing to engage in a positive way with Europe, the UK, the US, because of problems on its border, because of the rise of China." But that's not what occurred.
"We haven't seen that," Clinton said. "Instead what we've seen is a concerted effort by Putin maybe to hug China more."
Had the predictions of US empire architects proved correct, the Russia-China tandem described in 2017 by Gilbert Doctorow would never have come to be, and China would have been far weaker and far more vulnerable to US subversion as a result. All the panicked consent-manufacturing you've been seeing from empire managers these last few years is due to the frantic need to course-correct after those forecasts fell flat.
As Noam Chomsky recently observed, the real "threat" China poses is that it cannot be bullied into complying with the will of the US empire.
"The US will not tolerate the existence of a state that cannot be intimidated the way Europe can be, that does not follow US orders the way Europe does but pursues its own course. That is the threat," Chomsky told Democracy Now last month.
Whatever your opinions on Chomsky at this point in his life, you cannot deny that he is correct here. Beltway empire managers determined after the fall of the Soviet Union that the US must prevent the rise of another rival superpower at all cost, and all the attempts you are seeing to undermine China and its geostrategic support system are simply the effects of that resolution playing out exactly as intended.
But what are the consequences of that resolution? What does it mean when history's first-ever unipolar planetary hegemon must maintain that unipolar hegemony even if it means risking a third world war against an alliance of nuclear-armed nations? What does it mean when the decline of an empire meets with the imperial doctrine that planetary domination must be held in place by any means necessary, and when we now have US senators talking on national television about launching a nuclear first strike on Russia if it invades a nation hardly any Americans could even find on a map?
It means the world has gotten a lot less safe.
The main argument you'll hear from those who support the continued existence of a US-led world order is that if it wasn't Washington ruling the world it would be Beijing or Moscow, which is just silly "If I don't steal it someone else will steal it" nonsense that isn't substantiated by facts. The planet never had a unipolar hegemon until three decades ago; there's nothing inscribed upon the fabric of reality which says there needs to be one, and all the evidence coming from Beijing and Moscow is that those governments want a multipolar world, not to dominate a unipolar one. Besides, it's not like the US has been making global domination look sexy during that time by rapidly burning itself out and teetering on the brink of collapse.
The other main argument you'll hear in favor of US unipolar hegemony is the claim of "Pax Americana"; that it makes the world a more peaceful place. But, again, how true is that if US unipolar hegemony must be held in place by endless violence and is now forcing humanity toward a world war between powerful nuclear-armed nations?
After all, Pax Americana has already killed millions of people and displaced tens of millions in US wars of geostrategic domination just since the turn of this century. The US-backed assault on Yemen alone will have killed 377,000 people by the end of this year, and the horrors show no sign of stopping. Unilateral starvation sanctions on disobedient populations are deliberately murdering civilians around the world. And now, no longer able to make do with simply smashing weaker nations, we are being fed the usual "defense" propaganda about Ukraine and Taiwan to gin up support for world war in the nuclear age.
The Western media has been screaming that Russia is about to invade Ukraine any minute now for years on end. The narratives we're being fed about Taiwan are blatantly propagandistic. All they're doing is brainwashing the public into consenting to aggressions which are so dangerous that, all by themselves, they completely invalidate the argument that US unipolar hegemony makes the world safer or more peaceful.
It doesn't have to be this way. There's no reason nations can't just cooperate with each other for the common good instead of waving armageddon weapons around over the ideas held by a few idiots about the need to dominate an entire planet. There's no reason the US needs to imperil us all with these insane unipolarist aggressions, and everyone should stop supporting it in doing so.