American militarism, war-making and imperial “nation-building” will continue. Because that is endemic to U.S. capitalism and its hegemonic addiction.
There was a staggering display of double-think this week from U.S. President Joe Biden. In reverse order, Biden hosted Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky at the White House on Wednesday and announced that the United States was to provide an additional $60 million in military support to the Kiev regime “in the face of Russian aggression”.
The day before, however, Biden delivered a solemn address to the nation in which he declared “the era of wars for nation-building was over”. The U.S. president was marking the final end to the 20-year war in Afghanistan when the last American military plane took off from Kabul at midnight on Monday. The departure capped the shambolic and shameful defeat of the United States by the Taliban insurgents who have returned to power almost two decades after they were ousted by a U.S. military invasion of the Central Asian country in October 2001. The longest war was for nothing.
In his nationwide address, Biden reiterated his belief that he took the right decision to wind down the trillion-dollar military occupation. He said the United States must learn from its mistakes in Afghanistan and not become involved again in wars for “nation-building”. He added that the U.S. withdrawal was not just about Afghanistan. This was a strategic watershed in Washington’s foreign policy whereby there must be an end to “major military operations to remake other countries”.
If Biden’s address appeared to signal a major curb in U.S. imperialism, that notion was quickly disabused within only a few hours when he subsequently hosted the Ukrainian president.
The Biden administration notified Congress it was boosting military support to the Kiev regime because of the increasing “threat from Russia”. The additional supply of $60 million worth of equipment includes Javelin anti-tank missiles “to defend Ukraine against a Russian incursion”.
“Ukraine’s significant capability gaps must be urgently addressed to reinforce deterrence in light of the current Russian threat,” claimed the Biden administration in its notification to Congress which duly rubber-stamped the additional inventory of lethal military firepower.
This brings the total U.S. military supply to Ukraine this year alone to $400 million. Since the Washington-backed coup d’état in Kiev against an elected government in 2014, the U.S. has supplied Ukraine with over $2 billion in military support. That has fueled a seven-year war against the ethnic Russian population in Eastern Ukraine who do not recognize the 2014 coup as legitimate. It is the NATO-backed Ukrainian forces under Kiev’s command that continually violate a nominal ceasefire by attacking civilian centers in the Donetsk and Luhansk self-declared autonomous regions. Yet Washington and its puppet regime in Kiev accuse Russia of aggression.
The alleged “annexation” of Crimea by Russia is another red-herring that Washington keeps flogging despite a legal referendum in 2014 held by the ethnic Russian people of Crimea to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. They also repudiated the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 in Kiev which brought Neo-Nazis to power. Historically, Crimea has centuries of shared history and culture with Russia. The U.S.-installed regime in Kiev has sinister antecedents as collaborators with the Nazi Third Reich in assisting the genocide during the Second World War against Slavic peoples. How about that for historical denouement on the real nature of Washington’s power and what it associates with despite all the pious, self-preening platitudes of democratic virtue?
Moscow this week condemned the increase in U.S. military hardware being sent to Ukraine. Together with provocative rhetoric from Biden about “defending Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression” the development is deeply destabilizing for the country which shares a border with Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the new military aid “could potentially cause unpredictable actions by the Ukrainian side in terms of attempting to resolve the Ukrainian conflict by force,” adding, “this is very dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Denis Pushilin, president of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, commented that the meeting between Biden and Zelensky showed “not a single hint of peace settlement”.
Indeed, Biden’s meeting at the White House was a recapitulation of false accusations against Russia over Ukraine and a brazen distortion of who the aggressor party is. There was no mention by the U.S. president of the Kiev regime’s obligations to implement the Minsk Peace Accord which was mediated by France, Germany and Russia in 2015.
Still, it was reported that Zelensky was not entirely satisfied by the additional disbursement of American military aid. He wants much more from Washington as well as immediate acceptance into the NATO military alliance, a move that Moscow has repeatedly warned against as being a threat too far to its national security.
Other U.S. analysts were also advocating the Biden administration to ramp up supplies of “big-ticket” weapons to the Kiev regime. Alexander Vershbow, a former ambassador to Russia who is now with the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington DC, urged the White House to deploy anti-aircraft missile systems in Ukraine. Such people – who are quoted in U.S. media as supposedly intelligent commentators – are in reality nothing more than war-mongering lunatics of Dr Strangelove ilk who drool and fantasize about “l-l-l… luvving” bombs.
The year-on-year funneling of military power into Ukraine by Washington is exacerbating the conflict in that country and stoking explosive tensions with Russia. If the Kiev regime escalates its aggression towards the eastern Donbas region, thereby further endangering ethnic Russian civilian populations, then Moscow’s hand may be forced to defend its national security interests. Washington’s ignorant, or cynical, support for the Kiev regime and its intensely hostile Russophobia, has created powder-keg conditions.
What’s more, Washington maintains that its military backing for Ukraine is conditioned on improvements in the Kiev regime’s record on human rights, anti-corruption measures, reforms to its judicial system and adopting U.S.-approved economic policies. In short, that sounds a lot like nation-building by Washington decree.
That shows the United States’ rulers have learned absolutely nothing from their unmitigated disaster in Afghanistan. American militarism, war-making and imperial “nation-building” will continue. Because that is endemic to U.S. capitalism and its hegemonic addiction.
Thus, Biden’s words of solemnity about ending wars are just a sop to a nation that is chronically sick of destructive U.S. imperialistic violence. In the rawness of Afghanistan and the festering wounds of that catastrophe, Biden is obliged to console a war-weary nation. But his words are empty.
As his next meeting on Ukraine would quickly demonstrate, it’s imperial business-as-usual.