Under the cover of Russia’s illegal and faltering invasion of Ukraine the U.S. military machine is making belligerent moves across Europe. With over 750 military bases in 80 countries around the world the U.S. is undoubtedly the world’s major military power and some of its latest moves should be setting alarm bells ringing.

In recent weeks, two significant deployments of troops and nuclear weapons on Ukraine’s borders have signalled clear intent to continue ramping up military confrontation in the region. Last week, the ‘Screaming Eagles’, also known as the 101st Airborne Division were, according to a NATO statement, “deployed to Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia to protect NATO’s eastern flank”.

This is the first time this U.S. division has touched down on European soil since World War 2, having been engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The battalion, made up of a considerable 4,700 soldiers, is currently establishing a garrison at the Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania – which is right next to the Black Sea and just 70 miles from the border with Ukraine. They are the closest U.S. unit to the fighting.

The CBS News item which accompanied the deployment can be described as nothing other than war propaganda and it makes for shuddering viewing. Footage of military exercises involving U.S. and Romanian troops pounding targets at a Forward Operating Base look to the untrained eye like a rehearsal for a major scale war. As CBS helpfully informs us: “The war games so close to that border are a clear message to Russia and to America’s NATO allies, that the U.S. Army is here.”

That ‘clear message’ is potentially cataclysmic for humanity. It means that a full-scale war between the U.S. and Russia is closer than it has ever been since the Cuban Missile Crisis, or possibly ever. These war games are yet another sign that the proxy war between Russia and the U.S. – its NATO allies in tow – which the Ukrainian people have the profound misfortune of hosting on their land, is rapidly escalating out of control.

Another sign of the situation spiralling out of control is the announcement that in December the U.S. will be deploying upgraded B61-12 air-dropped gravity bombs to NATO bases across Europe. The U.S. military magazine The National Interest describes the B61-12 as “the most dangerous nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal”. More “accurate” and “usable” than ordinary B61-1’s, they will replace the U.S.’s older nuclear weapons at sites in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and possibly here in the UK at RAF Lakenheath, where the weapons storage site has been given an infrastructure upgrade in order to store the new bombs.

Large scale troops deployments to your enemy’s borders and refreshing your nuclear arsenal across its neighbouring continent are sure-fire tactics for escalating an already deadly war. The U.S. is continuing to seize on the evident and seemingly growing weakness of Russia’s military as it looks to overturn the deadly stalemate which seems to have persisted in the war since the summer. As U.S. Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said back in April he “wants to see Russia weakened” and these strategic moves are designed to ensure exactly that. If that means pushing the planet to the brink of nuclear war – so be it.

The war in Ukraine has already tragically claimed up to 30,000 civilian lives – most of them murdered by Russian forces. If these deployments are ever put into live action that will be just a fraction of the lives claimed by this conflict.

Rather than allowing Ukraine to become entrenched in perpetual war we have to keep demanding a ceasefire and insisting on negotiations. The current U.S. administration would do well to heed the recent words of former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack F. Matlock Jr:

“The only practical way to stop the actual fighting would be to agree on a ceasefire. This is difficult for the Ukrainians since they are liberating some of the occupied territories, but the reality is that if the war continues Russia is capable of damaging Ukraine more than Ukraine can damage Russia without risking a wider war.

As principal arms supplier to Ukraine, the U.S. should encourage the Ukrainians to agree to a ceasefire. As the sponsor of the most punitive sanctions on Russia, the U.S. should use its leverage to induce Russia to agree to genuine negotiations during a ceasefire.”

Sadly, the two deployments outlined above suggest that the U.S. will be paying little attention to these suggestions and is set on a course of escalation that endangers humanity. It is up to the anti-war movement to keep highlighting the extreme severity of the situation and making as much noise as we can for peace.

02 Nov 2022 by Mayer Wakefield

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