Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 23, June 20, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Anti-War Movement

Cold War Rhetoric Increases

The US is considering new weapons on land and/or sea to counter what the US is promoting as "Russia's nuclear threat", according to a recent report in the EUObserver.

The website reports the US Ambassador to NATO, Key Bailey Hutchison, as briefing the press on June 16: "The reports that we [NATO] are getting are very troubling and we know we need to prepare for ... a much more capable [nuclear] arsenal than we have seen in the past from Russia".

"Will there be [new] capabilities in Europe? Anything that's done [by the US] in Europe will be done with the permission of the countries where there could be a deterrent. Or there could be moveable, mobile deterrents. Or it could be a water-bound deterrent," she said, leaving options open for new US nuclear weapons, as well as conventional armaments, on European soil.

For his part, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the same day the West would "not mirror Russia's destabilising behaviour" and had "no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe". He spoke of buying US-made anti-missile systems and next-generation fighter planes instead. Whether this represents contradictions between the Trump regime and NATO, or whether there is simply no agreed position, or whether talk of no new nuclear missiles in Europe is a smoke screen, is not yet clear.

This is also the case with US troops in Europe. Donald Trump has called for a reduction of US troop numbers in Germany, but the US ambassador also pointed out that the US was putting more American boots on the ground in Poland, as best serving "the ... defence of all of Europe".

The stepped up Cold War rhetoric comes amid NATO accusations that Russia broke a 1987 international ban on short and mid-range missiles in Europe.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin was deploying new systems that could strike EU capitals and building "hypersonic" missiles, Stoltenberg said. EUObserver quotes analysts as saying that nuclear war is "in the very far corner of the unthinkable" in modern times. But thinking the unthinkable has become the hallmark of statements by the warmongers of US imperialism on nuclear weapons and scenarios for their deployment.

It is clear that US imperialism would like to impose its will in Europe. But in this it also comes up against the ambitions of the EU. A conventional NATO-Russia clash, in which Putin got a bloody nose and fired a nuclear missile at an empty Arctic island, for instance, to frighten the West was a more realistic worst-case scenario, one expert, Pavel Podvig, from the Prio think-tank in Norway, said.

RAF Typhoons escort two US B-53 bombers through UK airspace, 15/06/2020 - Photo: MOD

EU defence ministers also held a videoconference on June 16, discussing creating a European armed force on top of NATO, reports EUObserver.

"With a view to our [the EU's] single set of forces, we need to plan and develop our defence capabilities strategically to be able to act with real operational output," the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain said in a joint letter ahead of Tuesday's meeting.

"We [the EU] should keep reinforcing military [operations]", such as Irini, a naval mission dealing with Libya, the letter, seen by EUObserver, said.

"We need a greater common strategic understanding of what we want to be able to do as Europeans in security and defence," the ministers added.

The handling of the conflict in Libya, itself a product of big power "regime change" in the context of the so-called "Arab Spring" during which US imperialism unleashed chaos and violence across North Africa and the Middle East, is a flashpoint.

As the EUObserver relates, "France has set the scene for a clash on Libya with its NATO ally Turkey when the Western defence ministers hold their talks. France, in Libya, has backed an eastern warlord, Khalifa Haftar, who is now on the retreat among accusations of war crimes. Italy, the other main EU power in the crisis, has formally backed the EU and UN-recognised government in Tripoli. But, at the same time, Italy was selling two warships to another Haftar-axis ally, Egypt, making a mockery of its EU commitments."

The website continues: "And the US, NATO's superpower, was doing nothing on the ground to tame the conflict."

It makes the statement of the US Ambassador to NATO to the EU defence ministers, that it "should not be thought that there's any walking away from Europe," sound more of a threat than a promise.

This all underlines that contradictions are sharpening as the Cold War rhetoric is increasing. This itself places ever-greater responsibility on the anti-war movement to step up their opposition to warmongering and threats of war by the big powers, especially US imperialism, wherever in the world they are posing their threats and engaging in overt and covert operations, coupled with sabre-rattling. In this context, it is a democracy of the people's own making, in the form of an Anti-War Government, where the people are the masters of decision-making power, which is urgently called for. This is a cause which unites all of humanity and demonstrates the way forward to a world where peace, justice and democracy prevail.


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