zaterdag 18 september 2021

By Ratcheting Up Conflict with China, White House Advisor Undermines Biden

 

By Ratcheting Up Conflict with China, White House Advisor Undermines Biden

Conflict with China

High ranking officials succeeded in undermining Mr. Biden’s credibility and infuriating China. Most tragically, they sabotaged Mr. Biden’s desire to avert the perils of strategic war. Regional stability is spiraling downward once again.

As a longtime Hawaii resident, I have always scratched my head as to how Grover Cleveland—the president of the United States—had been so ineffective when it came to foreign policy. His efforts to right the wrong of the unauthorized armed invasion and imprisonment of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 fell woefully short. Corporate and military forces influenced Congress to undermine the president and successfully orchestrate the overthrow of the sovereign nation of Hawaii.

How could such a consequential misstep have been allowed to let happen?

A similar betrayal took place on September 9, 2021. That’s when President Biden had called President Xi of China to work toward rapprochement, only to be undermined the very next day by forces in his own cabinet in a way that may be sending us all careening toward WWIII.

The U.S. has responded by steadily and dangerously amping up military maneuvers in the South China Sea. China has followed suit, and we now find ourselves in fever-pitch Cold War 2.0.

Mr. Biden’s goal on the phone call was to ratchet down the brinkmanship that has been accelerating tension in the western Pacific for years. His key offering to Mr. Xi was the reassurance that the U.S. would continue to respect the One China policy.

The One China policy has been honored by the U.S. since 1972. It asserts that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is part of it, not a separate nation-state. The policy calls for the U.S. to “officially” recognize China, rather than the island of Taiwan, but at the same time, the U.S. is free to continue a robust relationship with Taiwan, which has included weapons sales. 

For all its ambiguity, the policy has kept peace in the Taiwan Straits for half a century. However, that has changed in recent years, as China’s influence in the world has grown at a rate that threatens U.S. hegemony. The U.S. does not wish to lose its influence in the waters around Taiwan, where trillions of dollars in trade pass every year. But that is what would happen if Taiwan were to eventually unify with China. In resistance to such a fate, the U.S. has responded by steadily and dangerously amping up military maneuvers in the South China Sea. China has followed suit, and we now find ourselves in fever-pitch Cold War 2.0. 

Mock battles over control of Taiwan are a recurrent scenario staged in frequent U.S. war exercises, which decimate sea life in the Pacific. Defending Taiwan was also a featured maneuver during the “Large Scale Exercise 2021,” when marines and navy set up shop in Hawaii for two weeks in August. Needless to say, China finds these exercises highly provocative and even insulting.

So, for Mr. Biden to pick up the phone to find a way to avert global war, the world should’ve been able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards. Mr. Biden’s own administration officials seem to have been very alarmed by their boss’s dovish behavior; so much so that they quickly worked to reverse his conciliatory tone. Anonymous sources leaked to the Financial Times that senior national security officials from the US and Taiwan had held face-to-face talks on September 10. There, they had discussed changing the name of Taiwan’s mission in Washington, DC from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to “Taiwan Representative Office.” Sure to raise the ire of Beijing, the new nomenclature bestows near-embassy status, a ranking reserved only for full-fledged nation states.

According to a rush report in the Financial Times that came out the very same day as the U.S.-Taiwan meeting, the name-change idea is backed by White House Asia Advisor Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council, and officials from the State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

What’s in a name? A lot. One of China’s newspapers of record, the Global Times, angrily responded, “if the U.S. and the island of Taiwan do make the name change, it will mean Washington’s basic abandonment of its ‘one-China policy.'”

The following day, another excoriating editorial in the Global Times implied that the duplicitousness of the U.S. as the reason that China must “firmly seize the strategic initiative of the regional situation.” The report resolutely continued, “Sending PLA fighter jets over the island of Taiwan is a step we must take.”

At the very least, the impact of fighter jets over Taiwan will send the commercial air industry reeling, as hundreds of routes would have to be adjusted to circumvent trouble. If Taiwan fires back, strategic escalation would be rapid and risky.

Rhetoric from China is not the colorful hyperbole that it is from North Korea. Language out of China is consistently measured. They don’t tend to bluff. We should take this very seriously. The Global Times editorial assures, “Let us be fully prepared that there will be a showdown in the Taiwan Straits.”

So, there you have it. In only 24 hours’ time, the Financial Times story accomplished Mr. Campbell’s task: He and other high ranking officials succeeded in undermining Mr. Biden’s credibility and infuriating China. Most tragically, they sabotaged Mr. Biden’s desire to avert the perils of strategic war. Regional stability is spiraling downward once again.

Shame on them.

Just as President Cleveland’s authority had been ignored in Washington to instead favor corporate and military interests, so it goes today. There’s big money in war with China. So much, that powerful people seem eager to risk the likelihood of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Koohan Paik
CommonDreams

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the LA Progressive, its publisher, editor or any of its other contributors.

About Koohan Paik-Mander


Koohan Paik-Mander, who grew up in postwar Korea and on the US colony of Guam, is a Hawaii-based journalist and media educator. She is a board member of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and formerly served as campaign director of the Asia-Pacific program at the International Forum on Globalization. 


https://www.laprogressive.com/conflict-with-china/?utm_source=LA+Progressive+NEW&utm_campaign=fed74e7dde-LAP+News+-+20+April+17+PC_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_61288e16ef-fed74e7dde-287061191&mc_cid=fed74e7dde&mc_eid=82d637789f

The Real Criminals Gen. Milley Just Exposed

 

The Real Criminals Gen. Milley Just Exposed

Real Criminals

If the GOP had the courage of the Senate Republicans in 1974, Milley never would have been in a position to worry that an American president might start a nuclear war just to hang on to power.

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley stepped outside the realm of his constitutional power to prevent Donald Trump from starting nuclear war with China or Iran.  It was definitely unconstitutional and probably illegal.  But he’s not the true villain in this story; the true villain is almost never mentioned in the press.

Trump’s advisors aren’t the villains, either, although Trump was just the latest Republican president advised by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, whose partner in the years after they advised Nixon, Lee Atwater, had passed away from brain cancer after making a public apology for all the damage he did to our nation in the service of Nixon’s party and, later, George HW Bush (Willie Horton, et al).

And Nixon, too, presented such a threat to world peace and democracy in America that his own Defense Secretary, James Schlesinger, took actions remarkably similar to Milley’s, as was revealed by the Washington Post on August 22, 1974. Schlesinger and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs George S. Brown (who’d just taken that post on July 1, 1974), the Post wrote, “kept a close watch to make certain that no orders were given to military units outside the normal chain of command.”

American media needs to put the blame for that squarely where it belongs: fifty Republicans in the US Senate who chose their own self-interest over our county when Trump’s impeached fate was in their hands.

Specifically, Schlesinger and Brown were worried that Nixon would start a nuclear war to stay in power as he became increasingly under siege in the Watergate scandal.  Congress relieved them of that burden when Barry Goldwater walked over to the White House and informed Nixon that both Democrats andRepublicans in the Senate were going to vote to impeach and remove him from office if he didn’t resign immediately.

Which highlights the true villains in the General Mark Milley story who are almost always overlooked in the press: 50 Republicans in the US Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, who twice refused to remove Trump from office after the House had impeached him.

It’s not like these senators didn’t know that Trump was an unstable narcissist who had both loyalties and financial ties to autocrats in Russia, Turkey and multiple other foreign countries.  They not only knew but were informed in great detail during the first opportunity they were given to remove Trump from office in December of 2019. 

The impeachment managers laid out in excruciating detail the evidence that Trump had repeated for the 2020 election what he and his children had tried to do with Russia in 2016: solicit foreign interference in a US election, this time by trying to bribe the president of Ukraine with the promise of American weapons.  At any other time in American history that would have been prosecuted as outright treason.

For example, in the election of 1800, then-Vice President Thomas Jefferson benefitted from what we’d today call a tabloid journalist, James Callender, publishing stories about the XYZ Affair that explicitly suggested his opponent, then-President John Adams, had provoked the cold naval war with France that came out of the scandal just to help his reelection chances. The charges of treason hurt Adams badly in that election, helping hand it to Jefferson.

While Adams almost certainly hadn’t committed treason to stay in office, Trump almost certainly did, or something close to it.  But the Republicans in the Senate were apparently unconcerned.

They knew by then that Trump and his family had both openly and secretly solicited and received Russian help in the 2016 election, that he’d trashed American intelligence agencies while elevating Russia’s in a public meeting with President Putin in Helsinki way back in July of 2018, and that he’d tried to strong-arm the president of Ukraine to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden.

Compared to Richard Nixon paying to bug the DNC headquarters in the Watergate complex and then lie about it afterwards, Trump’s behaviors were monstrous.  But Republicans gave him a pass on his criminal behavior. Twice.

If even a bit over a dozen of them had had the courage of the senate Republicans in 1974, Milley never would have been in a position to worry that an American president might start a nuclear war just to hang onto power and thus avoid prosecution.

But Senate Republicans are proudly lacking in courage, patriotism or any sense of loyalty to our nation or its ideals; their only loyalties are to their own power and the billions their donors use to seduce and control them. 

Milley (and then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper) shouldn’t have had to take actions that may well have saved the republic if Trump had played out what he was considering.  

And the American media needs to put the blame for that squarely where it belongs: fifty Republicans in the US Senate who chose their own self-interest over our country when Trump’s impeached fate was in their hands.

Thom Hartmann
Independent Media Institute

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

https://www.laprogressive.com/real-criminals/?utm_source=LA+Progressive+NEW&utm_campaign=fed74e7dde-LAP+News+-+20+April+17+PC_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_61288e16ef-fed74e7dde-287061191&mc_cid=fed74e7dde&mc_eid=82d637789f



The Death Drive of the Anglo Saxon People

 

The new Australia, UK, and US nuclear submarine announcement: a terrible decision for the nonproliferation regime

By Sébastien Philippe | September 17, 2021

Nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard arrives back at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland following a patrol. Photo: CPOA(Phot) Tam McDonald/MOD accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Open Government License version 1.0.UK nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard arrives back at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland following a patrol. Photo: CPOA(Phot) Tam McDonald/MOD accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Open Government License version 1.0. 

On September 15, US President Joe Biden, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched a new major strategic partnership to meet the “imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.” Named AUKUS, the partnership was announced together with a bombshell decision: The United States and UK will transfer naval nuclear-propulsion technology to Australia. Such a decision is a fundamental policy reversal for the United States, which has in the past spared no effort to thwart the transfer of naval reactor technology by other countries, except for its World War II partner, the United Kingdom. Even France—whose “contract of the century” to sell 12 conventional submarines to Australia was shot down by PM Morrison during the AUKUS announcement—had been repeatedly refused US naval reactor technology during the Cold War. If not reversed one way or another, the AUKUS decision could have major implications for the nonproliferation regime.

In the 1980s, the United States prevented France and the UK from selling nuclear attack submarines to Canada. The main argument centered on the danger of nuclear proliferation associated with the naval nuclear fuel cycle. Indeed, the nonproliferation treaty has a well-known loophole: non-nuclear weapon states can remove fissile materials from international control for use in non-weapon military applications, specifically to fuel nuclear submarine reactors. These reactors require a significant amount of uranium to operate. Moreover, to make them as compact as possible, most countries operate their naval reactors with nuclear-weapon-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel.

With tons of weapons-grade uranium out of international safeguards, what could go wrong?

The United States, UK, and Australia are giving themselves 18 months to hammer out the details of the arrangement. This will include figuring out what type of submarine, reactors, and uranium fuel will be required. Similarly, questions about where to base the submarines, what new infrastructure will be needed, how maintenance will be conducted, how nuclear fuel will be handled, and how crews will be trained—among many others—will need to be answered.

Australia has no civilian nuclear power infrastructure beyond a 20 megawatt-thermal research reactor and faces a rough nuclear learning curve. It will need to strengthen its nuclear safety authority so it has the capability to conduct, review, and validate safety assessments for naval reactors that are complex and difficult to commission. How long this new nuclear endeavor will take and how much it will cost are anyone’s guesses. But the cancelled $90 billion (Australian) “contract of the century” with France for conventionally powered attack submarines will most likely feel like a cheap bargain in retrospect. Beyond these technical details, the AUKUS partnership will also have to bend over backwards to fulfill prior international nonproliferation commitments and prevent the new precedent created by the Australian deal from proliferating out of control around the world.

The United States and UK operate naval reactors in their submarines that are fueled with 93.5 percent enriched uranium (civilian power plants are typically fueled with three to five percent uranium-235) in quantities sufficient to last for the lifetime of their ships (33 years for attack submarines).Having resisted domestic efforts to minimize the use of HEU and convert their naval reactors to LEU fuel, the United States and UK have no alternative fuel to offer. France, on the other hand, now runs naval reactors fueled with LEU. The new Suffren-class submarine, from which the French conventional submarine offered to Australia was derived, even runs on fuel enriched below 6 percent.

So Australia is likely to receive HEU technology, unless an LEU crash program is launched that could take more than a decade to complete or in a dramatic reversal, France is pulled back into a deal—two scenarios that remain unlikely at this point and at any rate do not solve all proliferation concerns. Assuming the high-enrichment route is followed, if Canberra wants to operate six to 12 nuclear submarines for about 30 years, it will need some three to six tons of HEU. It has none on hand and no domestic capacity to enrich uranium. So unless it kickstarts an enrichment program for military purposes, the material would need to come from the United States or the UK.

One can only imagine the drops of sweat trickling down the neck of the International Atomic Energy Agency leadership in Vienna when an Australian delegation comes knocking at its door bringing the good news. The agency, which is currently battling to prevent Iran from acquiring enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon—25 kilograms (0.025 ton) of HEU according to the internationally agreed standard—will have to figure out how to monitor and account for 100 to 200 times that amount without gaining access to secret naval reactor design information.  Managing that feat while keeping its credibility intact will be difficult to pull off.

What could happen if AUKUS moves forward? France clearly feels “backstabbed” by its Anglo-Saxon allies and angered to the unimaginable point of cancelling a gala celebrating the 240th anniversary of the Revolutionary War Battle of the Capes during America’s war of independence. In response, the French could relax their position on not transferring naval reactor technology to Brazil as part of helping the country build its first nuclear attack submarine. South Korea just successfully launched a ballistic missile from a conventional submarine and recently floated the idea of starting a nuclear submarine program in response to growing nuclear threats from North Korea. Seoul could now ask the United States or other nations for an arrangement similar to Australia’s.

Russia could begin new naval reactor cooperation with China to boost China’s submarine capabilities in response to the AUKUS announcement. India and Pakistan, which already have nuclear weapons, could benefit from international transfers as well, possibly from France and China respectively. Iran, of course, has already expressed interest in enriching uranium to HEU levels to pursue a submarine program.

Until now, it was the US commitment to nonproliferation that relentlessly crushed or greatly limited these aspirations toward nuclear-powered submarine technology. With the new AUKUS decision, we can now expect the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years, with literally tons of new nuclear materials under loose or no international safeguards.

Domestic political opposition to the nuclear submarine deal is already brewing in Australia. The Green Party has announced that it will fight the deal “tooth and nail.” Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Morrison is very much struggling in the polls and could lose next year’s election—before the end of the 18-month review process announced by AUKUS. The nuclear submarine project could then be buried before it takes off, saving the international community further headaches.

But if Morrison gets re-elected and the program continues, it will be for the United Stated to take up its responsibilities as the guardian of the nonproliferation regime. Poor nuclear arms control and nonproliferation decisions—such as leaving the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and approving the US-Indian nuclear deal—have so far been a trademark of the US Republican Party. It is difficult to understand the internal policy process that led the Democratic Biden administration to the AUKUS submarine announcement.  It seems that just like in the old Cold War, arms racing and the search for short-term strategic advantage is now bipartisan.

https://thebulletin.org/2021/09/the-new-australia-uk-and-us-nuclear-submarine-announcement-a-terrible-decision-for-the-nonproliferation-regime/?fbclid=IwAR0K56ThBLjoZh2Vdaj59a1UC1tc_CWw_ZJWz1IzGpcmO9b1SvWLKik8VEc

Where Was All The Investigative Journalism On US Airstrikes The Last 20 Years?

 SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 

AUTHOR: CAITLIN JOHNSTONE

2117 SEEN

Where Was All The Investigative Journalism On US Airstrikes The Last 20 Years?


The Pentagon has finally admitted to the long-obvious fact that it killed ten Afghan civilians, including seven children, in an airstrike in Kabul last month.

In an article with the obscenely propagandistic title “Pentagon acknowledges Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians,” the New York Times pats itself on the back for its investigative journalism showing that the so-called “ISIS-K facilitator” targeted in the strike was in fact an innocent aid worker named Zemari Ahmadi:


“The general acknowledged that a New York Times investigation of video evidence helped investigators determine that they had struck a wrong target. ‘As we in fact worked on our investigation, we used all available information,’ General McKenzie told reporters. ‘Certainly that included some of the stuff The New York Times did.’”

Indeed, the Pentagon only admitted to the unjust slaughter of civilians in this one particular instance because the mass media did actual investigative journalism on this one particular airstrike. This is an indictment of the Pentagon’s airstrike protocol, but it’s also an indictment of the mass media.

This after all comes out following a new Byline Times report which found that “at least 5.8 to 6 million people are likely to have died overall due to the War on Terror – a staggering number which is still probably very conservative.”

It also comes out two months after whistleblower Daniel Hale was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for leaking secret government information about America’s psychopathic civilian-slaughtering drone assassination program.

It also comes a few months after a Code Pink report found that the US and its allies have been dropping an average of 46 bombs per day in the so-called War on Terror for the last twenty years.

Do you remember seeing an average of 46 news reports a day on bombings conducted by the US and its allies? Do you remember even reading about one single US bombing per day in the mainstream news? I don’t. The US power alliance has for decades been continuously raining explosives from the sky on impoverished people in the Global South and the mainstream news reports on almost none of those instances, much less launches an in-depth investigation into whether each one killed who the military claims they killed.

The difference between the August 29 airstrike and the thousands which preceded it in America’s post-9/11 wars was that this one was politicized. The Biden administration ordered it to look tough on terrorism after the Kabul airport attack (most of the fatalities from which were probably due to panicked gunfire from US and/or allied troops), amidst a withdrawal for which Biden was being aggressively slammed by plutocratic media outlets eager to paint ending US wars as a bad thing that everyone should oppose.

The Pentagon doesn’t care that it snuffed out innocent lives in an airstrike; it does that all the time and its officials would do it a lot more if that’s what it took to secure their futures as lobbyists, consultants, board members and executives for defense industry corporations after they retire from the military. And the mass media don’t care either; they only cared about this one particular highly politicized airstrike during a withdrawal from a military engagement the mass media vehemently opposed.

“Pentagon acknowledges Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians.” Can you believe that headline? Not “admits” but “acknowledges”. Not “killed children while targeting an aid worker based on flimsy evidence” but “was a tragic mistake”. How many times did New York Times editors rewrite this? Imagine if this had been a Russian airstrike.

Think about all the murder victims we’d have known about if the news media had done its job and used their immense resources to investigate them as journalists should over the last twenty years. Think about how much harder it would have been for the war machine to inflict these evils upon the world if they had. Instead it’s been left to obscure bloggers and indie journalists to question these actions using scant resources and shoestring budgets.

They’ve shown that they can do these investigations into the validity of US airstrikes, and they’ve shown that they’ve spent two decades choosing not to. The mass media manipulators who provide cover for mass military murder by journalistic malpractice and negligence are just as complicit in these depraved acts of human butchery as the people firing the weapons and the officials giving the orders.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/09/18/where-was-all-the-investigative-journalism-on-us-airstrikes-the-last-20-years/



Philip Giraldi: Always Another War

 Always Another War

America and Israel together against Iran

Afghanistan is not exactly history quite yet as there still will be a lot final adjustments on the ground as well as the usual Vietnam-syndrome war of words that inevitably follows on yet another American-engineered foreign catastrophe. But the recriminations will go nowhere as there is certainly enough mud to stick on both major political parties that make Washington their home, and neither wants to be embarrassed to such an extent that anyone will actually demand change.

Regarding Afghanistan itself, I often recall hearing from a CIA friend of mine who served as the last Chief of Station in Kabul in the 1970s before the start of the Mujaheddin insurgency against the Marxist-Leninist government that was then in place eventually forced the US Embassy to close. He remarked how liberated the city was, full of smartly dressed attractive women and well-turned-out men going about their business. Though there was considerable repression in rural areas, education was highly prized by the people in the cities while many aspects of fundamental Islam were made illegal.

All of that came to a crashing halt when the United States and Saudi Arabia supported the Mujaheddin and eventually created al-Qaeda in a bid to damage the Soviets, who had intervened in the country and were backers of the Kabul regime headed by Babrak Karmal. Zbigniew Brzezinski was the “brain” behind the plan, in part to do payback for the Soviet role in Vietnam and in part because Zbig apparently had difficultly in separating his attachment for Poland, at the time part of the Soviet empire, from his role as national security adviser for Jimmy Carter, President of the United States of America.

To be sure, wars that are unsuccessful, like Vietnam and Afghanistan, do generate a certain blowback. It was regularly observed that the 1990-1 US-led Desert Storm operation followed by a victory parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City helped the United States recover from Vietnam fatigue. That meant that it would not hesitate to again use armed force to enforce its often touted “rules based international order,” best translated as US global hegemony.

Some might suggest that the best thing to do about Afghanistan is to learn from it. Hold senior officials and officers responsible for the egregious errors in judgement that led to disaster. But that will never happen as the top levels of the US government operate like a large social club where everyone protects everyone else. A Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller who has called for accountability at senior levels has already been relieved of his command and is leaving the service, a warning from above to others who might be similarly inclined to be outspoken.

So, with all that in mind, the best was to make Afghanistan go away is to begin preparations for the next war. Since that is so, how lucky is President Joe Biden to have a visit at this very critical moment from Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who presented the president with a “new strategic vision” for the Middle East. In preparation for the visit, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the prime minister’s visit “will strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel, reflect the deep ties between our governments and our people, and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Psaki, who conflates the deep ties between the Democratic Party and its Jewish donors with a “partnership,” predictably said everything demanded of her, only stopping short of turning in her application to join the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

Bennett met on the day before the White House meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and also separately with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It is not known how many standing ovations were given to Bennett by the simpering US officials, but it is presumed that they were necessary as filler for the event because Austin and Milley in particular are notably inarticulate and poorly informed. The lumpish Austin did, however, echo Psaki in coming out with the usual message, telling Bennett that the Pentagon is absolutely “committed” to ensuring Israel can “defend itself” against the Iranians, that “The administration remains committed to Israel’s security and right to self-defense. That is unwavering, it is steadfast and it is ironclad.”

Bennett was engaged in delivering his timely message that the fall of Afghanistan has actually made everything in that part of Asia more dangerous, meaning that the US and Israel should prepare to fight Iran when it seeks to take advantage of the situation. More to the point, Bennett also made time to meet with the omnipotent Israel Lobby as represented by the head of its most powerful component, Executive Director Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The actual discussion with Biden and who-knows-who else in the room was also predictable, minus only that Biden did not feel compelled to go down on his knees as he did with visiting outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his chief of staff Rivka Ravitz in early July. Perpetual victim Israel was presented by Bennett as facing hostilities coming from its southern border where Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. Neither Bennett nor Biden mentioned the enormous advantage in military power that Israel already possesses, as was evident in the conflict that took place three months ago, an 11-day war that left 265 dead in Gaza, including many targeted children in apartment blocks, while only 13 died in Israel.

Bennett had two principal objectives. First, he was looking for a commitment from Biden not to re-engage with Iran in the nuclear proliferation treaty Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) unless it is greatly “improved” to include peripheral regional issues as well as eliminating any uranium enrichment. As Iran is prepared to accepted the status quo ante and nothing more, Bennett knew perfectly well that his insistence on a broader agreement would be a game-breaker. And second, as a consequence of that expected commitment, he wanted assurances that the US will not withdraw its remaining forces from Iraq and Syria and would support Israel fully if it should choose to attack Iran.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan has also been pushing the White House to admit Israel to the so-called Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israelis to travel freely to the United States without having to obtain a visa. The program usually requires reciprocity which would mean that Israel would in turn have to admit all American travelers, but the Jewish state insists on reserving the right to block Arab and Muslim Americans for no reason whatsoever. It is presumed that Bennett discussed the issue with Blinken.

On the other more important issues, Biden appears to have bought into at least some of what Bennett was selling. In comments made after their meeting, with the Israeli standing beside him, the US President said that “We’re putting diplomacy first and see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.” Bennett was pleased by what he was hearing, elaborating on it, “I was happy to hear your clear words that Iran will never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon and that you emphasize that you will try the diplomatic route, but there’s other options if that doesn’t work out.” The other “options” include, of course, intensified covert action intelligence operations, assassinations and a hoped-for bombing attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and weapons sites. Attacking Iran will also have the benefit of demonstrating that Biden is a “tough” leader, surely a consideration at this point when his approval ratings are sinking.

The prime minister also surfaced another proposal for all his interlocutors, including Biden. He wants to upgrade his fleet of F-15 fighter bombers to give his military planners more options if there should be a war with Iran. The US produced F-35 is the primary fighter for IDF, but the older F-15 can carry significantly more weaponry and bomb load. Bennett has asked Washington to provide an advance on its annual $3.8 billion military assistance package to pay for the improvements. In other words, Israel wants to start a war and have the United States pay for it, possibly in addition to actually doing much of the fighting.

Israel has, in fact, been warning that a war is coming for quite some time, a message that was delivered yet again in a timely fashion as Bennett winged his way to Washington for his meetings. As the prime minister was landing in the US, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held a press conference in which he advised that the Israeli military advancing its “operational plans” against Iran. He observed that the country’s new military budget had funds earmarked specifically to improve IDF capabilities against Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also warned on the same day that “The State of Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so. I do not rule out the possibility that Israel will have to take action in the future in order to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

So, the new Israeli premier has laid down the gauntlet and, for the moment, Joe Biden has only tentatively moved to pick it up even if he has in a sense pledged total support for Israel no matter what the Jewish state decides to do. The Israel Lobby meanwhile will be working hard to bring Joe totally into line. And to be sure Biden will have to reckon with the fact that there is a new player in town in the form of a bunch of progressive Democrats who are not in love with Israel, backed up by shrinking public support for Israeli actions resulting from the recent slaughter in Gaza. Nevertheless, a weakened and disoriented Biden will have only limited ability to stand up to an increasingly assertive Israel and its powerful lobby.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/always-another-war/

Foreign mercenaries were burned to the ground

  Foreign mercenaries were burned to the ground as unnecessary witnesses at Azovstal 6821 Views June 29, 2022   10 Comments The war reporter...