"We have communicated directly, privately and at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia, that the US and our allies will respond decisively, and we have been clear and specific about what that will entail." ~ Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
Here we are again, possibly as close to a possible nuclear war in which everyone will lose and no one will win as we were during the Cuban Missile Crisis exactly 60 years ago. And still the international community, including dictators and democracies, has not come to its senses around the unacceptable risk of nuclear weapons.
Between then and now, I volunteered for decades with a non-profit called Beyond War. Our mission was educational: to seed into international consciousness that atomic weapons had rendered all war obsolete as a way of resolving international conflict – because any conventional war could potentially go nuclear. Such educational efforts are replicated and extended by millions of organizations around the world that have come to similar conclusions, including really big ones like the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
It’s good that the Biden administration, which has done so well in standing up to Putin, has now thrown its weight behind Iran’s protests, including by trying to keep Iranians connected to the internet via Elon Musk’s Starlink boxes. It can do even better by withdrawing from the nuclear talks, on the principle that a regime that will not give relief to women deserves no relief from sanctions.
Iran hawks do not and have never cared about the plight of the Iranian people. That has been obvious for a long time. That is why it is more than a little tiresome to watch as they seize on the latest protests over the outrageous abuses of the Iranian government to justify their ghoulish support for broad sanctions that do nothing but hurt the Iranian people. The Iranian government should be held accountable for the deaths of innocent protesters and for the outrageous death of Mahsa Amini, but that has nothing to do with the negotiations over the nuclear deal and it should not be an excuse to keep cruel and inhumane broad sanctions in place.
Denying Iranians sanctions relief in the name of opposing their government’s authoritarian abuses is the sort of stupid and destructive thing that Iran hawks specialize in. The Iranian people have enough to endure from their own government without having to suffer under our government’s pointless sanctions as well. Punishing an entire population for its government’s actions seems particularly dimwitted when so many of those people are protesting against their government’s abuses. If you respect what the protesters are standing for, you should oppose our government’s own abusive sanctions policy that also causes them harm.
The chief victims of broad sanctions are innocent Iranians. Iranian women bear the greatest burden of the conditions created by economic warfare. They are the ones that stand to benefit most from sanctions relief, and by opposing Iran hawks declare themselves to be hostile to the welfare of ordinary Iranians. Refusing to give them relief in order to spite their government is as twisted as it gets.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.
Former Swiss intelligence officer and NATO adviser Jacques Baud on the next phase of the Russia-Ukraine war and new allegations that the US and UK undermined a peace deal that could have ended it.
The West’s aim “is not the victory of Ukraine, It’s the defeat of Russia,” Baud says. “The problem is that nobody cares about Ukraine. We have just instrumentalized Ukraine for the purpose of US strategic interests — not even European interests.”
Guest: Jacques Baud. Former intelligence officer with the Swiss Strategic Intelligence Service who has served in a number of senior security and advisory positions at NATO, the United Nations, and with the Swiss military.
In his Sept. 21 speech, Putin did not make an explicit threat to use nuclear weapons. He vowed to “make use of all weapon systems available to us,” in the event of “a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people.”
On nuclear weapons, the US did not have a “No First Use” policy. On the 2020 campaign trail, Joe Biden said that he supported the idea of “No First Use.” He abandoned that in his presidential nuclear posture; but that was reversing his campaign stance, not official US policy.
By every conceivable measure, South Sudan is a nation in acute crisis. According to the World Bank, eighty percent of the South Sudanese population lives below the international poverty line, only one percent of people have access to electricity, and this month a UN Security Council delegation warned that another full-fledged civil war could break out at any moment.
What South Sudan has in abundance however are guns, violence, and US sanctions that are preventing the government from helping its people.
South Sudan is the embodiment of so many ills that affect the world – colonialism, militarization, civil war, climate change, famine, and sexual violence. By the mid-20th century, Sudan, encompassing what is now South Sudan and Sudan, began to fill up with firearms. By 1966, the country had received 30,000 G3 rifles from West Germany. By the late 1970s/mid-eighties, with the US-Soviet proxy wars in full swing, US arms transfers to Sudan were so large ($1.4 billion) that combined with arms transfers from other countries, the country was dubbed "Africa’s arms dump."
Russia’s February 24 invasion was an unnecessary, criminal war.
But so was America’s 14 year campaign to weaken Russia through proxy war.
How? By encouraging NATO membership for Ukraine since back in 2008. Worse, by helping Ukrainian ultranationalists depose Russian friendly Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych in 2014. The latter crime ignited a civil war in the Donbas against Russian speaking Ukrainians. 14,000 lay dead with thousands of Ukraine’s best soldiers ready to finish off the Donbas this spring before Russia said enough and attacked. Doesn’t justify Russia’s war…just explains it.
Draft evasion, escalation of military operations and other highly topical subjects in today’s Russia
My good friend and “comrade in arms” in the anti-war community, Ray McGovern, yesterday published an article on how The New York Times is stoking the war in Ukraine and goading the Biden administration to be ever more aggressive and irresponsible. Ray went on to remind us of the ignominious role played by NYT news reporters and their editorial board in promoting the Vietnam War, from the Tonkin Gulf Resolution that heralded the start of the real US engagement to the bitter end, all without a word of apology or regret in later years.
As a member of the Vietnam War generation in the USA, mention of that war brings up for me two words of great importance in the Russia that I see around me on this three-week visit to St. Petersburg: draft evasion and escalation.