Who speaks for peace in America?
Not many people in Washington. Which makes the role of Antiwar.com so important.
I am approaching the end of my 42nd year in Washington. The political and international environments have never been worse. It’s the woke Left versus the MAGA Right, with the War Party in control of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Indeed, the international situation might be more dangerous than even during the Cold War. President Ronald Reagan applied significant pressure on the Soviet Union, but by 1983 he realized that the Soviets genuinely feared attack. He turned to negotiation and, contrary to many of his hardline advisers, realized that the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev offered an opportunity to defuse tensions and even end the long seemingly twilight struggle with Moscow. President George H.W. Bush continued to work with Gorbachev as the seemingly impossible happened, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.
Alas, President Joe Biden is no Ronald Reagan. Although the former opposes taking America into war with Russia, he is increasing Washington’s commitment to Ukraine and doing so openly, making it difficult for Moscow to ignore. Loose talk by the president and his staffers about regime change and weakening Russia suggests that the US is involved in a full-bore proxy war, one that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot afford to lose. And there are voices – Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the McCain Institute’s Evelyn Farkas, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark – unashamedly ready for war with Moscow.
At the same time, though the Europeans claim to realize that they need to do more militarily, Washington is rushing more troops to the continent. And both parties are prepared to spend more, ever more, on the military – which has little to do with bolstering America’s defense. Adding Sweden and Finland to NATO will further increase Washington’s military obligations.
To Biden’s credit, he withdrew US forces from Afghanistan. However, American personnel remain in Syria. He sent troops back to Somalia. Although the ceasefire has been renewed in Yemen, he is relaxing pressure on both Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, after apologizing for not rushing to their recent defense. Worse, the administration reportedly has offered to guarantee the security of both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, corrupt Medieval dictatorships that have killed thousands in Yemen, fomented conflict in Syria and Libya, underwritten oppressive regimes in Bahrain and Egypt, and more.
Then there is Iran. Unwilling to confront Republicans desperate for war with Tehran, the administration appears ready to sacrifice the nuclear deal that helped deflate the Israeli and Saudi pressure on Washington to attack Iran. Without an agreement, that pressure will grow again.
As if all these potential crises were not enough, the US remains entangled with the Korean peninsula. North Korea is developing the ability to target the American homeland with nuclear weapons, which could turn any conflict on the peninsula into catastrophe for the US.
Moreover, Washington appears to be veering toward war with the People’s Republic of China. In the view of most Democrats and Republicans, Beijing is America’s biggest challenge and should be the focus of future military efforts. Biden has said three times that the US should defend Taipei, an island state that lies as close to China as Cuba to America. The PRC is a rising nationalist power with nuclear weapons determined to reclaim past Chinese territory lost to hated Japan decades ago. Most analysts believe Beijing will ultimately fight if necessary to control Taiwan.
Washington could devote its entire military budget to China and still find it near impossible to contain Beijing’s reach. It will be even more difficult to do so while continuing to protect the wastrel Europeans and make the Middle East safe for monarchy. Of course, the US also intends to keep control of the oceans, guarantee the "rules-based order," and perhaps do much more. After that, of course, there is space to conquer.
Alas, no one in Washington stands for peace.
Okay, not quite no one. A handful speak truth to power. But few in power fight for peace. Certainly, few in the administration. In the congressional leadership. In the mainstream think tanks, which provide well-paid sinecures for those waiting for their next stint in power. In establishment publications. Peruse the op-ed pages of the Washington Post – which acts as the company newsletter for Washington – or the Wall Street Journal. Review pieces featured in Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. You will regularly find the views of the architects of yesterday’s disastrous wars proposing new disastrous wars. People suggesting that America avoid new wars, not so much.
And no one, ever, is held accountable for past failures.
The Blob, as the foreign policy establishment has been labeled, is filled with the militarized detritus of past administrations. Cheerleaders for George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq, which triggered a sectarian war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and spawned the Islamic State’s wars. Advocates of the extended Afghan misadventure that consumed three full administrations. Enthusiasts for "leading from behind" in Libya, leaving chaos that persists a decade later. Handmaidens of the Saudi/Emirati war on Yemen, starving an entire population.
But none of these conflicts compare to the potential for nuclear war with Russia, which the US is risking in Europe. Or the potential of nuclear war with China, which could result from a confrontation over Taiwan. These are not inevitable, of course. However, they are possible – made ever more likely by interventionist policies that insert the US into dangerous conflicts of much greater concern to other nations than to Americans.
Knowing this, whom do you trust to navigate today’s dangerous international currents? The arrogant warrior-wannabes who wrecked Iraq? The succession of cowardly establishment paladins who kept the Afghan war going year after year? The callous Saudi shills who made Americans complicit in war crimes in Yemen? The self-righteous guardians of the US imperium, ready for war against Russia or China? Especially knowing them to be surrounded, encouraged, and feted by well-heeled advocates of endless intervention and war.
The odds are long, but at least one advocate of peace stands athwart this militaristic colossus: Antiwar.com. Or, more accurately, the editors at and writers for Antiwar.com, who are attempting to halt the drift toward conflict by informing the American public about the danger.
First, Antiwar.com provides information. You don’t go to work there to get rich. Or win plaudits from the establishment. Rather, Antiwar.com is a labor of love. Those at Antiwar.com pull together information about what is going on in the world so you, the reader, can be aware of what is going on in the world. And the danger we are all in.
Antiwar.com also provides a welcome home for writers like me. There aren’t a lot of journalistic hosts, on or offline, for those of us who don’t believe it is America’s destiny to rule the globe. There is no similar site that brings together so many critics of war, opponents of intervention, and skeptics of today’s militaristic state. Antiwar.com is a great place not just for the public, but also for policy nerds like me to go to see what my friends and colleagues are saying. Truth be told, even some folks on the other side go to Antiwar.com. It’s got a good reputation for providing accurate information, which at least some people in power also desire.
This is a difficult time for many people, especially those who don’t hold the sort of big-money, high-status, well-connected positions characteristic of members of the War Party. However, Antiwar.com’s survival depends on the generosity of its readers. The site informs readers for free. It has no pay wall, no restrictions, no limits. But it needs money to operate. And that will come only from you.
Members of the Blob aren’t writing checks to Antiwar.com. The Saudis and Emiratis aren’t sending their millions. There are no grants from the merchants of death. Woke corporations don’t include Antiwar.com on their gift list. Politicians aren’t lining up to send fundraising appeals. Think tanks aren’t featuring the site. Nor are foreign governments.
There’s only you, the reader.
We are in the middle of a war for peace. Needless to say, those of us who want peace to prevail are the underdogs. But we have a chance. If you, the reader, fight with us. Please help Antiwar.com. In doing so, you ensure a better future for yourselves, your children, and everyone who follows them.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.