US Congress Makes Downpayment on World War III

The US Congress authorized a $95 billion military aid package for continuing the wars in Ukraine and Gaza as well as for war preparations against China. This represents, in effect, a downpayment on World War III. US President Joe Biden, reading from a playbook that could well have been scripted by George Orwell, announced: “it’s a good day for world peace.” And in order to dispel any doubt, he added, “for real.”

Biden proclaimed: “It’s going to make the world safer.” In fact, the bipartisan authorization, passed on April 23, could nudge the doomsday clock a little closer to midnight.

Lest there be any confusion about what the head of the US empire means by making the world safer, Biden explains: “it continues America’s leadership in the world.”

US leadership is the crux of the matter. That is, at a time of increasingly challenged US hegemony, the official US strategy is still global “full spectrum dominance.” No longer does the empire justify itself as leading the crusade against communism, or even against what it considered “terrorism,” or its “war on drugs.” Today, the official national security doctrine is naked “great power competition.”

Continuing the Orwellian theme, the US president backed up his claim about US world leadership, saying, “everyone knows it.”  This was not reflected in the UN General Assembly vote on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where the US side was trounced by an overwhelming 153 in favor. Besides the US and Israel, only eight others voted against and a mere 23 abstained.  On any number of issues, the majority of the world’s population opposes the US.

Biden’s boast that “Ukraine has regained over half the territory that Russia took from them” is not particularly reflected by the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, which concluded that the current deadlock “plays to Russia’s strategic military advantages and is increasingly shifting the momentum in Moscow’s favor.”

Hailing the “brave Ukrainians,” Biden overlooks that 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age have fled the country.

Diminishing prospects for a decisive US/NATO victory in Ukraine have precipitated a particularly dangerous response from Washington, which rejects a negotiated settlement. The current administration’s plan is not to pull for peace but to push for more war. This is spun as a strategy “to stop Putin from drawing the United States into a war.” Yet it is the US, which is doing its part feeding the conflict by giving yet more armaments to the military effort.

The expansion of NATO, contrary to earlier US assurances not to advance east, is hailed in Biden’s speech. Yet, this march of NATO toward the Russian border is the very cause that Russian President Putin gave for his country’s incursion into Ukraine. This abundantly articulated Russian “redline” should be well known in Washington.

Yet, Biden in his speech goes on to ominously raise NATO’s Article Five for mutual defense which declares “an attack on one is an attack on all.” This is plainly a taunt for a war with another nuclear power. Veterans for Peace antiwar activist and author Dee Knight calls the military aid package “an open-ended commitment to the NATO war against Russia.”

In yet another spin on reality, Biden condemns “a brutal campaign” that has “killed tens of thousands” and “bombed hospitals.” If you think he is referring to Israel’s US-enabled war on Gaza, guess again.

Biden is not about to call a halt on the genocide of the Palestinians, though he could. In 1982, for instance, Israel bombed civilians. Then US President Ronald Reagan called his counterpart in Tel Aviv and told him to stop what he explicitly called a “holocaust.”

Twenty minutes later Israel ordered cessation of its bombardment. In contrast, The New York Times reports that a member of Israel’s war cabinet predicts the current war may last “a year, a decade or a generation.”

“My commitment to Israel, I want to make clear again, is ironclad,” says the US politician who is by far the “biggest recipient in history of donations from pro-Israeli groups.”

The aid package schizophrenically commits tax-payer dollars to both lethal weapons and humanitarian aid for “the innocent people of Gaza, who are suffering badly.” No recognition is given to what is obvious – that an immediate and permanent ceasefire is the first step for relieving the suffering.

War may not be good for most of humanity, but it is bonanza for US military contractors. As Biden brags, the weapons are “made by American companies here in America…in other words, we’re helping Ukraine while at the same time investing in our own industrial base.” That is, our own merchants of death are making a killing.

Biden has over-performed in his promise to make sure the weapons shipments “start right away.” Without legal pre-authorization, the US has supplied both Ukraine and Israel with proscribed weaponry.

Most of the funds, according to economist Jack Rasmus, are for weapons that have already been delivered or from military stocks that are in the process of being shipped. “Only $13.8 billion of the $61 billion is for weapons Ukraine doesn’t already have!” In a tweet embarrassing to the US-backed war effort and subsequently deleted, CBS News suggested only about 30% of US military aid for Ukraine ever reaches the front lines, in part due to pervasive corruption.

“Everything we do,” the US president explains is, “setting the conditions for an enduring peace.” The question his proclamation raises is what does this vision of a militarily imposed pax Americana look like?

Is it Haiti, where under Yankee benevolence they do not even have a government and even the disgraced appointed prime minister just resigned? Or is it Libya, where a US-led colonial coalition overthrew a major force for African unity and replaced it with military factions allowing slaves to be openly bartered on the streets? Or is it Afghanistan, where the US engineered the overthrow of a socialist government that stood for women’s emancipation, occupied the land for two decades, and then withdrew leaving a humanitarian disaster?

In short, the Biden’s promise of “enduring peace” looks a lot like chaos and “endless war.” “History will remember this moment,” he predicts. And well it may.

Roger D. Harris is with the human rights group Task Force on the Americas and the anti-war group US Peace Council.