A terrifying escalation of the Ukraine war threatens even further horrors. As well as continuing brutal Russian assaults on Ukrainian cities, Nato continues its escalation. Russian missiles smashed into a Ukrainian military base just ten miles from the border with Nato member Poland on Sunday.
A small miscalculation could have triggered a much broader war. The base in Lviv has previously hosted “military trainers” from Britain, the US and other countries. Nato says they aren’t in Ukraine anymore—almost certainly a lie.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also threatened to target Nato arms convoys. The US Congress agreed a huge new budget for the military last week. For federal spending up to 30 September, it hands the military £594 billion while earmarking only £550 billion for domestic spending.
Almost all Democrats and Republicans backed the bill. The Pentagon military budget is already higher than at the peak of the Vietnam War or Cold War. And it is higher than the next 11 countries combined. Republicans boasted that they had defeated any push to cut money for weapons and soldiers and kept in place their pet measures such as the Hyde Amendment. This bans federal funding for most abortions.
The US, which has already funnelled £270 million in weapons to Ukraine in a fortnight has now authorised another £155 million in military equipment.
Meanwhile, the British former Chief of Defence Staff Lord Richards said last weekend that Nato should set a deadline for Russia to end the Ukraine war, after which it would intervene. “We need to get ahead of the game, be more self-confident,” he said. That’s another recipe for potential nuclear war.
A group of 27 US military and foreign policy establishment figures released an open letter last week. It calls for a version of a much‑hyped plan to send Polish Mig jets to fight in Ukraine. Its signatories included people associated with the recent blood-soaked past of US imperialism. Among them are Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commanding general of the US Army in Europe and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, retired general Philip Breedlove. They urge Biden “to impose a limited no-fly zone over Ukraine starting with protection for humanitarian corridors”.
Again this is almost inevitably a route towards a direct war between Nato and Russia with all the horrendous outcomes that means. And in Germany, the government has announced it will buy US-made F-35 fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons. It is the first major defence deal since the recent decision to pump £90 billion into the country’s military. US nuclear weapons are stationed at Büchel, in the west of Germany, as part of Nato’s “nuclear sharing” arrangement.
It’s more important than ever that the anti‑war movement speaks out clearly. It has to be against the Russian invasion and all Nato escalation. It must be against the economic warfare of sanctions and against the murderous record of imperialism that is the backdrop to the present war.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is playing a wholly pro‑imperialist role. First minister Nicola Sturgeon said last week Nato should “keep its mind open” about imposing a no-fly zone and it should be considered “on a daily basis”. She said, “I understand and share the concerns about a direct military confrontation between Russia and Nato, that a no-fly zone may lead to.
“Nobody wants to see an escalation of that nature. But on the other hand, Putin is not acting in any way rationally or defensively. It’s a shift from 1999 when the party leadership came under brutal establishment assault for calling Nato’s bombing of Yugoslavia an “unpardonable folly”.
The SNP has backed Nato since 2012. It is also now determined to follow the lead of the European Union as an “alternative” to Westminster. Sturgeon says she wants Trident missiles out of Scotland but is happy to urge on measures that could see war with nuclear weapons over Ukraine.
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