Madmen

We are ruled by madmen. And, as the recent appearance on Fox News by Senator Roger Wicker demonstrates, not very smart ones at that.

Wicker stated on a Tuesday Fox News appearance that he strongly supports keeping US military action on the table if Russia invades Ukraine, up to and including a first-use nuclear attack.

“I would not rule out military action,” Wicker told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. “I think we start making a mistake when we take options off the table. So I would hope the president keeps that option on the table.”

“What does military action mean, senator?” Cavuto asked.

“Well, military action could mean that we standoff with our ships in the Black Sea and we rain destruction on Russian military capability,” the senator replied. “It could mean that. It could mean that we participate – and I would not rule that out – I would not rule out American troops on the ground. You know we don’t rule out first-use nuclear action. We don’t think it will happen. But there’s certain things in negotiations – if you’re going to be tough – that you don’t take off the table.”

Wicker’s not just your average dim-witted senator, he’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where “supposedly” he gets briefs on Russian military capabilities. By his comments it’s obvious that he must have fallen asleep during the part in the briefing where they informed him that it’s not 1991 anymore and the US Navy cannot “standoff” with their ships in the Black Sea and “rain destruction on Russian military capability.”

Those days are long gone. Any US ship that enters the Black Sea has a life span of minutes thanks to advances in Russian military capabilities, especially hypersonic missile technology.

There’s a reason for these Russian military advances, by the way.

Anyone who has paid attention to US foreign policy since the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact alliance, 1989-91, would realize that America’s bipartisan foreign-policy elite has pursued a disastrous course of action. Despite promises to the contrary, that elite has led the charge to add members to the NATO alliance, taking the anti-Soviet military and political organization right up to the Russian border and staging military exercises uncomfortably close. Not only that but the U.S. has also stationed anti-missile weapons systems in NATO-member Poland, formerly a member of the Warsaw Pact, while arming and training the Ukrainian military, which is not a member of NATO.

Let’s also recall that in 2014 the U.S. stage-managed a neo-Nazi-supported coup against an elected, Russian-friendly president in Ukraine, knowing full well how the Russians would react. Fearing US/NATO encroachment, Putin’s government annexed Crimea with its strategic warm-water Black Sea naval base, which has been part of the Russian security system for over 200 years.

Traditionally it’s been the Republicans who’ve been the most Russophobic but since Trump and Russia-gate the Democrats have become even more fervent warmongers. Recently the Democrat-controlled House approved a $768 billion defense budget, $24 billion more than President Biden asked for, because why the hell not? We may have just put an end to our twenty-year misadventure in Afghanistan, but the power of the military/industrial/complex necessitates that we agitate for military confrontations with Russia over Ukraine.

Putin insists that NATO not expand any further, but the US position is that NATO’s inclusion of former Soviet possessions is purely an alliance affair. Meanwhile, Biden threatens more harsh economic sanctions and even more US troops to Eastern Europe if Putin doesn’t acquiesce by, among other things, moving his troops away from the Russia-Ukraine border.

Would the Biden administration then back down or go nuclear? Who is eager to find out? Those considerations aside, the U.S. government should simply stop fanning the Russophobic flames simply because a war would be incredibly stupid.

Nevertheless, it could possibly be, therefore, that reckless hawks in the U.S. establishment might in fact engineer some form of military intervention in Ukraine. While Senator Wicker is stupid, his gambit represents the domestic aspect of US foreign policy. Any compromise with Russia over Ukraine, risks Biden being seen as weak. Republicans already pre-emptively have blamed what they call Biden’s ‘weakness’ for having encouraged ‘dangerous adventurism’ from Moscow.

Talk about projection.

If this were to occur, the results would be catastrophic. Quite apart from the risk of nuclear war, Russian forces colossally outnumber not just the Ukrainians, but any forces that the United States and NATO could or would deploy quickly in Ukraine, and would therefore win a ground war with NATO. 

Rather than repelling a Russian offensive, the United States would therefore be faced with the prospect of planning a great and horribly bloody war to recover lost Ukrainian territory. This would also risk becoming a world war; for it is virtually certain that China would exploit a war between the United States and Russia, thereby threatening the United States with the risk of two wars simultaneously – and defeat in both.

To put all of this into context, recalcitrant Democratic Senators, led by Joe Manchin, balk at spending on domestic priorities with Build Back Better, yet have zero qualms about spending untold billions on a possible war in Ukraine, a place that few Americans could find on a map.

Of course, with the madmen we have as leaders, war could easily happen by accident because of a combination of hubris, American exceptionalism and ignorance.

While it’s only fair to give a shout out to our madwomen here and here and here, the fact remains that it’s mostly the madmen driving the war train.

Then there’s the undeniable fact that our rulers are impoverishing and killing us, because it benefits them. This is America, where Amazon workers are barred from leaving the warehouse as an F-3 tornado barrels toward them, and where if your kid gets cancer you have to sell your house and live in your car.

So that raises a question. Are the madmen and women that rule us incompetent or evil?

Why not both?

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