Who decided the US should fight a “hot war” with Russia?

There is a saying attributed to the banker J.P. Morgan: “A man always has two reasons for what he does—a good one and the real one.”

On September 26, Congressman Adam Schiff reviewed the contents of the “whistleblower” complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. “It reads like a classic organized crime shakedown,” Schiff said.

Imitating Trump speaking to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky, Schiff demanded, “I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand. Lots of it.”

If the alleged “organized crime shakedown” by Trump was the “good” reason for the impeachment inquiry, the “real” reason has emerged over two weeks of public congressional hearings. The hearings have lifted the lid on a massive US conspiracy to spend billions of dollars to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014 and foment a civil war that has led to the deaths of thousands of people.

The impeachment drive is itself the product of efforts by sections of the intelligence agencies and elements within the State Department to escalate Washington’s conflict with Russia, with potentially world-catastrophic consequences.

On Thursday, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell showed a photo of Ukrainian President Zelensky in body armor on the “front lines” of the civil war in eastern Ukraine. He asked the State Department witnesses “why it’s so important that our hard-earned tax dollars help President Zelensky and the men standing beside him fight Russia in this hot war?”

David Holmes, political counselor at the US embassy in Kiev, replied:

Now is not the time to retreat from our relationship with Ukraine, but rather to double down on it. As we sit here, Ukrainians are fighting a hot war on Ukrainian territory against Russian aggression.

Later in his testimony, Holmes pointed to the massive sums expended by the United States and its European allies to fight this “hot war,” saying the US had provided $5 billion and its European allies $12 billion since 2014.

In her testimony last week, the former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich recalled that as ambassador:

I went to the front line approximately 10 times during a hot war… sometimes literally as we heard the impact of artillery, and to see how our assistance dollars were being put to use.

She added:

Ukraine, with an enormous land mass and a large population, has the potential to be a significant…force multiplier on the security side… And now Ukraine is a battleground for great power competition with a hot war for the control of territory and a hybrid war to control Ukraine’s leadership.

She explained that the US-funded and fascist-led “Maidan Revolution” of 2014, which she and other State Department officials absurdly called the “Revolution of Dignity,” was part of this conflict. “That’s why they launched the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, demanding to be a part of Europe,” she declared.

Diplomat George Kent invoked the same theme in his testimony last Wednesday, saying:

Ukraine’s popular Revolution of Dignity in 2014 forced a corrupt pro-Russian leadership to flee to Moscow. After that, Russia invaded Ukraine, occupying seven percent of its territory, roughly equivalent to the size of Texas for the United States…

Since then, more than 13,000 Ukrainians have died on Ukrainian soil defending their territorial integrity and sovereignty from Russian aggression. American support in Ukraine’s own de facto war of independence has been critical in this regard.

Kent subsequently compared the role of the United States in the Ukrainian civil war to that of Spain and France in the American War of Independence. In that conflict, Spain and France were officially at war with Great Britain, including formal declarations of war in 1778 and 1779.

If Kent’s analogy is true, then the United States is in an undeclared war with Russia.

But when has this war ever been discussed with the American people? Was there ever a congressional vote to authorize it? Does anyone believe that if the question, “Do you want to spend billions of dollars to help Ukraine fight a war with Russia,” were posed to the American public, the percentage answering yes would be anything more than minuscule? Of course, that question was never asked.

But in the congressional hearings this week, government officials declared that any questioning of this aid is virtually treasonous. In her testimony on Thursday, former National Security Council officer Fiona Hill accused anyone who questions that “Ukraine is a valued partner” of the United States of advancing “Russian interests.”

“When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces,” she said, threatening the “president, or anyone else, [who] impedes or subverts the national security of the United States.”

In 2017, Hill penned a blog post for the Brookings Institution calling Trump a “Bolshevik,” echoing statements made more than 60 years ago by John Birch Society leader Robert W. Welch, who declared that President Eisenhower was a “communist.”

Underlying the mad allegations of the Democrats that Trump is functioning as a “Russian asset” is a very real content: The extremely dangerous drive by factions within the state for a military confrontation between the United States and Russia, whose combined nuclear weapons arsenals are capable of destroying all of humanity many times over.

In June 2017, just months after Trump took office, the World Socialist Web Site characterized the deepening struggle within the state as follows:

[The Democrats’] differences with the Trump administration are centered primarily on issues of foreign policy… They are determined to prevent Trump from weakening the anti-Russia policy developed under Obama, which the Hillary Clinton campaign was dedicated to expanding.

The maniacal focus on Russia is not an accident. Trump’s foreign policy priorities are focused, as is well known, on confronting China. His alleged advocacy of a “deal” with Russia is incompatible with the strategic plan backed by dominant sections of the military, intelligence and foreign policy establishment. The destruction of Russia’s ability to frustrate American military operations is seen as central to control of the Eurasian landmass, without which an American victory in the long-term conflict with China is considered impossible.

There is no “peace” faction within the American political establishment. No credence can be given to either one of the parties of US imperialism, which have, over the course of decades, presided over the toppling of dozens of governments, the launching of countless wars and the deaths of millions of people.

It is imperative that the working class articulate its own independent standpoint toward this crisis. As the World Socialist Web Site stated last month, “The fight against the Trump administration and the defense of the most basic democratic rights is a fight against capitalism and American imperialism, which must be conducted completely independent of and in opposition to the Democratic Party.”

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[13 June 2017]