US combat troops arrive in Eastern Europe as Washington steps up war hysteria

As the first US combat troops ordered in by President Biden arrived in Poland and Germany Sunday, the campaign of warmongering mounted by the American government and media reached a new peak of intensity.

Some 1,700 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division landed in Poland Sunday, following the arrival of their commanding general, U.S. Army Major General Christopher Donahue, the previous day. The troops will be deployed in southeastern Poland, near the borders with Belarus and Ukraine.

U.S. Army soldiers from the 18th Airborne Division walk out to a C-17 aircraft as they deploy to Europe on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 from Fort Bragg, N.C. [AP Photo/Chris Seward]

At a ceremony to welcome the troops, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said proudly that this was the first group of American soldiers “from an elite unit” to be stationed in his country.

General Donahue declared, “Our national contribution here in Poland shows our solidarity with all of our allies here in Europe and obviously during this period of uncertainty we know that we are stronger together.”

Another group of about 300 soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corps arrived in Wiesbaden, Germany on Friday, with the Pentagon saying they would establish a headquarters to support the paratroopers being deployed in Poland.

Some 1,000 US troops already stationed in the German town of Vilseck, a squadron equipped with Stryker armored vehicles, is being redeployed to Romania.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan appeared on several Sunday television interview programs to warn that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could take place “at any moment.” On ABC, he said that the US was prepared to respond “in a united, swift, and severe way with our allies and partners should he choose to move forward with a military escalation.”

Virtually all US newspapers led their Sunday editions with reports commissioned by the Pentagon and CIA that Russia would have assembled by mid-February about 70 percent of the military forces required to conquer Ukraine, and that such a war could kill 50,000 civilians and create 5 million refugees.

There was no effort to explain the conflict between the headlines about Russia approaching “70 percent of an invasion force” and the month-long campaign of hysterical pronouncements by the White House and the American media that an invasion had been fully prepared and was awaiting only a final decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead, the two lies peddled by the military-intelligence apparatus were combined without even acknowledging the contradiction.

The press accounts cited information delivered to Congress last Thursday in briefings by top Biden administration officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A long-planned Russian military exercise with the military forces of Belarus, to be held in that country February 10-20, is now being portrayed as a staging ground for a possible invasion of Ukraine. The American media notes, as though it represented proof of Russia’s intentions rather than a fact of geography, that Belarus shares a long border with Ukraine and the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is less than 100 miles away.

The barrage in the American media has allowed only a handful of facts to slip through that undermine the screams about imminent war, some of them attributed to the Ukrainian government itself, which has some reservations about an effort by Washington to fight Moscow to the last Ukrainian.

The New York Times reported Saturday, “Under Ukraine’s assessment, Russia would be unable to sustain an invasion across different points of attack for more than a week because of a lack of supplies including ammunition, food and fuel deployed to front line positions, nor does it have sufficient reserve forces.”

General Philip Breedlove, former NATO commander, told the newspaper that the satellite images of rows of tanks, regularly shown on television and in US newspapers, were not a force ready for invasion. “That is not in tactical or offensive formation,” he said. “That’s a formation for show.”

And in a report Sunday from the Ukrainian capital, ABC correspondent Terry Moran admitted there was no fear of imminent war, and people were going about their daily lives undisturbed. “Here in Kyiv, in Ukraine, on the knife’s edge, things feel very different,” he said. “The Ukrainian government continues to say that they don’t read this situation the same way. They don’t see and analyze the Russians as ready to invade. And in fact, Ukrainian government officials suggest that the U.S. may be alarmist.”

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy responded to the latest round of US accusations on Twitter. “Madness and scaremongering continue,” he wrote. “What if we would say that US could seize London in a week and cause 300K civilian deaths? All this based on our intelligence sources that we won’t disclose. Would it feel right for Americans and Brits? It’s as wrong for Russians and Ukrainians.”

But the overall position of Putin and the Russian capitalist class, which he represents, has been to seek an accommodation with the imperialist powers, if not with the US, then with France and Germany. Both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are to travel to Moscow in the next weeks for talks on the Ukraine crisis.

Putin has reiterated insistently that his government cannot accept Ukraine joining NATO and demands a guarantee to that effect. At the same time, he has called for NATO to return to its 1997 boundaries, before the US-led alliance expanded into Eastern Europe and even into the Baltic States, formerly part of the Soviet Union. At that time, Washington gave repeated assurances that it had no desire to bring NATO to Russia’s doorstep, only to violate them as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

Within the establishment media, there is hardly an ounce of criticism of US moves to provoke a war in Europe which could rapidly engulf the world, and lead to the use of nuclear weapons for the first time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A statement last week by the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board warned:

The American ruling class has shown that it is impervious to mass death. Over 900,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in less than two years, but the Biden White House does not even speak of it. The evening news anchor discusses the daily weather and not the daily dead. There is not a shred of a conscience that will prevent Washington from starting a catastrophic global war.

There is a madness in this policy, but it is a madness with objective causes. The drive to war is fueled by an utterly toxic mixture of deranged geopolitical ambitions and insoluble internal crisis.

Whatever the immediate outcome of the manufactured crisis, or its ebbs and flows, the great danger is that the working class is being systematically lied to and excluded politically while the capitalist ruling elite plunges humanity recklessly into the cauldron of war.

The decisive issue is the political education and mobilization of workers and youth and the building of a mass movement against imperialist war and for socialism.