Behind the backs of the American people, without any public discussion, the Biden administration is taking the United States toward nuclear confrontation with Russia.
This week, Democratic Senator Chris Coons, who holds the Delaware seat formerly occupied by Biden, called for a “conversation” about sending American troops to fight Russia in Ukraine.
“We are in a very dangerous moment,” Coons said, “where it is important that, in a bipartisan and measured way, we in Congress and the administration come to a common position about when we are willing to go the next step and to send not just arms but troops to the aid in defense of Ukraine.”
Coons, whom Politico called Biden’s “closest Senate ally” and “a shadow secretary of state,” called for what would be a direct war with Russia: for American troops to deploy to Ukraine to shoot and kill Russians, and, inevitably, be shot and killed by Russians.
Biden’s closest Senate stalwart clearly made this statement at the behest of the White House, aiming, in a well known political maneuver, to introduce a policy shift sought by the administration via a third party.
Replying to Coons’ statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The President continues to—has no plans to send troops to fight a war with Russia.” When a press secretary claims an administration “has no plans” to do something, it means that the plans are on the president’s desk ready for a signature.
The statement by Coons is all the more staggering because last month Biden acknowledged that the deployment of U.S. troops to Ukraine would amount to “World War III.”
The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union lasted for four-and-a-half decades. During that time, there was not a single significant military engagement between Soviet and American forces. This is because it was common knowledge that a direct military conflict would lead to the use of nuclear weapons, and, most likely, the destruction of the planet.
The doctrine of “mutually assured destruction”—the understanding that there was no way to win a nuclear war, and that any general war threatened nuclear war—served as an effective “deterrent.”
But military officials are now insisting that the United States must not be “deterred.” Speaking to the New York Times, Lt. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, the former top U.S. Army commander in Europe, said, “Seven weeks ago, they were arguing over whether to give Stinger missiles—how silly does that seem now?… We have been deterred out of an exaggerated fear of what possibly could happen.”
This echoed the comments earlier this month by Philip Breedlove, NATO’s former supreme allied commander in Europe, who told Voice of America: “We have been so worried about nuclear weapons and World War III that we have allowed ourselves to be fully deterred. And [Putin] frankly, is completely undeterred.”
The use of exactly the same formulation by two different high-level generals points to a fundamental shift in US military doctrine.
The potential use of strategic nuclear weapons, threatening the death of most of the American population, cannot be treated as a “deterrent.” It is rather to become a calculated risk, which the population must accept. The United States, in other words, must be prepared to accept the possibility of nuclear war with Russia.
This is coupled with the staggeringly reckless declaration that the Kremlin will do nothing as the United States pours weapons into Ukraine, leading to the loss of thousands, or tens of thousands, of Russian soldiers.
“I don’t think he [Putin] is remotely contemplating using nuclear weapons,” Biden said in February.
What makes Biden so sure?
If the United States declares that the conflict in Ukraine, a country nearly 6,000 miles away, is worth risking nuclear war, why would the government of Russia, which shares a 1,400-mile border with Ukraine, not feel the same way?
The war in Ukraine is already, in all but words, a war of the U.S. and the NATO powers against Russia. The U.S. has committed over $3.2 billion in military assistance since the beginning of the Biden administration, including $2.6 billion since the war began. Along with its NATO allies, the U.S. has flooded Ukraine with anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, along with guns, military equipment and millions of rounds of ammunition.
This week, the Biden administration announced plans for another $1 billion in advanced weaponry.
All of this is only what the United States publicly admits. Media accounts have surfaced that U.S. troops are already clandestinely deployed in Ukraine and that, in the words of Georges Malbrunot, the senior international correspondent of Le Figaro, “it’s the Americans who are in charge.”
If the Americans are the military planners, the fascists of the Azov Battalion are the non-commissioned officers, and the cannon fodder is Ukraine’s working population, which is being conscripted en masse. For all its feigned concern about the Ukrainian people, the United States has provoked and is stoking a war that is creating an absolute calamity for the population of Ukraine.
What is the aim of all this? Biden has himself made clear that the United States is seeking to overthrow the Russian government, a reality that would leave Putin, like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadaffi, dead. If losing the war means, for Putin, losing his head, what makes the U.S. so sure the Russian government is bluffing?
Last week, Russia sent the U.S. and other NATO governments arming Ukraine a formal letter warning of the consequences of funneling vast quantities of the “most sensitive” weapons systems into the country.
On Wednesday, Russia test-fired a new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, allegedly able to deploy hypersonic warheads and bypass U.S. missile defenses by flying over the South Pole. In announcing the test, Putin said that the weapon would “make those think who try to threaten us in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric.”
Increasingly convinced that it is fighting an existential conflict, the Kremlin is also escalating its level of risk tolerance.
The apparent belief by U.S. officials that the U.S. military can carry out actions that lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers, and possible attacks on Russian territory, without retaliation may be the greatest miscalculation since Douglas MacArthur’s advance to the Yalu River in the Korean War, prompting Chinese intervention in the war and the subsequent routing of U.S. forces at the battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
The world’s working class must draw the most serious conclusions from these developments. As WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North explained in a statement published on April 18:
The war in Ukraine is not an episode that will soon be resolved and followed by a return to “normalcy.” It is the beginning of a violent eruption of a global crisis that can be resolved only in one of two ways. The capitalist solution leads to nuclear war, though the word “solution” can hardly be rationally applied to what would amount to planetary suicide. Thus, the only viable response, from the standpoint of securing the future of mankind, is the world socialist revolution.
The US-NATO war drive is intensifying the social and economic crisis in every country and has already produced mass demonstrations and strikes throughout the globe. The urgent task is to arm this objective process with a conscious revolutionary and socialist program and leadership.
On May 1, the International Committee of the Fourth International will hold its annual May Day rally. This event will be a critical milestone in building the global working class movement against war. We urge all of our readers to participate in and build this crucial event.