An Open Letter from the U.S. Peace Council To All Our Friends and Comrades in the Peace Movement
Dear Friends and Comrades in Peace, As you are well aware, our world is at a critically dangerous juncture: the possibility of a military, potentially a nuclear, confrontation between NATO, led by the United States, and Russia. The militaries of the two nuclear superpowers are once again facing each other, this time in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine, and in Syria. And tensions are increasing each passing day.
In a sense, we can say that a world war is already taking place. Currently, the governments of 15 countries are bombing Syria. They include seven allied NATO countries: US, UK, France, Turkey, Canada, Belgium, and Netherlands. They also include non-NATO allies of the United States: Israel, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, and Australia; and most recently, Russia.
On the western borders of Russia, another dangerous war is going on. NATO is expanding its forces into countries bordering Russia. All the borderland governments are now allowing NATO and US military forces on their territory, where threatening NATO military exercises are taking place only a few miles from major Russian cities. This is certainly causing a great deal of tension for the Russian government, as it would naturally do the same for the US government if Russian forces were stationed on the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders, carrying out military exercises a few miles from major American cities.
Either, or both, of these situations can easily lead to a direct confrontation between US and its NATO allies on the one hand, and Russia on the other; a confrontation that has the potential of escalating into a nuclear war with disastrous consequences.
It is in light of this dangerous situation that we are addressing our friends and comrades in the peace and anti-nuclear movement. It seems to us that many of our allies in the movement are paying scant attention to the dangers that threaten the whole existence of humanity on a global scale today, and are limiting their reactions to just protesting this or that action on the part of this or that side. At best, they are saying to the US and Russia “a plague on both your houses,” criticizing both sides for equally increasing the tensions. This, in our view, is a passive, ahistorical, and more importantly ineffective, response that ignores the urgency of the existing threat.
Moreover, by bestowing blame in equal measure, it masks its real causes.
But the roots of the current crisis are much deeper than the recent conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. It all goes back to the destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the desire of the US, as the sole remaining superpower, to unilaterally dominate the whole world. This fact is very bluntly stated in the document published by the neo-cons in September 2000, titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century,” upon which the current US policy is based (forgive us for this lengthy reminder): “At present the United States faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible. There are, however, potentially powerful states dissatisfied with the current situation and eager to change it….” “Today its [the military’s] task is to … deter the rise of a new great-power competitor; defend key regions of Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; and to preserve American preeminence…. Today, that same security can only be acquired at the “retail” level, by deterring or, when needed, by compelling regional foes to act in ways that protect American interests and principles….” “It is now commonly understood that information and other new technologies … are creating a dynamic that may threaten America’ s ability to exercise its dominant military power. Potential rivals such as China are anxious to exploit these transformational technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they seek to dominate…. If an American peace is to be maintained, and expanded, it must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence….” “[T]he reality of the today’s world is that there is no magic wand with which to eliminate [nuclear] weapons … and that deterring their use requires a reliable and dominant U.S. nuclear capability….
Nuclear weapons remain a critical component of American military power….
“It addition, there may be a need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements, such as would be required in targeting the very deep underground, hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries…. U.S. nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed of; rather, it will be an essential element in preserving American leadership….” “[M]aintaining or restoring a favorable order in vital regions in the world such as Europe, the Middle East and East Asia places a unique responsibility on U.S. armed forces….” “For one, they demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations…. Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality; the preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa…. American forces must remain deployed abroad, in large numbers…. Neglect or withdrawal from constabulary missions will … encourage petty tyrants to defy American interests and ideals. And the failure to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges will ensure that the current Pax Americana comes to an early end….” “[I]t is important that NATO not be replaced by the European Union, leaving the United States without a voice in European security affairs….” “Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has.
And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region….” “[T]he value of land power continues to appeal to a global superpower, whose security interests rest upon … the ability to win wars. While maintaining its combat role, the U.S. Army has acquired new missions in the past decade – most immediately … defending American interests in the Persian Gulf and Middle East. These new missions will require the continued stationing of U.S. Army units abroad…. [E]lements of U.S. Army Europe should be redeployed to Southeast Europe, while a permanent unit should be based in the Persian Gulf region….” “When their missiles are tipped with warheads carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, even weak regional powers have a credible deterrent, regardless of the balance of conventional forces. That is why, according to the CIA, a number of regimes deeply hostile to America – North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria – “already have or are developing ballistic missiles” that could threaten U.S allies and forces abroad…. Such capabilities pose a grave challenge to the American peace and the military power that preserves that peace. “The ability to control this emerging threat through traditional nonproliferation treaties is limited….” “The current American peace will be short-lived if the United States becomes vulnerable to rogue powers with small, inexpensive arsenals of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership….” And, most importantly, none of these can be achieved “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor….” (all emphases added) And this document has been the guiding principle of US policy ever since, for both Bush and Obama administrations. Every aspect of US policy today is in line with the letter of this document, from the Middle East, to Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, bypassing the UN as global peacekeeper and replacing it with NATO’s military power as the global enforcer, as recommended in this document.
Any leader or government that resists the planned US domination of the world must go, by use of military force if necessary! The “catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor” that they needed was handed to them on a silver platter on September 11, 2001 and the whole plan was put into motion. A new “enemy,” Islamic Terrorism, took the place of the old “enemy,” Communism. The “global war on terrorism” thus began. First came Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Libya, and now Syria, with Iran waiting for its turn (all of them listed in the document as targets of regime change by force). Similarly, based on the same strategy, Russia, and later China, as “global rivals” and “deterrents” to the US global domination, must also be weakened and contained. Hence, also, the amassing of NATO forces on Russian borders and the dispatch of US Navy carriers and warships to East Asia to encircle China.
Unfortunately, it seems, this overall strategic picture is being missed by a significant part of our peace movement. Many forget that the demonization of foreign leaders, and slogans like “Saddam Hussein must go,” “Gadhafi must go,” “Assad must go,” “Chavez must go,” “Maduro must go,” “Yanukovych must go,” and now, “Putin must go,” (all clearly in violation of international law and the UN Charter) are all part and parcel of the same global domination strategy that is threatening peace and security of the whole world, and even the very existence of humanity as a whole.
The question, here, is not about defending this or that leader or government, or disregarding their violation of their citizens’ rights. The issue is that we cannot look at each one of these cases in isolation from the others and deal with them piecemeal without seeing the root cause of all of them, i.e., the US drive for global domination. We cannot hope to eliminate nuclear weapons when the two most powerful nuclear states are on the verge of a military confrontation. We cannot protect innocent civilians by funding and arming extremists, directly or through allies. We cannot expect peace and cooperation with Russia while amassing NATO forces and carrying out military exercises on its borders. We cannot have security if we do not respect the sovereignty and security of other nations and peoples.
Being fair and objective does not mean being even-handed between the aggressor and its victims. We need to stop aggression before we can deal with the victims’ responses to the aggression. We ought not blame the victim of aggression instead of the actions of the aggressor. And looking at the whole picture, there should be no doubt about who the aggressors are.
It is in light of these facts that we believe we cannot avoid the impending catastrophe without joining forces, with the needed sense of urgency, to demand the following in both words and action: 1. NATO forces must be immediately withdrawn from the countries bordering Russia; 2. All foreign forces must leave Syria immediately, and Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity must be guaranteed.
3. Syrian conflict must be dealt with only through political processes and diplomatic negotiations. The US must withdraw its policy of “Assad must go” as a precondition, and stop blocking diplomatic talks.
4. Negotiations must include the government of Syria especially, as well as all regional and global parties that are affected by the conflict.
5. The future of the Syrian government must be decided by the Syrian people alone, free of all external interferences.
6. The US strategy for global domination must be abandoned in favor of peaceful coexistence of all countries and respect for every nation’s right to self-determination and sovereignty.
7. The process of dismantling NATO must begin immediately.
We call upon all of our friends and comrades in the peace and anti-nuclear movement to joint hands with us in a democratic coalition to end all wars of aggression. We wholeheartedly welcome all cooperative responses by our friends and comrades in the movement.
U.S. Peace Council October 10, 2015