Sunday, January 16, 2022

Don't Fall For It Again - Vox Popoli

 The reason Russia is ready to invade Ukraine is extremely straightforward. It will never permit NATO’s expansion into Ukraine. And NATO has already decided to expand into both Ukraine and Georgia.

NATO decided to admit Ukraine and Georgia, but did not set a deadline, Secretary General of the organization Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview in the Repubblika newspaper.

“Ukraine has already requested to join, and we have decided to work towards this by supporting its reforms, helping to modernize the armed forces to our standards. In 2008, we decided that Ukraine and Georgia would become [NATO] members, but we did not establish, when exactly,” Stoltenberg said.

That’s why the neocons are already attempting to lay the global media narrative for the customary US false flag, which, from the Spanish-American War to the Afghan War, has been used to whip up public support for US invasions of foreign countries around the world. These justifications for military action were all fake to varying degrees. Sometimes they were complete false flags, like the Maine and 9/11. At other times they were genuine attacks that were misrepresented to the public, such as the Lusitania and Pearl Harbor. But regardless of which form the next one takes, don’t let your friends and family fall for the next one.

The position that Russia has no right to a sphere of influence is as risible as it is hypocritical when it comes from the United States. It is the USA, not Russia, that is presently the Evil Empire. It is the USA, not China, that presently plays host to what Philip K. Dick described as “the empire that never ended.”

The United States has exercised a sphere of influence in its own hemisphere for almost 200 years, since President James Monroe, in his seventh annual message to Congress, declared that the United States “should consider any attempt” by foreign powers “to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.”

Listening to Mr. Blinken, you might think the United States long ago deposited this prerogative over the foreign policies of its southern neighbors in history’s dustbin. It has done no such thing. In 2018, Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, called the Monroe Doctrine “as relevant today as it was the day it was written.” The following year, his national security adviser, John Bolton, boasted that “the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well.”

To be sure, the United States doesn’t enforce the Monroe Doctrine in the same way it did in the first half of the 20th century, when it regularly deployed the Marines to Central America and the Caribbean, or during the Cold War, when the C.I.A. helped topple leftist governments. Washington’s methods have changed. It now prefers using economic coercion to punish governments that ally with adversaries and challenge its regional dominion.

Consider Washington’s decades-long embargo of Cuba. U.S. officials may claim the embargo’s goal is to promote democracy, but virtually every other government on earth — democracies included — views it as an act of political bullying. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the embargo by a vote of 184 to 2. Human Rights Watch has denounced it for imposing “indiscriminate hardship on the Cuban population.”

Biden officials do not celebrate the Monroe Doctrine as their Trump administration predecessors did. But they still muscle America’s neighbors. Mr. Biden hasn’t eased the embargo of Cuba. Nor has he ended Mr. Trump’s effort to cut off Venezuela, another autocratic government that flirts with America’s foes, from global trade. The United States, in the words of one European Union official, is still prepared to “starve Venezuelans until their leadership surrender or their people oust them.” These policies serve notice to other Latin American governments that defying Washington can bring grave costs.