Will WWIII Begin in Eurasia?

The United States is initiating a process that will result in the shipment of M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, according to two US officials who spoke to Reuters yesterday. This decision comes after the US previously feigned opposition to the idea of sending these tanks, despite requests from Ukraine and pressure from Germany to send its own Leopard battle tanks. In addition to the tanks, a small number of recovery vehicles will also be sent, according to one of the officials. These vehicles are used to assist with the repair and removal of tanks on the battlefield. This means that more military personnel (advisors, logisticians, maintenance, trainers, and soldiers), as well as an army of private contractors, will amass on the front lines of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

M1 Abrams battle tanks

As CNN reports, this move appears to break a diplomatic impasse with Germany, who had previously stated that they would only send their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US also sends M-1 Abrams tanks. The US had previously stated that the Abrams tanks were too complex and difficult to maintain. If asked to speculate, the apparent reluctance to commit to sending tanks is a feign to perpetuate the appearance of reticence to get more deeply involved in the conflict. This move is mean to conceal the actual objective: escalating the West’s kinetic war with Russia. The reporting tells us that this decision marks a change in stance from the US and will allow Germany to also send their tanks, and for other European countries to approve the delivery of more German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but the flow of Abrams M1 and Leopard 2 tanks opens the spigot for other weapons systems to flow, which in turn necessarily come with more military personnel. 

At what point is this no longer a proxy war with Russia? Arguably, the West has already passed that point. Ukraine is not a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), so the West is not defending NATO. Whether I support this security arrangement, NATO is not acting as a defensive alliance against Russian aggression against the West. NATO is preparing Ukraine as a forward staging area in an emerging war of aggression against Russia. These developments telegraph a pending massive offensive land campaign, with the obvious objectives of not only pushing Russia out of the autonomous Donbas region but reclaiming Crimea ostensibly for Ukraine.

Why would the United States and NATO organize a war against a nuclear power that has not attacked neither the United States nor any other nation in the NATO alliance? To understand the situation, one needs to consider the political economy of war and the ambitions of the globalists, namely the people who run the world. I will for the balance of this essay focus on the military piece, since the military-industrial complex has its own organic appetites and that in itself drives geopolitical policy and behavior. War stuffs billions of dollars of dollars into the pockets of those corporate elites who effectively run the complex. The current situation is C. Wright Mills’ power elite mapped onto the planet.

I begin with the United States Defense Department, also known as the Department of Defense (DoD). The official and legitimate function of the DoD is providing national security and protecting the country from foreign and domestic threats. The budget includes funding for a wide range of activities, including the development and procurement of weapons systems, the pay and benefits of military personnel, and the operation and maintenance of military bases. In addition to military hardware and systems procurement and the pay and benefits of military personnel, the DoD’s budget also includes funding for a wide range of other activities such as the operation and maintenance of military bases, research and development, and intelligence gathering.

One of the largest components of the DoD’s budget is the procurement of weapons systems. This includes funding for the development and production of new weapons, as well as the modernization and upgrade of existing systems. Some of the most expensive weapons systems in the DoD’s budget include aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the KC-46 Pegasus (aerial refueling and strategic air transport), as well as ships such as the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the Zumwalt-class destroyer. Thus, the DoD is also a corporate state instrument of offensive war and a strategy for laundering hundreds of billions of dollars to defense contractors annually, which includes weapons manufacturers and the wide range of services associated with the war machine.

The DoD budget has been consistently high in comparison to other government agencies, and it has been increasing over the years. In 2022, the DoD’s baseline budget (so not including supplemental and hidden expenses) exceeded 750 billion dollars, making the DoD one of the largest spenders in the federal government. The DoD budget takes up the substantial portion of the discretionary federal budget. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) funding for weapons systems constitutes about one-third of that budget. Claiming to be independent and nonpartisan, CBO provides a regular analysis of the long-term cost of planned weapons acquisition and reviews selected weapon programs. However, the full costs of the United States defense and security apparatuses is unknown and believed to be much greater than the stated costs. The Pentagon has repeatedly failed its audits and several of its components are offline to scrutiny.

The United States military, by far the largest in the world, works alongside the military apparatuses of other countries across the world. NATO is a major alliance that feeds these many war machines. What is NATO? NATO is a military alliance of thirty member countries from North America and Europe. It constitutes a major international security architecture. It was founded in 1949 with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, which established the organization’s purpose, namely to provide collective defense against any armed attack against any of its member countries. According to Article 5, an armed attack against one or more of the member countries will be considered an attack against all of them. In such situations each member country is expected to take the necessary action to assist the attacked country. 

The original ostensive purpose of NATO was to defend the West against Soviet expansion. One might have thought, then, that with the coming apart of the great socialist experiment, NATO would be dissolved. It was instead repurposed and began and continues a campaign across the Eurasian landmass to pull nations formerly part of the Soviet Union into the fold. Thus, NATO has become a military piece in the expansion and deepening of capitalist globalization. In fulfilling its collective defense mission, NATO deploys of troops and military equipment to different parts of the world. The alliance maintains a standing military force, known as the NATO Response Force (NRF), which can be deployed quickly to crisis areas. Additionally, NATO conducts joint military exercises and training to improve the readiness and interoperability of its member countries’ armed forces.

NATO also has a strong focus on political cooperation, with member countries regularly consulting and coordinating on a wide range of security issues. The organization permanent political body, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), is made up of representatives from each member country and is responsible for making decisions on NATO’s policies and activities. It will probably not surprise readers Freedom and Reason, that the administrative and legislative apparatuses of the members countries are beholden to powerful corporate actors—including transnational business firms—and these commitments shape NAC policies and activities. 

In my blog, History and Sides-Taking in the Russo-Ukrainian War, written nearly a year ago, I provided an in-depth analysis of the Ukraine government and its fascist character. I will repeat there the conclusions of that analysis.

The corporate state is behind the Ukraine resistance to negotiations with Russia. Deep state actors in the West have been cultivating the forces of extremism on the ground in Ukraine and elsewhere in order to expand and entrench the transnational corporate order and they need this conflict to continue. The longstanding goal of the West, which became obvious in 2014, was to provoke Russian into a military action in order to drag that nation into a resource-exhausting conflict with the West. The greater logic of corporatism that underpins the European Union and the transnational world order thus made its move on what it regards as a recalcitrant nation.

Enlarging the conflict would only serve the interests of no one whose interests matter from the standpoint of humanity. The suffering of ordinary folk would only be enlarged by either NATO military strikes on Russia or Americans fighting Russians side-by-side with Ukrainians on the ground. As I reported, Russia has put its nuclear forces on high alert, returning to consciousness a fact we don’t like to think about: Russia is still armed to the teeth with civilization-ending weaponry (as is the United States and a handful of other nations). We are facing WWIII. Zelensky and Putin need to talk now to bring an end to hostilities and address the misery they have wrought. And the West needs to force this happen by ending its proxy war against Russia. If the West doesn’t, that will go a long way to confirming the thesis of my argument.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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