Another Jolly Little War
By Eric Margolis
April 10, 2017 – It seems that every new US president has to prove his machismo…or make his bones, as wiseguys say… by bombing the usual Arabs. By now, it’s almost a rite of passage. The American public loves it.
So we just saw the US launch 59 or 60 $1.5million apiece cruise missiles at a western Syrian airfield to express President Trump’s outrage caused by seeing injured children allegedly caused by a Syrian government toxic gas attack.
But what, Mr. President, about all those Iraqi, Syrian and Afghan babies killed by US B-52 and B-1 heavy bombers? Or the destruction of the defiant Iraqi city of Fallujah where the US used forbidden white phosphorus that burns right to the bone?
Washington claimed its radar had conclusively identified Syrian warplanes dropping chemical weapons. This sounds to me to be unlikely. Where was the US radar? Hundreds of miles away aboard ships? Was the info from Israel or Turkey, both with axes to grind? Is US radar so sharp that it can tell the difference between a chemical and high explosive bomb at great distance? Sounds highly fishy to me.
The cruise missile strike was planned well in advance and the missiles programmed accordingly. This was likely done before the alleged chemical attack. What a hell of a rude act to launch the attack just before China’s leader, Xi Jinping, sat down to dinner with Trump in Palm Beach. This was the most important China-US meeting since President Richard Nixon went to meet Chairman Mao in 1972. What a monumental loss of face for Xi and for China. He was made to look small and irrelevant. Was this planned in advance? Xi should have walked out, gotten onto his plane and returned to China.
Couldn’t Trump have waited till Xi’s visit was over, a mere additional day? What was so urgent about bombing a Syrian air base? Do we not think that Russia, China and Iran, all Syria’s ally, will take some negative action? Trump had actually blasted former President Barack Obama for even thinking about attacking Syria…and now here he goes and does the same thing.
While the new president was showing how tough and decisive he is by bombing the usual Arabs, the US is openly threatening war against North Korea. Washington’s most urgent objective in the Florida summit was to somehow convince, cajole or coerce China into lowering the boom on irksome North Korea and ending its nuclear programs.
The huge insult to Xi will hardly motivate China to invade North Korea and depose Kim Jong-un. In fact, North Korea is quite useful for China in spite of its eccentric ways and offers no threat to them. The DPRK helps protect China’s sensitive northeast region and Manchuria from US/South Korean intervention. Collapse of the Kim regime would drive millions of starving refugees to China, South Korea and Japan.
Worse, a now threatened US attack on North Korea could cause it to fire nuclear-armed missiles at Japan, South Korea and US bases in Japanese Okinawa and Guam. Two nuclear warheads would be enough to turn Japan into a vast wasteland. There are some 88,000 US troops and large numbers of dependents in the region. South Korea’s 20-million people capitol, Seoul, is partly in range of Kim Jong-un’s 170mm heavy guns dug in on the Demilitarized Zone.
An accidental naval or air clash over the South China Sea between the US and China seems inevitable. The US is making a big fuss over atoll airbases that China has created there, but are these really so different from US Navy aircraft carriers cruising the China Sea?
The US has lost its old strategic superiority over China in the western Pacific. China’s land, air, naval and rocket forces are near parity with those of the US and well advanced in plans to drive the US far from its coasts. Any clash would see US forces fighting half a world away against home-based Chinese forces. US military officials are struggling to invent new strategies while cautioning the White House to avoid a fight it could lose.
As if potential wars against China and North Korea are not enough, the US is kicking sand into Russia’s face and beating the war drums over eastern Ukraine and Crimea, two regions utterly unknown to Americans. There seems collective amnesia that Russia has thousands of nuclear-armed missiles, many pointed at the US. Anti-Russian hysteria in the US has assumed epidemic proportions and makes the US look silly.
The US is also broadening its little wars in Yemen and Somalia in an effort to dominate the Red Sea. The hottest new US command is the new Africa Command.
This while being at bayonets drawn with China and Russia. Amazing strategic stupidity that would make old Bismarck turn in his grave. Add America’s forgotten, foolish war in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, and its provocations of Iran.
Trump likely views these issues through the eyes of a businessman, not realizing that Empire has its costs that do not fit on a balance sheet. Sure, the US pays more for NATO than other members. NATO is an organ of the US Empire, not a simple partnership. Ruling the globe costs lots of money. Even worse, much of it is being borrowed. Interestingly, America owes more money to Comrade Xi Jin-ping’s China than anyone else.
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. https://ericmargolis.com/