So many institutions of the U.S. intellectual establishment are now echoing the Schiller Institute and demanding the release of Afghanistan’s aid and reserve funds—15 think-tanks and organizations in a Jan. 8 joint letter to President Biden and others on their own websites—that there is clearly a horrible realization: United States financial and economic sanctions are murdering an innocent people, for insufficient loyalty to NATO occupying forces. Any citizen who thinks this crime is unrelated to the threat of an imminent, much bigger conflict over Ukraine, is mistaking moral posturing for morality.
In the U.S.-Russia meetings now going on in Geneva about NATO in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, moral posturing by U.S. diplomats has quickly and completely replaced the personal diplomacy between Presidents Biden and Putin which seemed to give hope of a solution. After the bilateral U.S.-Russia stage of the meetings on Jan. 10, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States would never consider keeping Ukraine out of NATO, “had not intended to reach any agreement” with Russia, and did not even “consider the talks as a negotiation.” He concluded his briefing with a talking points list of Russian “malign activities,” to claim that Russia, and only Russia, had to de-escalate and make concessions, to allow NATO forces and missiles to complete their long advance right to Russia’s borders—while Russian troops must vacate their own western border regions and “return to their permanent bases.” Secretary of State Tony Blinken added, at the same time, a gratuitous attempt to gloat over Russia’s assistance to the government of Kazakhstan to control rioting and attempted insurrection.
Unless President Joe Biden intervenes personally again, Russia’s proposed agreements have been bluntly and permanently rejected. This is the equivalent of Nikita Khrushchev having refused ever to consider withdrawing Soviet missiles from America’s southern border in the terrifying Cuban Missiles Crisis of October 1962. At that time, tens of millions of frightened people around the world had already imagined what that refusal would mean.
Even if the consequence now is “merely” a conventional conflict in Ukraine, U.S. former chief weapons inspector and military expert Scott Ritter gives an idea why that would not go well for NATO forces.
What if the consequence is only the “complete rupture of relations” threatened by Putin and a deep and immediate Cold War. The nation with the world’s most rapidly expanding and technologically advancing economy, and with the greatest anti-poverty and development influence in Africa, South and East Asia, is firmly in partnership with Russia. This is clearly shown once again in the suppression of the apparently failed “color revolution” attempt in Kazakhstan.
If the Biden Administration has decided the United States will attack and confront Russia and China together in a new Cold War—opposing them in space, fighting their policies of exporting nuclear power to third countries, demanding they stop using coal for power, attacking China’s Belt and Road and poverty eradication policies, and so on, who will it have in its corner? Why, the British Empire, of course—those green royals and Bojo the Clown and Her Majesty’s forces eager to deploy into Ukraine. What will America have in reserve? No development credit institution; a weak economic recovery from a deep recession; a labor force 3 million workers and 3.5 million jobs down from two years ago; declining real incomes; a Federal Reserve creating economic calamities worldwide, as the IMF warned Jan. 9, trying to stop the inflation it caused.
But far worse than any of this is the ongoing strangulation of the people of Afghanistan by U.S. sanctions. It is causing a growing cascade of deaths by starvation, by freezing in homes with no winter fuel, in a nation for which the United States clearly bears responsibility after 20 years’ war and occupation. Murdered for the sin of not sustaining a puppet government when NATO left it. These sanctions are a crime against humanity.
With this Afghanistan as its “banner,” nations will instinctively shun an Anglo-American attempt to make the rules for the world. There would be perverse new meaning, as Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche said today, to the phrase “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires.”
This must be prevented, reversed. The policy must be changed to one of development, by Helga LaRouche’s Operation Ibn Sina. The Schiller Institute’s urgent organizing for this objective, will take its next step forward with a webinar on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 17.