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IN THIS ISSUE:
• U.S. Strategy in Ukraine: “Bait and Bleed”– by Dominique Ferré
• “The Arms Industry Will Profit from the War in Ukraine … With Your Money” – by Jean Alain
• Two Points of View:
– Message to Palestinian Activists on Land Day (on Ukraine and Palestine) – by J.P. Barrois
– Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen Speaks Out on War in Ukraine
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U.S. Strategy in Ukraine: “Bait and Bleed”
By Dominique Ferré
After a month of war, Putin’s regime is faced with his army bogging down. The Ukrainian people reject the Russian invasion, including in the predominantly Russian-speaking regions. … So, on March 25, the Russian General Staff announced that it would “concentrate” on the Donbass, i.e., on the two separatist territories.
For his part, Ukrainian President Zelensky, yesterday a supporter of NATO membership, is backtracking, with one retreat after the other, after having been dropped by … NATO. On March 15, he acknowledged that Ukraine “might not join NATO.” Then, on March 27, he announced that he was ready to “study in depth” a neutral status for Ukraine (which Russia is demanding) and a “compromise” concerning the Donbass.
French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz are multiplying their gesticulations aimed at obtaining a “humanitarian” measure that would allow them to justify the existence of the European Union as something other than a branch of NATO.
But it is clear that for Biden and NATO, there is no question of the war stopping now!
On March 26, Le Monde reported: “It was supposed to be the apotheosis. … Joe Biden’s speech on Saturday, March 26, at the Royal Palace in Warsaw, had been polished, neat, to make it a milestone in his foreign policy. … And then a sentence fell, improvised, just before the U.S. president walked away. ‘For God’s sake, this man can’t remain in power.’ So spoke Joe Biden of Vladimir Putin.”
Simple “faux-pas” of a tired president? Or a deliberate strategy to pour oil on the fire? Before this “slip,” Biden had stated: “This war will not be won in a few days or months. We have to arm ourselves for a long fight.”
The day before, according to Newsweek (March 27), Biden spoke to the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, which specializes in parachuting into foreign countries. He told them, “You’ll see when you get there [in Ukraine – ed.], and some of you have been there, you’ll see.“
The same weekend, U.S. General Shirreff, former deputy head of NATO in Europe, proclaimed on Swedish television that Russia’s intention is to invade the Baltic States and Poland: “All the Eastern European countries … that are now part of NATO are threatened. Therefore, NATO must be ready to discourage any kind of attack against any of its member countries.”
Analyzing Biden’s policy, the U.S. magazine CounterPunch noted that this strategy has a name: “Bait and Bleed.” It is a military strategy defined by international theorist John Mearsheimer that consists of getting two rivals to engage in a protracted war so that they bleed each other dry, while the one who “baited” or provoked the confrontation keeps its military strength intact. In a widely viewed 2015 lecture on Ukraine, Mearsheimer noted that, ‘If you really want to wreck Russia, what you really want to do is encourage Russia to conquer Ukraine.’ The U.S. and the UK – the latter in particular – appear to have been taking this advice very seriously.” 
“Wrecking” Russia means facilitating the offensive that Wall Street is preparing against China. Moreover, a war “that will not be won in a few days or a few months” is the assurance of finding a new outlet for the arms industry. [See article below.]
Now, with Biden, the $768 billion U.S. military budget for 2022 “will be increased by Congress by another $30 billion dollars; for 2023, it should amount to more than $800 billion” (Atlantico, March 26). Biden’s final request is $813 billion.
 The article by Dan Glazebrook in Counterpunch (March 11, 2022) explains that, “The current National Defense Strategy (NDS) of the USA explicitly endorses such a [Bait and Bleed”] strategy, and it makes no bones about who it is aimed at. The NDS, authored by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis in 2018 [under the Trump administration] describes itself as ‘a clear road map for the Department of Defense to meet the challenges posed by a re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia.’
“On p.5 of the summary document, under the heading ‘strategic approach,’ the NDS vows that ‘with our allies and partners, we will challenge competitors by maneuvering them into unfavorable positions, frustrating their efforts, precluding their options while expanding our own, and forcing them to confront conflict under adverse conditions.’
“There it is, in black and white: it is official U.S. policy to bait Russia into conflict. …
“The U.S. and the UK – the latter in particular – appear to have been taking this advice [from Mearsheimer] very seriously.”
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“The Arms Industry Will Profit from the War in Ukraine … With Your Money.” (America Magazine)
By Jean Alain
The arms industry will profit from the war in Ukraine … with your money. It is not a labor newspaper that says it, but America Magazine (March 9, 2022), a Catholic weekly founded in 1909 in New York by the Jesuits.
In the week following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the magazine notes, “the stock prices of companies that make instruments of war – from guns and fighter jets to tanks and bulldozers, with names like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing – rose significantly.” The profits of the military industry, America Magazine reminds us, come from “U.S. taxpayers.”
For the year 2022, the Biden administration has passed the largest military budget in history, at $768 billion, or almost half of the discretionary spending portion of the federal budget [non-discretionary portions include a few programs such as Social Security.]
And it’s not just the United States:
“Among the many repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a proliferation of governments spending money on guns. Germany, which had been committed to pacifism since World War II, declared that it had decided to spend over 100 billion euros ($112.7 billion) on its military. It will also provide Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles, tank-busting rockets and other weapons, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz. ‘It is our duty to support Ukraine to the best of our ability in defending against Putin’s invading army,’ said Mr. Scholz. ‘That is why we are delivering 1,000 antitank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to our friends in Ukraine’.
“Apart from its individual members, the European Union, which has long trumpeted its ‘soft power,’ is also spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy weapons for Ukrainian forces. And the Biden administration has demanded that Congress fund $6.4 billion as part of an aid package to Ukraine that includes ‘security assistance’.”
America Magazine cites former South African member of parliament Andrew Feinstein’s book, “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade.” Feinstein estimates that the global arms industry is worth more than $2 trillion per year, slightly less than the gross domestic product (GDP) of France in 2020!
But don’t these arms expenditures guarantee millions of jobs in the world? America Magazine notes that, according to a November 2007 report by the University of Massachusetts, while $1 billion spent on schools creates an average of 17,687 jobs, or 12,883 jobs in health care, the same amount creates only 8,555 jobs in the arms industry.
And since “the United States has the greatest weapons industry the world has ever seen,” America Magazine concludes, “every new conflict, from Yemen and Palestine to China and India, offered new clients for U.S. weapons makers and kept the industry prosperous. The bloody, expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan supercharged defense spending, enriching a generation of contractors, manufacturers and their go-betweens.”
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OPEN FORUM: TWO POINTS OF VIEW
Message to Palestinian Activists on Land Day (on Ukraine and Palestine)
“This unjust war [in Ukraine] does not make us forget, on the contrary, all the other unjust wars waged against oppressed peoples for over 70 years, starting with the Palestinian people.”
To you, my Palestinian friends, wherever you are in the world.
On this 30th of March 2022, I greet you and bring you my solidarity for the 46th Land Day. My name is Jean-Pierre Barrois, I am a retired university professor in France.
I have been an activist in the labor movement since I was very young, when I joined the Algerian people in their struggle against French colonialism more than 60 years ago. I was one of the coordinators of the Appeal of the 75 militants and personalities against the imperialist war in Iraq in 1991.
Today, in this month of March 2022, the eyes of the whole world are turned towards the unleashing of the war in Ukraine. The workers and peoples of the world are expressing their legitimate indignation against Putin’s crimes. They stand with the people and workers of Ukraine, against foreign occupation, for the right to live freely on their land.
This unjust war does not make us forget, on the contrary, all the other unjust wars waged against oppressed peoples for over 70 years, starting with the Palestinian people.
I affirm – and am convinced – that the following views are shared by millions of workers in my country and in many countries around the world:
• Solidarity with the peoples who are victims of bombing and foreign occupation is indivisible.
• No one can claim to be in solidarity with the Ukrainian people against the bombing and occupation if he or she is not in solidarity with all the peoples who are victims of bombing and foreign occupation everywhere in the world: in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Africa and of course in Palestine.
• No one can claim to be against the blockade of the starving Ukrainian cities today if he or she does not speak out for the immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
• No one can claim to be in favor of welcoming the refugees from Ukraine if he or she does not speak out for welcoming all refugees fleeing war, and if he or she does not speak out for the right of return to their land of the 1948 refugees in Palestine and their descendants.
Many of my Palestinian friends tell me: “The world has forgotten us, has abandoned us.” I understand this feeling, sustained by the complicity of the governments of the major powers.
But you can be sure that the workers, the youth and all the oppressed throughout the world have not forgotten the fate of the Palestinian people.
Know that all those throughout the world, regardless of nationality or religion, who are committed to social justice, democracy and the democratic principle of the right of peoples to self-determination, will not give up on the right of the Palestinian people, like all peoples of the world, to land, nationhood, sovereignty and freedom.
• Long live the 46th “Land Day”!
• Long live the international solidarity of workers with the Palestinian people!
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Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen Speaks Out on War in Ukraine
[Note: Following are brief excerpts from an Op-Ed issued in a personal capacity by Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen on March 21, 2022.]
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is motivated by imperialist ambitions and is rightly condemned by most for its military aggression against Ukraine. This is not a war of ideology for Putin. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, but rather an authoritarian capitalist state where only Putin and the Oligarchs wield power. In a word, this is a war of empire.
The death and destruction we see raining down on the Ukrainian people today are appalling and we, as Americans, are right to feel sympathy and revulsion, as did many of us when our own President George W. Bush chose, unprovoked, to likewise invade and occupy faraway Iraq. Or when President Richard Nixon escalated the war in Vietnam and chose to conduct a massive bombing campaign on the other side of the world against Cambodia. And just as Americans protested those unjust wars, we in the West should honor and respect those Russians who have taken to the streets today to express their resistance to organized slaughter.
The pain Ukrainians presently feel is, undoubtedly, immense. The war is terrible, and we are right to empathize, just as we also should feel the same for the people of Yemen as they suffer indiscriminate bombing at the hands of Saudi Arabia. And here, we would also be right to reject the recent Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Rojava (Syria), the brutal 50-year Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the 800-year British occupation of Ireland. But of course, Turkey and Britain are NATO countries, and Israel and Saudi Arabia are allies, so, for those in power, sanctions are never on the table, let alone the arming of the Palestinians or the IRA.