Ukraine Counter-Offensive Begins
In the past week, the Ukrainian army—newly armed and trained over the last year by its American and European “allies” (or, to be real, masters)—began a major counteroffensive. They hurled their troops against deeply dug-in Russian troops on Ukrainian territory.
This has already become a brutal and bloody battle between massive and well-armed militaries. Remember, the U.S. and Europe have significantly raised the quality and quantity of the arms and training that they have given the Ukrainian army, and in the weeks leading up to the counteroffensive Ukraine has made several strikes within Russia itself.
Each side claims to have inflicted heavy losses on the other. It could well be that both are right. Advances and retreats in this deadly slog are “better measured in yards than miles.” There is no end in sight, a cease-fire has been rejected by the U.S., and each side is intent on proving dominance. A breakthrough by one or the other could radically shake things up and lead to more extreme actions in response.
Halfway Across the World, U.S.-China Confrontations Sharpen
On the other side of the world, the U.S. and China have been engaged in a series of naval and air confrontations that, up to this point, have stopped just short of firing weapons. A proposed meeting between Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and China’s Minister of Defense broke down when Austin blamed China for “aggressive behavior” for its response to the latest U.S. provocations. Austin said he was “concerned about at some point having an incident that could very, very quickly spiral out of control …”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken finally began his visit to China, after postponing it in February over the U.S. furor over a Chinese weather balloon that the U.S. claimed was spying. (It is worth noting that to this day the U.S. has still not carried out its promise to reveal exactly what “spy equipment” was in this weather balloon, other than their claims to have such supposed evidence.) The New York Times headline for this Blinken trip noted that “Suspicion and Hostility Await” Blinken.
NATO Imperialists Begin Biggest Air “Exercise” Ever
A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter takes off from the Spangdahlem Air Base in Spangdahlem, Germany, during the Air Defender 2023 exercises, set to run from June 12 through June 23, with 10,000 participants and 250 aircraft from 25 nations responding to a simulated attack on a NATO member. Photo: AP
Right in the middle of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, on June 12, NATO—the military alliance of western powers godfathered by the U.S.—began its largest air military exercise since it was formed in 1949. From six bases across Germany, fighter jets, bombers, cargo planes and over 10,000 soldiers from 25 countries are carrying out drills until June 23. The U.S. contingent of over 100 planes is the largest in the exercise and includes the F-35 stealth combat plane, its most modern fighter jet. A U.S. pilot told a reporter that “It’s pretty much unprecedented, the amount of aircraft and people we’ve moved over here in such a short period of time.”
The air forces are practicing complex aerial maneuvers and training missions under a unified command, over the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and southern Germany—all of which are in close flying range of Russia. They are also practicing maneuvers to support ground troops, carry out evacuations, perform air re-fueling, wage mock airborne jet battles, and intercept medium-range missiles. All this is intended to serve as what the New York Times called a “pointed demonstration to Russia.”
War “exercises” like this can quickly turn into the real thing. The week before “Air Defender” began, NATO warplanes scrambled 15 times to intercept Russian jets that came close to Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. These countries are NATO members that border Russia or its ally Belarus. The Lithuanian Defense Ministry said the Russians were probably responding to the NATO exercises.
Confrontations, Threats Escalate Around the Powder Keg That Is the South China Sea
The island of Taiwan and the South China Sea bristle with immense arsenals of advanced air, land, and naval weaponry.1 The U.S. and China have repeatedly faced off around the island of Taiwan, and the South China Sea.2 In late May, several close encounters between U.S. and Chinese militaries in the South China Sea set off alarms.
On May 26, a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter maneuvered dangerously close to each other in airspace over the South China Sea. Each blamed the other. The U.S. said the Chinese pilot was “unnecessarily aggressive.” China said the U.S. spy plane “intruded” in Chinese territory. A few days earlier, a U.S. destroyer and a Chinese Navy warship had nearly collided in the South China Sea. This month U.S., Japanese, and Philippine coast guards launched massive naval exercises in the South China Sea. Japan is a major and longtime ally of the U.S.; the Philippines recently moved significantly closer into the American orbit. Further north, Chinese and Russian air forces conducted a joint exercise. South Korea, a U.S. ally, scrambled3 its jet fighters and sent them airborne after it claimed the Chinese and Russian jets entered its “air defense identification zone.”
In the wake of the latest incidents, top Biden administration officials escalated threats and accusations against China. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin vowed that the U.S. would continue its intense military patrol of the South China Sea: “We won’t be deterred by dangerous operational behavior at sea or in international airspace.” He also vowed that the U.S. would continue its intense support for Taiwan (see “Taiwan: Flash Point for Rivalry, Conflict … and Potentially War”). National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in a speech to the National Press Club, said China has been undermining the world’s “bedrock of nuclear security … and stability,” even as he boasted of the Biden administration’s efforts to modernize and develop the U.S.’s “nuclear Triad—land-based ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines, and nuclear-capable bombers.”
No one should underestimate how serious this is. The U.S. ruling class as a whole has identified the rising capitalist-imperialist power of China as the main strategic challenge to their dominance, in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. Any incident like those above—whether triggered deliberately, by accident, or by miscommunications—could spiral into an escalating confrontation, even to the point of nuclear war.
Belarus Receives Nuclear Missiles, Declares Its Readiness to Use Them
On June 15, the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, announced that Belarus has begun receiving a delivery of tactical nuclear weapons from Russia. Standing in front of a military storage facility, Lukashenko said in an interview with Russian state TV, “We have missiles and bombs that we have received from Russia. The bombs are three times more powerful than those (dropped on) Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (by the U.S. in 1945). This is the first time Russia has moved nuclear weapons since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The U.S. media made much of this. But did they tell you that the United States has over 100 nuclear missiles stationed in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and that two other members of the U.S.-led military alliance NATO—France and England—have their own formidable nuclear forces?
A Fundamental and Urgent Truth
With each succeeding week, the message from Bob Avakian in his recent interview rings out all the more sharply:
Taiwan: Flash Point for Rivalry, Conflict… and Potentially War
When revolutionary forces spearheaded by the Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong’s leadership came to power in China in 1949, pro-U.S. counter-revolutionary forces fled to and took over Taiwan, an island about 100 miles off China’s coast. They declared themselves to be the “real” Chinese government.
When China was still a socialist country, it maintained that Taiwan was legally part of China, a position recognized by most of the world. After socialism was overthrown in China in 1976, its new capitalist rulers continued to claim Taiwan. (See the Revolution interview with Raymond Lotta, “You Don’t Know What You Think You “Know” About… The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future,” especially part 4, for a thorough examination of the history of the Chinese Revolution.)
Since 1979, the U.S. has formally recognized the People’s Republic of China’s sovereignty over all of China, including Taiwan, and does not formally recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan and its government. This is called their “One-China” policy. But the U.S. imperialists have never ceased maintaining their economic, political and military connections with Taiwan. They consider Taiwan to be strategically vital to them, because of its location in a major manufacturing hub and one of the busiest trade routes in the world.
Taiwan today is highly militarized with U.S.-supplied weapons, and its contested status is a dangerous potential spark for a major war. Taiwan and the strait between it and China are two of the main and most dangerous flash points in the increasingly antagonistic U.S.-China rivalry. The current capitalist-imperialist rulers of China view Taiwan as a core strategic interest for their domestic cohesion, national defense, and interests and ambitions in the Pacific and the world.
Now the U.S. is increasingly flouting the “one China” agreement they have had with the Chinese government. It has stepped up discussions with Taiwan’s rulers over increasing arms shipments, as Taiwan moves to further build up its military and move away from China economically. Even more ominous, Biden became the first U.S. president to pledge U.S. military intervention should China move to assert direct control over the province—a pledge that no U.S. president has made before. And Biden has done this multiple times. Meanwhile, Taiwan is also increasing its military and political ties with other pro-U.S. governments in the region.
Source : Revolution