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“For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” – John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, Washington, DC, January 20th, 1961


As the 21st century unfurls its harrowing shadow, a moldering American republic groans in its agonizing death throes. Its heritage, collective memory, and canon lie in ruins. Its ties to reason, the rule of law, and the intellect rest in ashes. For the avarice of empire has hollowed out once noble institutions, and the voracious hunger for hegemony increasingly wields no other tool but the bloody truncheon.

This rapaciousness has, even with regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, squandered trillions of dollars on barbaric wars of imperial conquest. Moreover, this relentless, brutal, and self-destructive ideology that seeks to subjugate the planet to the whims and dictates of a ruthless cabal has put us on a path to a third world war, a war in which the predator will perish along with the prey.

“She goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy” said John Quincy Adams when addressing the subject of US foreign policy in a speech to the House of Representatives on July 4th, 1821. Over two hundred years have passed since these words reverberated in the House Chamber, their echo ringing alongside the ghosts of history. How many bombs have been dropped? How many governments overthrown? How many innocents slaughtered in the pursuit of phantom monsters?

While Americans drown in joblessness, mass incarceration, tribalism, atomization, medical mandates, and substance abuse both neocons and neolibs continue to clamor for more war. That they pursue this perilous path threatens not only the survival of our civilization, but of humanity. The growing censorship, glaringly on display with regard to both the Ukraine war and the Covid psyop, is intertwined with the dark shadow that has enveloped journalism and academia in an increasingly authoritarian discourse devoid of any fact-based analysis. Both deceivers and deceived, the priests of neoliberalism knowingly and unknowingly foment authoritarianism.

Unconcerned that tens of billions of taxpayer dollars are being used to fund a murderous Kiev junta, congressman Jamie Raskin writes on his website that Moscow “is a world center of antifeminist, antigay, anti-trans hatred, as well as the homeland of replacement theory for export.” Of the totalitarian Banderite state notorious for torturing dissidents and militiamen, he writes that “a Ukrainian victory would give us an opening to a much better future for all humanity.”

The idea that the Russian military will be driven from Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Crimea, territories where they have the support of the overwhelming majority of the locals, is no less delusional, and yet this is clearly one of NATO’s principal goals in its proxy war against Russia.

Ignoring the fact that the war in Ukraine began with the ultranationalist Maidan putsch in February of 2014, and that the primary objective of the Russian military is to protect Russian speaking Ukrainians from persecution and genocide at the hands of the Banderite entity, NBC informs us, in what is clearly a fabricated story, that Russian soldiers have raped Ukrainian children. How many Ukrainian children have been raped by neo-Nazi gangs and death squads? Quite a few I would imagine, yet that is the real war which the presstitutes have no interest whatsoever in either learning about or discussing. The article offers a photo of a Russian soldier standing guard in Mariupol, implying that the Russian military committed war crimes there, when the city was held hostage to the Azov battalion for eight years.

If the Russian military had such contempt for Russian speaking Ukrainians – and indeed, they are operating exclusively in Russian language dominant oblasts – then why not simply leave the locals to the savagery of Azov, Aidar, and Right Sector? Such a question invariably falls on deaf ears in a dystopian technocracy where logic and reason have all but ceased to exist. The NBC stenographers go on to tell us that these atrocities have been confirmed by United Nations “experts.” Replace the UN with the WHO and we could be talking about Hydroxychloroquine.

Enclosed are some headlines taken from Google which embody the deplorable state of the media generally, and its coverage of the Ukraine war in particular:

  • “Madmen like Putin who sanction killing of children shouldn’t be appeased,” by Trey Gowdy (Fox News)
  • “1 in 5 Russians want Gays and Lesbians ‘eliminated,’ survey finds,” by Elizabeth Kuhr (NBC News)
  • “Why Russia’s War in Ukraine is a Genocide,” by Kristina Hook (Foreign Affairs)
  • “Women who were raped by Russian soldiers yearn for justice,” by Valerie Hopkins (The New York Times)
  • “Russia using rape as ‘military strategy’ in Ukraine: UN envoy,” by Philip Wang, Tim Lister, Josh Pennington and Heather Chen (CNN)
  • “How Moscow Grabs Ukrainians Kids and Makes them Russians,” by Sarah El Deeb, Anastasiia Shvets, and Elizaveta Tilna (Associated Press)
  • “Russia is depopulating parts of eastern Ukraine, forcibly removing thousands into remote parts of Russia,” by Katie Bo Lillis, Kylie Atwood, and Natasha Bertrand (CNN)
  • “Female Fighters Detail Russian Atrocities in Ukraine,” by Nike Ching (Voice of America)
  • “Mad Vlad is likely to use nukes – we have to stop him,” by Tony Parsons (The US Sun)

Where are all the plucky “fact checkers” condemning these spreaders of “misinformation” and “disinformation?” Replace “Russians” with “Jews” and this language bears an eerie resemblance to anti-Semitism in the Third Reich.

Washington’s Russophobia and its loathing of the Putin government constitute almost insurmountable obstacles towards achieving a negotiated settlement at this time. (Consider Biden referring to Putin as “a murderous dictator” and “a pure thug,” language which would have been unthinkable during the Cold War). Clearly, the ultimate goal of the American ruling establishment is the breaking up of the Russian Federation and the total degradation of the Russian people. This desire to bully Russia as if she were no different than Libya or Somalia is indicative of an American exceptionalism that has lost all touch with reality.

The Pentagon has accelerated the delivery of upgraded nuclear weapons to its European vassals, and the 101st Airborne Division is training in Romania, replete with copious quantities of bravado and preposterous boasting. The Kremlin wouldn’t go to war with the US over eastern Syria, but can the same be said with regard to Odessa, a Russian speaking oblast inextricably linked with centuries of Russian culture and founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great?

In an Atlantic Council memo to the president of the United States, the think tank nonchalantly suggests that if the Kremlin decides to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine (for which there would presently be no justification vis-à-vis the Russian nuclear doctrine), one option is that “The United States could conduct a limited conventional strike on the Russian forces or bases directly involved in the attack.”

Retired Army General David Petraeus, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have reiterated this position in even more threatening language. In conjunction with this madness, the Pentagon is planning to send nuclear-capable bombers to the Tindal air base in northern Australia, yet another provocation meant to antagonize China and which threatens to further destabilize the region.

Having lost all moral, political, and legal credibility, the United States no longer has anything to offer the world except violence, anarchy, and unfettered capitalism. Barring the annihilation of China and Russia and the breaking up of BRICS (which the Saudis have notably asked to join), nothing can stop the inevitable disintegration of US imperial power, and yet the destruction of these two titans could only be achieved with a nuclear war which would irrevocably hurl humanity towards the abyss of extinction.

Nevertheless, the destruction of Russia and China is precisely what Pentagon war planners have on their minds right now; hence the interminable, almost hypnotic, calls to defend the “rules-based order.” As retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor points out in “Will Biden Gamble on a Ukraine Coalition,” any attempt on the part of the United States and its allies to directly enter the conflict is ill-conceived and fraught with tremendous danger.

The Biden administration’s recent Nuclear Posture Review significantly lowers the threshold for a nuclear first strike, and there is a chance that Finland and Poland may host nuclear weapons – likewise incredibly reckless provocations.

What makes the proxy war in Ukraine so volatile, is that while Russia is firmly committed to denazification and to protecting Russian speaking Ukrainians and Ukrainians of ethnic Russian origin from the Banderite entity, Washington is increasingly alarmed by the waning of American power and the rise of an increasingly multipolar world. Scott Ritter writes in Consortium News that “Should the US opt to resist the tides of history, the temptation to use the final weapon of existential survival — America’s nuclear arsenal — will be real.”

Image: President Dwight D. Eisenhower (National Archives)

The US must free itself from the cannibalistic maws of the military industrial complex and its insatiable lust for endless conflict. Speaking to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 16, 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of an America in a state of permanent war:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people….

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

All empires eventually wither and die, yet no dying empire ever possessed thousands of nuclear weapons before. Where is the fear of Armageddon from our leaders, the dread crossing of the final Rubicon?

Unlike World War I, once coined “the war to end all wars,” a nuclear war truly would constitute such a cataclysm. Indeed, following the apocalyptic conflagration of a third world war, due to pollution and disease and an annihilated infrastructure, the survivors would be physically incapable of fighting another.


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David Penner’s articles on politics and health care have appeared in Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Global Research, The Saker blog, OffGuardian and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice and Mad in America. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books of portraiture: Faces of The New Economy, Faces of Manhattan Island, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at

Featured image is from Struggle-La Lucha