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War Parties, the Peace Candidate, and the November Election

Image Credit: Jill Stein 2024 Campaign. https://www.jillstein2024.com/resources

By Jeffrey D. Sachs. Originally published by Other News: Voices Against the Tide, on April 23, 2024.

The Democrats and the Republicans are outdoing each other to prove who can get us to World War III fastest. Joe Biden and the Congressional Democrats are making a convincing bid to be the leading warmongers. The Congressional Democrats just voted unanimously in a vote of 210 – 0 to extend the Ukraine War with another $61 Billion to kill more Russians and Ukrainians, and by a lopsided majority of 173-37 for another $14 Billion to extend Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. Donald Trump weighed in before the vote that Ukraine’s survival and strength is “important to us”, and that Europe should pay more. Republican Speaker Mike Johnson did his part for warmongering by calling Russia, China, and Iran the updated axis of evil. The slur was just in time for Secretary of State Blinken to fly to China to threaten more US sanctions if China trades with Russia in ways the US disapproves.

The strongest Presidential candidate for peace is Jill Stein of the Green Party, who is on track to appear on ballots across the country. The Green Party is well advanced in gaining full national access and is working very hard to complete that task. Cornel West, another passionate candidate for peace, is on the ballot in a few states but as an independent candidate faces prohibitive expenses for ballot access because of an unfair system rigged by the two main parties. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., alas, is only half a peace candidate, strong on ending the Ukraine War through diplomacy, but stridently backing Israel’s war in Gaza rather than the diplomacy that is urgently needed and capable of ending the war.

On a bipartisan basis, the White House and Congress are driving the world towards a global war. Washington has absolutely no strategy for Ukraine to win the war, but is intent on arming Ukraine to kill as many Russians as possible, even as the war kills vastly more Ukrainians. From the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, I called for a negotiated peace, emphasizing Ukrainian neutrality and an end to NATO enlargement – which is vociferously, and understandably, opposed by Russia as an existential threat. Yet Biden and Congress continue to insist on NATO enlargement to Ukraine and hence on more war. The result? Ukraine has suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties and ongoing territorial losses.

At the same time, Biden is now arming Israel to commit unconscionable war crimes, with more support now on the way. The US complicity in Israel’s slaughter of Gazans is strongly rejected by the American people, especially young people, yet Biden and Congress aren’t listening to the people. The Government of South Africa, in an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has powerfully asserted that Israel is committing genocide. Yet when US students say the same, they are now being arrested. In fact, the ICJ quickly ruled that Israel’s actions might well violate the 1948 Genocide Convention, pending a final ruling that will take more time.

If all this were not enough, the US continues to escalate its many provocations towards China. The US is imposing new unilateral trade, financial, and technology measures to hinder China’s economy. These measures are in violation of American commitments under international trade rules, yet the US brazenly imposes them in any event. In another paranoid and vindictive action, Congress also voted today that TikTok must be sold by its Chinese owners to a US owner.

The US also has the gall to attack China for its “over-capacity” in manufacturing production. The term “over-capacity” really just means that China produces large volumes of high-quality manufactured goods at very low prices. China’s production processes for electric vehicles, for example, are astoundingly efficient.

Most recently, Biden has put US troops into Kinmen Island, an island of Taiwan, in violation of the one-China policy that underpins US relations with China, and therefore peace. The US has also gratuitously upped the anti-China rhetoric together with the leaders of Japan and Korea.

The Biden Administration’s antagonism to Iran is similarly relentless and hypocritical. On April 1, Israel bombed Iran’s diplomatic compound, in a stark violation of international law. Yet instead of condemning Israel’s actions, the US blocked criticism of Israel by the UN Security Council the next day. When Iran counter-attacked on April 14, the US harshly criticized Iran and even put on new sanctions. Washington goes out of its way to assert such double standards.

So, let’s add it all up regarding the alleged “axis of evil.” The US rejects negotiations with Russia because the US wants to use the Ukraine War to weaken Russia, even as the war destroys Ukraine in the process. The US refuses to take any action to rein in Israel’s mass slaughter in Gaza. The US flagrantly provokes China in multiple ways. The US punishes Iran for escalation started by Israel. There is no axis of evil. Rather, the US has pushed Russia, China, and Iran ever more tightly together in the face of unrelenting and misguided US militarism.

Americans are profoundly unhappy about all of this warmongering. Only 33 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s foreign policy. Biden is a life-long neocon, supporting NATO expansion, military adventures, and regime change operations for decades. He is also unfit to lead the country for another four years and should not be running for re-election in any event. Meanwhile, Trump as president armed Ukraine, dissed the Minsk II agreement that would have defused the crisis, and went out of his way to antagonize and abandon diplomacy with both China and Iran. The world is closer to nuclear Armageddon than ever, just 90 seconds to midnight according to the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

America’s two main parties offer Americans no real say on the life-and-death issues of war and peace. Both are war parties. Both continue to shovel in more money and munitions to try to hide their past reckless miscalculations. Both parties also serve the same paymasters: Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and the mega-rich, who fund the two parties to deliver tax cuts and subsidies cuts for the wealthy, and NATO enlargement and arms contracts for the military industries. Peace and economic justice therefore go hand in hand.

The true hope for foreign policy sanity and a fair economy is the lead peace candidate, Jill Stein. The main work for peace activists in the next few weeks is to ensure that Stein is indeed on the ballot in every state in November, despite the brazen attempts by the two major parties to keep the Green Party and peace candidates off the ballot. As Americans in record numbers call for a political choice outside the failed parties of war and Wall Street, and for diplomatic solutions to the wars raging around the world, a voter surge for peace could well occur in November. If Stein is on the ballot across the nation, voters will have that choice.

*Professor at Columbia University, is Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He has served as adviser to three UN Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General António Guterres. Article sent to Other News by the author

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