It’s now more than 300 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the conflict has intensified rather than subsided, with Ukrainian leaders expressing fears of impending mass infantry attacks from Russia and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announcing this week that the U.S. will send Ukraine $1.8 billion in military aid, including a Patriot missile battery.
On December 21, in greeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House and considering his appeal for nearly $50 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden made clear his intention to continue sending weaponry to Ukraine until Russia is defeated in the battlefield, saying, “The American people have been with you every step of the way, and we will stay with you.”
As Noam Chomsky alludes to in the exclusive interview that follows for Truthout, those driven to see Russia disappear from the world map as a major power appear determined to
A number of disarmament groups and scientists have called on President Biden to take action to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile. In December, nearly 700 scientists and engineers, including 21 Nobel laureates, called on Biden to cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal by a third and pledge never to use nuclear weapons first. In addition, 60 groups recently issued a joint statement calling for the elimination of the hundreds of U.S. intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles now armed and on hair-trigger alert.
William Hartung is still with us. He has closely followed U.S. nuclear weapons policy for decades.
And this has never happened before. This is really good news. It’s an official document in the church calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. I think it’s the most important document in U.S. Catholic Church history. And many people are now saying that. As you know, the ban treaty has been so blocked and ignored, consciously and deliberately, by U.S. mainstream media, but so has Pope Francis’s dramatic calls in the last few years for nuclear disarmament, including at Hiroshima — has been totally ignored, especially by the churches here in the United States. Two weeks ago, Archbishop Wester of New Mexico issued this massive statement, which is an official church document, responding to both of these and issuing it in time for the anniversary of the ban treaty and Biden’s upcoming review of nuclear weapons. And as I said, this has never happened before.
human rights activists in some countries are calling for an all-out ban on the use of lethal autonomous weapons known as “killer robots” that can make the final order to kill without a human overseeing the process. They are coming under review during high-level talks on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons next week. The Washington Post reports at least 30 countries have called for a ban on killer robots. Last Tuesday, New Zealand said it would join the international coalition demanding a ban, declaring “the prospect of a future where the decision to take a human life is delegated to machines is abhorrent.” But so far, the Biden administration has rejected calls to ban the use of killer robots. During a U.N. meeting in Geneva Thursday, the U.S. instead proposed establishing a code of conduct for their use.
In a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday night, the U.S. House authorized a $778 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022. Every Republican voted against two amendments to reduce Pentagon spending, but Democrats were split. According to an analysis of OpenSecrets data by the Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI) and Sludge, the Democrats who voted against the 10% Pentagon budget cut have taken, on average, 3.7 times more campaign money from arms manufacturers since January 2019 than the Democrats who voted for it.
The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, has held 95 meetings with eight repressive monarchies in the Middle East since the ‘Arab Spring’ protests of 2011 threatened their power. Charles has played a key role in promoting £14.5-billion worth of UK arms exports to these regimes in the last decade.
Charles’ visits tend to whitewash the Middle Eastern monarchies’ human rights abuses, often coinciding with repression of opposition activists or the media
He plays a key role in cementing UK relations with key allies, acting as a de facto high-level salesman for British arms exports and promoting military cooperation
While the palace emphasises his cultural visits, Charles’ meetings are often with senior military, intelligence and internal security officials
Charles is also the patron of the UK intelligence agencies
Research by Declassified has found that Prince Charles held 95 meetings with ruling families in the Middle Eastern monarchies since pro-democracy protests threatened their power in the uprisings of a decade ago.
Charles’ diplomacy in the region, which comes at the request of the Foreign Office, has helped to cement controversial UK alliances with undemocratic regimes and promoted £14.5-billion worth of arms exports to them in the last decade.
During 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, Charles met six of the Middle East’s eight monarchs, from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He subsequently held
The Biden-Putin summit comes just weeks after the Biden administration announced it would not rejoin the Open Skies Treaty, a major international arms control deal signed by the George H.W. Bush administration in 1992. Vladimir Putin then announced Russia would withdraw, as well. As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden criticized Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the treaty. In May 2020, Biden said, “Trump has doubled down on his short-sighted policy of going it alone and abandoning American leadership.”
Biden is also continuing a number of Trump’s initiatives to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In his new budget, President Biden is seeking $43 billion for nuclear weapons, including money to develop a new submarine-launched nuclear cruise missile, which, as a candidate, he described as a “bad idea.”
Meanwhile, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, has just published a report revealing global spending on nuclear weapons increased by $1.4 billion last year despite the pandemic. The report found the world’s nine nuclear-armed countries spent $72.6 billion on nuclear weapons in 2020 — that amounts to nearly $138,000 every minute. The United States spent by far the most — $37 billion — three times more than the next country, China, which spent $10 billion. Russia was next at $8 billion, followed by the United Kingdom, France, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea