I carry on today with my review of testimonies by pundits vis-à-vis American foreign policy. That policy today governs and controls world affairs and affects our lives in direct ways. Some of the testimonies I quote are not only important, but may be described as “tweets outside the flock”; they expose shocking facts hushed by the mainstream media. In this context, I today present the testimony of prominent American economist and public policy analyst Jeffrey Sachs who is also Professor at Columbia University; he is the author of the book Ages of Globalization. Mr Sachs was recently hosted by the Democracy Now show which this year celebrates 27 years on its first broadcast. Democracy Now is aired by several satellite channels, and produces a daily global independent news hour hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González.
Democracy Now addressed the following question to Mr Sachs: “What is the story that people in the West and around the world should understand about what’s happening right now with these conflicts, with Russia, with Russia and Ukraine, and with China?” To which Mr Sachs replied:
“The main point is that we are not using diplomacy; we are using weaponry. This sale now announced to Taiwan that you’ve been discussing this morning is just another case in point. This does not make Taiwan safer. This does not make the world safer. It certainly doesn’t make the United States safer.
“This goes back a long way. I think it’s useful to start 30 years ago. The Soviet Union ended, and some American leaders got it into their head that there was now what they called the unipolar world, that the US was the sole superpower, and we could run the show. The results have been disastrous. We have had now three decades of militarisation of American foreign policy. A new database that Tufts is maintaining has just shown that there have been more than 100 military interventions by the United States since 1991. It’s really unbelievable.
“And I have seen, in my own experience over the last 30 years working extensively in Russia, in Central Europe, in China and in other parts of the world, how the US approach is a military-first, and often a military-only, approach. We arm who we want. We call for NATO enlargement, no matter what other countries say may be harmful to their security interests. We brush aside anyone else’s security interests. And when they complain, we ship more armaments to our allies in that region. We go to war when we want, where we want, whether it was Afghanistan or Iraq or the covert war against Assad in Syria, which is even today not properly understood by the American people, or the war in Libya. And we say, “We’re peace-loving. What’s wrong with Russia and China? They are so warlike. They’re out to undermine the world.” And we end up in terrible confrontations.
“The war in Ukraine—just to finish the introductory view—could have been avoided and should have been avoided through diplomacy. What President Putin of Russia was saying for years was “Do not expand NATO into the Black Sea, not to Ukraine, much less to Georgia,” which if people look on the map, straight across to the eastern edge of the Black Sea. Russia said, “This will surround us. This will jeopardise our security. Let us have diplomacy.” The United States rejected all diplomacy. I tried to contact the White House at the end of 2021 — in fact, I did contact the White House and said there will be war unless the US enters diplomatic talks with President Putin over this question of NATO enlargement. I was told the US will never do that. That is off the table. And it was off the table. Now we have a war that’s extraordinarily dangerous.
“And we are taking exactly the same tactics in East Asia that led to the war in Ukraine. We’re organising alliances, building up weaponry, trash-talking China, having Speaker Pelosi fly to Taiwan, when the Chinese government said, “Please, lower the temperature, lower the tensions.” We say, “No, we do what we want,” and now send more arms. This is a recipe for yet another war. And to my mind, it’s terrifying.
“We are at the 60th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, which I’ve studied all my life and I’ve written about, have written a book about the aftermath. We are driving to the precipice, and we are filled with our enthusiasm as we do so. And it’s just unaccountably dangerous and wrongheaded, the whole approach of US foreign policy. And it’s bipartisan.”
24 February 2023
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