The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

U.S. Policy Can Lead to a Wider War

Oct 10, 2022

Joe Biden said that the war in Ukraine could lead to nuclear “Armageddon.” He said that Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine could cause the U.S. to respond, hinting that this could lead to a much bigger, even more devastating and murderous war.

U.S. government military and intelligence analysts have said that, at this point, they have not seen any move by Russia indicating that Putin is ready to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield. It is not clear if Biden’s words were a threat aimed at Russia, or if they signaled a change in U.S. policy in Ukraine.

But whatever Biden was doing, it is U.S. government policies which provoked this war. Decades of U.S. and NATO aggression against the Soviet Union, and then against Russia, provoked Putin’s brutal, criminal invasion of Ukraine. U.S. and NATO military forces have surrounded the former Soviet Union with troops, bases, and missiles. Imagine if Russian missiles ringed the U.S. on the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Even before the beginning of this war, NATO countries, predominately the U.S., armed and trained the Ukrainian military. The war in Ukraine has become a proxy war that the U.S. government is waging against Russia. The U.S. government is supplying the Ukrainian government with weapons, planning and intelligence. Ukraine is supplying the soldiers, those doing the dying. The weapons the U.S. is sending have kept the war going as it has developed into a stalemate of sorts between the two sides. The longer the war goes on, the more the Ukrainian population, and even the Russian population, is paying the price.

This war, like most wars, holds the threat of expanding into a wider war, threatening the lives of tens of millions of people. The longer this war goes, the more the threat. Neither side may intend to wage such a war. But the circumstances of any war can lead to an escalation and response by one or both sides, leading them to use their most barbaric and destructive weapons, including nuclear weapons.

It is not clear if Putin and the Russian regime would initiate a nuclear war. What is clear is that the U.S. government has shown it is capable of using nuclear weapons, because it has already done so.

The U.S. government was the first to develop nuclear weapons, and the only government to use them. In the final days of World War Two, when Japan was trying to sue for peace, the U.S. government dropped atomic bombs on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. In so doing, it demonstrated to the entire world that it had a bigger, more destructive weapon than any other power … and, more horrifying, that it was willing to use it. The U.S. government, representing the interests of U.S. corporations, was signaling its intention to ensure U.S. capital’s domination of the post-war world and to threaten anyone who opposed them with annihilation.

U.S. government policy toward the former Soviet Union and Russia, and its role today in the Ukrainian war, are continuations of that same policy. When Biden says that this war could lead to nuclear “Armageddon,” he is right, and he knows it, because he is representing the interests of U.S. imperialism which threatens the entire world all the time. It is U.S. capitalism, U.S. imperialism, which built up a nuclear arsenal, forcing the Soviet Union to do the same. It is U.S. imperialism which has invaded other countries and fought wars around the world, all of which contained the threat of escalation into bigger wars.

U.S. imperialism is the leading power in the world capitalist system. For over a century this system and the capitalist drive for expansion and profit has led to two world wars and continual regional wars, without a day of peace. Today, the war in Ukraine, or the next war, holds the threat to escalate into another world war, even a nuclear war, threatening the lives of everyone on the planet.

A system which only knows war, a system which threatens to wipe out a large portion of humanity, is a system that needs to be gotten rid of and relegated to history. It needs to be replaced by a system in which working people, the majority of the population, are free to determine their own future.