The military, the media and politicians are gearing up for a Third World War with warmongering talk. We had British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps telling us that Britain was “moving from a post-war to pre-war world.”
Two top Estonian defence officials took advantage of a meeting with counterparts from Latvia and Lithuania and a visit from US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to argue for preparedness for war with Russia. The head of the Norwegian army, General Eirik Kristoffersen also added his two bits, saying that a Russian attack would come within three years and that Norwegians should be ready for war and should stockpile essentials. Earlier, a scare story in the German newspaper Bild declared that Russia was planning for an offensive against the Baltic countries. This was based on a possible scenario as envisaged by German army generals, which draws a picture of all-out war between Russia and NATO by 2025.
His counterpart in Sweden, Commander-in-Chief Mikael Bydén also emphasised war preparedness, as did the head of NATO, Admiral Rob Bauer, at a summit meeting.
The British media avidly took this up. The Daily Telegraph screamed that “Britain must prepare for war. America won’t save us this time.” The Sun also babbled about “wars in Russia, China, Iran and North Korea in five years,” whilst the Daily Mail envisaged war with Russia in the next 20 years and that Britons should prepare for cataclysmic circumstances and conscription. The right wing rag The Spectator quoted Shapps and said that “the West must stop playing Mr Nice Guy.”
The British press media took up the subject of conscription with zeal, emboldened by comments by Army chief Sir Patrick Sanders at the International Armoured Vehicles conference in Twickenham, that Britain must engage with Russia in a future war, that conscription should be considered, as well as the raising of a ‘citizen army.’ He was backed up on this by a so-called ‘expert,’ Professor Anthony Glees, from the University of Buckingham, who said that conscription must be prepared for within six years unless Putin is defeated. “I would see a ‘limited conscription’, a call-up of incentivised volunteers, as being very much on the cards if Putin is now thrown out of Ukraine. Obviously, if there were a wider European or world war conscription would follow at once.”
Another military beast, the former NATO commander General Sir Richard Shirreff also waded in, talking about a situation where men as old as 60 would be conscripted, and that this conscription would involve hundreds of thousands. Another general, General Sir Nick Parker, also intervened, backing Sanders, as did Professor Michael Clarke of the Department of War Studies at King’s College. The defence Editor of the London Evening Standard, Robert Fox, also wrote about the need for part-time or full-time national service.
The discredited Boris Johnson took advantage of the situation to write in a newspaper column that he would “jolly well” join the British Army ”to fight the Russian threat”(unlikely). Johnson, an enthusiastic backer of the Zelenskyy regime, supported the call to use conscription to train and equip a “citizen army”.
Despite this barrage from assorted generals, academics, politicians and press hacks, a recent survey indicated that only one in ten would be willing to join up, with more than 50% not supporting a return of conscription.
Against this militaristic hype, action and agitation against the arms trade, against conscription and the armed forces themselves needs to be stepped up. The orchestrated campaign by the USA and its allies and the military chiefs throughout Europe, are meant to distract us from the dire economic situation, to reinforce the idea of nationhood, to bolster the profits of the arms traders.
We are no friends of the Putin regime, but neither are we lovers of NATO. The Ukraine war has been used to legitimise NATO. In this some anarchists, both here and abroad, have assisted in this coming about by blatantly ignoring the belligerent character of NATO. This support for NATO as a benign force amongst socialists, leftists and even anarchists, all helps to adds to the positive public image of NATO, boosting its confidence in preparing for war.
Neither Moscow nor NATO
No War But The Class War
No to Militarism and Conscription