A hair’s breadth from escalation?

During the day of Nov. 15 the world came close to a rapid escalation of the U.S.-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Soon, however, representatives of the U.S. government made statements that pulled back from the brink. For now. The events recalled some of the tense moments of the 20th century Cold War. 

In the evening of that day, Warsaw time, a missile fell on Polish territory near the Ukraine border. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately charged Russia with having launched the missile that hit Poland. His foreign minister demanded a NATO summit with Ukraine’s participation and asked NATO countries for modern warplanes and air defense systems.

Moscow denied having fired the missile, but for much of the day the corporate media in Europe ignored this denial and repeated the fake news that Russia attacked Polish territory with missiles.

Since NATO members, per the treaty, have the responsibility of defending any other NATO member that is attacked, the consequences of accepting Zelensky’s charges as true would be grave. NATO members would be required to aid Poland against Russia.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda then stated he believed the missile hit was an accident. U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed this from Bali, Indonesia, where concurrent with the G20 conference, he had just held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Biden administration, including some of the top generals, soon made it clear that they had no evidence that it was a Russian missile. On the contrary, they had evidence the missile was an anti-aircraft missile launched by Kiev’s armed forces that apparently went astray. In a news conference later in Arlington, Virginia, the head of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed that assessment.

In that same news conference, Gen. Milley warned Kiev that they were unlikely to be able to drive Russia out of Ukraine completely. Austin, who earlier this year called for exhausting Russia with the Ukraine war, pointedly said he wouldn’t comment on what was possible. Their apparent disagreement is a warning to the people of the world that they can’t count on the U.S. government to avoid such an escalation in the future.

All the more is it important to heed that warning and mobilize popular, working-class forces against the continued participation of U.S. and NATO forces in the war. These imperialist warmakers are using Ukrainians as cannon fodder in a proxy war against Russia. And they are attacking the living standards of workers at home as they impose sanctions on Russia.

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