US Wars Kill More Like a Python Than a Tiger

Caitlin Johnstone describes the slow, suffocating strategy used by the side with all the resources and all the time in the world, the side which knows it can just relax and wait for the other side to starve to death.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Forbes has published two back-to-back articles about the analysis of retired Navy captain and political scientist Bradford Dismukes titled “To Defeat China In War, Strangle Its Economy” and “If Russia Invades Europe, NATO Could Sweep The Seas Of Russian Merchant Ships.”

The articles were authored by a man named David Axe, who is my new favorite small-time war propagandist because he’s so desperate to be recognized for his imperialist stenography that he often approaches his spin jobs in an informatively unskillful and ham-fisted way. The best one I’ve found so far is this 2013 piece about the time he spent with the “rebels” of Syria, who he takes great pains to assure us are not terrorists or extremists but brave freedom fighters who’d successfully “liberated” large swathes of Syrian territory.

Each of the two Dismukes articles focus on how the same military strategy can be employed against the first- and second-most powerful nations which have resisted absorption into the U.S.-centralized power alliance, namely China and Russia respectively. They explain how “a coordinated effort by the whole of the U.S. government and its closest allies” can be used to “strangle” those nations economically via blockades which cut them off from trade and resources should the time come for an aggressive confrontation, thus minimizing the need for direct military combat.

“Cutting off China from its trading partners and sources of oil, natural gas and other resources could be the best, and least costly, way for the United States to defeat China in a major war,” Axe explains.

“In wartime, the U.S. and allied fleets could blockade Russian sea trade, putting a choke-hold on the Russian economy that could force Moscow to end the war on terms favorable to Washington and its friends,” he writes.

Unspoken by Axe and Dismukes is the fact that both Russia and China are nuclear-armed nations, so direct hot warfare is something the U.S. power alliance would want to avoid anyway.

Indeed, the articles present a vision for confrontation with Russia and China that is not just realistic but probable, and not just probable but currently underway. This is exactly the reason the empire-like network of allies loosely centralized around the United States has been so forceful about controlling crucial resources like oil on the world stage; it’s not so that the US can use the oil itself, it’s so it can control who will have access to it. It’s also why they’ve been working to surround both China and Russia militarily via military bases and NATO expansionism.

These are the chess pieces that have been put in place during the slow-motion third world war between the U.S.-centralized empire and the governments which haven’t yet been absorbed into it. In order to avoid nuclear conflict, the imperialists know they’ve got to be patient and strategic, which they’ve learned can lead them to victory from past experience in the previous Cold War against the Soviet Union. The fact that they’re imperiling the life of every organism on our planet in the meantime is for them mostly a non-issue.

This is how the U.S.-centralized empire prefers to kill now. Not like a tiger, pouncing on its prey with old-school ground invasions and ripping out the jugular, but more like a python: slow, patient strangulation and suffocation.

That’s what you’re seeing with the murderous starvation sanctions that have been placed on Iran and Venezuela. With Yemen, where in addition to deadly blockades the Saudis have been deliberate targeting farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites and cholera treatment centers with U.S.-assisted airstrikes. With North Korea, where boats full of dead people have been washing up on Japan’s shores because fishermen get stuck out at sea trying to catch food since they can’t afford enough fuel to get back to shore, which former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attributed to U.S. sanctions. With Gaza, where people are being deprived of an adequate amount of nutrients due to an Israeli blockade designed to “put the Palestinians on a diet.”

It’s a slow, suffocating strategy that only works if you’re the side in power, the side with all the resources and all the time in the world, the side which knows it can just relax and wait for the other side to starve to death. Not with the “shock and awe” invasions of the Bush era, but with sanctions, blockades, coups, psyops, CIA-backed uprisings and the arming of opposition forces like David Axe’s “rebel” friends.

This is one of many reasons you can be dismissive of any Donald Trump supporter who defends their president by arguing that he “hasn’t started any new wars.” What they mean is he hasn’t launched any tiger-style old school ground invasions. He’s still attacking and killing with python-style sanctions and blockades and imperiling the world with dangerous new Cold War escalations. He’s still continuing the slow-motion third world war. And we may be certain that if Joe Biden wins he will do the same.

This is important to be aware of, because it changes what it means to be anti-war. We don’t have to just oppose direct hot war conflicts like the one we were afraid earlier this year might erupt between the U.S. and Iran (which could still happen); we also need to aggressively fight the new strangulation-style warfare that is being increasingly favored by the US-centralized empire.

When it first rose to power with the Bush administration the neoconservative ideology of doing whatever it takes to ensure continued U.S. unipolar hegemony was widely criticized. Now it’s the bipartisan beltway consensus, and if you question it you’re smeared as freakish and suspicious. You never even hear the word neoconservative or neocon anymore in mainstream U.S. discourse, not because it went away but because it became the normalized default mainstream worldview.

And while all these imperialist psychopaths are waving literal Armageddon weapons around in the name of an imaginary god named unipolarism, we’re also hurtling toward ecosystemic collapse and any number of other potential Armageddon-level events. We’ve got to turn away from this trajectory as a species and begin collaborating with each other and with our ecosystem if we are to turn this disaster around.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.   Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books “Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and “Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.”

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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13 comments for “US Wars Kill More Like a Python Than a Tiger

  1. E Wright
    September 2, 2020 at 03:56

    ? means ‘bridge’ by the way. I am more inclined to align with Patrick Lawrence’s analysis which is that Trump has sought to challenge the MIC but is surrounded by enemies. He’s having a go at China for purely trade reasons. This suits the MIC so they let him have his way and up the ante by biting at China’s heels with the Pacific Fleet. With either candidate, the MIC wins.

    • E Wright
      September 2, 2020 at 03:59

      The forum software doesn’t like Chinese characters. Where you see ? I had one. Qiao in pinyin = bridge.

  2. September 1, 2020 at 17:25

    Ms. Johnstone is correct again. The best example that this is true is the only policies where where Trump escapes criticism of his punitive foreign policy which is almost identical to the other political side. Where he did get in trouble is when he hinted at detente with Russia and Washington unleashed the wolves on him. He quickly learned his lesson and and has gone along to get along ever since.

    As grotesque and provocative as it is calling covid-19 the China virus aligns itself nicely with the crazies in Washington.

    While the article suggests that America is holding all the cards, somebody somewhere needs to call a time out and think where this is all heading.

  3. Donald Duck
    September 1, 2020 at 14:23

    The strategic scenario sketched by Ms Johnstone might be a possibility if China and Russia and possibly others – Iran, and even Germany (post Merkel), just sat around and waited to be strangled. You can be pretty certain that they will not countenance such a posture. They will be well and truly prepared for a war – info or or kinetic – with the US and its NATO vassals. A war with peer competitors of which the US has no experience.

  4. September 1, 2020 at 04:39

    Thanks for clarifying something I’ve been trying to explain for years: That US foreign and military policy isn’t necessarily to protect OUR access to the world’s energy sources – in which case we could all help avoid war by reducing our energy consumption – but to control whether our military or economic adversaries get access to it. Of course there are still other very important reasons to reduce our energy consumption. Hey how about all the new record breaking temperatures and those oh so exciting hurricanes before the official hurricane seasons actually begin… But a word about tigers and pythons. They both usually kill in the same way. The big cats usually grasp their prey by the throat and restrict or crush the victim’s airway. Pythons and other constrictors get a coil around the chest and gently squeeze their prey so the animal can’t get another breath. Whenever the prey exhale, the constrictor tightens the grip a little and its over pretty fast. The Pythons don’t have to wait for their prey to starve to death. Thankfully I got my pet python Shelly to accept and swallow knockwurst. I just had to rub the first two on some rat fur and after that she just went for them. No more rats had to die. They are such sweet and affectionate little animals. BTW, I love your writing, your respect for facts and your wry sense of humor so thank you so much for what you do.

  5. a.hall
    September 1, 2020 at 01:49

    1940-41 America put an Oil Blockade on Japan. Japan`s answer was Pearl Harbor. If Trump tried a physical blockade ; in addition to the Financial ,never ending Sanctions on China and Russia it wouldn`t end well. Around the World America has big,juicy Nuclear Aircraft Carriers containing thousands of Sailors, Airmen and Trillions of Dollars worth of planes.

  6. KiwiAntz
    August 31, 2020 at 20:32

    This strangulation policy, that Caitlin speaks about, can only continue if the American Dollar based system remains the Worlds Reserve Currency. This Fiat Currency system that enables America’s dominance is already on the way out, as we speak, with the massive amounts of Fed debasement via infinite QE! Once this collapses, America won’t be able to fund its massive Military or maintain its criminal sanctions & economic warfare scheming! The US knows this & so does Russia & China & others who are united in destroying this exorbitant privilege that has enabled Americans to ride roughshod over other Nations without bankrupting itself! Hence why Nations are turning to Gold, in anticipation of the Dollar collapse! America’s Unipolar moment has passed & no matter what desperate attempts by the US Empire to hang on to its waning power, its collapse is inevitable? This Nation is rotting from the inside out & soon will be in no condition to wage sanction Wars on anyone else! You can see the utter desperation, on a nightly basis, pure evidence that confirms that America is in its Death throes with it’s lousy response to the Pandemic & the Race riots, its Economy in ruins & the massive job losses & permanent Business closures! Caitlin states that America can wait it out & strangle its competition? Well that can work both ways & I believe its America’s enemies who can wait out the collapse of the Tyrant Empire until it collapses! The Vietcong waited out & defeated the US, the Nth Koreans & Cubans did it & the Afghans & Iranian’s are currently doing it? You can only maintain this level of insidious behaviour for so long & America hasn’t the stomach or the mental fortitude for a long term campaign of tyranny! Ask the Nazi’s & Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich regarding that boast of lasting longer than the Enemy! America can boast & proclaim, all it wants, about its exceptional status but it’s going to end up like Nazi Germany, in ruins due to its own hubris & arrogance! When this USD system collapse’s, no amount of money printing & demented manipulative conduct by the US Federal Reserve can will save the Empire from it’s own demise? Like a snake consuming its own tail using Caitlin ‘s python analogy, that will be the eventual fate of America!

    • robert e williamson jr
      September 1, 2020 at 16:06

      I could not agree more. Our leaders long ago decided that anything they wished was justified if it was a force that secured the nation. They decided that they and they alone had the authority to decide just what that force would consist of and how it would be applied.

      I base this statement on information I found researching CIA’s dreadful past, especially in the case of the USAEC involvement or the lack there of in the NUMEC case, the history of CIA efforts to push their own agendas and the continued lawlessness of their responses to call for them being held accountable.

      A dual standard was created by CIA and others that facilitated American Zionists and foreign interlopers who worked to obtain SNM that they in no way were justified in having.

      We have been black mailed by the Israeli government ever since this diversion, because American leaders fear Israel will use their nukes. Roger J Mattson has it right. As a country we will suffer until we acknowledge this travesty for exactly what it is. Nuclear Black Mail. Black mail something it seems, is something the Israeli government delights in.

      America eats it’s young, prove me wrong!

  7. Randal Marlin
    August 31, 2020 at 16:54

    By virtue of Article 7 of the NATO Charter and Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, NATO members who are also members of the UN are obliged not to support any other NATO member engaged in a war of aggression.
    Article 7 of the NATO charter states: “This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations….”

    Article 2 of the UN Charter forbids UN members from, among other things, threatening or using force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, “or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
    Article 1 (1) makes it clear that the overriding Purpose of the UN is to remove threats to the peace, and to suppress “acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace….”

    • August 31, 2020 at 19:10

      What makes you think our illustrious fuhrers give a **** what Articles 1, 2 and 7 (or any others for that matter) say about anything. Treaties, rules and laws are for other nations, not for the exceptional U.S.ofA.

      Make a treaty, break a treaty, who cares. We’ll honor a treaty only so long as it serves our purpose. When it no longer serves our purpose, f’k the treaty.

      Just ask the Donald.

      • Randal Marlin
        September 1, 2020 at 15:48

        What you say about our “fuhrers” seems to be true about the Donald and John Bolton. But some others with a sense of history might remember that International Law came about following vicious wars. Nations began to see the need of some order in the world. A fundamental principle to govern future behaviour was to be “pacta sunt servanda” – treaties must be kept. In other words, when Donald Trump unilaterally ended the agreement with Iran regarding nuclear restraint that was a very great danger signal.

        When the U.S. decided to pull out of the League of Nations, that was a similar warning with World War II threatening.

        We need more of a hue and cry to be raised against the threatening language Trump has used against targeted nations. People need to be aware of the consequences from warlike threats and provocations. They can lead, in today’s world, to nuclear catastrophe by miscalculation. Article 20(1) of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights states: “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

        It is foreseeable that the path to catastrophe lies in the lack of concern among the people about their misguided leaders are doing. Once the latter consolidate their power, it will be too late to appeal to international law restraints. The oft-quoted observation made by Goering is that when one’s own soldiers are dying, pacifists can be made to seem like traitors. So let’s appeal, while we can, to the restraint implied by the international law prohibition against propaganda for war, (which should be taken to mean propaganda for aggressive war). So the message is not for “illustrious fuhrers” who are committed to U.S. exceptionalism and treaties be damned. It is for the general population to act to prevent them from dragging the rest of the world down a sordid and miserable path to oblivion.

    • Moi
      September 1, 2020 at 08:53

      (Commonly known as the Anzus Treaty)
      Article I

      The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

      Meaning if the US so much as threatens another nation then the Australians can opt out of the matter. But they don’t.

  8. Aaron
    August 31, 2020 at 14:34

    Israel and all strongly Zionist allies can feast at a Caesar’s style Bachannal buffet of treats, but for any other countries needing food/aid that are not with the Zionist agenda, we might as well be Hetty Green.

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