By Carlton Joseph
In America everything is a production for the movies, theatres, or television, everything is entertainment, even war. Especially when the villain is a person to be dehumanized or country that decides to challenge the “World Order” as America sees it. War is hell, War has no winners, War is totally unnecessary and inhumane and indicates that we have not evolved over thousands of years.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the new production, with Russia’s President Putin as the villain, Ukraine’s President Zelensky as the saint, with lots of stories and interviews with heroes and heroines. Stories that pull at your heart and make you dislike Putin and love Zelensky, propaganda at its best. The movie ends with a now familiar question: What is Putin’s end game?
The Western press refuses to ask a key question in this insane situation. What are the United States (US) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) end-game? Prior to the invasion, Russia presented a list of security guarantees it needed in order to lower tensions in Europe and diffuse the crisis over Ukraine. The demands included: A ban on Ukraine entering NATO, a limit to deployment of troops and weapons to NATO’s eastern flank, and legal guarantees of Russia’s security. Moscow said ignoring its interests would lead to a “military response” similar to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
The warmongers in the West described Moscow’s proposal as: A highly contentious list of security guarantees that was too aggressive, and contained many elements that were previously rejected by the west, and signaled that it would likely be rejected in western capitals as an attempt to formalize a new Russian sphere of influence over Eastern Europe. The die was cast, and the press began reporting that an overly ambitious Putin wanted to redraw the map of Europe, and probably reconstitute the old Soviet Union.
Why would the US and NATO make Zelensky believe that they would fight Russia if she invaded Ukraine? If the US and NATO knew that it would not put boots on the ground, why didn’t they just agree that Ukraine would be a neutral state and not be allowed to join NATO? Why didn’t they just guarantee Russia’s security? This invasion could have been avoided, especially since they knew they were not going to be involved militarily.
What is the US and NATO’s end game? Did the US want to see how sophisticated Russia’s conventional weapons were once they initiated the invasion? Did the US want to see how advanced Russia’s Command and Control systems worked in the war theatre? This war, like all other wars, is unwinnable. President Biden in his State of the Union address informed the nation that Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world, thinking he could bend it to his menacing ways instead he met a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined.
I listened dumbfounded, he is accusing Russia of doing the same thing America has done in Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries without acknowledging America’s role in trying to bend countries to accepting America’s dominance. He described Ukrainian citizens’ fearlessness, courage and determination as inspiring to the world. Does he realize that the fearlessness displayed by citizens who faced America’s “shock and awe” also inspired courage? Vietnam and Afghanistan wars lasted 20 years respectively.
Biden went on to say that Putin thought that the West and NATO wouldn’t respond but Putin was wrong and that the West was united. He proposed economic sanctions that cut Russia off from the International Financial System, cutting off access to technology, and said he was going after the oligarchs’ ill-gotten gains, he emphasized that America will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine. If this is a united West, I would hate to see a disunited west, financial sanctions in exchange for a destroyed Ukraine.
Sanctions on countries hurt the people not their leaders, and the Russian oligarchs have so much wealth and access to goods and services, that sanctions will mean nothing to them. However, the people of Ukraine are dying and after ten days, over 1.7 million people have been displaced with millions more to come. A belligerent West could have agreed to accept Ukraine’s neutrality and prevent war.
Reports indicate that the US and NATO have sent Bayraktar TB2 Drones, US made Javelin portable anti-tank guided missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. Apparently, the West has convinced itself that Putin would like to reconstitute the Soviet Union and has determined that after he takes Ukraine, they will then defend NATO allies. This is totally dumb logic, but logic and commonsense have been absent throughout this confrontation.
Obviously, the West has decided that this would be a long and protracted war without comprehending that the more protracted this war becomes, the more catastrophic it will be. Biden needs to stop the ideological nonsense talk of war between democracies and autocracies, and the world clearly choosing the side of peace and security. America and NATO have overthrown democratically elected Presidents and replaced them with puppet dictators, America has started 201 armed conflicts since WWII, killing 30 million plus people and creating over 82 million refugees worldwide.
Western Democracies have not brought the world peace and security, they have brought the world, war and insecurity, because they are determined to impose their neoliberal economic system on every country, regardless of the negative impacts on their population.
President Biden declared that when the history of the era is written Putin’s war on Ukraine will leave Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger. He forgot to mention that Ukraine and the countries who are accepting refugees will also be weaker, and Ukraine might become a failed State. Only three Eastern European economies that joined NATO – Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia are on track to exceed 3 percent annual growth, the others are struggling.
Money seems to be the only criteria used in making decisions in the West; human suffering and dying are considered collateral damage. While Ukraine’s infrastructure is being destroyed, people dying, and peoples’ lives are being disrupted, The World Bank, an institution of capitalism, has put together $723m in loans and grants for Ukraine. Imagine, a country has been duped into war and will now have to repay loans generated by the West.
Before the invasion, Ukraine’s was the second poorest country in Europe, with $94.7 billion debt, and dominated by a limited circle of oligarchs working in collaboration with a corrupt ruling establishment riddled by inefficiency and corruption. Ukraine will fail to pay external debts while the war continues, and remittances, which represented one of its largest sources of foreign exchange, are now at risk.
The one glimmer of hope from this catastrophe is that the US has decided to engage with Venezuela, and has hopefully decided to cease trying to overthrow the government. After meeting with US senior officials, Maduro, the Venezuelan President, announced that Venezuela has the capacity to produce more than 3 million barrels of crude oil per day “if necessary for the stability of the world.”
History will place the blame of this war on Biden and NATO, because all they had to do was agree to leave Ukraine a neutral country, this would guarantee Russia peace and security. They refused, and Russia decided to guarantee her own peace and security, so she unleashed war on Ukraine. The West must acknowledge that Russia is surrounded by NATO countries and Ukraine would have been the proverbial nail in the coffin for Russia.
(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington DC, is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)