War corrupts entire societies, destroys culture, perverts basic human desires

War corrupts entire societies, destroys culture, perverts basic human desires

 By Carlton Joseph

Carlton Joseph

The war in Ukraine has elevated Mr. Zelensky from obscure Ukraine president to war hero, addressing the US congress via video, and having regular video meetings with US President Biden and Western Europe’s leaders. 

This transformation reminded me of the book written by veteran correspondent, Chris Hedges: “War is a force that gives us meaning” in which he describes seeing children murdered for sport in Gaza and petty thugs elevated into war heroes in the Balkans.  He explains how war can be exhilarating and addictive and how it seduces not only those on the front lines but entire societies, corrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting basic human desires. Zelensky appears to be addicted to this drug.

Zelensky has won praise for his leadership from the Western alliance and is using his new found media platform astutely.  He releases daily video messages to his people, has addressed and made direct appeals to Western leaders, the British Parliament, and the (Bundestag) German Parliament.  He has been on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and even took Mr. Boris Johnson for a walk on the streets of Kyiv.

 While Zelensky is basking in the spotlight, Ukraine’s infrastructure is being destroyed, 5 million people have fled the country, and 7 million have been internally displaced.  To-date, over 12 million people in Ukraine, a country with a population of over 44 million before the war, have been forced to flee their homes.

Kristalina Georgieva, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, speaking in the past weeks expressed that the world has experienced a second major crisis:  A war on top of a Covid pandemic.  Explaining that this war risks eroding much of the progress the world has made over the past two years climbing back from COVID, and threatens our collective prosperity from a breakdown in global cooperation.  She concluded by saying: “The root cause of what we face today is the war. And it is the war that must end.”   

Obviously, the Biden administration does not agree with Ms. Georgieva, or with foreign policy experts and peace advocates, who advise that Western weapons shipments into Ukraine could harm, rather than increase the chances of a peaceful settlement.  Disagrees, because the Defense Department hosted leaders from the top eight US weapons manufacturers to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years.  And, the Washington Post reports that a new weapons package valued at $750 million was discussed, adding to the $1.7 billion already allocated.  This war is definitely corrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting basic human desires.

The military-industrial complex is salivating over the pending financial bonanza.  Raytheon’s CEO, Gregory Hayes, expressed that he and other weapons manufacturers will eventually see some benefit, because everything that is being shipped into Ukraine is coming out of stockpiles from DOD or NATO allies, and that’s great news because they will have to replenish it, and that the businesses will benefit over the next coming years.  In addition, other NATO countries are increasing their military budgets, so these companies are going to make exceptional profits.

While the US military industrial complex profits from the war the rest of humanity will suffer, because Russia and Ukraine produce about 30% of the Earth’s wheat and barley, and provide the majority of the wheat bought by 36 countries, including some of the poorest nations.   Russia was also the world’s top exporter of natural gas and its second-largest oil exporter, and Russia and Belarus export roughly one-fifth of the world’s fertilizers.

As a result of the war, food prices are at the highest levels ever recorded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, crude oil prices rose 60% year-over-year, fertilizer prices have more than doubled, inflation is rising and purchasing power is eroding.  The UN reports that 1.7 billion people will be affected by the war, 553 million are already poor and 215 million are already undernourished, plus developing economies are drowning in debt.  This war has sent shockwaves throughout the world economy.

A global catastrophe is pending, but instead of negotiating to end the war, Western politicians can only think of sanctions and trade restrictions to effect regime change in Russia, and selling weapons to Ukraine and members of NATO.  Western powers, having integrated the economies of the world, are now using this integration as a hammer to force recalcitrant nations to join in the condemnation of Russia.  

Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary, warned China that its lack of participation in the Western sanctions campaign against Russia could affect countries’ willingness to work with Beijing.  Claiming that the world’s attitude towards China, and its willingness to embrace further economic integration, may well be affected by China’s reaction to the US call for resolute action on Russia. She also warned countries, like India, that “are currently sitting on the fence” when it comes to Moscow.  Saying that such short-sighted policies, jeopardizes the future of the international order for peaceful security and economic security.

Ms. Yellen recognizes that the growth of international transactions is omnipresent in all spheres of economic activity, and that national governments no longer have control of their economies.  She is convinced that the integration of the global economic system gives her the authority to threaten other sovereign nations into acceding to US demands for sanctions against Russia.  Yellen, threatening China, India, Brazil and South Africa, representing 41% of the global population is disrespectful and insulting, and reminds us that white supremacy doctrine is still alive and well.

Is the US prepared to abandon her globalization economic integration agenda? Has the US decided to risk nuclear war to stop China and Russia from becoming economic rivals?  Is she prepared to stop India from becoming an economic rival? These questions come to mind, because of decisions made by previous US presidents that have not been resolved.

In 2002 President Bush unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the USSR.  This treaty barred the parties from deploying anti-ballistic missile systems that could cover the entire territory of their countries, or providing a base for such broad-range defense.  In 2018 President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. This treaty forced both countries to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between approximately 300 and 3,400 miles, it offered a blanket of protection to the United States’ European allies.  

The global population should be concerned because we have a war, with Russia having nuclear weapons, the US arming Ukraine with sophisticated weapons, no diplomatic efforts to assure peace, and economic sanctions designed to cripple the Russian economy.  Mr. Biden, the West, NATO and Mr. Zelensky seem to want to push Mr. Putin to extremities: deployment of some type of nuclear weapons to end the war.  This madness is unacceptable.

Even before the war, over 800 million people were suffering from chronic food insecurity.  History shows that when there is a crisis in food and when food prices go up, the political crisis is almost immediate.   We the people, must pressure Biden and NATO to negotiate an end to this war and save the world from catastrophe. We must not allow the ego of politicians to threaten our collective prosperity.