[News] We Do Not Want a Divided Planet; We Want a World Without Walls

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 14 11:37:07 EDT 2022

We Do Not Want a Divided Planet; We Want a World Without Walls: The 
Fifteenth Newsletter (2022)
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*We Do Not Want a Divided Planet; We Want a World Without Walls: The 
Fifteenth Newsletter (2022)*

Ever Fonseca (Cuba), /Homenaje a la paz /(‘Homage to Peace’), 1970.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research 

While the United States began its illegal war against Iraq in 2003, 
Cuba’s President Fidel Castro spoke 
in Buenos Aires, Argentina. ‘Our country does not drop bombs on other 
peoples’, he said, ‘nor does it send thousands of planes to bomb cities 
… Our country’s tens of thousands of scientists and doctors have been 
educated on the idea of saving lives’. Cuba had an army, yes, but not an 
army for war; Castro called it ‘an army of white coats’. Most recently, 
Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade of medical practitioners have selflessly 
worked around the world 
to help stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Castro reminds us that there are two ways to be alive in this world. We 
can live in a war-filled world awash with weapons and confounded by 
intimidation, a world that continuously prepares for combat. Or, we can 
live in a world of teachers and doctors, scientists and social workers, 
storytellers and singers. We can put our confidence in people who help 
us create a better world than the one we live in today, this wretched 
world of war and profit, where ugliness threatens to overwhelm us.

The surface of our skin beats with the fear that a new iron curtain will 
descend, that there is pressure to box in China and Russia, to divide 
the world into camps. But that is impossible, because – as noted in last 
week’s newsletter 
– we live in a knot of contradictions and not in a clean cut world of 
certainties. Even close allies of the US, such as Australia, Germany, 
Japan, and India, cannot break their economic and political ties with 
Russia and China. Doing so would plunge them into a recession, bringing 
the kind of economic chaos that war and sanctions have already brought 
to Honduras, Pakistan, Peru, and Sri Lanka. In those countries – already 
battered by the International Monetary Fund by the greed of the elites 
and by foreign embassies – rising fuel prices have transformed an 
economic crisis into a political crisis.

Sergey Grinevich (Belarus), /Tank/, 2013.

Wars either end with the destruction of a country’s political 
institutions and its social capacity or they end with ceasefires and 
negotiations. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) war on 
Libya in 2011 ended with the country stumbling along with the smell of 
cordite in the air and a broken social order. The fate of Libya should 
not be repeated anywhere, certainly not in Ukraine. Yet it is a fate 
ordained for the people of Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen, who have 
been suffocated by wars egged on by the West – wars armed by the West 
and that have been profitable for the West.

When contemporary Russia emerged from the fall of the USSR, Boris 
Yeltsin led a coup against the Russian parliament, tanks blazing. Those 
currently in power in Russia operate in light of these violent 
beginnings and the experiences of other war-stricken nations. They will 
not allow themselves to suffer the fate of Libya or Yemen or 
Afghanistan. Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are ongoing in 
Belarus’ Homyel Voblasts (or Gomel Region), but trust must be 
strengthened before a ceasefire can become a real possibility. Any 
ceasefire should not only apply to the war inside Ukraine – which is 
imperative – but should also include halting the broader US-imposed 
pressure campaign on all of Eurasia.

Svetlana Rumak (Russia) /Endless Green Fields/, 2017.

What is that pressure campaign and why bother talking about it now? 
Shouldn’t we only say /Russia out of Ukraine?/ Such a slogan, while 
correct, does not address the deeper problems that provoked this war in 
the first place.

When the USSR collapsed, Western countries wielded their resources and 
power through Boris Yeltsin (1991–1999) and then Vladimir Putin (from 
1999). First, the West impoverished the Russian people by destroying the 
country’s social net and allowing elite Russians to devour the country’s 
social wealth. Then, they drew the new Russian billionaires into 
investing in Western-driven globalisation (including English football 
teams). The West backed Yeltsin’s bloody war in Chechnya (1994–1996) and 
then Putin’s war in Chechnya (1999–2000). Former British Prime Minister 
Tony Blair (1997–2007) signed allowances for Russia to buy British 
weapons till his arm hurt and welcomed Putin to London in 2000, saying 
‘I want Russia and the West to work together to promote stability and 
peace’. In 2001, former US President George W. Bush described looking 
into Putin’s eyes and seeing his soul, calling 
him ‘straightforward and trustworthy’. In the same year, /The New York 
Times/’ Thomas Friedman encouraged 
readers to ‘keep rootin’ for Putin’. It was the West that helped the 
Russian billionaire class capture the state and ride astride Russian 

Once the Russian government decided that integration with Europe and the 
US was not possible, the West began to portray Putin as diabolical. This 
movie keeps replaying: Saddam Hussein of Iraq was a great hero of the US 
and then its villain, the same with former military leader Manuel 
Antonio Noriega of Panama. Now the stakes are unforgivably higher, the 
dangers greater.

Shakir Hassan al-Said (Iraq), /The Victims/, 1957.

Beneath the surface of the current moment lies dynamics that we 
foregrounded in our tenth newsletter 
of this year. The US unilaterally damaged the international arms control 
architecture, withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (2001) 
and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (2018) and 
thereby gutting the policy of deterrence. In December 2018, the US 
pushed its allies to prevent 
by a slim margin, the United Nations General Assembly from passing a 
resolution to defend the INF. Putin began to talk about the need for 
security guarantees, not from Ukraine or even from NATO, which is a 
puffed-up Trojan Horse of Washington’s ambitions: Russia needed security 
guarantees directly from the US.

Why? Because in 2018, the US government announced 
a shift in foreign policy that signalled that they would increase their 
competition with China and Russia. NATO-led naval exercises near both 
countries also gave Russia cause for concern about its security. The 
US’s bellicosity is enshrined 
in its 2022 National Defence Strategy, where it asserts that the United 
States is ‘prepared to prevail in conflict when necessary, prioritising 
[China’s] challenge in the Indo-Pacific, then the Russian challenge in 
Europe’. The key phrase is that the US is /prepared to prevail in 
conflict/. The entire attitude of domination and of defeat is a macho 
attitude against humanity. The US-imposed pressure campaign around 
Eurasia must end.

Abel Rodríguez (Colombia), /Territorio de Mito /(‘Myth Territory’), 2017.

We do not want a divided world. We want a realistic world: a world of 
humanity that deals adequately with the climate catastrophe. A world 
that wants to end hunger and illiteracy. A world that wants to lift us 
out of despair into hope. A world with more armies of white coats and 
instead of armies with guns.

At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we amplify the lives 
and voices of people building a world of hope against fear, a world of 
love against hate. One such person is Nela Martínez Espinosa 
(1912–2004), the focus of the third 
study in our /Women of Struggle, Women in Struggle /series. Nela, as we 
call her, was a leading figure in the Communist Party of Ecuador and a 
builder of institutions that infused the masses with confidence. These 
organisations included anti-fascist fronts and women’s federations, 
support for the rights of indigenous Ecuadorians, and platforms 
defending the Cuban Revolution. In 1944, during the Glorious May 
Revolution, Nela briefly led the government. Throughout her life, she 
worked tirelessly to build the basis for a better world.

In 2000, as president of the Women’s Continental Front for Peace and 
against Intervention, Nela fought against the creation of a US military 
base in the city of Manta. ‘Colonisation returns’, Nela said. ‘How will 
we escape this colonisation? How can we justify ourselves in the face of 
our cowardice?’

That last question hangs over us. We do not want to live in a divided 
world. We must act to prevent the iron curtain from descending. We must 
fight against our fear. We must fight for a world without walls.


Vijay Prashad

Website <www.eltricontinental.org>




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