[News] Today’s Ukraine War was Made in the West Yesterday

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Sun Mar 20 13:17:25 EDT 2022


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<https://www.palestinechronicle.com/todays-ukraine-war-was-made-in-the-west-yesterday/>
Today’s Ukraine War was Made in the West Yesterday
March 19, 2022
------------------------------
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the US Congress. (Photo:
via MEMO)

*By Issa Khalaf <https://www.palestinechronicle.com/writers/issa-khalaf>*

War is the dark side of the human species, its rationalizations and
justifications ubiquitous. Ukraine seems like a victim, the asymmetrical
underdog. Those who care about Palestine (and elsewhere) have a deep
knowledge of violent oppression and injustice, of innocent anguish.  Upon
critical scrutiny, virtually no war can be judged to be just.  All of us,
seeing the victim’s humanity in ourselves, instantly, emotionally side with
the little guy and our outraged disgust rises at this activity of
collective, organized violence.

These emotions, however, can be particularly misleading and exclude a whole
set of critical analyses.  There are legal, political, historical,
philosophical and moral dimensions to any conflict or dispute; favorable
moral and legal comparison of Ukraine and Palestine not only do not comport
to definitive observation, analysis, and conclusion, but the prevailing
Western narrative towards Russia is vehemently iniquitous and completely
out of touch with reality.

The nauseating hypocrisy of those who’ve ruled the world in the “modern
period” is clearly on display for the vast majority of peoples and most
states in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, who sense the
disarray, even crumbling, of the Western-dominated international order.
They are not alone: US intelligence analyses see the impending great shift
in power centers from West to (Eurasian) East and even give a
prognosticative date of 2030.

In this article, I will discuss only the Russia/Ukraine/West war.  I plan
the following one that will argue the case that, in fact, Ukraine is
neither morally nor legally equivalent to Palestine, support for Ukraine
and Palestine is not required to maintain consistency of political, legal
and moral principles and does not undermine advocacy for Palestine, on the
contrary.

The war in Ukraine, like any war’s attendant horror, upheaval,
unpredictability, and civilian anguish, should not have happened and could
have been avoided even until recent months.  Factually, Russia did not want
it, has no ambitions or capacity for a rebooted Soviet Union, contrary to
what many puerile, propagandistic Western detractors assert, but has
repeatedly warned and entreated about US/NATO expansion eastward. (Yes,
Moscow emphatically desired a stable, secure, normal Europe.)  This
expansion and its ramifications absolutely pose an existential threat to
Russia.  Unlike the warring by others against fragile states and vulnerable
societies in faraway lands on the pretext of national security threat,
Russia’s fears are not a fantasy or a diabolical pretext, and its national
security peril is literally at its doorstep.

The Ukrainian state is US/Western controlled and, in its alliance and
arming, is effectively NATO-like.  Washington, according to coup-happy
Victoria Nuland in 2014, pumped some $5 billion into Ukraine since the
Western-intelligence induced “Orange” revolution in 2004; an additional
$15-$18 billion in arms, loans, and grants (from the US and EU) were poured
into Ukraine since the 2013-2014 CIA-backed, far-right enforced regime
change of the democratically elected Ukrainian government and until before
the war began.

With on-the-ground CIA direction, power in Ukraine was consolidated among a
small sociopolitical base of venal Russophobes, political pluralism
representing genuinely alternative visions to the essentially nationalist,
ultranationalist, pro-NATO parties disbanded.  The Ukraine army,
neo-fascist death squads, and small, Nazi-throwback extreme right-wing
parties, celebrated by the new leaders and incorporated into the Ukrainian
state, went on a repression spree, a terror campaign, to crush protests and
dissent against those who were unhappy with what transpired and to erase
all things Russian, including an eight-year shelling and sniping war on
civilians designed to create terror and ethnic cleansing in eastern
Donbass.  This was not a democracy but a monopoly on power to consolidate a
vociferously, fanatically anti-Russian state.

Ukraine is (or now, was) merely a platform for a Western proxy war against
Russia, a forward operations base, a front line state, its “foreign policy”
directed by the American proconsul, its institutions “advised” by
American/Western intelligence functionaries and embassy officials, whose
job since 2014 was to ensure continuing aggravation and antagonism in
Donbass to elicit, in fact, a Russian response justifying long-prepared
sanctions, escalation and pretext for “confronting” Russia.

Rather than seeking good relations with both Russia and the West to achieve
neutrality, stability, and prosperity, remain free of geopolitical blocs
and nuclear capability, reduce suspicions and hatreds, the deeply corrupt
and fragile Ukrainian state since the 2014 coup eagerly went along with the
West.  In all of its glorious irrationality and myopia, the regime
miscalculated miserably, believing the US actually cared about Ukraine
other than a forward base for its own ends and that NATO would risk war
with Russia over it.

Rather than seeking and facilitating, finally, a secure, stable, prosperous
Europe after the Cold War by transforming European security to include
Russia and attenuating historical animosities and suspicions between Russia
and both its Eastern and Western European neighbors, the US would have none
of it.  The US and Russia do not share European-like historical, cultural
and psychological pathologies towards each other and potentially could have
had very good relations.  Instead, we were led to the bankrupting,
empire-exhausting chimerical caprice of unipolarity, exceptionalism, and
full-spectrum dominance.

Today is the result of such arrogance, vanity and folly.  The “collective”
West essentially caused this horrible war.  The objective threat that
ignited it was not Russia to Ukraine or Eastern Europe, but NATO (i.e., the
US) to Russia.  Lest we forget, Russia is a great power, and it should be
clear to any neutral observer, it will not tolerate such an imminent
threat, and further, has been the recipient of Western invasions, via the
Ukrainian plains, that, in the case of the German onslaught, cost 25-30
million Russian lives, the vast majority civilian, and untold suffering and
destruction.  In the Russian memory and psyche, this will never be allowed
to happen again.

The Russian offensive, therefore, occurred for a much more ominous reason
than the Ukrainian state terrorism visited upon eastern Donbass: the
US/West’s wordless wish is no less than demoralizing, weakening,
bankrupting, and territorially fragmenting the Russian Federation,
controlling its markets and resources, indebting its people and rendering
them dependent on US-dominated financial institutions, and bringing Russia
under American dependency.

A pivotal principle of American hegemony is to obstruct and destroy
friendly, normal ties, much less integration, between Russia and Europe,
Germany being the fulcrum.

More simply, the strategic US/CIA goal is to ensnare Russia in a protracted
war, deplete it, damage it, regime-change it, install a supine leader—all
as a prelude to the big fantasy: bringing down China.

The multifaceted war on Russia has been ongoing since at least the late
1990s, but really, it never stopped with the Soviet state’s disappearance.
This veiled hostility and aggression certainly existed when Boris Yeltsin
was in power (a good vassal according to Washington, this silly and funny
man that made Bill Clinton laugh) but took off around 2005, after
Washington understood that Vladimir Putin was putting Russia on an
independent course, reversing the conditions overseen under the preceding,
deplorable Yeltsin era, including steep economic, social, military, and
developmental decline and the immiseration of the vast majority of the
population, looting oligarchs, and economic “liberalization” designed in
Washington.

>From Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barak Obama to Donald Trump, Central
and Eastern European states were gathered into the offensively retooled
NATO, aggressive wars were initiated ranging from southeastern Europe to
the Middle East and North Africa, arms control agreements were
systematically dismantled, missiles deployed as far east as Romania and
Poland aimed at Russia, and a client regime was installed in Ukraine.

Damn the continuous Russian protests, requests, warnings for the last
twenty-five years about erosion of mutual trust.  Examples of provocations
in recent years: 2003 “Rose” revolution in Georgia, its military offensive
in 2008.  Incessant air (including B-52s) and naval incitement on Russia’s
Black Sea coast in recent years, threats to Russia’s Black Sea fleet at
Sevastopol, in the Crimea.  Unrelenting savagery against Donbass.
Dismissal, scoffing at Russia’s final effort for sanity, the late
2021demands for legal indivisible security guarantees in Eastern Europe,
among other aspects.

The Russian responses at each of these critical junctures were predictable
and *desired* by the US: Georgia was beaten back; the 2014 overthrow in
Ukraine led to Crimea’s accession to Russia; and the Kiev regime became
ever-more aggressive, militarized, and in breach of its neutrality
commitments, its leader, under American tutelage, hinting at acquiring
nuclear weapons at the most recent Munich Security Conference, leading to
the offensive against Ukraine.

Of course, this is not just Russia reacting; it’s also Russia playing the
long game to correct, no less, than the strategic imbalance of power, the
historic Western political and economic domination.

At stake here is the potential Western subjugation of the Middle East for
generations and the complete extinguishing of freedom for Palestine.

What the US has done since the Cold War’s end is characterized as a foreign
policy blunder, as misguided, mistaken, perhaps reckless and irresponsible,
even violating the tenets of realist politics, but benign,
well-intentioned.  This logic is deficient, inconsistent with actual
behavior.  The US has deliberately, unrelentingly, knowingly pushed
eastward, moving Europe with it.

Take away, renege, refuse to renew the incredibly important security
infrastructure and nuclear treaties, including those that protect Europe
itself (e.g., the INF), indulge in illegal wars with impunity, violate the
UN Charter, international law and international humanitarian law, severely
degrade diplomacy, negotiations, genuine peacemaking and render the world
into a frightfully, recklessly, unstably dangerous place, is no problem
when practiced by the West.  Clearly, the ensuing conditions are the
inevitable result of laws of the jungle foisted by those who claim to be
the paragons of peace, human rights, freedom, democracy, virtue, and so on.

Russia has literally allowed itself to be cornered since 2014, though it
needed time to achieve a conventional and nuclear deterrent.  It’s not hard
to see reality: Russia is given no quarter, no voice, its real concerns and
grievances dismissed, its leader demonized, its marginalization doggedly
pursued at every level of international and bilateral social and cultural
interactions.  No appeal to reason, to international law, to security, to
evidence will do for the West, no amount of patient legal argument,
explanation of Russian concerns, appeals, professional warnings, consummate
diplomacy and transparency of Russian interests made an impression.
Instead, the Western response was and is always to double down.

For Russia, its offensive is protecting itself against external threats,
imminent within the next few years at most.  What should it do?  Wait until
the Ukrainian regime initiated its planned offensive in the southeast
(having amassed over 60,000 troops there) by the end of February?  Until
hypersonic Pershing II missiles are deployed literally at Russia’s western
borders?  Until nuclear weapons are deployed, with US help?  Until Russia’s
attacked?  Undertake a limited operation in Donbass and simply allow
pretext for NATO/Ukraine regime to deploy vast forces/lethal weaponry at
the front lines?

With decades of particularly US/UK cheating, lying, prevarication and
intolerable gamble.

What better argument to American/Western publics—especially a timid Germany
that, because of its Nazi past, is forever insecure to demonstrate its
civilized, Western cultural *bona fide* in relation to the Other, the
European east—for standing up to “Putin’s aggression” than this?

Why this insanity?  The neoliberal economic system is in deep trouble and
Western power is in relative decline, hence the frenetic US-led Western
activity to arrest its deterioration.  It seems to me that Russia (or China
for that matter) seeks a world in which a new security architecture (and
global economic development and prosperity for all) is implemented in
Europe and worldwide and that respects the security needs of all parties.

Finance capitalism, the system of speculative bubbles, derivatives, debt,
declining standards of living, and hyperinflation, is ruining Western
economies, states and societies, destroying the middle classes. The US
cannot tolerate Eurasian integration and China’s Belt and Road Initiative,
determined to stop any alternative development model to hyper-capitalism
enriching the few, cannibalizing the many; that reduces the US to one of a
handful of important multipolar players.

Washington’s grave mismanagement of international relations, its
self-defeating policies, has actually weakened genuine American interests
and national security and the well-being and safety of the American people,
a phenomenon that cannot be naively attributed to Democrats or Republicans,
this or that president. Instead, the war-state is deeply embedded in the
American political economy, in factions such as the “intelligence
community,” the military-industrial complex, influential establishment
neo-cons, and liberal interventionists, all living in a world of yesterday.

We are rushing headlong into extremely dangerous times in which facts are a
threat to the state narrative and any dissent or differing opinion is
treachery. Fascism does not come from below, always from the top.

*-Issa Khalaf has a Ph.D. in political science and Middle East Studies from
Oxford University. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.*
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