By Duarte Correa Piñeiro 

Back in 1991,the Galizan rock groupOs Resentidos sang “we are at war…we need to reflect”. While I do not believe that a new war is necessary for us to reflect on where the world is heading, I am deeply concerned to see that the war in Ukraine is leading many people to do quite the opposite of reflection. Over recent days, I have received strong criticism and eveninsults for taking a stance on the conflict diametrically opposed that imposed by the media propaganda. I am aware that this is the price to payfor being determined to reflect in order to find an explanation for the facts and I have always maintained that it is not good to be a coward. Nevertheless,it is frightening to see just how many people who supposedly have the capacity to engagein critical thinking fallin linewith simple slogans.

BACKGROUND 

Putin took the decision to attack Ukraine, a condemnable act because it entails it suffering, death and destruction. But the current war in Ukraine did not start on 24 February; this intermittent war began a long time ago. Toput a date on it, I would say that it began in 2013with President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a Trade Association between Ukraine and the European Union in a decision that effectively brought up short the successful advance of the US towards Eastern Europe. An advance followed enthusiastically by practically all of its EU allies; the same allies who, only a few months later, went on to applaud the coup that toppled the legitimate president of Ukraine in theColour Revolution known asEuromaidan. Those who speak today of a democratic government in Ukraine have obviously failed to ask the victims of the Trade Unions House fire in Odessa or the outlawedCommunist Party of Ukraine (KPU).

If I sayYulia Marushevskavery few people will be familiar with the name, but if you look her up on the internet you will find a video in English with the title “I Am a Ukrainian”thatwill resonate immediately due to its impact at the time. The professionally edited video features a beautiful Ukrainian girl whois apparently desperate about the situation in her country, all so carefully staged that we can only admire howshe managed to keep her composure in front of the camera in such trying circumstances. In that video, Yulia Marushevska called upon the world to defend Ukraine against the danger of falling prey to a dictatorship similar to that of the Soviet Union. It was February 2014, it was Euromaidan, it was propaganda used in psychological warfare, with massive, big-budget media backing; propaganda intended to whip up an international tide of support for a supposed popular revolution that was actually nothing more than yet anothercoup orchestratedby the West.

Crimea and Donbas followed several weeks later with the proclamation of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk,then the Minsk Protocol, a protocol breached by Kiev, which has shelled the area on multiple occasions since 2015 in the face of Russian protests, with the rest of the world turning a blind eye.

Seven years have passed, seven years awash in the blood of over 14,000 people; 14,000 bodies with names and faces. Most of the deaths were committedin broad daylight by the Ukrainian army and the neo-Nazi paramilitary units and all took place prior to 24 February 2022. Deaths just like those in Yemen six days ago or those in Western Sahara last November or those in Palestine every single month. But we already know that it is the markets who dictate the laws under capitalism: there are deaths whose value rises, and deaths whose value falls or don’t even count at all. And the markets have decided that the deaths in Ukraine will rise in value rise from now on with everything else that went beforecounting for nothing.

PROPAGANDA TO MASK THE REAL INTERESTS 

The USA, NATO and the European Union do not uphold democracy or the rights of the Ukrainian people against the Russian yoke; this argument is merewindow-dressing, because had theygenuinely defended democracy, they would have refrained from encouraging and supporting Euromaidan,nor would they have spent years fanning the smouldering embers of a fire whose flames rose ever higher.

Putin’s references to the Great Patriotic War in his speech on 24 February and his statement to the effect that his military action is exclusively in response to the pleas for help from the People’s Republics of Donbasare also mere window-dressing; there is more to it than that.

The military theorist Carl von Clausewitz once said that “War is the continuation of politics by other means”. But if we believe in humancapacity for dialogue and in the peoples’ capacity for coexistence, we cannot take it this an inevitability. We must uphold the cry NO TO WAR!, resounding throughout the periods whenthe media preach blood and destruction, because blood and destruction are only two consequences of wars, which can only be ended byunearthing the true causes.

There are some who, driven by an ingenuous delusion, believe that the search for the root the causes is tantamount to nothing more than ‘excuses’; they believe that the problems can be solved with a simple pill in the form of a click on a social network or the odd demonstration in the streets. But, aswith any illness, treating the symptoms without attending to the underlying causes can only ever provide temporary relief andfails to prevent the cancer from spreading.

For thirty years, the USA and NATO, supported by the EU, have intervenedin different areas around the planet, but especially in Eastern Europe, with the aim of ensuring their superiority and maintaining the unipolar world that arosein the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR. Over that time, particularly in the current century, there have been various attempts to create counterweights to this domination, counterweights that did not seek homogeneity in terms of political or economic models, but rather a coincidence in the criteria that should define international relations: multipolarism, the absence of hegemonies and cooperation between countries, with the BRICs playing a role for several years. At the same time, very important changes have taken place regarding Russia and China’s foreign policy, most notably the weight that the latter now has on global economy and trade.

The events in Eastern Europe and the war in Ukraine cannot be seen simply as aclash between neighbouring countries. Nor are we in the midst of a new Cold War, with two competing political models, as the propaganda would have us believe. Russia is a capitalist state and Putin is clearly a defender of the system but, for the first time in thirty years, a state with a nuclear arsenalis refusing tokowtow and has decided to confront NATO and the US head-on. While this places us in a dangerous scenario, we should not forget that the Russian authorities had been warning for months that NATO should ceaseto continue to arm Ukraine which it saw as a real threat to its security: on 15 December, Russia submitted a proposal to the US for dialogue between the two states but in response was greeted with an increase in military and political pressure and the threat of sanctions.

We are facing an attempt to redefine the relations between states and zones of influence with conflicting geopolitical interests, wherethe US, which still maintains world hegemony,has refused to accept any changes and has been tightening its grip for some time, with the idea that there are only two possible outcomes, both of which would further its own interests: if Russia backs down, Putin will be weakened by failing to carry out his threats; and if there is a localised and controlled war, instability in the region will not only bog Russia down but will also have negative consequences for its strategic ally, China. In either case, the US would improve its position vis-à-vis the EU, recovering from the embarrassment caused by Trump’s four years in office. In addition, a state of permanent instability in Eastern Europe would lead to a direct increase in trade for the US military-industrial complexas well as indirectly enabling the US administration to advance its aim of getting the rest of the NATO states toconsiderably increase their arms spending.

If the current levels of confrontation continue, the construction of NordStream2, a gas pipeline that, if completed, would allow Russia to supply gas to EU countries without having to continue paying millions of dollars for using Ukrainian territory for transport, would be brought to a stand-still. A failure to complete the new pipeline or a loss of sales would be problematic for both Russia and the European Union, with the EU importing 40% of the gas that it consumes from Russia and it is estimated that these imports account for over 70% of the gas sold by Russia. Were it to arise, such a situation would actually benefit the USA, which has made important inroads in the liquefied gas tradeover recent years and would then have its largest market in the European Union.

RUSSIAN PRESSURE 

Russia has decided that the time has come to force the world to change and to change the architecture that underpins current international relationsin order for it to take a leading role and guarantee its own security. Putin has never hidden the fact that this is one of his goals and sees it as the only way possible to halt NATO’s advance, nowpoised to come full circle. By attacking Ukraine, it seeks to strike a blow with a lightning operation that will force negotiations and secure a commitment not to expand NATO eastwards,includingblocking Ukrainian membership. When it comes to applying this measure of force, it is clear that Putin is all too aware of the failures made under Gorbachev.

We do not know how the conflict is going to evolve and on Sunday as I finish this article it seems that things are going to take longer and be more complex than Putin anticipated. But reducing everything to a battle between good and evil based on simplistic analyses only serves to mask the underlying interests, interests that once again have the peoples — be they Ukrainians, the DonbasPeople’s Republics or Russians — as a playing field and a ball to kick around.

Today, more than ever, we must continue to say NO TO WAR!, calling for an end to the fighting and to all outside interference and for the peaceful resolution of all conflicts, not only in Eastern Europe but also the rest of the world. A peaceful resolution to conflicts, must be based on respect for the sovereignty of all peoples and the defence of peace, which in this particular case it must be based on what was laid out in Minsk to find a way out of the conflict between Russia, Ukraine and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Originally published in Galizan on the site Terra e Tempo, on 2 March 2022 (http://www.terraetempo.gal/artigo.php?artigo=5986&seccion=4)

Source: Communists of Catalonia via Solidnet