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Seldom pure and never simple: Ukraine

1 March 2022

The Truth is seldom pure and never simple.

Oscar Wilde

Ukraine has next to nothing to do with Latin America, other than two nuclear powers are playing chicken, and the rest of the world is just standing by. With propaganda and total bullshit piling up everywhere, there’s not much to say other than not every nation, or faction in a nation, is going to read the situation the same way. This is a site on Mexico, and my broadly Latin America. So, we posted from the Cuban media a few days ago. Today, we’re looking at the Mexican left-leaning media: José Blanco, Estados Unidos vs. China y Rusia in today’s La Jornada, my translation. Take it or leave it, this is what’s being said.

Our contemporary ethos is to be intensely anti-war. War is resoundingly rejected, morally condemned regardless, an unpardonable crime, an inhuman aberration. Russian rejection of its war against Ukraine has almost unanimous approval in the Western media. The same goes for the voices on the right, the “center” and the left. Democrats and Republicans in the US, Bergoglio [Pope Francis] and some “Soviet” leftists (there are some, defending Lenin against Putin), have all embarked on that holy crusade. Great!

But, since the fall of the USSR, the US alone –or accompanied by the rest of NATO–, has bombed Panama, 1989; Iraq, 1991; Kuwait, 1991; Somalia, 1993; Bosnia 1994, 1995; Sudan, 1998; Afghanistan, 1998; Yugoslavia, 1999; Yemen, 2002; Iraq, 1991-2003; Iraq, 2003-2015; Afghanistan, 2001-2015; Pakistan, 2007-2015; Somalia, 2007-2011; Yemen, 2009, 2011; Libya, 2011, 2015; Syria, 2014-2016. Endless massacres year after year. Today’s holy crusaders of all stripes had the opportunity to be outraged, but weren’t. No that anyone shouldn’t be outraged about the war in Ukraine but, damn it, you sure wonder where those holy crusaders were between 1989 and 2016. Or even berore: 1989, the US bombed 16 countries and hundreds of thousands of bombs dropped, millions dead, since 1950.

NATO was created in 1949 to defend the West from possible attacks by the USSR. In 1989 the Soviet world collapsed and therefore NATO’s raison d’être disappeared; but not NATO, which began bombing Yugoslavia. From an Atlantic alliance for defense, NATO went on the offensive. Unrestrained, it expanded eastward, adding countries, armed with the latest weapons, the countries of the [former] Warsaw Pact, the Baltics and others, until it encircled Russia. It had yet to do so with Georgia and Ukraine, two countries with which Russia has a number of outstanding issue — a story, by the way, that did not begin on February 24, around 6 AM, when Russia crossed the borders of Ukraine.

Russia said a thousand times that it was deceived by the West because NATO (especially the US) had not honored the commitment to not expand to the East. A thousand times the EU and Brussels have denied there ever was a commitment. However, On February 18, the German newspaper Der Spiegel published “a note from the British National Archives, which has just come to light, supporting the Russian claim that the West has violated the commitments made in 1990 with the expansion towards the West. East NATO. American political scientist Joshua Shifrinson has found the previously classified document. It refers to a meeting of the political directors of the Foreign Ministries of the US, Great Britain, France and Germany, held in Bonn on March 6, 1991”.

Russia has reiterated again and again and again: it was unacceptable that NATO in Ukraine would place missiles within just five minutes of Moscow. The US has been deaf to this claim. Russia has proposed a thousand times an agreement on the basis of indivisible security: security for all, simultaneously. The US has turned a deaf ear to this proposal. Russia was led into war by the West. That was what it was about. Russia was escaping that fate, without immolating itself that had existed since February 7, 2019, when Ukraine approved an amendment to its constitution which made NATO membership possible.

The plan, in fact, pushes Russia further: placing it in a position to be subject to unprecedented sanctions, stopping the possibility of economic growth dead in its tracks. Not because it is a great economic power (3 percent of world GDP), but because it is a military power. The expected third party has already appeared on stage: China (18.8 percent of global GDP). It is not an unexpected departure, given the current political policy of the US to stop Russian and Chinese growth by any means necessary. Russia and China seem to have expected this.

The formation of the China-Russia axis breaks the balance. It changes the face of the world in an abyssal way, splitting it into two disconnected and antagonistic poles: the US and China/Russia. While Europe, docile and submissive, will move to a lesser plane. Perhaps we are witnessing that. A dangerous world for humanity, a new cold war always on the brink of becoming a very high temperature one: an all-encompassing insecurity, the risk of walking towards terminal hell. Disengagement from China, however, seems very difficult, given the vast fabric of its economic relations with the world. Although it is not necessary to cut all that ties; it is enough to do it with certain strategic goods, such as microchips. The war waged by the US against China and Russia may also enter uncertain zones given the political and economic cracks in the US, exposed to whoever wants to see them. In Ukraine, NATO is not for de-escalation. We will see.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rebecca Ore permalink
    2 March 2022 9:18 pm

    By now, the UN General Assembly votes are in and China, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela abstained. I think these countries have living memories (though old in China’s case) of being invaded by empires (Japan, Britain, the US, the Portuguese in China’s case from the 19th Century through the end of WW II, and some border skirmishes with Russia more recently. I don’t know what part of more sanctions and banking disruptions planned for the three Latin American countries the US had planned.

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