Derek R. Ford:
Every time the U.S. prepares for an open conflict, a bipartisan consensus emerges amongst politicians and their think tanks and mainstream media outlets that demonizes the enemy and frames the war as a struggle for “democracy,” “freedom,” “human rights,” and so on. That’s what they said about Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Panama, you name it.
Imperialism has to couch its wars of aggression in palatable terminology. But it’s easy to see that democracy doesn’t factor into U.S. foreign policy (e.g., Saudi Arabia).
Let me be clear: I don’t support Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine nor am I a fan of President Putin. Yet it was the U.S. and NATO that sparked this conflict. Since its inception in 1949, NATO has been an offensive alliance, first against the Soviet Union and later, after the USSR’s dissolution, against any independent or socialist government—no matter their proximity to the “North Atlantic.” In particular, NATO has progressively expanded eastward, incorporating 14 previously socialist states over the last two decades, three of which were part of the USSR, and is encircling Russia with military bases and advanced weaponry, including nuclear weapons and missiles that can reach Russian targets in minutes, according to a 2022 article by Richard Becker, titled “Ukraine: Right on NATO’s doorstep?” published by Liberation School.
Russia has always considered Ukraine’s admission into NATO a redline and they’ve sought an accommodation with Western powers on this issue. How would the U.S. react if Russia formed an alliance and installed nuclear weapons along its borders?
The 2014 U.S.-backed coup ousted the (corrupt but democratically-elected) Yanukovych, who was neutral toward the U.S. and Russia, and replaced him with a fiercely anti-Russian government. Neo-Nazi forces provided the muscle for the coup, which was two days after Ukraine, the EU, and Russia signed an agreement to end the conflict.
People in the Donbas region—who are primarily Russian—voted to break away and become autonomous. The Ukrainian government and its paramilitary forces have been bombing them ever since—yet there has been no outrage over this. The racist double-standards and whitewashing of history are incredible. There is barely any mention of the estimated 28,000 bombs that NATO dropped on Yugoslavia during 1999 to break up the federation (in the name of “human rights” again), nor is there mention of NATO’s war in Libya or Afghanistan (countries that are decidedly not in the North Atlantic).
The U.S. could end the conflict right now and they must by negotiating and recognizing Russia’s security concerns. While we should oppose Russia’s military actions, we should be clear that
NATO’s expansion is a clear threat. NATO should ultimately be disbanded and abolished.