The Call for Peace

More than a dozen former US national security officials have released an open letter calling for a diplomatic end to the Russia-Ukraine war. The call for peace was published last month as a full-page advertisement in ‘The New York Times’ and organised by the Eisenhower Media Network. But the Biden administration is not listening. They will continue the war and supply weapons as long as the Ukrainians are ready to die. And only the other day Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken said ‘there would be no cease-fire’ without a peace deal that includes Russia’s total military withdrawal. Also, he wants Moscow to share a portion of reconstruction cost. It means continuing conflict. Two parallel lines will never meet. Chinese envoy to Ukraine, however, called on governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield” and appealed for peace talks.

The Russia-Ukraine War has been an unmitigated disaster. Hundreds of thousands have been killed or wounded. Millions have been displaced. Environmental and economic destruction have been incalculable. Future devastation could be exponentially greater as nuclear powers creep ever closer toward open war. Blaming it solely on Russia cannot hide the objective conditions created by America and NATO for Russian’s action.

The immediate cause of this disastrous war in Ukraine is America -led western conspiracy to encircle Russia and destabilise its economy which prompted Russia to launch its special military operation in February 2022. The plans and actions to expand NATO to Russia’s borders served to provoke Russian fears. And Russian leaders made this point for 30 years. A failure of diplomacy led to war. Now diplomacy is urgently needed to end the Russia-Ukraine War before it destroys Ukraine completely and endangers humanity. But it is unlikely for the American military-industrial complex to call it a day. They are minting billions at the cost of Ukrainian and Russian lives.

Russia’s current geopolitical anxiety is informed by memories of invasion from Charles XII, Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler. US troops were among an Allied invasion force that intervened unsuccessfully against the winning side in Russia’s post-World War I civil war. Russia sees NATO enlargement and presence on its borders as a direct threat; the US and NATO see only prudent preparedness.

As the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended, US and Western European leaders assured Soviet and then Russian leaders that NATO would not expand toward Russia’s borders. “There would be no extension of… NATO one inch to the east”, US Secretary of State James Baker told Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990. Similar assurances from other US leaders as well as from British, German and French leaders throughout the 1990s confirm this. Russia committed a blunder by believing the western double standard game.

Since 2007, Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO’s armed forces on Russian borders were intolerable–just as Russian forces in Mexico or Canada would be intolerable to the US now, or as Soviet missiles in Cuba were in 1962. Russia further singled out NATO expansion into Ukraine as especially provocative. Behind this provocation was a grand design to cripple Russia economically and militarily.

The Russians made their red lines clear. In Georgia and Syria, they proved they would use force to defend those lines. In 2014, their immediate seizure of Crimea and their support of Donbas separatists demonstrated they were serious in their commitment to defending their interests. Why this was not understood by US and NATO leadership is unclear; incompetence, arrogance, cynicism, or a treacherous mixture of all three are likely contributing factors.

So far, the US has sent arms shipments to Ukraine worth$ 37.6 billion, a sum nearly equal to the annual defence budgets of Japan or Italy. War, it’s been said, is a racket, one that is highly profitable for a select few.

NATO expansion is a key feature of a militarised US foreign policy characterised by unilateralism featuring regime change and pre-emptive wars. Failed wars, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, have produced slaughter and further confrontation, a harsh reality of America’s own making. The Russia-Ukraine War has opened a new arena of confrontation and slaughter.


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Vol 55, No. 51, Jun 18 - 24, 2023