To end the Ukrainian war, we must know how to prevent new wars

East European events are the result of two factors: a battle for survival between two once powerful but now weakened world powers (the US and Russia) and the transformation of war into a dominant world economic, technological, scientific, and cultural existence. What is the solution?

Ukraine needs an immediate ceasefire. Arming Ukraine and imposing harsh sanctions on Russia will only exacerbate the conflict. Instead of ‘liberating’ the Ukrainians, they are used to defeat and even kill Russia through economic suffocation and, secondarily, to subjugate the Ukrainians’ future to the US and Western European ‘powers.’ In the current escalation, the horizon holds nuclear mushrooms, not rainbow colors. What a nightmare.

It is widely acknowledged that the conflict in Ukraine — the country where Russia, the state of Russia, was born — is not primarily a conflict between Russians and Ukrainians. It is a distortion of current history propagated in particular by those who, beginning with the United States and NATO leaders, provoked Russia’s unacceptable invasion of Ukraine and are jointly responsible for it. Why is this the case? Let us try to comprehend.

The war in Ukraine is caused, among other things, by two major sources of opposition and conflict between countries and dominant social groups all over the world. As long as these two factors are not eliminated, there will be ‘at best’ temporary suspensions of ‘localized’ world wars, ending with the ‘victory’ of some and the ‘victory’ of others here and there. The victims will be the Earth’s inhabitants, all species included. The threat of humanity’s self-destruction will remain on the horizon.

1st factor — The battle for survival between two once dominant world powers, now in crisis and weakened

The war in Ukraine is part of a new phase of the conflict between the United States and Russia since the collapse and disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the end of the East-West Cold War.

On the one hand, it is the war that the dominant social groups in the United States (and, under their impulse/imposition, NATO countries) have waged against Russia over the last thirty years in order to weaken its political, economic, and military power, taking advantage of the country’s serious regime crisis in 1989. This is one of the wars being fought by the United States to maintain its position as the world’s leading power in the face of eroding and weakening factors that have contributed to the return in force in the United States of the conquering, nationalistic, racist ‘American people,’ of which Trump has become the most ardent supporter.

The dominant social groups in Russia, on the other hand, have pursued a war of resistance, against US supremacy, and of attack, in favor of re-establishing the power lost by the collapse of the USSR: a) at the international level, in a context of growing weakness vis-à-vis their Cold War adversary, and b) at the continental level in the East and West of present-day Russia, vis-à-vis the countries/states that have become independent. The memory and, in particular, Putin’s fascination with the power of Russia of yesteryear, including the USSR period, have represented and continue to represent sources of inspiration for most current Russian leaders’ warlike and despotic power strategy.

Yet, in a public oral message to the United States (and his Russian opponents) a few months before German reunification in 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was clear, sincere, and above even Russia’s direct power interests. He cautioned them not to interpret the demise of the Soviet Union as a victory for the United States and the market capitalist system. He insisted that the USSR collapsed due to internal structural reasons because its system was inefficient, unjust, and untenable. From then on, he emphasized the importance of constructing a new system of European economic and political security that would ensure peaceful East-West relations among all European peoples. As a result, he revived an earlier proposal he had made to the US for the coordinated dismantling of nuclear weapons. The proposal was rejected by the US, which preferred only a reduction in the number of nuclear-tipped missiles, so Gorbachev responded, “OK, so I’ll keep the ability to destroy you not 6,000 times, but 3,000 times.”

We are all familiar with the plot. The United States and European countries (as well as Putin’s Russia) paid no attention to Gorbachev’s message. The United States has done everything possible to strengthen its military control of Europe (for them, this is “European security”) and, to that end, and with the agreement and submission of the European allies, to geopolitically extend it through NATO integration to all countries with European borders with Russia (excluding Belarus).

The history of this extension, which is made up of treaties and agreements that were not respected and promises that were not kept, particularly on the part of the United States and, ‘by alliance,’ on the part of the Europeans, is well summarized in a long and rigorous article published on February 25 in Other News by Hall Gardner, a professor at the American University of Paris.

In the face of a perceived systemic ‘enemy,’ they are pursuing their long-standing dominance strategy of ‘Peace through power.’ The United States has accomplished its goal. They’ve ‘won.’ But what have they actually achieved? What benefits has the European Union reaped? Consider this: the European Commission used the European Peace Fund, which is endowed with 6 billion euros, to finance the sending of war material and economic aid to Ukraine in order to strengthen their army. Without a doubt, arming people would lead to peace! By assisting the United States in extending NATO to the east, the Europeans have ‘benefited’ by becoming a theater of war once again.

Apart from agreeing to become a military colony of the United States, and thus of European powers such as France and, above all, Germany, what have the Ukrainians really gained? A colony which, obviously, will not be limited to the military domain, but is already economic and financial in nature. It will become even more so in the coming years. Under current EU conditions, the ‘victory’ of the United States will result in Ukraine’s submission and increasing reliance on the rules and interests of global financial markets, as well as the imperatives of the European single market. Ukrainians’ freedom and independence will become empty words with no concrete references.

As far as the Russians are concerned, they have made no progress. Worse yet. The dominant social groups fare poorly in all respects in the eyes of, among others, a Western and Westernized public opinion heavily shaped and manipulated by the world information system dominated by the Western media.

For the time being, it appears that only the dominant social groups in the United States are winners. Yes, they have triumphed by extending their military (and political) control over the entirety of Europe (excluding Belarus). Furthermore, they are succeeding in transforming NATO into a powerful military structure with a global vocation in the service of maintaining American power throughout the world, as well as in the context of their other wars, particularly the new war against China (and India). This is due, in part, to a radical transformation of military power brought about by new artificial intelligence technologies (data, management systems, communication, decision, satellite systems, new energies, networks, platforms, etc.)

It is in this context that NATO’s eastward expansion strategy must be interpreted. The United States is unconcerned about Ukrainians’ freedom and independence. The United States is primarily concerned with reducing Russia’s power. They have won the right to incite war in Europe, following recent examples such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. It’s unbelievable, we think we’re having a nightmare, the Italian government has announced military participation in Ukraine!

This brings us to the second issue.

2nd factor — War has become ingrained in the dominant economic, technological, scientific, and cultural worlds

The dominant economy is infused with a warlike spirit. The financialized market economy has educated us to think and act/participate in wars: of oil, wheat, computers, media, containers, vaccines, smartphones, cars, rice, bananas, universities; of networks, patents, AI, and space. War is in our heads in various forms and words: competitiveness, profitability, leadership, market conquest, resilience, adaptation, and innovation.

For several years, we have been convinced that China is now the enemy, our ‘systemic enemy,’ because it will be the new challenger to global supremacy. The loss of the United States’ supremacy is viewed as a terrible threat to the future, to our ‘freedom.’ Ecological disasters, particularly the boiling climate, have made us realize the fragility of survival and, as a result, have accentuated the deep infiltration of the culture of war, leading us to believe once more in the need to be the strongest, the most resilient, this time on a global scale. As a result, the imperative of global dominance has supplanted any vision of cooperation, solidarity, sharing, and mutual aid. W has infiltrated our minds, for many it appears to be a natural occurrence, like rain in Britain.

As a result, finding common global solutions to ecological disasters has proven to be extremely difficult, owing primarily to the United States. As a result, the strongest, led by the United States and the European Union, have rejected a fair and united global plan to combat Covid-19 based on vaccines available to all Earth’s inhabitants at the same time; and that is among many other things.

In this context, the millions of I-s outnumber the thousands of we-s and nuclear-armed countries believe, particularly the most powerful, that maintaining their power at higher levels than the others is a necessary and indispensable condition for their survival. And, because military power is increasingly technologized and linked to financial power, allowing it to seize the world’s technological innovation and global markets, any loss of technologically promising markets is regarded as strategically dangerous for economic power, and thus for military power.

In the past, the military drove innovation and technology; today, the opposite is true, and even worse: economic and financial imperatives force the military to produce nuclear weapons. The unacceptable expansion of NATO’s military force, as well as Russia’s defensive, security-based response by unacceptable means, are all manifestations of the omnipresent culture of war.

What should be done?

Wisdom and the desire to ensure humanity’s peaceful future and the survival of the world compel us to prioritize three lines of action, backed up by a strong citizen mobilization.

First, an immediate cessation of hostilities on the ground, followed by negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to determine what to do next. As a result, actions such as sending arms and money to Ukrainians or Russians are prohibited, as is the immediate suspension of sanctions against Russia.

Furthermore, NATO’s commitment to halt the process of integrating Ukraine into NATO (recall that the French and Germans were opposed to this in the early 1990s) and Russia’s commitment to abandon any possibility of using nuclear weapons; the convening of a European convention to define a new treaty on European security.

Finally, starting with the current UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to lay the groundwork for the redefinition of a Global Security Pact, particularly through very concrete applications in the fields of energy, water, seeds, health, transportation, information, and knowledge. Never before has global security for all, founded on shared responsibility for life’s necessities, been so obvious, necessary, and urgent.

This article appeared originally in French on 2 March 2022 at Pressenza.
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