World War II interrupted the task of defeating people’s power. (Soviets were workers’ councils, and today’s referendum in Donetsk and Lugansk calls for a People’s Republic.) The war against Germany and Japan was a school yard fight among capitalists for supremacy, forcing the liberal democracies to engage Germany and Japan, momentarily interrupting their main task, which was to defeat Stalin’s Soviet Union. As soon as that war ended, Washington picked up the fight against communism,with the Berlin Air Lift, the Korean War, containment and the Cold War.
Fast forward, the ‘communist threat’ having been officially extinguished with the demise of the Soviet Union, in 2001 Americans were instructed to focus on Islamic terrorism so that the war complex could finish off the so-called ‘peace dividend’, obfuscating the fact that Russia would be an enemy in the halls of power as long as the socialist ethos remained popular across the globe: was not the second largest economy in the world, the European Union, a social democracy? Were not most third world countries trying to combine capitalist development with socialist protections? The economic crisis of 2008 seriously wounded the European welfare state, but did nothing to dissuade the rest of the world from setting up free clinics and Bolsas Familiales (as in Brazil), putting a crimp in the goal of world domination by the 1% centered around Wall Street and the defense industry.
Although upon the demise of the Soviet Union Gorbatchev had been given to understand that NATO would not advance into the former satellite countries of Eastern Europe, NATO got around that by coupling its membership with that of the European Union, to which most of the former satellite countries aspired. Currently, as Russia is forced to defend its influence in Ukraine (the two countries being not only neighbors, but essentially part of the same geo-political entity going back a thousand years), NATO rushes to conduct war games in the Baltic counties while readying missiles for Poland, ostensibly to defend against Russia’s supposed goal of recreating the Soviet Union.
My review of ‘The Russian Tradition’ by Tibor Szamuely details Russia’s evolution following two hundred and fifty years of Mongol domination, how it came to be the largest country on earth and why long frontiers imply constant threats. It also suggests that absent any direct threat, Russia has no reason to again take over the Baltic republics, much less Poland. Last but not least, it suggests why Putin’s plans for a Eurasian entity include support for modernization in the Muslim countries on its southern rim, which is the opposite of America’s bellicose approach to the Islamist threat.
Alas, relying on sound bites to follow current events, the American public fails to differentiate between self-defense forces and shock troops determined to take power in Ukraine, allowing Washington to praise Neo-Nazi fighters that deposed an elected President in Kiev, while describing ordinary people erecting barricades against them in Odessa as terrorists. This abysmal lack of knowledge results in the most powerful country the world has even seen being able to accuse others for its bellicosity. Forcing Russia into a defensive position by accusing it of designs on its neighbors, then offering NATO protection, is part of Washington’s fight against the only two countries which together could challenge its dominance: Russia and China.
While war against Germany and Japan was a regrettable necessity among capitalist countries vying for world power, war against China and Russia is a battle between a dominant power that consider the 99% redundant as it rapes the planet, and two older civilizations that have replaced communism with capitalism in order to better secure the well-being of their populations. Russia, with the greatest land mass, and China with the largest population, head a coalition that includes India, Brazil and South Africa, and because it is to them that a world determined to shake off American hegemony is looking, that battle combines an Asian pivot intended to contain China, with efforts to finish off Russia once and for all.
Eastern and southern Ukrainians do not have to think twice about who to support as their country is literally forced into civil war by outside forces, because their worldview was formed by their grandparents’ recitations of atrocities endured at the hands of Hitler and his Ukrainian allies, the Banderists worshiped by the Right Sektor now in power. They are as incapable of accepting fascism now as their grandparents were in The Great Patriotic War. But because the arrow of time is irreversible and the same playbook used on Russia’s ally, Syria is being repeated in Ukraine, that country too is likely to descend into civil war without there being anything anyone can do about it.
There crucial question is: Will popular resistance to a fascist takeover of Ukraine inspire activists around the world? Will the 1% succeed in its effort to plunder the planet while marginalizing 99% of its inhabitants, or will the spring and color revolutions that morphed into occupies lead to a unified 99% across frontiers and religions to defeat globalization, which is fascism’s latest avatar?
Photo by Rik Panganiban under Creative Commons license