U.S. and World Politics

The War in Ukraine: U.S. and Russia Out Now!

By Chris Kinder

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the raging war it produced have shaken Europe and the world. The bloody brutality of it, and the blatant hypocrisy of the major players, is great enough to provoke both extreme repulsion and terrorizing fear in people everywhere. For the first time since the Cold War ended in the 1990s, the threat of a nuclear world war is suddenly on the horizon again, along with the horrific reports of war crimes and even genocide.

As with any war however, all the reports about it, and of anything that takes place in it, must be seen as possible exaggerations or outright lies made by whichever ruling class is in charge where the reports are given. In both the U.S. and Russia and their allies, the major media serves as a mouthpiece of the ruling elites and the military and condemns the other’s reports as pure propaganda.

Mass murdering hypocrites

Of course, there is no doubt that wars, especially modern wars, include mass murders of innocent civilians, despite what both sides say about how they strive to prevent just that. Russia’s bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure in this war is impossible to deny. Yet the reports coming out at this writing of bodies being found murdered at close range with their hands tied behind their backs, found in areas outside Ukraine’s capital city after the Russian retreat from those areas, must await final proof, likely only after the war.

This is not to say that this atrocity (and many others) did not happen! Even Nazi Germany’s holocaust was questioned by some before the final, ugly truth was revealed. Yet the manufactured lie of babies being taken out of incubators by Iraqi military occupiers of Kuwait during the first U.S. war against Iraq, and the lie of weapons of mass destruction which “justified” the second war, must stick in our minds. All wars have their lies.

Crimes of genocide

A note on the charges of genocide made against Russia by Ukrainian President Zelensky, and parroted by Biden must be made here. Charges of genocide are just as much subject to manipulation as anything else about wars. After World War II, Nazi leaders were tried at Nuremberg for their crimes of mass murder, which were horrifically real. But no mention of equally horrific crimes by the U.S. were mentioned.

In 1945, when both Japan and Germany were already defeated, the U.S. mass murdered people in two cities in Japan with atomic bombs, and—with Britain—demolished both Hamburg and Dresden in Germany with incendiary bombs. None of these bombings had any military purpose whatsoever and killed only civilians. These crimes were just as horrific as those of Nazi Germany.

No reason to invade?

Today’s war in Ukraine is covered with false propaganda, such as the claim, repeated endlessly in the U.S. press, that Russia had “no reason” to invade, or did it just because of Putin’s evil whim. This is a disgusting lie, just as is Putin’s insistence that he had “no choice” but to invade. And that is just the beginning.

The history behind this is clear, and it is all due to the crimes of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. goal in the post-war period was to establish its complete domination. First of all, this required the destruction of the Soviet Union and its threat to capitalism. After the fall of the Soviet Union was achieved, the U.S. goal became “full spectrum dominance.” And as Russia recovered from its economic and political weakness in the wake of the death of the USSR, the focus became the dismemberment of Russia. This goal was specifically endorsed by Henry Kissinger, Brzezinski, and others, as a key part of the Project for a New American Century. The U.S. was to be the empire of the world—a significant break with the history of competing empires that prevailed over previous centuries. Even the Roman empire or the powerful British Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries never achieved such total world-wide dominance.

U.S. crimes have a history

The aim of destroying Russia starts with World War II and extends straight through to today’s plot to rip Ukraine away from Russia.

The U.S. and Soviet Russia were allies in World War II. The Soviets won the battle against Germany in Europe hands down. The U.S. provided some aid to Russia and Britain, while mainly concentrating on the war in the Pacific against Japan.

With victory on the horizon, the U.S. adjusted its strategy to prepare for its dominance over Russia after the war. It invaded Europe only in 1944, when it became clear the Soviets would soon be in a commanding position on the European map. Still, the Russians got to Berlin first. So, the U.S. insisted on a division of Berlin by all parties, giving the West an advantage. And in the Pacific, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on an already defeated Japan, why? It was in order to warn the USSR away from playing any role in Asia. Then, despite the Soviet liberation of Korea from Japanese control, it insisted on dividing that country in half. In 1950, the U.S. started a war to capture all of Korea, which almost succeeded.

U.S. saves Ukrainian fascists from Nuremberg

Right after the world war ended, the U.S. prevented Ukrainian fascists from being called before the Nuremberg Tribunals in which German Nazis were held to account. The Ukrainian Nazis, led by Stepan Bandera, had welcomed the German Army into Ukraine when it invaded, as part of its invasion of Russia in 1941. Bandera’s Nazis grew out of right-wing Ukrainian nationalism directed against the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a part. The U.S. kept them out of Nuremberg in order to use them in their plot to destroy Russia. Bandera’s Nazis continue on today, thanks to the U.S.

The Soviet Union, meanwhile, having already degenerated into its Stalinist phase, in which it sought “socialism in one country,” and no longer sought to spread the Russian Revolution to the world, presented no threat to the U.S. or other capitalist countries. It developed the atom bomb to defend itself, and the resulting stand-off is what defined the period.

Luring Russia into Afghanistan

The U.S. prepared the demise of the Soviet Union in various ways, including luring Russia into a war in Afghanistan which it could not win. Afghanistan had the best government it has ever had as a Russian friendly democracy. But the U.S. was after the USSR anyway it could. So, it fired up the local terrorists—precursors to the Taliban—into a war against the government. (This is the situation that later led to the creation of ISIS in Iraq.) In order to win this war, the U.S. provided anti-aircraft weaponry capable of shooting down the Russian helicopters to the terrorists.

This was enough to ensure Russia’s defeat and was the first stage of the destruction of the Soviet Union, which the U.S. also organized, by helping the idiot Yeltsin into power, and opening the floodgates for Russian bureaucrats to become what is now the oligarchic elite of Russia. This counterrevolution sealed Russia’s fate for a time. Soon, however, Russia began to emerge as a “wanna-be” imperialist power, under Putin.

Going back on a promise

The current U.S.-versus-Russia crisis also has its roots in the U.S. going back on a promise. U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised Gorbachev—the leader in the last days of the Soviet Union—that if Russia gave up East Germany to a capitalist reunification with West Germany, NATO would not move “one inch” further east towards Russia’s border. But NATO, being a U.S.-dominated military alliance aimed against Soviet Russia, had no trouble morphing into an anti-Russian alliance, which, starting in 1995, expanded right up to the Russian border in countries which were formerly Soviet states acquired by the Soviets in its advance during the war. Understandably, this was Russia’s first demand before today’s war, that NATO pull back, and that Russia’s security needs to be recognized.

Today we see this same process going on, with the U.S. successfully having prodded Russia into invading Ukraine. The Russians are trapped in a war which they probably cannot win, since the U.S./fascist dominated Ukrainian government will not allow any concessions to even the most sensible demands of Russia, such as recognition of Crimea as Russian, and recognition of the independence of the Donbas states of Donetsk and Luhansk, all of which places and more have been ethnically and politically Russian for centuries.

The coup of 2014

The history of this war’s immediate cause begins in 2014, when there was a surge of interest, overwhelmingly in Western Ukraine, to join the European Union as a road to prosperity. This hope for prosperity in the EU can be questioned—after all there are countries in the EU, mainly in the Southern and Eastern regions that are a lot less well off than Germany and the lowlands, for instance, but that is not the main point here. In Eastern Ukraine, there was strong resistance to this idea of joining the EU, and more of a loyalty to Russia, again, consistent with the ethnic East-West division in Ukraine. The Yanukovych-led government was of this pro-Russian persuasion.

The protests in the Maidan were directed against Yanukovych for his austerity policies and corruption, despite the fact that Russia’s loan offer was actually less expensive than the EU offering. The people in the protest were ordinary people, workers, small businessmen, western oriented but definitely NOT fascists. Outright support for fascism, as shown in elections for instance, was a minuscule minority of Ukraine’s population (and still is.) Ukrainians remember the horrific treatment they got from the Nazi German occupation in the war.

Anti-Russian fascists

However, there were many fascist groups, some openly Nazi, such as the Azov Brigade and the Svoboda party, Right Sector, etc., which had continued on in the Bandera tradition, with U.S. support. All were bitterly anti-Russian. They saw an opportunity by radicalizing the Maidan protests into a fury against the government. To do this, they created a false-flag operation: they recruited a bunch of expert sharp shooters from their own ranks to sneak up to the roofs of buildings around the Maidan square and start shooting the protestors. About a hundred protestors, including a few fascists who had infiltrated the demonstrations, were killed.

The reason they did this was to enrage the protestors against the government. With the government being the target of the demonstrators, this would be perceived as Yanukovych using these shooters to crack down on the protests. And it worked: the crowd was enraged against Yanukovych, just as the fascists wanted.

Yanukovych flees for his life

Yanukovych, of course, knew his government had not done this, but nobody else knew until a leaked telephone conversation between U.S. official, Victoria Nuland, and some of the Ukrainian rightists she was working with revealed that the shooters were in fact these anti-Russian fascists with whom Nuland was plotting. But this revelation came too late to stop what was happening.

Understandably fearing for his life after this shooting incident, Yanukovych fled to Russia. This opened the way for the fascists to seize the parliament building, throw out the two largest parties, and start appointing their own ministers. Nuland, meanwhile, dictated that a right-wing nobody, Ariesniy Yartseiuk (Nuland called him “Yats,”) to be president. This choice by Nuland was recorded on the leaked phone call. If that is not a U.S. supported and directed fascist coup to overthrow an elected government, I don’t know what is. The protestors in the Maidan were tricked into a state of rage against the pro-Russian government, but that does not mean that they were involved directly in the coup, or in fascist organizations.

The Nazis start a war

As soon as this coup was complete, the fascists, chiefly the Azov Battalion, calling itself the “national guard,” marched on the Eastern Donbas area to make war against the Russian separatists, who had declared their independence after the coup. This openly flag-waving Nazi group was also responsible for ripping Mariupol—a port city on the Azov Sea, where this gang established a base—out of the hands of pro-Russian separatists. This was when it was perfectly correct for the separatists to call upon Russia for aid, which they did. This coup, and a fascist raid against Odessa—also a place of Russian ethnicity—killed several people and prompted the citizens of Crimea to vote to join Russia immediately, which is what happened.

This series of events led directly to the current war.

An inter-imperialist war

Considering the decades-long war waged by the U.S. against Russia, provocations of Russia, its support for the Ukrainian Nazis, its refusal to recognize any of Russia’s-NATO-expansion demands, and its vicious imposition of sanctions which are disrupting the global economy, this war must be seen as a U.S. versus Russia war. In Marxist-Leninist parlance, this is an inter-imperialist war—that is, essentially a war between two imperialist powers.

This is true despite the fact that it is not a direct shooting war between Russia and the U.S. It is a proxy war on the part of the U.S., which this country has been preparing for since 1945, and essentially started in 2014 with the coup, and by prodding Russia with measures such as banning Russian as one of the official languages—this in a country which is historically Russian in ethnicity, and literally part of Russia since Catherine the Great. Preparation for today’s war also included extensive military training of Ukrainian troops, and very quickly bringing in “volunteers” to join Ukraine’s military. The smell-test says that these were recruited by the U.S. from among its terrorist allies in wars in the Middle East in Syria and Iraq (and maybe Afghanistan.)

Danger of a new World War

If it was a shooting war between Russia and the U.S., there might not be a habitable planet left when you read this article (assuming you survived.) Russia and the U.S., between them, have 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world, and these are capable of wiping out the entire human population and most of the animals on this planet several times over in a matter of minutes. Even the war-mongering idiots at the head of these imperialist states have (barely) the intelligence to understand this. But there are certainly other methods of warfare, as we’ve mentioned.

Russia, on the other hand, the weaker of the two, is in the position of imperialist underdog, as is (the not imperialist) China, the other power the U.S. is endlessly prodding and threatening. Both Russia and China are struggling with the emergence of one world power which is attempting to either control, defeat or demolish every rival: a unipolar world.

So far, Russia seems to be underestimating its enemy, floundering a bit, and falling back to an emphasis on the Donbas. But even there, the most Russia-friendly area in Ukraine, they are still employing bombing the enemy back to the stone age tactics. The resulting civilian deaths are nowhere near the numbers of deaths in Iraq during the U.S. war there but are nevertheless horrific.

What is this war for?

This leads to the question of what is Russia in this for? How does Russian bombing of civilians and their train stations, hospitals, theaters, etc., serve their interests? Many Russian Ukrainians already have good reasons to be done with Russia. Besides remembering the bad treatment they got in Nazi Germany’s invasion in WWII, Ukrainians also remember the famine they suffered as a result of the harsh collectivization campaign conducted by Stalinist Russia in the 1930s. Imagine: people eating dirt and dying like flies in the “bread basket” of Russia, because Stalin ordered the confiscation of all their grain and other foodstuffs to make up for the crop failures in Russia itself due to his forced, and botched collectivization of peasant farms.

Of course, Russia has real interests in Ukraine, chiefly in freeing the separatists in the Donbas, and establishing a land corridor between Luhansk/Donetsk and the Crimean Peninsula. The latter is critical for Russia because of its naval base in Sebastopol, and because Crimea represents Russia’s only warm-water port, which Russia lacked until the reign of Catherine the Great, who took it away from the Ottoman Empire in 1783.

The right of national

Amidst all the issues and complexities of this struggle around Ukraine, one key issue is getting completely ignored by all parties—Russia, the U.S., the UN, etc.—and that is the fundamental democratic right of the self-determination of nations. In Ukraine, it is blatantly obvious that in such a country, divided as it is pretty much right down the middle (marked by the dividing line of the Dneiper River) into a pro-Russian East, complete with active separatists, and the Western-oriented West, the right of national self-determination for both nationalities needs to be decided by peaceful and democratic election. In an imperialist/capitalist-dominated world, this is impossible. Neither a fascist coup government, nor an invasion and bombing campaign can possibly deal with this.

Only one power in this modern world of capitalism, imperialism and world wars has ever given proper recognition to this right, and that is the revolutionary workers government of Russia after the 1917 revolution. In all the commentary on the Ukrainian situation today, no one seems to remember that the Soviet Union, with the Bolshevik leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, was the first country to grant Ukraine its independence. This happened in 1918 as part of the peace treaty between Russia and Germany, in the last months of WWI.

The first to liberate Ukraine

While this act could be seen as taken under the duress of Russia’s critical need for peace with Germany, it was in fact a principle of the revolutionary government. It applied to all the nations in the prison house of nations that was Czarist Russia. Nations had the right to independence, and the right to ally and stay with the revolution, which was being challenged by several Czarist restoration armies. In Ukraine in 1918, independence led to an invasion of the country by mostly Austro-Hungarian troops (part of the Axis alliance with Germany,) which was even worse than Czarist Russia. Ukrainian working people supported the Red Army and revolutionary Russia, and later joined the USSR.

In Finland the story was different. Finland was a somewhat loose possession of the Czar but was affected by the revolution. A civil war broke out between revolutionary workers’ forces, and their reactionary enemy. The Soviets intervened to help the revolution, but they were unable to succeed. A similar series of events happened in Poland. Even as they attempted to spread the revolution into the rest of Europe, the Soviets respected the decisions of the working people.

In the late 1923-early1924 period, culminating with the death of Lenin, Russia experienced a sharp degeneration, from a healthy workers state into a bureaucratically-ruled (though still anti-capitalist) shadow of its former self, which was then capable of such crimes as the famine in 1930s Ukraine.

The take-away for today is a war between two capitalist/imperialist powers, even though one is weaker than the other, is no solution for Ukraine. We must say U.S./EU and Russia out of Ukraine Now! Working people decide your own fate! You have nothing to lose but your chains!