By Dave Stockton
The western media are filled with talk of the danger or the onset a new Cold War. The villain of the piece, they all agree, is Vladimir Putin – a new Hitler. Hillary Clinton, Prince Charles and even German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble are of one mind on this. Of course there is the little difference of 6 million Jews killed and 22 million Russians – and the fact that without the Red Army the real Hitler would not have been defeated.
The scale of the lying over Ukraine by “free and independent” Western journalists has been remarkable by all recent standards. The interference by European and American politicians in the movement to oust President Yanukovych, whose election had been declared, “free and fair” by US and EU official bodies, was equally brazen. Imagine if the tables were turned; say during the Occupy Movement, billions of dollars were dispensed to protesters from Russian “NGOs”.
Apart from the desire to drag Ukraine out of its post-independence (1991) neutral status and into the European Union, there is the determination of the US and her European allies, like Britain and Poland, to get Ukraine into Nato, along with Georgia, and bottle up Russia in the Eurasian heartland.
To this must be added the goal of bringing Russia’s economy to its knees in a new arms race accompanied by a high technology embargo. After all in the so-called Second Cold War, launched by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, this strategy worked, impoverishing millions.
The 2014 NATO Summit will take place in Newport, South Wales on 4-5 September. There is no doubt that high on its agenda will be Ukraine and enlargement. There will also be proposals for increased military spending – a step could easily unleash a new arms race.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Secretary General of Nato, makes this clear in an interview for “Prospect” (May 15) where he stated:
“We can’t afford to disarm in Europe, while seeing Russia rearm and mass troops on the Ukrainian border.” To this he adds, “The cuts must stop”, by which he means defence cuts not those on social spending – which are “justified”.
He boasts that Nato has already mobilised “more ships at sea, more planes in the air, and more exercises on land” and has “agreed military-to-military cooperation including defence reforms and modernisation”. Joint Nato–Ukrainian manoeuvres are planned for June or July. All this is clearly aimed at Nato membership for Ukraine.
Rasmussen points out that the 2008 Bucharest Summit already agreed to allow both Georgia and Ukraine to become members. It now only awaits proof of their logistical readiness – hence the “reforms and modernisation”.
A new political period has opened up with the events in Ukraine – one that is marked by increasing imperialist rivalry in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa too. A supremely aggressive USA – with its ever-loyal servant British imperialism – is hell-bent on encircling and weakening the recent graduates to the imperialist club: Russia and China. In fact their actions are driving Russia and China closer together, creating an alliance that will attract other states eager to free themselves from US bullying and economic domination.
Not only has the US and its allies been steadily advancing NATO military forces into Eastern Europe, in total violation of the promises they made when the Soviet Union abandoned the Warsaw Pact, they now regularly use their “soft power” too – human rights NGOs, democracy movements and “colour” revolutions, like the Maidan. They believe that this can help bring about the downfall of their rivals.
Such pseudo-revolutions are possible because of the genuine grievances, political and economic, of the populations in the countries targeted. But under the leadership the US cedes them, the consequences are defeat or counter-revolution. The forces in Russia and China fighting for justified democratic rights, free trade unions and national self-determination can become corrupted and disoriented in these circumstances, just as they sometimes were during the Cold Wars of the 1950s and ’60s and again in the 1980s.
The situation today demands not only solidarity with the antifascist resistance in Ukraine, but exposing any claim that Ukraine is some sort of special victim of Russian imperialism, just at the moment when it is being seized by US and EU imperialism.
Above all it means revitalising the antiwar movement, around Europe and the world. It needs to be like the one we mobilised against the US and Nato wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We have to revive that movement and Stop the War’s call for a mobilisation against the Nato Summit in Newport (see page iv for details) presents a golden opportunity to launch it. We need to campaign at union conferences, in the schools and universities and at the People’s Assembly to mobilise hundreds of thousands to Cardiff and mount a siege of the Newport summit. Our slogans should be:
• Nato: hands off the Ukraine
• Nato forces out of Eastern Europe, the Black Sea and the Baltic
• Britain out of Nato – break up the warmongering alliance
• Reject the EU Austerity Agreement for Ukraine
• Victory to the Ukrainian resistance