WHAT EXPLAINS THE UKRAINE WAR?
by John Spritzler
May 24, 2022
What explains the US drive to instigate the Ukraine war (i.e., its refusal to guarantee Ukraine no NATO membership, and its support for the Nazis in Ukraine who, with Ukraine government backing since the US-orchestrated coup in 2014, are waging ethnic cleansing war against the ethnic Russian Ukrainians in the Donbass) instead of negotiating a peace, which Russia kept trying to make happen, as I discuss in my open letter to President Biden at https://www.pdrboston.org/dear-pres-biden-re-ukraine?
The most common explanation, aside from the western media propaganda, is that the U.S. ruling class is trying to weaken and perhaps even dismember Russia and also weaken China (hence the sanctions) because Russia and China (and perhaps India and Brazil and Venezuela and Saudi Arabia and Iran other nations, constituting a majority of the world's population) threaten the economic power of US rulers by breaking away from the dollar as the world's reserve currency (which enormously privileges U.S. rulers at the expense of all others.)
Some say the sanctions are meant not mainly to weaken Russia but rather to weaken Europe, to force Europe to have to rely on (much more expensive) US energy (oil, liquified natural gas) and other U.S. exports rather than obtain them more cheaply from Russia. The only reason European leaders go along with this, even though it means the impoverishment of their populations, is--according to the economist Michael Hudson--because US rulers bribe European leaders, including leaders of the left/labor parties and German Green Party, to go along; as a result, when ordinary European people rise up against this oppression it will be only the right wing leaders who will champion them.
In either case, the war is, in this view, all about strengthening the economic power of US rulers compared to their competitors.
There very likely is much truth in the above explanation (both versions of it). But I think it is not the only explanation, and those who do think it is the only explanation fail to see fully what is going on.
The second explanation is this.
The U.S. ruling class needs to have a credible bogeyman enemy in order to remain in power in the United States. It is only by being able to tell the U.S. general public that it is protecting them from a very frightening enemy, that U.S. rulers can secure the grudging obedience of the general public to their rule, by which rule the rulers enrich themselves at the expense of everybody else (using the military industrial complex among other methods.) I discuss the vital importance of bogeyman enemies in my article, "OPPRESSORS NEED BOGEYMAN ENEMIES AND INVENT THEM WHEN NECESSARY," at https://www.pdrboston.org/oppressors-need-bogeyman-enemies , in which I show that it was for this reason that the U.S. armed the Soviet Union big time all during the Cold War.
George Orwell explained this in his novel, 1984, in which Oceana was at war with Eurasia; the government's (Party's) aim was not to win the war but to keep it going in order to always have the required bogeyman enemy that the Party needed to use to control its own population.
Clearly the collapse of the old Soviet Union bogeyman enemy necessitated the concoction of a new one; Islamic Fundamentalism was the new bogeyman enemy of choice, giving us the War on Terror. [Read about how U.S. rulers created this bogeyman enemy at https://www.pdrboston.org/inventing-the-enemy .]
But as frightening as stateless Muslim terrorists may be, they don't compare to a bogeyman that is a state with as many nuclear bombs as (actually a bit more than) the U.S. has. Restoring Russia to its previous bogeyman enemy role is one key aim of U.S. rulers today. This means restoring the "good old days" of the Cold War, with its "Iron Curtain" (hence the sanctions). In other words, U.S. rulers are re-starting the Cold War in order to control the U.S. general public, not just in order to win the economic competition with its economic rivals.
Fox News, especially Tucker Carlson, pushes yet a third explanation for why Biden is warmongering against Russia. Carlson says that the Democrats hate Russia because (only because!) Russia--they believe--helped Trump win the presidency. [Watch Carlson express this theory starting at time point 3:51 in his video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGvO8b-tiaM]. The fact that Hillary Clinton, long before she lost the presidential election to Trump, declared Russia's Putin to be 'like Hitler,' [see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/03/05/hillary-clinton-says-putins-action-are-like-what-hitler-did-back-in-the-30s/ ] shows Carlson's theory to be false.
Tucker Carlson's theory obscures the fact that the U.S. plutocracy--both Democrats and Republicans--has for decades used bogeyman enemies, including Russia during the Cold War, to control and oppress American working class people. Carlson's theory is a cover up for the fact that U.S. foreign policy has always been for the purpose of maintaining class inequality (at home and abroad), not to maintain the Democratic Party versus the GOP. This is why Carlson's only criticism of Biden's warmongering against Russia is that it is dangerous and has bad economic consequences for Americans (true points), but never that the US and its obedient Ukraine government with its armed Nazis in its military force is unjust oppressing the ethnic Russians in the Donbass part of eastern Ukraine--making of them a bogeyman enemy in order to thereby control and oppress the main Ukrainian working class in the western part of Ukraine. Carlson's theory is inane.
But Tucker Carlson's inane explanation for Biden's warmongering is smart in one sense. It is smart because it enables Carlson to gain the support of many Americans who rightfully oppose the warmongering. Carlson channels this opposition to the warmongering into a strictly pro-GOP (Trump wing) versus Democratic Party channel that poses no real threat to the power of the US plutocracy, of course.
Interestingly, Henry Kissinger, warmonger par excellence (against states lacking nuclear weapons, of note), recently urged that Ukraine give Russia territory to find a peace deal, as reported at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10847579/Henry-Kissinger-tells-global-elite-gathered-Davos-Ukraine-Russia-territory.html . This reflects a disagreement among U.S. rulers about the risk of thermonuclear war. Kissinger warns that thermonuclear war is a real possible consequence of warmongering against Russia and must be avoided (see https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210430-kissinger-warns-of-colossal-dangers-in-us-china-tensions ).
John F. Kennedy came to the same conclusion after the Cuban Missile Crisis and both he and Nikita Khrushchev tried to end the Cold War. Powerful people in the U.S. ruling class, who controlled the CIA, disagreed and assassinated JFK. [See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JFK_and_the_Unspeakable about this.] Read here [ https://www.pdrboston.org/nuclear-war-why-our-rulers-risk-it] how and why Hillary Clinton seems unafraid of provoking a thermonuclear war.
Please see my continuously updated "Ukraine: Links to Info re the War" at https://www.pdrboston.org/ukraine-links-to-info-re-the-war.