War is a crime against humanity and today war between the great powers threatens total annihilation. The only answer is to give peace a chance, which requires finding a solution that guarantees the security of all parties to the civil war in Ukraine as well as Russia. In the longer view, we must recognize that war is endemic to capitalism, and both Russia and the NATO powers are capitalist. Only a return to the socialist path in both Ukraine and Russia can offer a lasting solution.
In light of the current events in Ukraine we have decided to make the Notes From the Editors for the April 2022 issue of Monthly Review immediately available. —Eds.
As we write these notes at the beginning of March 2022, the eight-year limited civil war in Ukraine has turned into a full-scale war. This represents a turning point in the New Cold War and a great human tragedy. By threatening global nuclear holocaust, these events are also now endangering the entire world. To understand the origins of the New Cold War and the onset of the current Russian entry into the Ukrainian civil war, it is necessary to go back to decisions associated with the creation of the New World Order made in Washington when the previous Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Within months, Paul Wolfowitz, then under secretary of defense for policy in the George H. W. Bush administration, issued a Defense Policy Guidance stating: “Our policy [after the fall of the Soviet Union] must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.” Wolfowitz emphasized that “Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia.” Extraordinary efforts were therefore necessary to weaken Russia’s geopolitical position permanently and irrevocably, before it would be in a position to recover, bringing into the Western strategic orbit all of those states now surrounding it that had formerly either been parts of the Soviet Union or that had fallen within its sphere of influence (“Excerpts from Pentagon’s Plan: ‘Preventing the Re-Emergence of a New Rival’,” New York Times, March 8, 1992).
“…In some countries, the political turf for governance will turn hot for the present faction of the ruling capital – a part of arithmetic of this war.
“Whatever the last calculation of gain and loss, the work of redrawing the map of hegemony by the world imperialists has begun as Russia will make a gain in a number of terms. At the end of this part of fire spewing war, as compromises will follow, the dominating part of the world capitalist system has to give away a certain amount of space to Russia – a net gain that will be made by Moscow. Now, that, extent and form of space, is being ascertained in capital cities and cities including Versailles in formal and informal meetings.
“Ukraine has been made a pawn in this weeks-long war…
A thick cloud is now shrouding Ukraine, once a part of the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Sufferings of about two million people from Ukraine are now overwhelming all around the world, as sufferings of refugees in many parts of the globe always pain humanity. There’s the dark cloud of a confrontation over the land. The darkness of imperialist intrigues and intervention covers everything in and around Ukraine.
Two million people have been made homeless. They are fleeing away from their abodes, but they don’t know their destiny, and address of a peaceful life. There’s cold, there’s hunger and there’s fear haunting them all the time. The old, the infirm, the persons unable to walk don’t know the path to survival and shelter. The children, walking along parents or being carried by parents, don’t understand the intricacies behind their suffering, background of the burning buildings they are leaving behind.
There are many aspects to the ongoing Ukraine crisis which are not reflected in the mainstream media coverage. JoP feels that it is its duty to bring analyses of those aspects to the attention of our readership. In that spirit, we publish four posts from Indian Punchline which may help readers understand the ongoing situation in Ukraine. However, we would like to clarify that the articles posted here are for non-profit, non-commercial, educational purpose. The views expressed in this article are that of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the JoP
Born in Muzaffarnagar, in British India, Aijaz read extensively from an early age and allowed his mind to drift out of the qasba of his childhood. His father shared some radical books with him, which helped him to understand the world outside the doab region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the world beyond the confines of the capitalist system. From an early age, Aijaz Ahmad began to dream of internationalism and socialism. He studied in Lahore, Pakistan, where his family had migrated after the Partition in 1947-48, but these studies took place as much in the college classrooms as they did in the cafés and in the cells of political organizations. In the cafés, Aijaz met the finest minds of Urdu literature, who schooled him in both lyric and politics; in the cells of the political parties, he encountered the depth of Marxism, a boundless view of the world that gripped him for the rest of his life. Fully immersed in the left political unrest in Pakistan, Aijaz came to the attention of the authorities, which is why he skipped the country for New York City (United States).
It didn’t have to come to this. If leaders and policymakers had shown some wisdom and understanding over the last few decades, things never would have reached this point. In fairness, a few of them did, only to be overridden by the short-sighted, the greedy, the arrogant, the ignorant, the power-hungry and the downright evil.
Clearly we all lose in a nuclear conflagration, a distinct possibility in these chaotic, reckless times.
Two weeks have passed since the start of the war in Ukraine. Peoples Dispatch has writtenextensively about the role of NATO, and the United States more centrally, in setting the stage for the current war in Ukraine. But despite the centrality of NATO in creating this conflict, the people of NATO countries have been bombarded with news media that places the sole blame on Russia.
The results of this constant propaganda on the people of NATO countries are apparent. In Canada, a Russian community center, with no ties to the Russian government, was vandalized with the colors of the Ukrainian flag. In Wales, the Cardiff Philharmonic banned Tchaikovsky from future performances. And in the United States, a country with an ugly history of war-related hysteria and racism, anti-Russian Sentiment has grown to Cold War levels.
There are memorials across Serbia and Kosovo to commemorate hundreds of people who died during NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, which began on March 24, 1999 and is being marked with an official commemoration in Belgrade on Wednesday evening.
Some of them are huge monuments, like the ‘Eternal Flame’ column in the Serbian capital; others are much more modest, like the engraved stone slab in the Kosovo village of Bishtazhin commemorating 41 ethnic Albanians who were mistakenly killed by a NATO air strike.
The Western military alliance launched its air strikes in an attempt to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to accept the terms of an agreement to end his military campaign against the Kosovo Liberation Army, which involved widespread ethnic cleansing. But as the bombing continued, Milosevic’s army and police force intensified their war and committed a series of massacres of ethnic Albanian civilians.
The choice is stark for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: accept that his defeat is inevitable and accept Russian terms for surrender or continue to seek a way for NATO to become perilously involved in his fight against Moscow.
Russia is making three demands of Kiev to end the war on its terms: recognize Crimea as part of Russia; grant independence to Lugansk and Donetsk in the Donbass and enshrine Ukraine as a neutral state in its constitution, meaning it will never join NATO. A 90-minute meeting in Turkey on Thursday between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers resulted in no progress at all towards a solution, as this phase of the war enters its third week.