By Vladimir Acosta – March 29, 2022
I believe that in order to make a substantive analysis of the new geopolitical playing field that has started to take shape since the onset of the current war in Ukraine, in which the US is arming and essentially manages its proxy, Ukraine, in order to attack Russia with the intention of crushing her with as much external help as it can gather (just in order to later try and do the same thing to China), we would be wise to start with a necessary reflection on war, or better yet, on “war and “wars.” This is a key exercise in order to clarify several things, or at least to open up a space for productive discussions on this topic.
I will start at the beginning, with an analysis of the concepts at hand. The revolutionary Marxist left, which for many decades defended the Leninist idea that there were unjust wars, those of colonial and imperialist aggression, fought in order to subjugate and loot weaker countries, and simply “wars”—those of the oppressed peoples fighting to free themselves, in order to carry out the revolution and recover their independence, and their rights. But now, for a few decades, the remnants of that weak and mistreated left that have managed to stay alive have declared themselves pacifist, condemning war out of pure principals. As a consequence of this, this left has condemned all wars without exception, without establishing any differences between them. It is worthwhile for us to stop here and reflect on this, because this has generated some serious problems.
I have found several valuable articles written by critical authors who attempt to denounce the US for its use of Ukraine against Russia, but since they start with a condemnation of all war, they thus begin by placing Russia on the same level as the US. This appears to be a contradiction of theirs to which they are not privy. Of course this isn’t about celebrating war, it isn’t good nor pretty, it entails destruction, violence, the murder of many innocents. But the fact is that the universal condemnation, not just of war, but of all wars, forgetting that each war is different, with its own causes and specific context, necessarily brings us to draw an equivalency between, in this case, Russia and the US, without permitting us to understand that the war isn’t being waged by Russia against Ukraine but by the US against Russia, and that Ukraine is just a tool that happens to be useful for the US.
Thus, at first glance, as a declaration, and for its ethical and humanist tinge, the aforementioned principled condemnation of war appears to be fair, and we might indulge ourselves in it on a theoretical level, with our sights fixed on a future utopia in which peace, equality, and justice reign. But the fact is that, apart from being out of touch with reality, this absolute declaration is abstract, and to let it govern over us removes us completely from the course of human history and from the very same social and cultural reality which makes us part of the society that we live in, with its struggles and history.
In this regard it is necessary to point out three things.
The first is that human beings, on top of possessing a rationality which is not always used, is also violent and uses force in order to impose its will when it encounters resistance, or considers it impossible to reach a peaceful agreement. All of the available evidence indicates that this has been the case since the origins of humankind and that war is an inherent part of our species. Various archaeologists and anthropologists have searched and found traces of this behavior in the first societies of humans. These interpretations are part of an open discussion because many archaeological objects, especially the oldest and most incomplete, can be read in several ways, and because of this some have their doubts or opposing opinions, but what is beyond doubt is that violence has present since the beginning, in early, original preclassist societies.
The second point is that the history of humanity is full of wars, and that century after century war has been passed down from society to society, from the first insults, volleys of stones and arrows, to the nuclear threats of today. It is impossible to understand human history if the wars which form part of all of the civilizations of human hustory are excluded: the ancient wars of China, India Japan, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Greece and Republican or Imperial Rome. The invasions of Gothic and Germanic peoples. The medieval wars of Europe, Asia and Africa, crusades and christian wars, the Islamic and Mongol wars and empires, empires which follow each other back to back. More invasions and more wars. Inter-European wars, the modern European colonial wars to take control of America, Asia, and Africa. The killings and imperial European wars of the recent centuries, the two world wars and German Nazism. And how could we forget the worst criminal of them all, the current US empire, decadent, but still convinced it owns the world, the master of a subservient Europe, the hypocritical protagonist with its hidden agenda in which Ukraine is just a pawn to crush Russia.
The third is that, despite the fact that war is bad, and that we wish that it didn’t exist, the fact is that each day shows us that it does exist, and that it can take on diverse forms, precisely because not all of the wars or the same, and neither can they be deemed equivalent, and annulled with an abstract declaration of absolute rejection out of pure principle, above reality and discussion. Even if we refrained from taking part in these old arguments by not attempting to judge if they are just or not, the least we can do is recognize that condemning all war a priori without distinguishing between them is an arrogant blunder which places us above society and fails to appreciate humans as the social being that we are, leaving nothing left to say or do. And the fact is that nobody can deny that there are wars that were necessary or unavoidable—whether in the past or in the present.
Without going any further, us Latin Americans are proud of our War of Independence two centuries ago, and we celebrate the glorious battles in which we managed to free ourselves from Spanish colonialism. We have celebrated Carabobo and we will celebrate Pichincha, Junín, and especially Ayacucho, the most significant of them all. It wasn’t a pretty war because none of them are, there were terrible moments and periods, but for us it was an inevitable, necessary war, to free ourselves from Spanish colonialism. And together we achieved it. But I better get back to Ukraine and the war.
In the past few weeks I have written no less than seven articles on this conflict which centers around the US, Ukraine, and Russia, and I won’t repeat what I’ve already said. I will simply reiterate that it isn’t a case of Russia waging war against Ukraine, but of the US waging one against Russia via a Nazi Ukraine which bends to the will of the US. Russia has been asking for its right to security and its borders to be respected for three decades, and given the disregard shown by the US in its refusal to accept these reasonable proposals, the overbearing actions of the Yankees forced Russia to choose between bowing down to the US and its European pets, who continue to arm Ukraine in order so that it can attack Russia, or to make both of these entities respect Russia as the nuclear power that it is.
This war, which Russia was forced into, and through which she defends her borders and sovereignty, is a defensive and indispensable war for Russia. On top of this it is a peculiar war intended to be a rapid and efficient military action, which without causing too much damage for Ukrainian civilians, would force it to become a peaceful, neutral, disarmed and denazified neighbor, with written obligations to conserve this status. Yes there has been an aggressive response from the Nazi government, armed by Europe and the US. But the Russian advance continues while the fake media hides the almost imminent Ukrainian defeat (which will be a US defeat) through lies and by looking for more bodies so that it can accuse Russia of being a murderer and demonize Putin. To sum things up, everything seems to point to the fact that the results of this war will have decisive implications for the new geopolitical playing field which I will examine in an upcoming article.
Featured image: Sketch showing a man painting the peace sign with red paint while another man aims a rifle at the painter.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Vladimir Acosta#molongui-disabled-linkFebruary 11, 2021
Vladimir Acosta#molongui-disabled-linkNovember 20, 2021