A group of Ukrainian academics has written an open letter to Noam Chomsky critiquing his commentaries on what they categorically define as the “Russian war on Ukraine.” The critique is in fact addressed to Chomsky and “other like-minded intellectuals.” As I have featured many of these intellectuals and their views on my blog, I feel it is important to share this critique.
7 key errors are identified – #1: Denying Ukraine’s sovereign integrity #2: Treating Ukraine as an American pawn on a geo-political chessboard #3. Suggesting that Russia was threatened by NATO #4. Stating that the U.S. isn’t any better than Russia #5. Whitewashing Putin’s goals for invading Ukraine #6. Assuming that Putin is interested in a diplomatic solution #7. Advocating that yielding to Russian demands is the way to avert the nuclear war
While I recognize the validity of this critique, and the nobility of the national perspective it represents, I would like to suggest that this view might be tempered by the acknowledgment of the enmeshment of Ukraine, by virtue of both history and geography, within the geopolitics of Imperialism, both Russian and American. I suggest that this crisis arose as a result of a disregard or misjudgment, by all responsible parties, of the forces at play. I further suggest, that there can be no solution, no peace, without a realistic reconciliation and containment of the now unfurling forces. The longer the conflict ensues, the more it deepens, and the more irreconcilable the situation becomes.
An international Zoom rally on April 9 organised by Peace in Ukraine called for two days of protest and campaigning against the war on May 7 and on June 25, days before the NATO summit in Madrid.
Code Pink and their fellow travellers are calling for –
the withdrawal of Russian troops
an end to the military escalation by the NATO countries and
for all efforts to be focussed on finding a negotiated solution..
They are calling on all anti-war organisations, progressive groups and concerned individuals to come together on May 7 and June 25 to organise protests, public meetings and petitioning sessions as part of an international day of action for peace.
Geetha Mohan of India Today conducts an incisive interview with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov about the situation in Ukraine. He explains the Russian perspective that the war is rooted in the US and West’s efforts to create a springboard against them by pumping arms into Ukraine. Regardless of one’s position on the war, it is refreshing to see the art and craft of the journalism alive and well in India. The interview is presented unedited and in its entirety. Geetha is persistent yet graceful in her pursuit of answers.
I have been struggling to rationalize my realist reading of the war with my sense of the brutality and utter irrationality of Russia’s assault on the nationals, the nation and the very nationhood of Ukraine. I even stopped posting my views on this crisis due to the imcommensurability of these two responses within myself. I understood the dichotomy but had not found the language or image by which to articulate the schism., and then I found an article by Richard Falk titled Why Ukraine?
According to Richard Falk, who is Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, there are two wars going on – the first is what he describes as the “traditional war between the invading forces of Russia and the resisting forces of Ukraine” and the second – a “geopolitical war between the U.S. and Russia.” In this scenario there are two aggressors, two villans if you like. Just as as Russia is the aggressor in the traditional war, it is the U.S. that is the aggressor in the geopolitical war. He explains that “it is the prosecution of this latter war that presents the more profound danger to world peace” and that this danger has been obscured by its being treated as “a mere dimension” of the prior, ‘traditional’ confrontation.”
As the U.S. welcomes up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, immigration officials are preparing ‘for’ (read: to repel) a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The amount of pain that comes with seeing this beautiful picture is unbearable. The well-deserved love, kindness, dignity, compassion, protection that is given to this little girl is never afforded to little black Haitian girls at POTUS’s doorsteps. Trump said it, Biden proved it!”
Guerline Jozef Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance
Russian forces should withdraw from all the areas occupied since the invasion began.
Ukraine should sign a treaty of neutrality
Russia should guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Ukraine should be precluded from NATO membership.
Ukraine must recognize the administrative integrity of the Donbas separatist republics.
Ukraine must recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.
The West should lift all the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Ukraine should be allowed to emerge as a Western-style democracy.
Ukraine should receive a very large Western aid package for reconstruction.
Now according to Calum Roche, Russia has expressed a willingness to end the war on the following terms –
No NATO membership and a neutral position.
Russian should be the second official language of Ukraine, with laws prohibiting it abolished.
Recognise Crimea as Russian territory.
Recognise the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Demilitarisation of Ukraine and abandonment of weapons that could be a threat to the Kremlin.
Banning of ultra-nationalist parties and organisations in Ukraine.
While it has been underplayed by the mainstream media in the West, this Russian peace proposal is close to Lieven’s suggestion as outlined above. Russia’s terms seem to constitute a reasonable (in realpolitik terms, not in terms of what is fair or just) set of demands given Russia’s overwhelming might and the West’s proven unwillingness to engage Russia directly. Can Ukraine keep fighting the Russians alone? What can Ukraine gain by pursuing this asymmetrical fight? In their valiant resistance thus far, Ukrainians have amassed much capital with which to negotiate. The Russians may have bitten off more than they can handle and be ready to compromise. On the other hand, a long and continued resistance will likely mean that larger areas will fall to Russia, not to mention devastation and loss of life.
Peace is an urgent necessity for Ukraine and Ukrainians! It seems, however, that Russia’s condition 5. might mitigate against NATO and the USA’s ascendency, and condition 6. might threaten the powerful ultra-nationalist forces that are aligned with Ukrainian state. Will these realities diminish the Ukrainian leadership’s capacity to make the compromises needed to arrive at a speedy cessation of fighting?
In an article titled “Was Ukraine betrayed by its own elites?,” Lee Jones, Professor of Political Economy and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, outlines the forces whose interplay has led to the horrific invasion that Ukraine faces today. He implicates both Russia and the West but, ultimately lays the blame at the feet of competing Ukrainian oligarchs. He suggests that the most likely outcome, now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, is the balkanization of the nation along ethnolinguistic lines. Yet he is hopeful that, in the light of the mutual injury inflicted thus far, Russia-Ukraine negotiations might progress, leading to a compromise that will restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity (to the extent that is still possible) and secure peace. He suggests that this will involve –
A Russian withdrawal from Ukraine (this might be limited with respect to the territories of the East and the South).
Pro-Western Ukrainians (elites )and their pro-Russian counterparts find a more consensual way to coexist.
Ukrainians stop internationalizing their internal conflict.
Ukraine genuinely works towards neutrality.
Foreign powers (Russia and the West) cease their meddling.
In this important overview of the historical divisions in Ukraine that have evolved into the present invasion by Russia. Oliver Stone explores and explains Ukraine’s legacy of nazism – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), Stephan Bandera, Mykola Lebed, Dmytro Dontsov, and the imbrication of the neo-nazi movement in contemporary Ukrainian politics. This fascist tendency in Ukraine is represented by figures and organizations like Oleg Tyagnibok, Svaboda, Dimitry Yarosh, Trizub, The Right Sector, Andriy Parubiy, and the Social-National Party (SNPU).
Particularly revealing is Stone’s explication of the USA’s involvement in fostering and instrumentalizing these far-right nationalist forces in their war against the Soviet Union during the cold war and, even after perestroika, against Russia. Stone presents abundant evidence of these machinations, during the Euromaidan revolution, including the infamous phone call between the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland, and the US ambassador.to Ukraine.- ‘Fuck the EU’! Another important revelation in this documentary is the nature and extent of rupture between Ukraine and and its Russian citizens in the East and the South.. There is, it seems, a civil war taking place, one that has been downplayed by the mainstream Western media.
Ukraine on Fire is the first of two documentaries directed by Igor Lopatonok and produced by Oliver Stone on the emerging situation in Ukraine.
According to Davis Stockman, In 1998, at a time when NATO was extending into the former Warsaw Pact nations, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman asked George F. Kennan for his views. It is important to note that Kennan had been the US ambassador to Russia during the Stalinist era. He is known for having been influential in shaping the US policy of Soviet “containment” and in the creation of NATO. Here is some of what Kennan said 24 years ago concerning the US Senate debate on admitting Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO,
“I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.”
. “It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course, there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are – but this is just wrong.”