Deja vu anyone? Stop Bombing Syria - 01.jpg
Photos taken at the Stop Bombing Syria protest on Saturday 12th December 2015 in London.

WHILE US President Joe Biden continues his warmongering attitude regarding the Russian-Ukraine situation, followed by lapdog Boris Johnson and lapdog in training Keir Starmer, Ukraine’s president is trying to calm everybody down.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to President Joe Biden last week, insisting that Ukrainians had the country under “safe and reliable protection”  and has appealed to the West not to spread “panic”. Meanwhile, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been adamant that Russia has no plans to attack Ukraine. His foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin has condemned “dangerous lies” being spread by the US and other Western countries.

President Zelenskyy, when talking to the American president, invited him to visit Kyiv to show Washington’s support, saying: “I am convinced that your visit to Kyiv in the coming days… would be a powerful signal and help stabilise the situation”. US sources have however stated that Biden will not be taking up the invitation.

Rhetoric causing panic

The Ukrainian president even asked, the weekend just gone, for the US and the UK to produce any evidence they might have that Russia is about to invade, because he has yet to see any. “The biggest enemy is panic,” he said, yet this is exactly what all the bombastic talk from the West is causing. Panic amongst people in the West – who know what a war with Russia would cost us all – but more importantly, panic among Russians and Ukrainians.

Moscow has accused NATO countries of “pumping” Ukraine with weapons and the US of stoking tensions to contain Russia’s development. Putin has complained Russia has “nowhere further to retreat to, do they think we’ll just sit idly by?” In his eyes, the West promised back in 1990 that NATO would expand “not an inch to the east” but did so anyway.

Russia is demanding no more eastward expansion and an end to NATO military activity in Eastern Europe.

Accusations fly

President Putin has spoken several times to Biden, and France’s Emmanuel Macron has said the Russian leader promised him during marathon talks that he “would not be the source of an escalation”. Yet the Pentagon has accused Russia of preparing a so-called false-flag operation, with operatives ready to release graphic video of a fake attack to provide a pretext for invasion. Russia has denied this. And there is no evidence they are doing so.

President Biden has warned he would consider personal sanctions on Vladimir Putin should Russia invade Ukraine. The UK has also warned that “those in and around the Kremlin will have nowhere to hide”. What purpose does such rhetoric serve other than to inflame an already tense situation?

Well, it does justify the NATO troop buildup in eastern Europe and it could stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, from Russia to Germany, from coming into operation, thus boosting US gas exports. The US could also be becoming more concerned over the loss of its country’s reputation for being the world’s most prominent military force and the spending that involves. There is a lot of money to be made from war, and to hell with the consequences for those who have to fight it, or the citizens who may be in the way of it. 

Wag the tail

As for the UK and the government, quite apart from wagging the tail of the US imperialist dog, a war would certainly be convenient in distracting from the cost of living crisis which, over the weekend, saw thousands take to the streets in protest all over the country. We saw the far from erudite Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during her visit to Moscow last week, where she said the UK government wanted to see an improved bilateral relationship, but that this depended on Russia choosing to deescalate and taking the path of diplomacy. Our way or the highway?

And for the Labour leader? How does it benefit him? Well, he has already stepped up his attacks on the left and the Stop The War movement. He is further distancing himself from his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, a Deputy President of Stop the War Coalition, while pandering to the hawks who dominate Western foreign policy and letting them know Labour no longer stands in the way of their warmongering. As Starmer said last week: “…the likes of the Stop the War coalition are not benign voices for peace. At best they are naive; at worst they actively give succour to authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies”.

Apparently, according to Starmer, those who promote peace are to be vilified whilst those who actively advocate aggression should not be criticised.

It would appear that neither the US nor the UK has learned any lessons whatsoever from the disaster of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. And unfortunately we no longer have an opposition leader who is willing to call this out for the unmitigated disaster it would be.

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