By David Sole
When Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022 the mass media in the United States and the rest of the capitalist countries howled in outrage. President Joseph Biden, in his State of the Union address on March 1, lashed out at Russia and announced the severest economic sanctions against that country.
Is Russia the reckless aggressor as it is portrayed? Actually it is the complete opposite. The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are entirely to blame.
From 1922 until 1991 Ukraine was one of the constituent republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), formed following the worker and peasant Revolution of 1917. In 1991 the USSR dissolved and Ukraine (along with 10 other member republics) became independent capitalist nations including Russia, itself.
From 1991 to 2014, a total of 23 years, Russia respected Ukraine’s independence. But inside Ukraine a political struggle went on as to whether Ukraine should have stronger ties to capitalist Europe or with Russia, with which it shares a 1200 mile border. In 2008 NATO announced that Ukraine would be welcomed into the anti-Russia alliance after President George W. Bush pressed NATO members, but no timeframe was given when that would happen.
In 2010 Viktor Yanukovich was elected president of Ukraine promising closer ties to Russia. He dropped the bid to enter NATO. In 2014 protests broke out in Ukraine’s capital with the support and connivance of the CIA and the U.S. government with a healthy $5 billion “donation” to pro-Western groups. A secret phone call by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, speaking to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, was leaked to the press in February 2014 during the Maidan Square protests.
Nuland and Pyatt discussed the different Ukrainian presidential candidates and how to manipulate them to make sure their favorite would win. The text of the call shows that then Vice-President Biden was involved in this plot. When Pyatt explains that the European Union (E.U. – U.S. “allies”) had a different view of things, with a less anti-Moscow program, Nuland responds “Fuck the EU!”
The 2014 protests escalated with armed ultra-rightwing groups participating. President Yanukovich was illegally ousted, since the Ukrainian Parliament lacked the necessary votes for his impeachment. He fled for his life. A string of leaders have controlled Ukraine ever since. They all have had a pro-U.S. orientation. This includes their avowed position to have Ukraine join NATO.
What Is NATO?
Following World War II the North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949 by 10 European nations and the U.S. and Canada. It was a collective military agreement clearly and openly aimed at the Soviet Union and Eastern European socialist states. That NATO was and is an arm of United States imperialism is shown by the fact that by the 1960s there were 400,000 U.S. troops stationed in various European military bases. Additional countries were admitted to the alliance over the years.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European socialist governments from 1989-91 the U.S. directed NATO to focus on wider imperialist interests. NATO militarily intervened to break up Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1999. Other NATO areas of military operations include Afghanistan, Iraq, east Africa, Libya and Turkey. Actions included enforcing no-fly zones, blockades on the high seas, bombing and providing military supplies and troops.
With the counter-revolutions in the eastern European nations, those countries were incorporated into NATO. In 1999 Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined. In 2004 Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria entered NATO. Albania, Croatia (2009) Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020) also became members. With these additions, NATO military bases, some including U.S. troops and nuclear missiles, were positioned closer and closer to Russia’s borders.
With the advent of the anti-Russian, right-wing coup in Ukraine, Russia reacted to secure its long standing huge naval base in the Crimea region, at Sevastopol. Russia also came to the aid of two small Ukrainian regions on its border who, resisting “ethnic cleansing” attacks by anti-Russian militias and government forces, declared themselves independent “people’s republics.”
In 2021 the Ukrainian government pushed forward with its intention to join NATO, advancing the strategic plans of the U.S. to put military bases and missiles right on the western Russian border. Ukrainian President Zelensky, whose campaign was based on bringing peace with the republics, announced that NATO is the “only solution” to his country’s ethnic problem.
All diplomatic efforts by Russia to get an agreement to keep Ukraine out of NATO and NATO bases/missiles off its border, were refused. The U.S. made an empty claim that it had made every attempt at diplomacy. But it refused to address Russia’s main legitimate demand – a guarantee that Ukraine would remain neutral and never join NATO. There really was no diplomacy conducted by the U.S.
A buildup of Russian military forces on the east and north borders of Ukraine made it clear to all that Russia would never accept this blatant threat to its security. On February 24, 2022 Russian forces moved into Ukraine and fighting has continued since then.
The U.S. and its imperialist allies are perfectly content to let Ukrainian people fight the Russians. Proxy wars are their “tried and true” policy. The U.S. is also eager to impose economic sanctions (an act of war) against Russia which will weaken it economically and politically. Not content with the destruction of the Soviet Union thirty-odd years ago, the U.S. also wants to subjugate a capitalist rival it sees in Russia. Regime change in Russia tops their agenda
It is unfortunate that the people of the Ukraine are suffering as pawns, fighting to subordinate their country to be colonized by the U.S. and other western imperialist powers.
The people of the United States are today drenched to the bone in propaganda from all the mass capitalist media. This flood has also engulfed many who should know better than to believe anything that comes from the Pentagon, State Department or the White House about the situation in Ukraine. Just as in all previous imperialist military operations, the truth will slowly make itself known as economic effects (inflation, etc.) and casualties mount.
It is entirely possible that continued fighting in Ukraine could draw in U.S. military aircraft and troops. Already billions of dollars in military hardware is flowing to the Ukrainians from the U.S. and EU. Thousands of more U.S. troops have been airlifted to neighboring NATO bases near the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Those who rush to blame Russia for this situation ignore, at their peril, the decades-long push by the United States to expand NATO and subjugate more and more territory to Wall Street’s and the Pentagon’s will.