The Invasion of Ukraine

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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

Thirteen questions about the war in Europe

What is behind the invasion of Ukraine?

There are many motivations, but in essence, it is a key move in the process of redefining the world order. It is being decided who will rule the world and how the rule will be exercised.

After the wall came down, Washington imagined itself in charge. The vassal posture of the European Union helped him to think that this would be possible; the disorientation of most of the left, too, insofar as, by making concessions to neoliberalism, it contributed to the fleeting feeling that the state and politics were cursed.

The change in the exercise of hegemony in the world was on the agenda and Washington wanted to eliminate the number two in military capacity. Moscow acts not to disappear. The invasion of Ukraine is a vigorous gesture of self-defense.

 

Could the change be peaceful?

No one gives power willingly. Looking at history, changing the world order is a multifaceted, elongated, unpredictable and necessarily bloody process. The change will not be peaceful. International hegemony rhymes with hecatomb. Blood will flow in unimaginable proportions.

So it was in the two great wars of the last century. Humanity has not lost its essence: it persists in practicing evil and kindness; dreams of peace while preparing clubs.

 

Who challenges the world order?

Russia and China are the most prominent challengers. But Latin America encouraged the contestation of order when it sought regional cooperation and social reforms. It fueled the audacious desire to stop being the backyard of the big brother of the North.

The demands for reform in the UN's decision-making structure are challenges to order. Intermediate powers such as India, Iran and Pakistan sought to reduce external dependence on defense. They disturbed the existing structures.

The drama of violence in Africa and the Middle East reveals that the world has to change. The world demands the warlike offensives of Washington and Europe.

 

 

Did Russia break international law?

Disrespected. She was forced, she acted on survival instinct. She talked and talked and was deceived. She warned, warned, and was not heeded. She found herself surrounded. Missiles on the border near Moscow would hamper her ability to react. Its military power, in practical terms, would be dismantled.

International law is an abstraction: it constrains the weak and does not reach those with the power. The crimes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were never punished. The United States and Europe have a lot of crimes behind them and have never lost their civilized, beautiful and just attitude.

War is the law of force; suspends moral pretensions that underlie the law.

 

How to explain the division of the left in the face of the crisis?

War awakens passions; bewilders. There is no more macabre and attractive spectacle. The series about the Vikings, Mongols and Romans are dazzling due to the amount of blood shown.

The left, bound by the institutional game, makes opportunistic options. Many bow to Washington's victorious war of narratives.

The fragility of the left is revealed when militants say they are against the war. Well, only psychopaths would say otherwise. Others say they prefer not to take sides.

These are ways of not seeing the real historical process. It's a way of wearing the cassock of Abbe Saint Pierre. There are left-wing militants who claim to be humanitarians, as if those who make war didn't also claim the same condition! Those who face each other on battlefields are beasts carrying sublime feelings, so much so that they believe themselves blessed by gods.

 

Should Brazil take a stand?

It is cynical or silly to say that Brazil should not take a stand because it has nothing to do with it. There is no exemption possible when humans are destroyed anywhere on the planet. Moreover, from the effects of conflict, no one escapes.

Saying that one should not play the game of imperialist powers is untenable. Following that principle, we would have washed our hands of World War II.

To say that one cannot take sides because Russia is a conservative autocracy is a misleading quibble that would result in endorsing “democracies” that hoard wealth and power to the detriment of humanity.

 

Is the Russian Army succeeding?

Yes, it reveals preparation, efficiency, competence, discipline and sophisticated planning on land, sea and air, as well as effectiveness in cyberspace. General staff officers from all countries are gawking at the fabulous war machine, perhaps the most powerful in the world.

It is guided by clear political objectives: not to destroy the invaded country, but to ensure that it does not serve as a base for attack.

By asking to join a ruthless military alliance; By wanting the installation of devices of mass destruction in his territory, the comedian-president of Ukraine acted as a puppet of Washington.

Calling young people to resist with Molotov cocktails and shotguns is sending them to their death. It's pure cruelty. Russians want to preserve Ukraine. They don't do what Washington and Europe usually do. Otherwise, Kiev would be in ruins and the comedian dead.

The “Westerners” who encourage the Ukrainian resistance either act with murderous instinct or they don't understand anything. The first option is the correct one.

 

How to explain the position of Europe, directly affected?

Europe is neither united nor has a loud voice. Obey Washington's orders.

Furthermore, it has not overcome old rivalries and prejudices towards Russians. Europe has never admitted neighborhood with a strong country. Russia has always humiliated the European who invaded its territory. Resentment is part of European culture and epitomizes modern barbarism. Nothing is more ruthless than your xenophobia.

No wonder the right has been on the rise in Europe for at least three decades. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany portray the political and moral degradation of Europe.

 

Will sanctions work?

They will arise, but they are unpredictable and could have catastrophic effects for Europe and the US. The whole world will suffer because it is so interconnected. Some will get richer, the majority will suffer countless hardships. Perhaps there is more suffering outside than on the battlefield.

Russia prepared. It knows how to think strategically, just like China. Washington belches power and shows primitivism. How to talk about diplomacy and turn your back on the Russian chancellor in the UN plenary? This served to pass on Globo. It did not reveal strength, but weakness and stupidity.

 

Will China stand firm in supporting Russia?

Yes. Without Russia, China would be militarily weakened and its expansion plans would be troubled. Moscow knows this. She would not act against China, which shows restraint and avoids gratuitous display of its strength. In fact, the powers are always showing off and hiding the power they have.

It is silly to say that Russia is isolated when it has China on its side, as well as other middle powers.

 

Are there real trading chances?

Theoretically, yes. In practice, no. In theory, it is enough to delimit the NATO area and stop sacrificing the Ukrainian population. In practice, that would be capitulation. It would imply admitting the validity of the Russian claim and accepting multipolarity, which is not within Washington's scope.

Capitulation would be imaginable with an unstoppable world popular movement, with particular focus on the United States. Otherwise, Washington will follow the dictates of speculative capital that dominates large companies, in particular the military-industrial complex, eager to sell weapons.

 

What will change in international relations?

All. Some changes will be sudden. Others may be defined indefinitely. The list of betrayals will be a special chapter. Childhood friends will stab each other in the back.

War has the ability to change behavior patterns, values, moral pillars and even aesthetic predilections. Stravinsky announced the hecatomb of 1914-1918 revealing innovative symphonic structures, using timbres, dissonances and asymmetries never before experienced.

Global governance will forcibly change. Imagining the world when the reordering of hegemony is underway is an inglorious exercise, but inevitable. Today, everyone asks themselves: what will it be, what will it be…

 

Is there a risk of nuclear war?

Yes. Russia cannot lose. There's a bullet to resist until the end. To accept losing is to accept self-destruction. This is unthinkable.

Russian military doctrine provides for the use of tactical and strategic atomic weapons. It is difficult to predict that the fire will be limited to Russia's borders.

Moscow is warning, warning, warning… It is unreasonable to ignore the voice of those who have fatal buttons within reach. Anyway, Russia cannot lose the war.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired UFC/UFF professor, former president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and former vice president of CNPq.

 

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