War threats in Europe

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By EVERALDO DE OLIVEIRA ANDRADE*

The crisis in Ukraine does not interest the populations of the countries involved, except for governments to seek a way to overcome, temporarily, a deep crisis of capitalism itself

The United States, NATO, the European Union, among others, have been denouncing for several weeks that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, having concentrated more than XNUMX troops on the common border. The Russian government and President Putin argue otherwise, declaring that the danger is that Ukraine will become part of the US-led military alliance.

Let us remember that NATO was founded more than 70 years ago with the declared objective of confronting the USSR. If we believe in this justification, the breakup of the USSR in December 1991 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in the same year made this Alliance obsolete. Furthermore, in 1990 the US administration presided over by George Bush Sr. agreed with Gorbachev that if he did not oppose the unification of Germany then “neither NATO's jurisdiction nor troops would extend to territories located east of the Alliance at that time” .

Agreement not fulfilled by all US administrations, which quickly understood the usefulness of NATO, on the one hand to militarily control European countries and, on the other hand, to provide cover for all military adventures of the US administration … for example, the bombings in Yugoslavia and Libya, the invasion of Afghanistan for more than 20 years was carried out under the umbrella of NATO, when, in principle, the scope of NATO was limited to Western Europe and North America, as its name implies, “North Atlantic” .

Furthermore, according to the Maastricht Treaty, Article 17, which created the European Union, this institution is in solidarity with NATO's military actions. And the current demand from the US governments, including Obama, Trump and currently Biden to European governments to participate in a greater proportion in military spending, both by increasing military budgets and sending troops, only corresponds to the interests of the Yankee State.

 

Who are these war threats for?

It is an indisputable fact and one that verifies over time.

On the one hand, Biden's bellicose language has a direct relationship with the crisis in the United States itself, the brutal economic crisis, the rise in inflation, the trade deficit (more than 80 billion dollars in the month of December), the division that cross American institutions, the continuity of anti-union measures and the brutal oppression of minorities, in particular the black minority. In this situation, Biden seeks to close ranks, in the name of “homeland unity” against the external enemy.

It should be remembered that Joe Biden was elected president after one of the biggest electoral mobilizations in the history of the United States, to close the way for Donald Trump, relying for this on the black minority and on promises to expand health insurance that were reorganized or reduced to service of a militaristic policy under the control of the large arms industry groups.

Also influencing is the US need to sell its natural gas production to Europe, where its biggest competitor is Russian gas.

The US government strikes in Europe with its eyes on China. Indeed, it needs to have European governments subjugated to align them in the trade war against China. A necessary war to try to reduce its trade deficit, but impossible to win due to its dependence on the Chinese economy, and for the interests of almost all US multinationals that have relocated their production to foreign countries and, in particular, to China.

Behind the conflict in Europe, ultimately, are the contradictions of the capitalist world market that flourish.

 

European peoples don't want war

This is evidence. Neither the Russian people, nor the Ukrainian, nor the German, nor the English, French, Spanish and other peoples want war. They know that this would be contrary to the preservation or conquest of social and democratic rights. They know that this would be used to justify new attacks on wages, pensions, freedoms. Attacks that sum up to those who already suffer all with the excuse of the supposed fight against the pandemic. The cuts in public health services continued alongside the huge profits of the pharmaceutical industries.

But that's not all, not even European governments are interested in the war. It is no coincidence that President Emannuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholtz insist on a negotiation path. And not only because Germany, and a good part of Europe, are dependent on Russian gas (and coal after the decline of nuclear energy, for alleged ecological reasons, for the “sustainable transition” …) but because if war starts, the victims they will be mostly European, and the people will no doubt hold to account their respective governments.

And the Russian people are also more than skeptical of Vladimir Putin's policy. He presents himself as a defender of the Russian-speaking Ukraine and Russia's borders, but in reality, for him, the war is an opportunity to force the population to unite around his policy, at a time when he is multiplying his repressive actions and anti-working class across the country. Today there are countless worker and democratic activists and militants being persecuted.

Concretely opposing war is a path that clashes with the set of policies that the US, Russia and other European vassal governments seek as a way to always provisionally overcome a deep crisis that is capitalism itself.

*Everaldo de Oliveira Andrade is a professor at the Department of History at FFLCH-USP. Author, among other books, of Bolivia: democracy and revolution. The Commune of La Paz, 1971 (Avenue).

 

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