War in Ukraine: anteroom of a multipolar world?

Image: Алесь Усцінаў
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By DURVAL SIQUEIRA SOBRAL*

War in Ukraine is anti-imperialist and is hitting NATO and the United States hard

“I listened to the statements of the new Secretary General of NATO, the former Prime Minister of Norway. How much hate on his face! What an incredible effort to wage a war of extermination against the Russian Federation.” (Fidel Castro in 2014).

“Putin is doing what the United States would do if Russian troops and missiles were sent to Cuba.” (Colonel Douglas McGregor, in an interview with Fox News).

We are experiencing a moment of testing the correlation of forces consolidated in the 1990s. With the end of the Soviet Union, a new period of neoliberal offensive and consolidation of US hegemony was inaugurated. NATO – which was born under the pretense of defending its signatories from possible aggression by the USSR – remained highly active. This defense treaty can be interpreted as the international “arc of alliances” of US policy.

After the end of the USSR, Germany, USA, France and England signed a commitment that they would not advance to Eastern Europe.[I]. This commitment was broken, with several waves of adhesion to the defense treaty and interference in the region, highlighting the war in Yugoslavia (1999) and more recently the Ukrainian crisis (2014-2022).

It is essential to realize that NATO and the US acted in several other invasions and unilateral interference, such as in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. Under the most diverse – and false – arguments, bombing and military occupations in North Africa and the Middle East were possible.

NATO's advance and permanence in Europe has not been met without protest. Countries like Serbia[ii], Portugal[iii], Germany[iv], Iceland[v], Ukraine[vi], Greece[vii] and others, on several occasions registered demonstrations against the military alliance. It is understandable that part of the Europeans understand that NATO's actions are a risk of warlike escalation and irresponsible provocation.

In this sense, the former German Socialist deputy, Diana Golze, protested against military exercises held in 2018, stating that “we think this is not a good time for the deployment of troops to the border between Poland and Russia. We need to think about how to get out of this spiral of violent escalation. There needs to be a diplomatic path, not just saber rattling.”[viii].

 

Are all wars the same?

While the USA proclaimed that it was in the “war on terror” and against the Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons, time passed and the set of these arguments remained without basis, demonstrating that the objectives of the operations were, in reality, true, others. At the outset, a pertinent observation is to recognize that wars are not the same. Its founding motives, its justifications, its real interests and the applied methods themselves, differentiate one military clash from another.

For example, the doctrine of “Total War” applied in Iraq, had as its principle the indiscriminate bombing of civilian regions in order to reach a deep degree of stress and demoralization, with the objective of making resistance attempts unfeasible. This doctrine is very reminiscent of the doctrine of “Strategic Bombings”[ix] largely applied in World War II, where civilian supply, service, transportation, water and power infrastructures were swept away along with towns and cities.

To have a balance of the latest NATO-US actions, let's see the following table:



On the other hand, it is undeniable that the Russian action to date has as its principle the directing of its actions[X]. Prioritizing bombing of military and tactical infrastructure, which has had the effect of a much milder lethality rate than the actions of the countries that make up NATO. The general reasons for this course of action are: (1) the collateral effects of an indiscriminate bombing action would be dire for a neighboring country, deepening resentments; (2) To bring Ukraine to a neutral status vis-à-vis NATO and demilitarize it, it is not necessary to build a bloody siege; (3) Who most wants Ukrainian blood to be spilled is the USA and NATO, working on several fronts, whether instigating a guerrilla war, justifying sanctions and increasing the dissemination of Anti-Russia information. Sources: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), Iraq Body Count, Wikileaks, Libya Body Count, International Criminal Court. *There is no clear differentiation.

But the most relevant observation is: the war in Ukraine is defensive and legitimate. If Russia did not intervene at that moment, what would happen was the continuation of violations of the Minsk agreements (2014), with Ukraine's aggression against the Donbass region, in addition to the increase in Ukrainian armament via the US-NATO. In turn, the Zelensky government would persist by raising the level of risk in Eastern Europe, and could even install systems of direct attack on Russia. Therefore, Russia is piercing an encirclement and redrawing limits of imperialism's action.

Yes, he is doing it by force, what other means do he have left? To call for peace in the abstract or to condemn the Russian action on the basis of international law and human rights issues alone is to approach the issue precariously and simply. Besides, it's a very convenient approach to the NATO line. By the way, where were the condemnations, sanctions and media coverage of the illegitimate bombings that took place this year in Somalia, Yemen and Syria?[xi] Where were these questions when the US assassinated General Qasem Soleimani (2020) and launched 59 Tomahawk missiles (2018) against the government in Syria?

 

Are NATO and the US arming and organizing Ukrainian Nazis?

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez recently submitted a $500 million financial aid proposal. [xii] Ukraine, with a view to helping the country acquire weapons and equipment. When asked by journalists about the mechanisms for controlling and monitoring military equipment purchased through this aid, the senator was unconcerned. For her part, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, also from the Democratic Party, confirmed that “They are not considering any of that right now”.

It turns out that the lack of monitoring of this aid is a conscious and deliberate policy, so that these weapons reach the hands of Ukrainian Nazi militias. In highlight, the most relevant Nazi militia is the Azov Battalion, which was integrated into the Ukrainian national defense organization.

One of the most prominent former leaders of the Azov Battalion is Andriy Biletsky. Who was deputy (2014-2019) for the “Assembleia Social-Nacional” party. His party pledged to ban interracial relations and "prepare Ukraine for further expansion and fight for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of internationalist speculative capital."[xiii].

Cooperation between the US and Ukrainian Nazis goes back a few decades. Ties were strengthened with the lobbying arm of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists [OUN] in the US, in which its leaders have collaborationist Stepan Bandera as their hero.[xiv], a Ukrainian who aided the Nazi occupation of Ukraine in 1941.

Since then, the US has strengthened relations with the most diverse Nazi organizations in the region. As was the case with the appearance of former Senator John Maccain at a Svoboda party rally. As well as the meeting of the under-secretary of state Victoria Nulland with the leaders of Svoboda. Therefore, it is not a “turn a blind eye” position on the part of the United States, but a posture of active collaboration, where its leaders conspire and devise actions.

Finally, since 2014, Ukraine and the US have been voting against a UN resolution condemning Nazism.[xv]

 

Does the Zelensky government actively cooperate with Ukrainian Nazism?

It is important to remember that Ukraine played a prominent role in collaborating with the German Nazis. The OUN had existed since the 1920s, and was a civilian organization that supported the formation of the 14th Waffen SS Division.[xvi], a paramilitary division composed of Ukrainians and commanded by Germans, which assisted in the identification, search and murder of Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Communists and others. Currently, the OUN has ties with the Svoboda party.[xvii]. Iconic images were recorded, such as the Stanyslaviv parade (1942), where Ukrainian civilians welcomed Nazi military and authorities.

It is possible to state that the Zelensky government actively cooperates with Nazi organizations in the region. Whether recognizing and glorifying Nazi collaborators[xviii], integrating the Azov battalion to national defense[xx] or awarding medals to leaders of Nazi organizations[xx]. Soon, Zelensky's government has been helping to rehabilitate Nazism in Ukraine.

However, this element has been little addressed and explored, either in the reflections of the left or in the coverage of the mainstream media. Evidently, if this element were properly explored in the news, we would have a different general impression of what “poor Ukraine” is.

 

Is the international correlation of forces being “tested”?

Three elements stand out, which at this moment may have a very relevant impact on this conflict:

The military issue: the “military terrain” was activated, it soon gained decisive relevance. Who will be the winner? How does Russia intend to conduct this war? The goals of breaking Ukraine's military infrastructure and denazifying the region can be achieved in what timeframe? Will the West be able to organize a painful reaction to Russia? In short, will Russia be able to bend the puppet government of Ukraine?

The effects of sanctions: most major Western economies have organized several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia. What has been observed is that Russia has partially prepared for this moment, transferring part of its funds to “places” where sanctions cannot apply, among other preventive measures. However, in the long term? What are the effects of sanctions? Can these sanctions shake the world economic order? Affect the power of the dollar? These are issues to be observed and monitored.

The informational war: a wide campaign of disinformation about the war has been launched, sophisticated and outlandish fake news is being propagandized at a terrible pace. Days later they are denied, however their effects are already realized. This informational war has as a parameter to place Russia as “evil” or “the villain”, as in the ridiculous article by the lawyer Nelson Williams in which he states that Putin is the fusion of all the villains of Marvel and DC comics, a poverty of terrible narration[xxx]. The major side effects have been: (a) The irrational, emotional and disproportionate appreciation of facts; (b) Selective solidarity, where it is clear that the lives of Ukrainians are worth far more than those of Libyans, Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis, Yemenis, Afghans[xxiii]; (c) Censorship of Russian media such as RT, Sputnik and others.

It is important to emphasize that the informational war also aims to affect the Brazilian left, where the PSTU and the MES (PSOL's internal current), as well as the mandates of Fernanda Melchionna[xxiii] and Sâmia Bonfim[xxv] already assumed a pro-NATO narration of facts, reaching the height of Luciana Genro, state deputy of Rio Grande do Sul, propagandizing false news in their networks[xxiv], which is not surprising, considering that Luciana Genro[xxv] declared support for the coup in Ukraine in 2014.

 

How should revolutionaries position themselves?

This is a complex situation, where it is easy to confine yourself to statements of general principles rather than analyzing a concrete situation. Traditionally, leftist and revolutionary forces are in favor of peace and self-determination of peoples. But revolutionaries must also know the interests of US imperialism. Peace and the fight against war are not inflexible and immutable principles. Therefore, the political line and watchwords are filled by the analysis of a situation, and not by pre-established guiding principles. The principles and instruments of analysis serve to assess the situation, help to solve the problem and indicate the way, they help to give birth to a solution. They do not unilaterally produce the solution.

On supporting wars or not, Lenin reflected: “Marxism deduces the acceptance of the defense of the fatherland in wars, for example, in the Great French Revolution, or in Garibaldi’s wars in Europe, and the renunciation of defense of the country in the imperialist war of 1914 -1916, from an analysis of the concrete historical peculiarities of each war, and never from a certain “general principle” or from any point of a program. Lenin in “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination”, 1916.

As for the question of self-determination of peoples, Lenin also stressed that: “The recognition by the Social-Democratic Party of the right of all nationalities to self-determination does not in any way mean that Social-Democrats renounce an independent assessment of the desirability of state separation from one or another nation in each concrete case. On the contrary, social democracy must make its independent assessment, taking into account the conditions of capitalist development and the oppression of the proletarians of different nations by the united bourgeoisie of all nationalities, as well as the general tasks of democracy, first and foremost , the interests of the proletarian class struggle for socialism”, Lenin, in “Theses on the National Problem”, 1913.

The conclusion reached is: wars can indeed play a progressive role. The relevant historian Edward Carr pointed out that the position of Karl Marx and Engels in the face of the revolutionary wars of 1815-1845 was of a positive evaluation of those conflicts: “French revolutionaries established a clear distinction between wars of liberation to free peoples from the domain of and wars of conquest to subject peoples to monarchical rule; and they approved the former with as much enthusiasm as they condemned the latter. No objections were raised to the war itself, or even to "aggression" in the popular sense of being the first to start a war. The test was whether the war was being waged on behalf of "peoples" or "nations" or on behalf of autocrats. Edward Carr, “The Marxist Attitude Toward War” in History of Soviet Russia, flight. 3.

Revolutionaries are used to recognizing the progressive character of warlike confrontation when faced with national liberation wars and revolutionary civil wars. However, faced with a new global reality, they will have to get used to analyzing defensive preventive wars, which are not necessarily conducted by revolutionary forces. If we live in a situation created by US hegemony, why wouldn't there be defensive wars? If the US hegemony is in crisis why would there not be defensive preventive wars that aim to pierce its restorative offensive[xxviii]?

 

An inter-imperialist war?

At this point, it is up to us to understand which conflict drives the international situation. An inter-imperialist conflict? An anti-imperialist conflict?

Understanding that the war in Ukraine is inter-imperialist, the revolutionary forces should logically urge workers to boycott the conflict and socialize on the front, in addition to denouncing that military action is an oppressive and exploitative action. They should subsequently agitate that the takeover is necessary and the order of the day.

In Brazil, this line is materialized, roughly speaking, mainly in the slogans of “Neither Putin, nor NATO, for the revolution” and their synonyms… How comfortable it is to raise this line of action. The sad thing is to realize that her comfort also intersects with her inapplicability to the real situation. Did Russian and Ukrainian workers go through processes of maturation of their class consciousness? Are they somehow organized by the revolutionary forces? Is there a revolutionary-crisis within the Ukrainian state and the Russian state? The answer is no.

This course of action also has one more flaw (so to speak) in putting Russian reaction on an equal footing with NATO provocation. In this march, any reaction to imperialist provocations would be illegitimate and condemnable from the outset. And if Colombia (which has a puppet government) were invaded by Brazil or Venezuela, with a view to preventing even greater NATO harassment in our region, would we be imperialists? Sub-imperialists?

The final balance of this line (besides not resulting in concrete actions) is anti-popular. Well, it delegitimizes the legitimate reaction, which indirectly helps the US and NATO. Similar lines were raised when Brazilian leftist and Trotskyist currents propagandized the slogan “Fora Assad, Fora Putin e EUA” in the Syrian war (2011) and when they pulled the famous “Fora Todos” while a coup d’état was in progress in Brazil (2016).

It could be argued that the Russian bourgeoisie has an interest in this war, in the riches of Ukraine and in the Donbass region. Obviously yes, or do we think that the Russian bourgeoisie will look on with its arms crossed in Ukraine's natural resources?

Any political phenomenon of class struggle is an expression of a synthesis, in its sublayers secondary and conflicting interests/determinations fit. Now, let's imagine an international political phenomenon, how many variables and contradictions constitute it?

The question to be assessed here is: was this “ambition” of the Russian bourgeoisie decisive in triggering the conflict?

It's not what it looks like. Especially because the Russian bourgeoisie is being severely penalized and isolated with the war.

The war in Ukraine may encompass a sequence of interests of the Russian bourgeoisie and Russian workers. Why? Because until now, its synthesis has been the defense of Russia's security and sovereignty. In these terms, the unity of their social classes is possible, even though struggles between classes (workers versus bourgeoisie) are latent and constant. To recall an example, it would be the Anti-Japanese United Front, in which the Chinese Communist Party sealed an alliance based on unity-struggle with the Kuomitang, to face Japanese imperialism.

In this sense, it is no coincidence that the biggest opposition party to Putin, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, is supporting the action[xxviii][xxix]. In sequence, it is quite clear that the unity of antagonistic classes and their organizations does not occur randomly, the defense of Russian national integrity is at clear risk, which affects the existence and reproduction of both classes.

 

What is really at stake in Ukraine right now?

What is at stake is the viability of a multipolar world and the limitation of imperialism's action. We are seeing the most relevant conflict since the end of the USSR. We are facing an anti-imperialist war and in this case, since the revolutionary forces are not leading the conflict, it is up to us to apply a policy of critical support to Russian action.

What does critical support consist of? It consists of recognizing the motives and legitimacy of the Russian response, while not subordinating ourselves to the Putin government's view of the situation. Disputing the assessment of the facts and raising the flags / watchwords, which accumulate in favor of the working class and wear down imperialism. In this context, the basis of this line should meet the following statements: (i) The war is motivated by US-NATO imperialist action; (ii) It is necessary to recognize that the Zelensky government is an imperialist puppet and collaborator of Nazism; (iii) The combat and weakening of Nazi organizations in Ukraine is positive.

We have to critically support Russian action, agitating and defending the autonomy of the Lugansk and Donetsky republics, rejecting sanctions against Russia and the republics, denouncing the NATO encirclement campaign and the rise of the Nazis. Theoretically, a ceasefire that takes into account the above demands would be positive, but in practice, we must know that it is unlikely to be reached.

A more contradictory world, with more variables, saturated with crises and with a stalled NATO, interests us. A world closer to that is a more fruitful world for revolutionary action. A world in these conditions will give us more opportunity to act, it will also allow countries that are positioned contrary to US interests to have a better chance of surviving.

A NATO-US defeat in Eastern Europe will further open up possibilities for action by workers and national liberation struggles. In this sense, there is no doubt that, in current terms, the war in Ukraine is anti-imperialist and is hitting NATO and the United States hard.

*Durval Siqueira Sobral, lawyer, is a member of the Popular Consultation and the Popular Youth Lift.

 

Notes


[I] Recently a secret document was brought to light, proving that in fact the US, France, England and Germany committed themselves to non-expansion to Eastern Europe: https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/420506-documento-confirmar-otan -expand-this

[ii] https://www.islamtimes.org/en/news/785011/serbia-anti-nato-protest-held-on-20th-anniv-of-bombing

[iii] https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-anti-nato-protests-lisbon-image17109331

[iv] https://www.dw.com/en/germans-protest-us-military-movements-outside-berlin/a-43990723

[v] https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/declassified_162083.htm

[vi] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jun/12/ukraine.russia

[vii] https://www.euronews.com/2020/10/06/protesters-hold-anti-nato-rally-in-greece

[viii] https://sputniknews.com/20180531/germany-us-troops-eastern-europe-1064981609.html

[ix] https://stringfixer.com/pt/Strategic_bombing

[X] I strongly recommend reading this report where US officials and informants recognize the direction of Russian actions: https://www.newsweek.com/putins-bombers-could-devastate-ukraine-hes-holding-back-heres-why- 1690494

[xi] https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/02/25/guerras-pelo-mundo-siria-somalia-e-iemen-tambem-sofreram-ataques-aereos-nos-ultimos-dias

[xii] https://theintercept.com/2022/02/18/ukraine-weapons-neo-nazis-bob-menendez/

[xiii]https://web.archive.org/web/20210622074335/https://www.bbc.com/russian/international/2014/07/140716_ukraine_swedish_sniper

[xiv] https://fpif.org/seven-decades-nazi-collaboration-americas-dirty-little-ukraine-secret/

[xv] https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/ga12396.doc.htm

[xvi] https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2016/03/17/the-galician-division/

[xvii] https://fpif.org/seven-decades-nazi-collaboration-americas-dirty-little-ukraine-secret/

[xviii] https://www.abrilabril.pt/internacional/ucrania-volta-assinalar-aniversario-do-nascimento-do-fascista-bandera

[xx] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/1/who-are-the-azov-regiment

[xx] https://twitter.com/nomelouco37/status/1498741691637026825

[xxx] https://estudio.folha.uol.com.br/nelson-wilians/2022/02/putin-e-o-coringa-o-thanos-e-o-loki-do-ocidente.shtml

[xxiii] https://theglobalherald.com/entertainment/ukraine-war-is-exposing-racial-disparities-in-refugee-treatment-the-daily-show/

[xxiii] https://twitter.com/fernandapsol/status/1498710485176397826?s=20&t=GRlruARPPSkl6lJuNCXhOA

[xxv] https://twitter.com/samiabomfim/status/1496828197513617409

[xxiv] https://twitter.com/lucianagenro/status/1499087720483799050?s=20&t=vJ2ATkNEkAfHXXxZBRof5g

[xxv] https://lucianagenro.com.br/2014/03/sobre-o-levante-revolucionario-e-os-perigos-que-assombram-a-ucrania/

[xxviii] Restorative in the sense of restoring US hegemony in the world. Example: The restorative offensive that took place against popular governments in Latin America, reaching Brazil (2016), Bolivia (2019), Honduras (2009), Paraguay (2012)

[xxviii] https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/russian-communist-leader-the-west-is-backing-fascists-and-using-ukraine/

[xxix] https://operamundi.uol.com.br/permalink/73442

 

 

 

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