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(en) UK, ACG: The war in Ukraine, military escalation and NATO (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]
Wed, 15 Mar 2023 08:13:41 +0200
For NATO the war in Ukraine meant a revival in its fortunes. It meant a return to
the Cold War. All thanks to the Putin regime's invasion of Ukraine. In fact,
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, described NATO as 'brain dead' in 2019.
---- Above all, it is the USA that most profits from the war. NATO has renewed
itself and re-united under American tutelage. Many countries in Europe have
announced their determination to increase military spending and to buy arms from
America. This was always one of the hidden functions of NATO. The defence budget
of the USA stands at a staggering $800 million a year. ----- In addition, the USA
is looking for markets for its gas, wheat and maize, ready to supply it to
countries previously reliant on Russia or the Ukraine. This has now been
facilitated by economic sanctions on Russia.
The United States wants western European countries to share the burden of
military expenditure. They already have 70,000 troops on the European continent,
which are ready to be raised to 100,000 if the situation in Ukraine worsens.
There is a common command between the American forces and NATO, with an American
general at the top, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). This is
currently General Christopher G. Cavoli. The Americans have medium range nuclear
weapons stored in Germany under American control.
NATO increased its rapid reaction troops from 40,000 to 300,000 in June 2022.
This was justified by NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg as Russia 'poses a
direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international
Combat units based in the countries nearest to Russia, especially the Baltic
states, have been boosted, with thousands of troops on standby further west. NATO
has reinforced its eight international battalions, from the Baltic states to
Romania. France, as part of NATO, has taken responsibility for 'enhanced forward
presence' in Romania, with a Franco-Belgian battalion with armoured vehicles.
Romania is now seen by the French state as a new theatre of operations.
Incidentally, the journalists of the Disclose group have shown that France is
selling arms to both sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
It is now no longer easy to talk about reductions in defence budgets, nor for
total or partial withdrawal from NATO, nor to criticise the arms industries.
France, previously aloof from NATO under De Gaulle, is now an active partner
within NATO. Germany has poured a staggering 100 billion euros into its defence
budget and could end up with the biggest army in western Europe. Historically
neutral countries like Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Ireland and Austria are now
vocally taking sides.
NATO is now supplying Ukraine with armaments, going from missile launchers and
drones to tanks and armoured cars in an increasing escalation. Neither Russia nor
NATO are willing to give way and this threatens further escalation.
Countries in the South are more sceptical about the conflict, seeing a failure to
put the wars in Yemen and Tigre on the same footing as the war in Ukraine. India,
Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia are among the most sceptical.
In Western Europe and the USA, public opinion is being shaped by an unrelenting
barrage of propaganda in the media in order to create an acceptance of military
escalation. King Charles has been wheeled out on the first anniversary of the
Russian invasion to reinforce the message of Sunak and co.
The USA and NATO want to bring about regime change in Russia through increasing
economic sanctions, in tandem with a proxy war with Russia in the Ukraine, as a
result of which both the Ukrainian and Russian working classes are the main
casualties. Ukraine will be supplied with just enough military equipment not to
lose the war.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his leading aide, Andriy
Yermak, have pledged that all territory taken by Russia must be retaken. This
includes Crimea and Donbas. The USA knows full well that this is beyond the
capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces. The USA and its allies do not want to
be too deeply enmired in Ukraine, particularly given the unfavourable global
economic situation. They are prepared to let Ukraine retake more territory, but
then force it to go to the negotiating table with Russia.
The aim is to weaken Russia as much as possible, and to send out warnings to
China, Russia's equivocal ally. They do not want the conflict to drag on too long
as this risks destabilising Europe. They need to concentrate on countering China,
seen as the ascending super power and major contender of the USA. Already Biden
has increased the number of US troops training Taiwanese forces.
However, US and NATO strategy in relation to Ukraine is extremely risky and the
threat of World War Three has come a lot closer.
Nevertheless, US/NATO strategy has considerably weakened Russia, with as many as
60,000 Russian troops killed, 160,000 wounded and 2,000 tanks destroyed. 500,000
Russians have fled aboard to avoid fighting in the war. In addition, NATO has
been revived, and Germany, France and Italy have been drawn ever more closely
Putin's decision to invade Ukraine has turned out to be a ghastly miscalculation.
In the UK, both the Tories and Starmer's Labour are firmly in favour of supplying
arms to Ukraine. On the left, war fever has split the Labour left, causing a rift
within the Campaign group of Labour MPs. So called left Labour MPs like Clive
Lewis and John McDonnell are calling for the arming of Ukraine, breaking with
Jeremy Corbyn. Various Trotskyist groups are also following this line, like
Anticapitalist Resistance and Alliance for Workers Liberty.
On the other hand, we have the British cheerleaders for the Putin regime like the
Young Communist League, New Communist Party, the Workers Party led by George
Galloway, and other nasty little Stalinist outfits.
Even among what passes for the anarchist movement in Britain, support for arming
Ukraine is fairly widespread. Considering previous haemorrhaging of anarchists
towards the Labour Party during the Corbyn frenzy, and the totally uncritical
support for the Kurdish PKK, this is not surprising. But a publication like
Freedom, which maintained an internationalist approach during two World Wars, is
now an enthusiast for the arming of Ukraine. As is the Anarchist Federation, one
of whose leading members ranted about "the mass betrayal of anti-authoritarian
warfighters in Ukraine by the apologists for Russian imperial aggression,
"revolutionary defeatists" and the pro-capitulation pacifists."
As Alex Alder notes in his article British Anarchism Succumbs to War Fever "In
supporting Ukraine, British anarchists have found themselves on the side of NATO,
an imperialist military alliance that defends the interests of the core
capitalist nations in Europe and North America. But rather than take this as an
opportunity to repudiate NATO, acknowledging a mere coincidence of interests in
this particular situation, anarchists in Britain have wavered in their
opposition, sympathising with Western imperialism as a check on Russian imperialism."
For us, it is not a question of taking sides, either with the heinous and
kleptocratic regime in Russia or with the USA and its allies. We should encourage
all actions against the arms industries, including support for Campaign Against
the Arms Trade and protests at arms fairs, as well as boycotts, strikes and
direct action against the arms industries. Anti-militarist propaganda must be
supported and encouraged as should the No War but the Class War groups. We should
support and publicise the actions of anti-militarists, war resisters, draft
dodgers, conscientious objectors and deserters in the war zones, in both Russia
and Ukraine. We should attempt to link the burgeoning class struggle in Britain
to the struggles of the working class in Russia and Ukraine. We should not fall
victim to the war fever, countering it with internationalism and the need to
fight the enemy, the boss class, both globally and at home.
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