The Demons of War Hunker Down in Ukraine

As the war between Russia and Ukraine heads into its second hundred days, the information we are getting regarding it is less clear and less likely to be the truth. This seems especially true in the US media, which contradicts itself in this regard with greater and greater frequency. As for what the Russian media is reporting, that is becoming almost impossible to discover given the expanding censorship of news source that Washington or London considers linked to Moscow. Of course, this censorship is structured different than the censorship in Ukraine and Russia, where much of it is government-imposed. Here in the land of the free, censorship takes the shape of corporate deplatforming of various podcasts, websites and video programming. In addition, corporate payment apps (Pay Pal, etc.) cancel the censored entities accounts, thereby defunding them.

Given the growing amount of disinformation, misinformation and censorship, those leading the charge from Washington, London, Brussels and Kyiv can pretty much write and say whatever they want and no one can prove otherwise. Those who challenge their narrative are often characterized as a Russian asset. This typecasting has expanded so deep and wide that even long-time pacifist groups decrying the war (like they have every other war) are being painted as Russian sympathizers. Indeed, certain segments of the US Left that support Kyiv have come perilously close to identifying pacifists and others opposed to this war in this manner.

One of the newer chapters in this relatively brief conflict concerns a “growing” partisan resistance movement. Some of the same leftists mentioned above have been talking up this resistance for a while, now. Recently, the New York Times published a fairly long article on it. (6/10/2022) The article read much like a press release from the CIA and was dutifully vague in its description of this resistance. For various reasons, there were no numbers discussed. However, neither were the politics of the members discussed; something that raised a few flags in this observer’s mind. It’s legitimate to wonder if these resistance cells are actually made up of ultra-right Ukrainians associated with various neo-nazi organizations or perhaps they are sponsored by the Ukrainian Catholic Church or some other conservative faction identified with the uglier side of Ukrainian nationalism. I’m fairly certain that those on the Left urging others to support them believe these partisans are mostly communist and socialist, while the New York Times prefers to believe they are all pro-capitalist liberals. Given the fact that, according to the Times article, most if not all of these groups are in fairly constant contact with the CIA-organized Ukrainian Center of National Resistance which was formalized last July 2021, it seems pretty reasonable that the bulk of this resistance is made up of far-right and pro-Zelenskyy Ukrainians. Assuming these groups do exist, whether or not they will make any real difference in the war remains to be seen.

Besides Ukraine’s internal situation there is also what Washington and Moscow want this conflict to mean for the future of the world. It seems fairly clear that Moscow’s primary hope is that it can halt the bulldozer that is Washington and NATO. Stating this fact is not an endorsement of Moscow or its aggression. Once again, we have no real idea about Moscow’s intentions because most of what gets to the United States in that regard has been filtered through the consent manufacturing department of the US media or is just plain fiction. On the other hand, Washington has no bones about making its desires clear. For example, on June 10, 2022 President Zelenskyy told a group of pro-US rulers meeting in Asia: “It is on the battlefield in Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided,” he said. “So let us save the whole world from coming back to the times when everything was decided by the so-called right of might.” The fact that this was said without any irony dismisses the history of the US/NATO war machine of the last several decades. After all, if NATO had not spent the last twenty-five or so years assimilating nations of eastern Europe like the Borg in Star Trek and had instead decided on a different cooperative security mechanism that included Moscow after the end of the USSR, Ukraine would probably not be in the straits it is in. Washington rejected the overtures made by Moscow regarding a cooperative security arrangement and intentionally chose a path that emphasized its military might to further its hegemonic agenda. This “right of might” Mr. Zelenskyy refers to remains Washington’s standard operating procedure and is a major reason why it dominates so much of the world.

At long last, calls for a negotiated peace are beginning to be heard from sections of the ruling elites in the US and the west. At the same time, Kyiv is awaiting $45 billion dollars of US military aid while aggressively demanding that other nations replenish its supplies of military hardware. Not all of those nations are responding positively. Germany and Bulgaria have both shown some reluctance to continue a war they seem to understand needs to end before it takes down the US-dominated sectors of the world economy they are tied to and creates a situation that could make the recent pandemic seem like a lark.

Indeed, it is the economic factor which may very well determine the course of the Russia-Ukraine war. Washington’s rush to impose sanctions and its cessation of trade with Moscow exacerbated an economic situation that was tenuous at best for the majority of US residents, not to mention even more dire situations elsewhere. As Beijing, Moscow and some of the non-aligned nations (Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, for example) continue to broaden their economic cooperation, the possibility that an alternative global trading project could evolve increases. This would force Washington and its clients and allies into actually competing on equal ground with its capitalist rivals. Of course, this scenario is as potentially dangerous as it is positive. Troubled empires have been known to escalate such rivalries into world wars. In June 2022, Washington certainly qualifies as a troubled empire. If history is a guide, this means that in order for a greater war to be avoided, the power of the non-US-based trading system would have to project enough threat to require diplomacy and detente over war and apocalypse; a balance of terror, so to speak.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.