On War

The situation in Ukraine could very well turn into World War III. There are no Good Guys in this fight. Putin is an imperialist pushing his luck, Ukraine has literal neo-nazi battalions in its national guard. Liberal commentators say “NATO can’t just sit back while this is happening on its doorstep!” but it wouldn’t be on NATO’s doorstep if the promises made in 1990 not to extend NATO’s reach eastward were kept. Instead westerns leaders pushed their own luck for 30 years, thinking Putin was their guy and now they’re discovering that he absolutely is not.

In the early-00s Vladimir Putin was invited on a state visit to the UK by PM Tony Blair. Putin sat with the Queen in her carriage and got a lovely PR booster trip around London. Putin literally wouldn’t be in power today without the machinations of the leaders of the UK and USA. The West thought Putin was their puppet. Like Gaddafi, once they realise they don’t have control over the guy they put in power, western governments like to hope you’ve forgotten about the previous relationships with these men as they warn us of their villainy.

This is undeniably an act of imperialism on Russia’s behalf and should be condemned as such, but don’t let our government use the situation to whitewash their own failures and hide their hypocrisy. Already we’re being told that “energy prices are likely to rise as the situation in Ukraine worsens” – they want you to forget that this was to be the case anyway. Only now they want you to believe it’s Russia’s fault, not theirs. They want you to forget that the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc are their own imperialist push into politically and economically useful territory.

What Putin is doing is wrong and should be condemned, but I don’t want to hear lectures about it from people who would absolutely be doing the same thing if their country was in a similar geographical and political situation. Russia says this is about NATO encroachment on its borderlands. That NATO has encroached is an undeniable fact. The USA brought the world closer to nuclear war than ever during the Cuban Missile Crisis because a nuclear foreign power got a bit close. Putin and western leaders aren’t so different from each other.

So don’t fall for being asked to cheer on neo-nazi battalions against imperialist bullies, by imperialist bullies. You don’t have to Pick A Side. Wanting peace, not war, doesn’t make you weak or a traitor or a “useful idiot”. It makes you a decent human being. My thoughts are with the hundreds if not thousands of working class kids who will be slaughtered in battle over the arrogant greed of small men on all sides of this fight. As usual, it’s the poorest – with the least stake in any of it – that will be slaughtered to settle the squabbles of the rich and powerful.

Those are the people I support. So fuck Putin, fuck the Azov Battalion, and fuck NATO. Solidarity with the people of all nations involved who will be the ones to suffer while those in power hide in their bunkers and send their country’s kids to die for them.

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