By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (*)
We are living through the opening phase of two Armaggedons, and we need to stop both of them before they destroy humanity. The one is the war between East and West, the other the war between Humanity and Nature.
So dramatic are the events taking place today on the planet, so profound the transformations of our world, that our minds find it difficult to grasp their full significance, let alone to analyse the world as a whole and its problems in their unity and interelationships. In such conditions we lack the capacity to act in an effective way in order to address those problems. We are also, very often, incapable of examining any partial solution from the viewpoint of its global repercussions.
The power of inertia, the fear of what awaits us and various strong financial and political interests are driving us into thinking in terms of an era and an international system that are finally passing away. What the great French geneticist Albert Jacquard once wrote has never been so timely as today: the greatest obstacle to understanding reality is none other than the limits of our imagination.
For instance, there is a lot of debate nowadays internationally on how best to address the economic, social, political or geopolitical problems of our world. But the majority of those discussions do not take into account the fact that we have entered an era of human history when, for the first time, the possibility of extinction of humanity is present. We continue to use the intellectual tools of past historical periods, which took for granted the existence of humanity, without modifying them in order to include the possibility of extinction of the human species and the need to avoid it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, ecologists and specialists on weapons of mass destruction are taking this factor into account, but, often, they don’t try to interrelate it with political, geopolitical, economic and social factors. But scientists cannot solve the problems of nuclear war or climatic change. Societies have to do that by using science.
A seriously ill world
Our world was seriously ill even before the Ukrainian crisis erupted. Climate change will become irreversible (thus threatening the very existence of humanity), if radical measures are not taken to reverse it within the next two to three years, according to the recent ICPP reports. No state on earth seemed disposed to adopt such measures even before the present crisis. In an evironment of cold and hot wars, it is clearly impossible to establish the deep international co-operation which is absolutely essential for the climate crisis and all the other threats humanity is confronting (already, the “sanctions war” is leading to an increasing in coal consumption, import of shale gas from the US in Europe and an increase in fossil fuel extraction in the US).
And, although the climate crisis, along with the probability of a nuclear war, is one of the most serious threats to the existence of mankind, it is by far not the only one. All the natural environment which has sustained superior forms of life on Earth (and also the human DNA and mind) are under multiple and potentially mortal threats. The coronavirus pandemic was probably only the first of a series of health crises which risk being increasingly serious. In the same time the world economy was under the threat of a recession even before the Ukrainian crisis and the sanctions war. Global debt, that is, the demands of a handful of private financial institutions from humanity, have reached historically unprecedented levels. The same is true of inequalities between countries and within countries. About half of humanity, 3.3 billion people, live below the poverty line as defined by international organisations, while hundreds of millions are undernourished and lack access to clean water and basic health care.
A sui generis world war against Russia
It was in this situation that the Ukrainian crisis broke out. Responding to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, the US and its allies and satellites, that is all the advanced capitalist countries of the world, launched a sui generis world war against Russia.
We define it is as a world war because of the extent of its aims, of its global character and of the very real prospect of engulfing other countries like China – and anybody who dares to object to America and the “collective West”. But we define it as a sui generis world war because, for the time being, there is no direct and massive contact between NATO and Russian armed forces, out of the fear that such a direct military conflict would lead, most probably, to a nuclear world war and the annihilation of humanity.
This sui generis world war includes:
– The massive arming of Zelensky’s Ukraine, with ever heavier weapons, the delivery of precious “technical” support to the Ukrainian army and also the expedition of “volunteers” to Ukraine. Let us note at this point that those armaments cannot enable Zelenski’s regime to defeat Russia. What they can do is to ensure the prolongation of the conflict, the further destruction of Ukraine itself and the further bleeding of Russia. (In a way the United States try follow the pattern of the two world wars, which can be undersood also as “civil wars” of Europe and which have accomplished the dream of dominating all European continent, at the exception of Russia. Now this is the equivalent of a “civil war” inside the post-Soviet space, whose aim is the control of the former USSR by the US).
– An economic war against Russia, including the establishment of a regime of global economic sanctions against both Russia and Russian citizens, the application of strong pressure on all countries of the world to sever their relations with Russia, and the confiscation of the property of the Russian state and Russian individuals
– An information war, which includes a massive disinformation campaign, the demonisation of Russia and even the banning of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev or Shostakovich! Individual Russians are targeted exclusively for their ethnic and racial origin, because they are Russians. It is the first time we see in Western Europe persecutions against people based on the exclusive criterion of national or racial origin since the persecution of Jews and Roma before and during WWII.
The rapidity and the decisseveness in the adoption of all those measures seems to indicate the existence of a planning since many years, long before the Ukrainian crisis erupted.
Is this a war for Ukraine?
We will not discuss in this article the various arguments the West is advancing to justify this policy. We will not discuss the related issues of how the Soviet Union broke up, how Ukraine’s borders were drawn and their legitimacy, the expansion of NATO and the civil war that broke out in that country after the 2014 coup. We are not going to make any comparisons with what NATO countries have done in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sahel, Yemen and so many other places, during the last thirty years alone. We will not compare western interest in Ukraine with western indifference about the massacre of half to one million people in Rwanda and many other calamities, or the fact that Washington, after destroying Afghanistan during its 20-year military intervention, is now provoking the mass starvation of the population of this state, by confiscating its assets abroad.
We will not remind you what many eminent representatives of the western world, like George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, William Burns and many others have said about Ukraine or NATO’s expansion.
We will not also discuss the fact that all these sanctions, adopted supposedly because Russia has violated international law, they represent themselves a clear violation of this same international law and also of the constitutional order of the western states themselves, which guarantee the right of property.
Let us also assume, for the purposes of our analysis here, that the main western narrative is right all along the line. Let us accept that all the above measures against Russia have being taken in order to help Ukraine defend itself and “punish” Russia and its regime for attacking it and violating international law.
Even adopting the mainstream western assumptions, we have the right to ask the following:
– Do the measures taken help accomplish the stated aims of the West? Will they help Ukraine?
– Are those measures and their consequences proportionate to the problems they claim to address?
– What will be the probable results and consequences of those measures, not only for Ukraine and Russia, but also for the security of the world (and in particular Europe), for the world economy and vis-a-vis other big threats to humanity (like the climate crisis and environmental threats).
– By answering these questions we will also be in a better position to elucidate the real motives and aims of this sui generis world war.
A Regime Change strategy
It is clear that the measures adopted by the USA and its allies or satellites against Russia correspond objectively to a strategy of “regime change” in Russia through provoking a protracted military conflict in Ukraine and the destruction of the Russian economy. The West hopes – and sometimes even admits it – that somebody in Russia will make a coup, or even kill Putin, and that Russia will return to the “normal” situation and re-become a “democratic” state. If we judge by recent (post-1990) history, what the West means when it is using this terminology is the transformation of Russia into a kind of banana republic, as it was under Boris Yeltsin’s rule.
Such a “regime change” strategy has been followed in the past 30 years against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.
In most cases, this strategy has failed completely for a very simple reason. If one attacks a country from outside, the people tend usually to support its leadership. This strategy has succeeded only in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, where the western armed forces intervened massively, and even there the results were only temporary. The Taliban rule now Afghanistan and the US influence in both Iraq and Libya is under serious threat.
The chances that such a strategy will succeed against a power as strong as Russia are near zero: all Russian history testifies to that, including Napoleon’s and Hitler’s campaigns, or the intervention of more than a dozen capitalist states in the Russian civil war. In all those cases and in many others, Russians have mobilised in a way nobody was able to predict, and they crushed the attacking forces.
If this was already true before Russia acquired nuclear weapons, it is much more probable to happen again in conditions of Russia being one of the two nuclear superpowers.
And if this strategy results in a regime change in Russia, this will be a regime change Americans will not appreciate. It is simply impossible to repeat the “perestroika” and Yeltsin experiments, for the very simple reason that the average Russian remembers all too well that those experiments provoked the biggest social, economic and demographic disaster in the whole history of the industrial world, if we judge them by the obsective measures of GDP, investments, capital flight, level of life, demography etc. It is a joke to pretend that those experiments were aimed at establishing, or established, some kind of democracy (i.e. the kratos – power – of the dimos – of the people, the Assembly of Citizens, according to the etymology of the word democracy) in the former USSR.
The possibilty of a chaotic decomposition of Russia is also extremely unlikely. Besides, were it to become probable, a sound person (not the case of most politicians nowdays) should be rather frigthened by the prospect of chaos reigning over a nuclear superpower.
For all the above reasons, the strategy of regime change in Russia will almost certainly fail in its main strategic aim. But even in failing, it may have enormous global consequences. Here are some of them:
1. Increasing the risk of global nuclear war
The only measure the United States and its allies-satellites have not adopted until now is the direct engagement of their armed forces against the Russian army, which would most probably lead to a global nuclear war and the elimination of the human species and other higher forms of life. But even this possibility, namely that life on the planet will end due to the use of nuclear and other means of mass destruction (including for example new artificial coronaviruses or extensive use of cyberweapons), has now become much more likely due to the total character of the war unleashed by the West.
The fact that important arms treaties like the ABM, the INF and the “Open skies” treaties have already been unilaterally repudiated by the United States is also a factor heavily aggravating the international security situation.
Not only do we now lack most legal constraints to unleashing a dangerous arms race potentially leading to nuclear war, but are also destroying the ideological and political foundation behind them, that is the acceptance by everyone of the two nuclear superpowers of the legitimacy of the other, as was reflected in the Kennan doctrine of containment and the Soviet policy of “peaceful coexistence” during the Cold War.
Another aggravating factor is the multiplication of talk about “tactical” nuclear arms. There are no tactical nuclear arms, because even the use of a “small” nuclear weapon will have strategic consequences. Nobody can know what will happen after the use of even a small nuclear bomb. The probability of stopping the escalation of a nuclear conflict after the first use of such a weapon is not very high.
In conditions of a total “sui generis world war” against Russia, there is obviously an increased probability of a nuclear conflict by mistake, by miscalculation or by provocation by the extremist international “war party”. This party existed all along the first Cold War and contnued to exist after it, organized around various groups like the Committee for the Present Danger and its various reincarnations (the last one against China, around the ex-Goldman Sachs executive and Trump’s strategist Steve Bannon, coordinator of a world Far Right network) and various other lobbies like the Neocons, the Project for a new American Century etc. Using often “entryism” and “undergound” tactics inside the western establishment, operating in both US parties and in other international power centres, profiting from the coherence of their strategy (“only war can solve all problems”), they were able to lead all the western system into adopting their strategy in critical moments. They are responsible, among many other things, for allowing 9/11 to happen, for programming and unleashing the Middle Eastern wars, for pushing Trump into the bombing of Syria and his nuclear threats against North Korea. They were pushing continuously for a war against Iran, which could hardly remain conventional.
If we judge by what they do, not by what they say, their main idea is that only war (including nuclear war), or at least the threat of war, can “save the world”. Because their “world” is the American and western capitalist domination of the world (and also the complete Israeli domination of the Middle East).
They know that the majority of the western establishment and the western societies, although they also want the preservation of western capitalist domination on the world, are not ready to risk its destruction in order to dominate it! So they need to create the conditions (including by provocations, as they did for example in Syria in 2013, 2017 and 2018), which will make this war unavoidable. And one such condition is to create a situation when both camps will feel they cannot go back, without suffering a strategic defeat.
During the Cold War, a fundamental obstacle to unleashing a global nuclear war was the realization of the Mutually Assured Destruction, a principle which constitured the foundation of the the ABM and other Arms Control treaties.
The way the Ukrainian crisis is developing, although it has not destroyed – for the time being – this understanding, is already undermining it, with a dangerous poker game being played between Russia and the West, a poker which can easily degenerate into a “Russian roulette” game and which provides ample room for extremists to try provocations.
Nuclear war was avoided, with considerable difficulty, during the first Cold War, because everyone in both camps recognised the legitimacy of the other (this was a fundamental element of both Kennan’s “containement” strategy and of the Soviet policy of “peaceful coexistence). When you begin to treat the opposite side as Hitler, criminal or mad, you destroy any possibillity of a negotiated settlement and any compromise, thus facilitating the unleashing of the nuclear Armaggedon, even if you are not aiming at that.
In any case, one can hardly imagine such a conflict between NATO and Russia continuing and escalating indefinitely, but remaining within safe limits. There is a clear danger to live through a “slow motion”, prolonged Cuban Missile Crisis, much more dangerous, as there are much less communication channels between East and West and many more points of “structural instability” (like the sovereignty questions in different regions of the post-soviet space).
If this world conflict will last for a long time, then any possibillity of nuclear, biological, chemical, space or cybernetic arms control will disappear. By its very dynamic such a conflict will tend to extend to all domains and to all continents.
Towards a climate Holocaust
NATO’s war against Russia, if it continues for much longer, and if steps are not taken to immediately re-create a climate of international co-operation, will ensure the end of humanity due to climate change. As climatologists have repeatedly warned us, the last time being the conclusion of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, released on April 5, measures to reverse climate change must be taken now, because climate changes are already becoming irreversible. No effective action to reverse this phenomenon will be possible in the future. Earth will enter into another “climate orbit”, where climate change will become self-propelling and will probably lead to a climate incompatible with the preservation of higher life forms.
Taking such measures requires a climate of very deep global co-operation and planning on a world scale, which is why it is incompatible with cold and hot wars. The same is true of all major world problems. The sanctions already entail a multiple burden on the environment, while there is a massive transfer of resources, necessary for any green transition (as well as in the fight against inequalities and other ecological threats), to new armaments programmes.
The deepest irony of the situation is that German Greens (or Blacks?) have now become the protagonists in supporting NATO’s war against Russia, with all its terrible consequences for ecology and the natural environment of the Earth.
2. Towards a climate Holocaust
NATO’s war against Russia, if it continues for much longer, and if steps are not taken to immediately re-create a climate of international co-operation, will ensure the end of humanity due to climate change. As climatologists have repeatedly warned us, the last time being the conclusion of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, released on April 5, measures to reverse climate change must be taken now, because climate changes are already becoming irreversible. No effective action to reverse this phenomenon will be possible in the future. Earth will enter into another “climate orbit”, where climate change will become self-propelling and will probably lead to a climate incompatible with the preservation of higher forms of life.
Taking such measures requires a climate of very deep global co-operation and planning on a world scale, which is why it is incompatible with cold and hot wars. The same is true of all major world problems. The sanctions already entail a multiple burden on the environment, while there is a massive transfer of resources, necessary for any green transition (as well as for the fight against inequalities and other ecological threats), to new armaments programmes.
The deepest irony of the situation is that German Greens (maybe we should call them Blacks?) have now become the protagonists in supporting NATO’s war against Russia, with all its terrible consequences for ecology and the natural environment of the Earth.
3. Chaos on the planet
The sui generis world war against Russia that has been unleashed can also cause a major economic and social crisis in both developed and southern countries.
This war is already threatening even the most elementary, utterly necessary (even if one is unsatisfied of the results of their action) institutions of international co-operation, such as the UN and the G20. For example, the representatives of three Western states walked out of the last G20 meeting. Mr. Biden has convened an international conference on the coronavirus. Is he going to invite Russia, or he will exclude her?
None of the major global problems can be addressed without the involvement of Russia and China and imposing sanctions of them will mean Nature will impose much more severe sanctions to everybody!
Watching what Western leaders are now deciding, one gets the impression that their minds are a few centuries behind. They are living probably at the time the West began its colonial campaigns in America, Asia and Africa.
After 1945, humanity acquired productive forces and technologies that rendered obsolete not merely the idea of Western domination, but the idea of domination in general. This is why nobody can win this new war between East and West. If we let this war go on and escalate it can only lead to the destruction of mankind.
If we continue to rely on a civilisation based on domination over other people and unlimited domination and exploitation of nature, if we do not radically and very quickly change the present human civilisation, then the present generation, or that of our children or grandchildren, has a very high probability of being the last to walk on our planet.
These problems are already evident. In many countries of the world, rising food and energy prices are leading to mass demonstrations and strikes. Oxfam is warning that any progress made in the last 25 years in fighting poverty is threatened, and that hundreds of millions of people will experience extreme poverty and hunger this year. The sanctions war is aggravating the danger of serious famine crisis in eight African countries.
The crisis will not be confined to the South. It is already manifesting itself in Europe. And we are talking only about socio-economic problems, not about Siberia and northern Canada that burned last year, the floods in Germany and China, the climate famine in Madagascar, the threat of destruction of the Amazon, the lung of the planet, the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, or Athens, which may become the first major city to suffer a kind of “thermal death”.
For all these reasons, there is no more urgent need today than the fight to stop the sui generis war unleashed by the West. It is not certain that humanity will be able to be saved if this war stops. What is certain is that humanity cannot survive in the long run the prolongation of such a war.
The political situation in the West
The policy of war now seems invincible in the West, because it has managed to rally around itself almost all sewtern political forces in the West and the entire complex of Western media, controlled in an unprecedented way by big financial capital (and its main centres in London and New York) and a system of “journalism” under the guidance of the Western secret services, with the British and American ones leading and controlling to a large extent the rest of the European ones.
Totalitarianism has made enormous progress in the West during the last 50 years and it has undermined whatever very limited real content remains under the form of “western democracy”.
In this political and “media – information – ideology” situation, where Russia, China and everybody crticizing Israeli policies represent the great Evil, the same way McCarthy was condemning any opponent as a “communist” in order to begin the cold war, the question of “stopping Russian agression in Ukraine” has become more important than any other question (even the survival of humanity itself).
Western politicians who do not agree with this policy do not find the courage or the capacity to propose alternatives. The Western public (including policymakers) is bombarded with totalitarian anti-Russian propaganda, which is undermining any feedback mechanism and the very capacity of the western system to understand and debate the real situation.
They are able even to inverse the understanding of causes and effects. They present for example NATO, without the continuous expansion of which the present extremely dangerous crisis hardy would happen, as a guarantor of peace and security. Finland and Sweden are preparing to enter NATO to defend themselves against an absolutely imaginary threat of a Russian invasion and, by entering NATO, to become themselves first-class targets to be annihilated in case of any nuclear conflict!
In Germany, the most powerful European state, they are presenting Russia as the power ready to unleash nuclear arms against them, exploiting the deep German fear of Russia (memories of the 1945 defeat) not to promote the need of peace but to channel it into aggressivity and hatred towards Russia.
One hopes that this situation is only temporary and will change quickly. Economic sanctions will hit not only Russia, but the standard of living of Europe itself. Europeans are being asked to pay a very high price, supposedly to maintain the West’s dominance of the planet, but in fact to intensify the US dominance over Europe and to bring the possibility of planetary catastrophes closer.
One hopes that this situation will lead, sooner or later, to the emergence of progressive forces, which will insist on stopping this sui generis world war and begin addressing the problems of the European contintent, according to the policy lines of the great European politicians of the post-War period, like General de Gaulle, Willy Brandt, Olaf Palme, Aldo Moro, Andreas Papandreou, Chirac, Villepin and Schroeder, who opposed at differend historical moments and circumstances the drive to world war and fought for a united Europe from “the Atlantic to the Urals” (de Gaulle), able to play a protagonistic role in the world and regenerate the best traditions of European civilisation.
Of course such a crisis can also lead, as history proves, to the emergence of Fascism in Europe, which can help the escalation of war. (Historical experience and the understanding of social dynamics behing right wing totalitarianisms do not permit any illusions about the direction the Far Right can take, in spite of various rhetorical pirouettes and tactical manoevres. After all, Hitler also gained power pretending he was a Socialist, and was able also to present himself as a friend of Soviet Russia in order to attack it more easily).
It is impossible to predict with certainty what will happen in the West during the months ahead. But now, under the present conditions, it is the South of Humanity which has a crucial role to play.
The non-aligned countries can become the voice of humanity
Given the dependence of western countries on the USA, given also the paralysis of the world institutions like the UN, as they cannot function in an environment of conflict between the permanent members of the Security Council, the movement of non-Aligned, representing today the majority of the countries and of the population of the planet, with an economic and military power much greater than when it was created, has a historic opportunity to intervene in this sui generis world war which begun.
It can do it first of all by protecting and strengthening the sovereignty and independence of its members, which America wants to enlist in its camp by using any available method, including blackmail and also by becoming the spokesmen for the general interests of humanity, East and West, North and South.
The Non-Aligned must now launch an initiative in order to stop the war and advance a compromise peaceful solution to the crisis.
Under the circumstances, such a solution can be found along the following lines, which must be applied simultaneously:
– Cessation of hostilities and the beginning of negotiations to find a peaceful solution that recognises the social, national and political rights and aspirations of all peoples inhabiting Ukraine, protects the right of all citizens to live without being terrorised by neo-Nazi gangs incorporated into the actual Ukrainian state, and also the right of Russia to exist in security, not threatened by the surrounding and encircling Nato troops and armaments.
– Immediate stop in arming Ukraine
– Immediate lifting of all measures taken against Russia, including those against states that do not want to apply anti-Russian sanctions.
– Lifting of all sanctions against all countries. Those sanctions have always proven ineffective for the aims which are officially “justifying” them. Thay affect mainly the populations of the countries – victims and not their regimes. And last but not least nobody has empowered the United States to assume the role of the ultimate judge and gendarme of the world. Such pretensions always lead to horrible results and the example of the US “unipolar moment” (1990 – 2015) has provided ample confirmation of this fact.
Under the present circumstances, only the non – Aligned countries can also have a role in verifying the application of any agreement in and on Ukraine.
A solution of the crisis, like the one described above, corresponds to the highest interests of both the Russian and the Ukrainian people and to the supreme interests of all humanity. The greatest triumphs of Russia in its history have happened when this nation has incarnated in its policies and aims values and visions corresponding to interests much wider that its narrow national interests. And Ukraine has absolutely no future as a western weapon against Russia.
Such an initiative of the non-Aligned could be also extended in a manifesto, which will be limited not only to the need to stop the sui generis world war which has already started, but will try to formulate the guiding lines of a programme of deep transformation of our world into a more equal, more democratic international structure, with parallel and simultaneous treatment of its major ecological, social and international problems.
Any country, any state which will become the protagonist of such an effort will enormously enhance its international radiation and prestige.
Indonesia, as a founding member of the non-aligned parties, but also the president now of the G20, could play an important role in this direction and convey to the G20 the voice and will of the great majority of humanity.
It is a historic opportunity for the Non- Aligned countries, for the South and for all humanity, an opportunity that should not be missed.
Τα άρθρα που δημοσιεύουμε δεν απηχούν αναγκαστικά τις απόψεις μας και δεν δεσμεύουν παρά τους συγγραφείς τους. Η δημοσίευσή τους έχει να κάνει όχι με το αν συμφωνούμε με τις θέσεις που υιοθετούν, αλλά με το αν τα κρίνουμε ενδιαφέροντα για τους αναγνώστες μας.