On the basis of lies, propaganda and subterfuge, the United States and its imperialist allies in Europe have launched and are escalating a war with Russia that threatens to trigger a nuclear third world war.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions have been displaced. The economic consequences of the war, including soaring inflation and fuel and food shortages all over the world, have been catastrophic for working people.
The US-led war against Russia is unfolding as a monumental conspiracy against the populations of the world. It has been organized behind the backs of the people and is being presented to the public as a fait accompli.
Not one of the crisis-ridden and despised governments leading the war effort, whether that of Biden, Johnson, Scholz or Macron, campaigned on the basis of starting a new world war. In the torrent of propaganda aiming to demonize Russia, the public has never been provided with a serious explanation as to its causes, aims and implications.
The war is justified with lies, because its aims are indefensible. If Biden were to give an honest speech explaining US involvement, this is what he might say:
My fellow Americans,
As president of the United States, I think it is my responsibility to provide you with an honest explanation as to what I meant when I said that the United States was determined to continue its intervention in the Ukraine war for “as long as it takes.”
First, let me explain the background to this decision.
In 2014, the Obama administration, of which I was the vice president and point man for Ukraine affairs, funded and organized a coup in Ukraine. Our aim was the removal of a government deemed too friendly to Russia. We carried out this coup by allying with and funding far-right paramilitary forces.
In response to the coup, Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Separatist, Russian-speaking enclaves in the eastern Donbas region sought to secede from the government in Kiev.
While we claimed to accept the Minsk agreements aiming to broker a ceasefire in the war in the Donbas, we were working behind the scenes to arm Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons, all the while encouraging it to seek to regain the Donbas and Crimea by military means.
In March 2021, we urged Ukraine to codify the reconquest of these territories, and three months later we signed a strategic partnership document, pledging the US to “support Ukraine’s effort to counter armed aggression.”
During the last eight years, we have massively armed and trained the Ukrainian military, utilizing fascist forces as its backbone, with the aim of provoking a war between NATO and Russia. Our efforts succeeded in February 2022.
Our aims in instigating this war are as follows:
1. In 1991, the United States proclaimed that the end of the Soviet Union would herald in a “new world order” of US global hegemony. We see Russia as an obstacle to the domination of the Eurasian landmass, which we believe is key to establishing this hegemony.
2. China is on track to eclipse the US economy in size within 10 years. We seek to contain the rise of China by economic and ultimately military means, but dominating Russia is the first step in a war against China.
3. Russia sits atop the world’s largest deposits of hydrocarbons, rare earths, metals and other key minerals, valued at $75 trillion, to which US corporations want access in order to dominate the world market.
4. Finally, in the name of the war effort, we seek to suppress domestic political opposition, criminalizing strikes and social protests in the name of the “national interest.”
I know that many of you are concerned that a war against the country in possession of the world’s second-largest nuclear arsenal may provoke a strategic nuclear exchange in which many of you will die. This is true. To use an old phrase from Dr. Strangelove, “I’m not going to say we won’t get our hair mussed.” But the achievement of the goals outlined above are certainly worth the lives of 50–100 million of you.
Such a declaration of the war aims of the United States and NATO would instantly trigger mass protests in the streets.
For this reason, all public discussion of the war has consisted entirely of pro-war propaganda. In a desperate effort to create popular support for the war, the US and European media has for months conducted a systematic campaign designed to make their populations hate Russia. Any facts or opinions that contradict the pro-war narrative have been labeled as Russian propaganda, and those who question the war are labeled all but treasonous.
The eruption of the NATO war with Russia takes place against the backdrop of an immense social, economic and political crisis, with every urgent social need met with the declaration that there is no money. Amid a raging pandemic, funds for vaccines and COVID-19 treatments are running out, while states and municipalities are slashing education budgets.
And yet an unlimited amount of money is made available for the war effort. Every day, the United States alone is spending $420 million on the war, and $2 billion on the military as a whole.
NATO intervention in the war was sold to the public with the declaration that an urgent infusion of resources into Ukraine was necessary to stop mass death and a humanitarian catastrophe in that country.
But what is the response of the architects of the war to the disaster they have created? Asked last week whether Russia was “taking over” significant sections of the country, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared, “Let’s not confuse the tactical with strategic.”
He added, “[W]hat’s really important is the strategic proposition that Putin will not succeed in what he’s tried to achieve… He’s also tried to divide NATO. We’re about to go to a NATO summit where the alliance is going to show greater unity, greater strength than in my memory.”
In other words, the actual fate of the people of Ukraine, the nominal cause of the war, is a matter of total indifference to the strategists of American imperialism.
In the name of the war, every effort at social resistance by the working class is to be declared illegal. In Norway, where a powerful strike of gas workers broke out this week, the government imposed “compulsory arbitration” on workers, citing the “geopolitical situation we’re facing with war in Europe.”
A new world war will be the graveyard of all social and democratic rights for the working class. Such a war cannot be prosecuted outside of dictatorial forms of rule.
Despite the unanimous support for the war within all factions of the political establishment, polls consistently show broad popular opposition. This opposition, however, remains latent and unarticulated.
There is an urgent necessity to build a mass movement against war. The feverish determination of the ruling classes to drag humanity into a nuclear third world war must be opposed by the building of a powerful anti-war movement in the working class on the basis of a socialist perspective.