Sunday, 20 February 2022

It is so frustrating how otherwise good people get sucked into western imperial narratives. The public are lied to about every conflict that Britain and America involve themselves in, yet every time, some people will tell themselves this one is different. This time intervention is necessary. Their gullibility enables consent to be manufactured, and ensures the anti-war movement is labelled as crazy (just like Stop the War right now), but the anti-war movement is vindicated every single time.

In 2001, if you questioned the narrative, you were pro-Al Quaida. In 2003, if you questioned the narrative, you were pro-Saddam and his WMDs. In 2011, if you questioned the narrative, you were pro-Gaddafi. In 2018, if you questioned the narrative, you were pro-Assad. 

Challenging your government when it's beating the war drum does not make you pro-Putin or anyone else. It's literally what every responsible citizen should do. And remember, the west is happy to support foreign aggression when it comes from one of their allies.

If the US and UK really care about the safety of Ukrainians, why aren't we extending those concerns to the people of The Yemen who are being killed by the Saudis with British and American bombs? If we are so opposed to brutal dictators, why are we training the military of Cameroon who are butchering their own people? If we are so opposed to annexation, why do we keep giving Israel a free pass?

The fact is the US and UK are okay with crimes against humanity that are committed by our allies, especially if there is an opportunity to make profit. Let's not forget that we helped install Putin because we thought he was our guy and we looked the other way when he was invading Chechnya. 

Putin is not a saint, clearly, but to pretend that anyone who opposes western intervention is Pro-Putin is simply absurd. History shows there are always consequences to our interventions and there is almost always a better way. Some of us don't want to rely on the benefit of hindsight this time and we don't want to be hypocrites.

Consider our illegal conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Would Russia have been justified in intervening then? Should they have given state of the art weaponry to Saddam or the Taliban to help them kill our troops? If your answer is no, but you support western intervention now, ask yourself why the double standard?

It's time to stop dividing the world into good and bad guys and try to understand the complicated reality. The truth is the behaviour of so-called defensive alliance NATO is aggressive expansion. After promising not to expand one inch east, they have been doing just that, installing US military bases in Europe and pointing their missiles at Russia. 

Remember when Russia installed a missile base in Cuba? That was the Cuban missile crisis and everyone agreed it was a huge act of aggression. Now imagine if Russia had also installed missile bases in Canada, Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and half of Latin America. Imagine they were now pushing for a military base in Puerto Rico. Americans would feel pretty damn intimidated, wouldn't they?

Now let's bring this a little closer to home. Imagine that rather than NATO spreading into eastern Europe, a military alliance with Russia was spreading into western Europe. Imagine how you'd feel if that alliance wanted to move into Ireland. The thought is pretty claustrophobic, right?

You can argue all day long about how any country is free to join any military alliance it likes. This is true, but if you want to join such an alliance, it is foolhardy to not consider how your neighbours might react to such a move.

The behaviour of the Russians is so very far from perfect, but things are less black and white than is often portrayed by the media where nuance is sorely lacking. 

Many people in Eastern and Southern Ukraine speak Russian and there are many pro-Russian separatists. The US and UK are currently arming neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine who are chomping at the bit to butcher these people. Remember when we armed "friendly" rebel groups in Syria and it turned out we were really arming ISIS? Well, it looks like we are making the same mistake all over again.

Thankfully, the calmest head in the room is the Ukrainian president who is far from great, but at least calling out the hawkishness of the west and asking our media to calm down. He understands that we're inflaming the situation with our rhetoric, but there are reasons why we're talking the way we are.

Our governments need the public to be afraid - this is how they obtain consent for increased military budgets and fund our proxy wars. Our governments need former Soviet states to be afraid - this is how to push them into the arms of NATO and the EU. And I haven't even gone into the politics surrounding gas pipelines, but needless to say, we have economic and strategic interests, which are not necessarily the same as Ukrainian interests. 

If military conflict does break out, then we will continue arming the Ukrainians and position ourselves as their selfless allies. We will tell our public that our motives are to keep the Ukrainian public safe, rather than increase profits for Lockheed Martin and BAE. We will hail the conflict as proof that Putin was the only villain in the equation and we will infantilise the public who will sadly lap this up. However, armed conflict would be entirely unnecessary, and if the west just backed off and let Russia and Ukraine talk, we'd probably find diplomatic efforts went a lot more smoothly.