[WSMDiscuss] [abolition caucus] Putin's War on Ukraine and the Bizarre Kaleidoscopic Coalition Advocating Putin's Cause

Sukla Sen sukla.sen at gmail.com
Tue Oct 4 17:38:30 CET 2022

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your comments.

Presented hereunder is my response.

*1*. The constituents of the de facto coalition advocating for "Putin's
cause" are doing it from under various banners depending on the
ideological-political slots they (seek to) occupy.
None of them are actually doing it from under the banner: "We/I Support
Putin!" For they know that under the given circumstances that would be
pretty much untenable. And the campaign would be far less effective than

It bears recalling that on Feb. 21, in a televised address Putin
himself--eventually ending a rather longish spell of denial of any
possibility of any war concerning Ukraine--put the goal of the invasion to
be actually launched, just three days after, as under:
[*T]oday the “grateful progeny” [i.e. independent Ukraine] has overturned
monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They call it decommunization.*
*You want decommunization? Very well, this suits us just fine. But why stop
halfway? We are ready to show what real decommunizations would mean for
Ukraine [.e. complete erasure of Ukraine's separate identity that was the
doing of the earlier Communist regime in Russia+].*
(Ref.: <http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67828>.)
Then on Feb. 24, just before the launch, in another televised address, he
would announce:
*(I)n accordance with Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter, with
permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties
of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and
the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February
22, *I made a decision to carry out a special military* *operation*
[emphasis added now].*
To be followed up with:
*The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years
now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev
regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as
well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against
civilians *[i.e., at the very minimum, depose the incumbent leaders and put
them to trial and install a puppet regime--if not annex Ukraine
outright--and, also, destroy it's military infrastructure] *including
against citizens of the Russian Federation*.
(Ref.: <http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67843>.)
*He also goes on to issue a, hardly veiled, nuclear threat:*
*I would now like to say something very important for those who may be
tempted to interfere in these developments from the outside. No matter who
tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country
and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and
the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history
[emphasis added now]. No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All
the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken*. *I* *hope that my
words will be heard*.
He and his minions would keep repeating such threats--even though only with
waning effects--from that point onward.
He has done it again, on September 24th: *In the event of a threat to the
territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people,
we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us,” Russian
President Vladimir Putin said in a speech Wednesday. “This is not a bluff."*
(Ref.: <

And given the reports of widespread atrocities committed by the Russian
troops, unearthing of mass graves in liberated territories and
indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, "We/I Support Putin!" is hardly
a banner that can be used outside the Russian borders.

*2*. *What's Putin's Cause?*
Putin's cause is obviously to annex as much of Ukraine as possible.
The formal annexation declaration of four occupied--even if not
entirely--regions, including two--over which Russia never had any special
claim--clearly testifies.

*3*. *How this cause can be served by outsiders in hostile foreign lands?*
As the outright "support" banner cannot be used, some of these
advocates--those belonging to the Left in particular--are trying to make
use of the *Peace* banner.

However, *in pursuance of a just and stable "peace", they don't ask for
immediate vacation of the aggression--withdrawal of the invading forces to
Feb. 24 position.*
While a pro-forma condemnation of the brutal and massive invasion is
issued--primarily to be used as the proverbial fig-leaf, *all the practical
demands are made only of the US and the NATO--in effect trying to force
them to desist from aiding David in his life-and-death battle with the
Goliath. With the sole aim of making the brave Ukrainians pushing back the
far larger and much better equipped invaders helplessly submit to the giant
That's what their campaign for this "peace" is all about.

*4*. Under the circumstances, *the genuine fighters for peace and universal
nuclear disarmament worldwide have no go but to tirelessly call out this
elaborate game of deception and keep pursuing the goal of "peace" by
forcefully asking the Russian invaders to go back to the positions on the
ground as had obtained before the launch of the invasion on Feb..24.*
The issues of paying reparation and war crimes etc may be settled later in
due course.
*The heroic resistance put up by Ukraine must be unequivocally solidarised


*P.S*.: As regards the "provocations" bit--usually latched on to by Putin's
apologists (in disguise)--here's a fairly comprehensive treatment of the
arguments put forward by, understandably, the most eminent pusher of this

*Mearsheimer portrays the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that broke
out in 2014 as a civil war based on an ethnolinguistic divide between
Russian and Ukrainian speakers. Yet, somehow, Ukraine’s fiercely
anti-Russian president is a Russian speaker, and there are no major groups
of Ukrainians in even the most predominately Russian enclaves welcoming the
recent invasion. That’s because there is neither an equation in Ukraine
between speaking Russian and being Russian, nor being Russian and wanting
to unite with Russia. *

*The identities are actually in flux and have changed dramatically since
2004, when the maps for the video were made. The country was almost equally
divided between people who identified themselves as Russian in 2004, but
the identities were never definitive and the Russian identity has declined
dramatically in recent years. According to a recent Morning Consult poll, a
mere 9 percent of Ukrainian citizens identify themselves as Russian today.
Even among Russian speakers, 42 percent identify with “Western interests”
while only 18 percent identify with “Russian interests.”*

*Mearsheimer is clear that the West is mostly responsible for Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine, because the West has sought to peal Ukraine away from
the “Russian sphere of influence.” According to Mearsheimer, the West has
sought to do this through EU and Nato expansion, and by promoting democracy
in Ukraine. But he neglects to mention that while Ukrainians have sought
Nato membership since the end of the Cold War, there has been little
stomach for it in Nato, precisely out of a respect for the “Russian sphere
of influence.” *

*If Ukraine’s membership were so important to Nato, they might have been
expected to invite Ukraine to join when they possessed over four thousand
nuclear warheads and were clamoring to be admitted in the early nineties.
They might have been expected to invite Ukraine to join after they held
mass peaceful protests calling for democracy and an end to corruption in
the 2004 Orange Revolution. They might have been expected to invite Ukraine
after citizens overwhelmingly voted in pro-Europe candidates in a series of
elections following the Euro Maidan Protests in 2014. And they might have
been expected to start the admissions process when Ukrainians
overwhelmingly voted for a president who made joining Nato a central plank
in his campaign in 2019. *

*Mearsheimer neglects to mention that Ukraine was not slated to join Nato
when Putin invaded it in 2014, and there was no serious talk of it when he
invaded in 2022. In fact, Putin made sure that Ukraine could not enter Nato
by maintaining an ongoing war in the Donbass, for no states with ongoing
border disputes can join Nato. Mearsheimer definitively negates the
argument that Putin recently invaded Ukraine because of Nato expansion in
stating that he has “talked to countless policy makers about it” and “Nato
expansion is dead.” *

*But if Mearsheimer was positive that Nato expansion was dead in 2015, why
are people sharing his videos as proof that Nato is to blame for Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine in 2022?*

*Mearsheimer blames Nato for welcoming Georgia into its alliance on April
3, 2008, claiming that it got “uppity,” and that this justified Russia's
invasion of it. However, Georgia and Ukraine were not invited to the
conference. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel and several other heads of state
vetoed their membership request at the meeting, noting Mearsheimer’s own
argument that it encroached on the “Russian sphere of influence.” Thus,
when Russia invaded Georgia later in 2008, and peeled away its province of
South Ossetia, they were invading a country that had actually just been
rejected from Nato.*

*Mearsheimer’s disingenuousness is on full display when he digs into the

*He gives a day by day account of what happened in the so-called Euromaidan
“coup” of 2014. Yet, in a striking act of intellectual dishonesty, he
conveniently leaves out the date in which a quorum of every voting member
of every major political party in parliament voted to remove Yanukovych
from the presidency. He says “there is killing on the Maidan,” and he lists
the number of people killed, while emphasizing the “fascist elements”
engaged in violence. But he fails to mention that the police started the
killing, killed dozens before protesters started fighting back, and killed
roughly eight protesters for every officer downed.*

*He gives a day by day recounting of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea,
mentioning that Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia. Yet, he neglects
to mention they literally did so at gunpoint, with Russian troops
surrounding the voting chamber. He mentions that Crimeans voted to join
Russia in a referendum but neglects to mention that surveys prior to the
vote suggested only 20 to 40 percent supported joining Russia while an
absurd 97 percent purportedly voted for it in the referendum. Of course,
the referendum was fraudulent. It occurred ten days after the invasion, was
overseen by a pro-Russian extremist party, involved no international
observers, and took place amid numerous disappearances of politicians and
activists. *

*Mearsheimer has a more general point to make about the expansion of Nato
stoking Russian fears. Yet, as we have seen, the wider argument is rooted
in a series of misleading claims. Meanwhile, he overlooks his own role in
influencing policy makers. For decades, he has argued that Russia will
strike back if Nato expands into its “sphere of influence.” And ever since
the Berlin Wall fell, western heads of state have heeded the warning,
delaying and rejecting the pleas of Eastern European states to be let into
the organization. *

*And at the end of the day, he turned out to be wrong. It was the states
that Nato admitted which remained safe and only those that remained on the
outside, when they were not being seriously considered for membership, that
were invaded. In this way, Mearsheimer helped invite Russian imperialism by
seeking to placate it. And he completely misjudged Putin, who not only
invaded the whole of Ukraine, but did so when it was not slated for Nato
membership. Meanwhile, he did so when Nato was not expanding but rather at
its weakest, following the controversial withdrawal from Afganistan *[emphasis
added now]*. *

(Excerpted from: <

Arguably, the most significant point is that *a* *country whose desperate
appeals for the NATO membership remained unattended has become the first
country in Europe to be invaded-- that too in a very big way--since the
WWII. Not the other way round*. In fact, despite shrill threats, Finland
and Sweden have not been attacked on their joining the NATO--finally
shedding their traditional neutral status--under the traumatic impact of
the Ukraine invasion.

On Tue, Oct 4, 2022, 11:07 John Walsh <jvwalshmd at gmail.com> wrote:

> Right you are, Theresa.
> The language in that Atlantic article is unhinged in so many ways.
> It really does not deserve consideration,
> To call Putin a fascist while Zelensky’s armed forces display neo-Nazi
> insignia and tatoos is laughable.
> But the author of the Atlantic article does point out, disapprovingly,
> that there is considerable agreement across the ideological spectrum that
> the US bears responsibility for this war which it has been working on
> diligently since the Obama administration - at least.
> That agreement across the spectrum should tell us that down deep there is
> considerable dissatisfaction with the war.  It means we should be able to
> assemble a wider and stronger force to oppose the war and the drive for US
> global hegemony.  Let’s hope we are successful before the hawks blow us all
> up.
> John V. Walsh
> Sent from my iPad
> On Oct 3, 2022, at 10:25 PM, Theresa El-Amin <sarnetwork at gmail.com> wrote:
> What coalition is advocating Putin's cause?
>  The US based "Peace in Ukraine" coalition is opposed to the invasion of
> Ukraine by Russia. Now that it's happened, the road to peace must be
> negotiated. Yes; some of us see that Putin has a point on the expansion of
> Biden and the NATO countries are escalating by supplying weapons to
> Ukraine with no end in sight.
> NATO is a recipe for endless war. That has been clear for some time. Yes,
> the US saw the invasion by Russia as imminent when Russia amassed thousands
> of troops at the Ukrainian border. Yes, the US provoked a proxy war against
> Russia using Ukraine.
>  Finland and Sweden joining NATO is further provocation. Biden welcomed
> the entry of Finland and Sweden. Billions in US funds and weapons to
> support Ukraine fighting "to the last Ukrainian".
> As an anti-war movement in the US, we need to be stronger to stop US
> imperialism. The war in Ukraine has the two biggest nuclear powers (Russia
> and US) making the danger of planet annihilation a threat not to be
> ignored. We must do everything we can to work for peace in Ukraine.
> War will never bring peace. That's a lesson we should all have learned by
> now.
> If we want peace in Ukraine, we should work for a ceasefire and a
> negotiated settlement. More war is not the answer.
>  We must build a global peace movement to end endless war.
> On October 18, women working in Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the
> US for global peace will share their views in the No to NATO webinar
> organized by members of the Women's International League for Peace and
> Freedom (WILPF).
> Since 1915, women in WILPF have worked for peace and freedom. We know that
> women and innocent children suffer during wars disproportionately. We're
> clear about what side we're on.
> For peace and freedom,
> Theresa El-Amin
> WILPF-US Fannie Lou Hamer Branch
> Southern Anti-Racism Network
> www.wilpf.org
> www.projectsarn.org
> On Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 11:45 PM Sukla Sen <sukla.sen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> <<In 1942, answering a pacifist opponent of British involvement in the
>> Second World War, George Orwell replied that “pacifism is objectively
>> pro-fascist.” There have of course been many times in human history when
>> opposition to war has been morally justified, intellectually coherent, and,
>> in the end, vindicated. But the war to defeat fascism during the middle
>> part of the past century was simply not one of them. “This is elementary
>> common sense,” Orwell wrote at the time. “If you hamper the war effort of
>> one side you automatically help that of the other.”
>> Eight decades later, as a fascistic Russian regime wages war against
>> Ukraine, a motley collection of voices from across the political spectrum
>> has called upon the United States and its allies to adopt neutrality as
>> their position. Ranging from anti-imperialists on the left to isolationists
>> on the right and more respectable “realists” in between, these critics are
>> not pacifists in the strict sense of the term. Few if any oppose the use of
>> force as a matter of principle. But nor are they neutral. It is not
>> sufficient, they say, for the West to cut off its supply of defensive
>> weaponry to Ukraine. It must also atone for “provoking” Russia to attack
>> its smaller, peaceful, democratic neighbor, and work at finding a
>> resolution that satisfies what Moscow calls its “legitimate security
>> interests.” In this, today’s anti-war caucus is objectively pro-fascist.
>> To appreciate the bizarrely kaleidoscopic nature of this caucus, consider
>> the career of a catchphrase. “Is Washington Fighting Russia Down to the
>> Last Ukrainian?” asked the headline of a column self-published in March by
>> Ron Paul, the former Republican congressman and presidential candidate. It
>> was a strange question for Paul to be posing just three weeks into
>> President Vladimir Putin’s unjustifiable and unforgivable invasion,
>> especially considering the extraordinary lengths to which the Biden
>> administration had gone to avoid “fighting Russia.”
>> Even stranger than Paul’s assertion that the U.S. was goading Ukrainians
>> into sacrificing themselves on the altar of its Russophobic bloodlust,
>> though, has been the proliferation of his specious talking point across the
>> ideological spectrum.
>> ...
>> “A great deal is being said about the United States’ intention to fight
>> against Russia ‘to the last Ukrainian’—they say it there and they say it
>> here,” the Russian president mused the following week, prefacing his
>> mention of the gibe with his own version of that Trumpian rhetorical
>> flourish, “A lot of people are saying.” That same month, an American
>> Conservative article by Doug Bandow of the libertarian Cato Institute was
>> headlined “Washington Will Fight Russia to the Last Ukrainian,” denying
>> Ukrainians any agency in their own struggle by answering the question Paul
>> had rhetorically asked.
>> Soon after, the dean of realist international-relations theorists, the
>> University of Chicago scholar  John Mearsheimer, used the line as though
>> he’d just thought of it. By then, the argument that America was “fighting
>> Russia to the last Ukrainian” had ping-ponged between both ends of the
>> ideological spectrum an astonishing number of times. The point for the
>> anti-imperialist left and the isolationist right, as well as the realist
>> fellow travelers hitched to each side, was that blame for the conflict lies
>> mainly with the U.S., which is using Ukraine as a proxy for its nefarious
>> interventionism in Moscow’s backyard.
>>  the fringe left would blame America—which it views as the source of all
>> capitalist exploitation, military aggression, and imperialist evil in the
>> world—for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is predictable. It blames America
>> for everything. When, two days after the Russian invasion began on February
>> 24, the Democratic Socialists of America called upon “the US to withdraw
>> from NATO and to end the imperialist expansionism that set the stage for
>> this conflict,” mainstream Democrats condemned the statement. More
>> significant has been the position taken by mainstream realists, who
>> similarly fault the West for somehow “provoking” Russia into waging war on
>> its neighbor. These politically disparate forces share more than a talking
>> point. They also have a worldview in common.
>> ...
>> Many commentators have likened Volodymyr Zelensky to Winston Churchill
>> for his charismatic resistance to foreign invaders and his ability to raise
>> the morale of his people. In light of this popular association, the
>> headline that the editors of Compact devised for Ungar-Sargon’s
>> apologia—“Zelensky’s War”—is nauseating, blaming the victim while seeming
>> to evoke the title of a notorious book by the Holocaust-denying historian
>> David Irving, Churchill’s War.
>> Condemning the U.S. and its allies for the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine
>> requires one to ignore or downplay a great deal of Russian misbehavior.
>> This is a characteristic that unites left-wing anti-imperialists,
>> right-wing isolationists, and the ostensibly more respectable “realists.”
>> "Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out
>> of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet Empire, and he may
>> eventually go after the rest of Ukraine as well as other countries in
>> Eastern Europe,” Mearsheimer wrote in a 2014 essay titled “Why the Ukraine
>> Crisis Is the West’s Fault.” “But this account is wrong.” Eight years on,
>> as Russian forces marched toward Kyiv and Putin issued vague threats of
>> nuclear escalation, Mearsheimer made no acknowledgment of how very wrong
>> his own earlier, sanguine assessment of Putin’s intentions had been.
>> “We invented this story that Putin is highly aggressive and he’s
>> principally responsible for this crisis in Ukraine,” he told The New Yorker
>> a week into the invasion. Putin’s apparent goal of overthrowing Zelensky
>> and installing a puppet regime would not be an example of “imperialism,”
>> Mearsheimer argued, and was meaningfully different from “conquering and
>> holding onto Kyiv.” All of this linguistic legerdemain would surely come as
>> news to the Czechs, Poles, Slovaks, and other peoples of the region who
>> once suffered under the Russian imperial yoke.
>> ...
>> Russia’s war against Ukraine has exposed the incompetence of the Russian
>> military and the hubris of President Putin. It has also revealed the
>> bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people, who, contrary to Ron Paul’s
>> ambulatory talking point, had no need of any American to prod or gull them
>> into defending their homeland. Here in the U.S., the war has also exposed
>> the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of an ideologically diverse set of
>> foreign-policy commentators: the “anti-imperialists” who routinely justify
>> blatant acts of imperial conquest, and the “realists” who make arguments
>> unmoored from reality.
>> (Excepted from: <
>> https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/09/anti-war-camp-intellectually-bankrupt/671576/
>> >.)
>> In this context, may also look up:
>> I/VII <
>> https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158862648811242&id=636661241
>> >.
>> II. <https://groups.google.com/g/greenyouth/c/pqfuTTDztWk/m/uARMpjS9FgAJ
>> >.
>> III. <https://groups.google.com/g/greenyouth/c/rvJnYeSGK50/m/Sg6Bu6c-AwAJ
>> >.
>> IV. <https://groups.google.com/g/greenyouth/c/gs6YdxWFjDM/m/oildUPSbAAAJ
>> >.
>> V. <https://groups.google.com/g/greenyouth/c/ZKzrpDIoDTM/m/8_D-_M_uAAAJ>.
>> VI. <https://groups.google.com/g/greenyouth/c/-6GnujgwJdU/m/btLVgDIaAwAJ
>> >.
>> VII. <https://groups.google.com/g/greenyouth/c/sGTIp5xMyXE/m/PI-pMrVEAgAJ
>> >.
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