Ukraine: Intensifying Dangers, Dangerous Lies

April 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The situation in Ukraine continues to be tense, dangerous, and unpredictable. In the aftermath of a regime change that put pro-U.S. forces in the Ukrainian ruling class in power, Russia orchestrated an independence referendum in the region of Crimea (home to a major Russian naval base), and after an overwhelming majority in Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine, Russia has declared that Crimea is now annexed into the Russian Federation. The pro-U.S. Ukrainian regime is moving to assert control of the eastern part of the country, including by forcibly disbanding pro-Russian protests that have seized government buildings in a number of cities. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Russian troops remain massed on Ukraine's border, and Russia is threatening to cut off or curtail essential gas deliveries to Ukraine.

Neither side in this conflict—essentially between the predatory imperialist powers of Russia on the one hand and the U.S. and its allies on the other—appears to prefer the outbreak of full-fledged war. But the situation in Ukraine involves a complex and combustible mix of clashing outside powers and internal reactionary forces that could set off a war, regardless of the intentions of the U.S. or Russia. And there are global conflicts among reactionary powers that are framing and driving the situation in Ukraine, and in turn those global conflicts are impacted by how things turn out in Ukraine.

Nobody can say where all this will lead. But one thing can be said: Whether or not this particular conflict erupts into open warfare, nothing good will come from any of these clashing reactionary forces. And that is true regardless of how many people are misguided into rallying under the banners of these forces at any particular time.

Dangerous Lies

People are being systematically lied to about the driving forces behind the conflict in Ukraine.

The rulers of the U.S. say Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine are trampling on the integrity of other peoples. True. But who's talking!? From the initial theft through genocide of the lands of the Native peoples in North America to the latest drone attack in Yemen or Pakistan, the U.S. has an unchallengeable claim to be the world's number one, all-time violator of the integrity of other peoples. (See "Trampling On Other Nations? The U.S. Empire Was Built on That.")

When pro-Russian protesters seize government buildings in the eastern part of Ukraine, the U.S. declares they are "being used" by outside powers. Again true, but again, who is talking? The rulers of the U.S. were knee deep in manipulating a regime change in Ukraine that set off the current conflict. A leaked audio of a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine revealed these officials discussing which representative of the Ukrainian ruling class should replace the elected president, and how to effect that change in a way that would have the UN appear to be the force orchestrating the change.

And the rulers of the U.S. and their media use highly selective news clips of people in the streets to justify self-righteous proclamations that any political force that serves the interests of the U.S. in global contention with other powers is "the voice of the people."

What's Really Behind the Conflict in Ukraine

As the U.S. rulers amp up their mass media to condition people in this country to see any outbreak of more intense conflict between pro-Russian and pro-U.S. forces in Ukraine as "Russian aggression," it is critical to understand, and fight for serious scientific understanding, of what this is all about.

(Click map to enlarge)

Ukraine is a country of 45 million people, geo-strategically located in relation to Russia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Black Sea. Ukraine is rich agriculturally, industrially developed, and strategically located between Russia, Europe, and the Middle East. Today pipelines carrying Russian natural gas crisscross the country. The country straddles the Black Sea (which connects to the Mediterranean Sea), and Russia's Black Sea fleet is based in Crimea. Russia considers Ukraine key to its military position.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Ukraine became the focal point of a new wave of contention between the U.S., Europe, and Russia.1

As we wrote in Revolution:

"That contention is the main driving force in the upheaval now gripping the country. Broadly speaking, since 1991, the rulers of the U.S. have assessed that it is essential to maintaining their empire to lock in global supremacy, including by hemming Russia in and preventing it from re-emerging as a global challenger. A key element of this strategy has been working with its European imperialist allies to absorb former Soviet bloc countries into the European Economic Union and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance....

"Meanwhile, Russia's capitalist rulers are driven to rebuild Russian power and influence. In part, this involves attempting to reassert their influence over bordering countries once part of the Soviet bloc, including by using their enormous energy resources as economic and geopolitical leverage.

"From 1991 on, these predatory imperialists—the U.S. and the European Union on one side (though the U.S. and Western Europe each have their own strategic agendas) and Russia on the other—have generally been in direct contradiction, even as there are times when these rival powers cooperate for their own reactionary interests." ("Ukraine: Not a 'Democratic Uprising' but a Clash Between Predators")

In short: Underlying all the claims and counter-claims, the essence of the situation continues to be jockeying for position and geopolitical advantage by rival imperialist powers—with the potential to escalate into direct great-power confrontation.

The Interests of Humanity

The interests of the vast majority of humanity lie entirely outside the terms of this clash of global predators.

The unexpected eruption of conflict and danger of war in Ukraine shines a light on the reality that the existing world order is not stable, much less unchangeable. Events are not all under the control and will of contending oppressors. But left to their own "logic," breakdowns in the status quo only lead to the restructuring of a world of global oppression—often in horrific ways. Syria is a case in point, with at least a million people driven from their homes by conflict between reactionary forces, and no force posing a positive way out for people.

Breaking out of the framework of the global world order means breaking out of the outlook and rule of capitalism—whether in the form of "U.S. democracy" (the essence of which is maintaining the world's largest empire and the world's largest prison population) or Putin's package of traditional (oppressive) values mixed with claims to being an alternative to U.S. global domination.

An essential element right now is for people in the U.S. to refuse to be played into aligning with the rulers of this country, and to expose and oppose the lies and moves of "their own" ruling class in Ukraine.


1. What was called the Soviet Union was actually two profoundly different societies: From 1917 to 1956, it was socialist and aimed at getting to a world without exploitation and oppression. After new capitalist forces seized state power and overthrew socialism, the Soviet Union developed into a capitalist-imperialist power contending with the U.S. for global domination. See "You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future" at [back]


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