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A residential building destroyed in Mariupol, Ukraine. Picture: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO
A residential building destroyed in Mariupol, Ukraine. Picture: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

Nato’s war-mongering secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, now declares that the “Ukraine war could drag on for years”. Despite enormous expenditure on sophisticated weapons, the US and Nato were humiliated in Afghanistan less than a year ago. In their obsession to impose US military and financial hegemony throughout the world and having devastated Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and many other countries, the consequences now include the calamity of about 100-million refugees and displaced people. More than 90% of war casualties are civilians — so-called collateral damage. 

Undeterred, the US and Nato, plus a few European cheerleaders, deliberately provoked Russia into invading Ukraine in February. Prominent authorities — even former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger — had repeatedly warned for the past 30 years that eastward expansion of Nato would be viewed as an existential threat to Russia, but were ignored.

The US and Nato have now lost their proxy war against Russia, but again don’t care so long as the profits flow back to what Dwight D Eisenhower in 1961 described as the military-industrial-congressional complex — in short, the war business.

Russia has achieved its objectives of annexing Crimea and the Donbas region. The media hysteria that with fewer than 200,000 Russian soldiers president Vladimir Putin intended to conquer the whole of Ukraine and then also Western Europe, is nonsense. The US has poured billions of dollars’ worth of weapons into Ukraine, most of which are reported to be obsolete, dysfunctional and useless. Ukraine has reportedly also run out of Russian-made ammunition for its Soviet-era weapons. The EU faces economic collapse, while sanctions against Russia have backfired. As many as 350-million people, mainly in Asia and Africa, face starvation because of this madness, and Ukraine is devastated.

Our government rightly refused to get sucked into what could still become the third world war. Closer to home the US, Britain and Israel are supporting Uganda and Rwanda in the devastation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Africa’s first-world war, now raging since 1997 and so-called because the root cause is the plunder of natural resources, including coltan and cobalt required by the “first world’s” war business — has killed 5-million to 10-million people. SA has reason to be more concerned about US proxy wars in Africa than to get involved in Ukraine.

The world presently spends $2-trillion on war preparations, about 75% of which is by Nato members, while Russia spends “only” $60bn. A fraction of that $2-trillion could fund climate change priorities, renewable energy, poverty, hunger and other human security priorities instead of wars. SA should take the lead by closing down our armaments industry and, like Costa Rica, repurpose the SANDF for human security priorities instead of wars.  The “global south” should combine to demand the disbandment of Nato and the closure of the 800-plus US military bases targeted at Russia and China, including the 35 US bases in Africa, for example Diego Garcia.

Wars were outlawed after World War 1 and have been prohibited under international law since the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy of 1928, to which SA was an original signatory. The treaty, also known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact is still valid; its provisions were incorporated into the UN Charter in 1945, but the US sanctimoniously insisted upon inclusion of article 51 of the charter regarding “right of self-defence”, from which Nato spuriously claims to be a defensive alliance. The past 20 years of American “forever wars” have not only disproved such claims but have highlighted that it is the US, rather than Russia or China, that has become the menace to world peace. 

Ironically, Afghanistan again confirmed its historic reputation as the “graveyard of empires”.

Terry Crawford-Browne
World Beyond War SA

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