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Opinion Nato holds a central responsibility for the war in Ukraine

Arguing that the war has always been a proxy war between Nato and Russia, CHRIS WILLIAMSON argues that opposing the US-led imperialist alliance is key to avoiding a global conflagration

A YEAR after the start of the war in Ukraine, the No2Nato rally that was held on February 25 was an unqualified success, despite determined efforts to ban it.

Two venues cancelled the booking for the rally as a result of pressure from pro-war advocates. One of those that backed out was Conway Hall, despite its reputation for supporting free speech and progressive causes. They succumbed to what they described as an unprecedented onslaught of intimidation.

In the end, Bolivar Hall came to the rescue, and demand was so great we had to run the event three times in one day. Even then, we were not able to satisfy the demand. We could have sold out the room 10 times over. So despite the unprecedented pro-war propaganda, the opposition to this war is growing.

The No2Nato campaign has now been successfully launched and links have already been made with the Rage Against the War Machine (RAWM) campaign in the US — Nick Brana, one of the leaders of RAWM, flew over from Washington to join us at the No2Nato meeting.

The truth is Nato should have been dissolved after the USSR collapsed at the end of 1991: the dubious reason for its foundation no longer existed. But instead of delivering the much-trumpeted “peace dividend” promised by Margaret Thatcher and US president George Bush, Nato nearly doubled in size. The only dividends derived from the dissolution of the USSR were shareholder dividends for investors in companies manufacturing weapons of war.

Nato now poses an existential threat to humanity, but criticism of this menacing military alliance is suppressed, in our supposed democracy-loving nation. The hysterical Russophobia being whipped up by the political class and the corporate media could propel Britain into a third world war.

Even members of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs have fallen in line with the pro-war narrative. Many of them, along with some trade union leaders, are actively calling for even more weapons to be sent to Ukraine, claiming it’s a pathway to peace. This is the kind of madness that gripped parts of the labour movement in World War I.

Last December, Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, said a full-blown war between Russia and Nato was now a “real possibility.” Such a global conflict could lead us inexorably towards a nuclear apocalypse.

A panel of international atomic scientists have set the ominously named Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight. That is the closest to midnight the clock has been since it was established in 1947 to represent the threat posed to civilisation by nuclear weapons. It’s even closer to midnight than it was at the height of the cold war during the Cuban missile crisis over 61 years ago.

Ukraine could be the catalyst for a world war unless sufficient numbers of us speak out against this madness. Britain has already spent billions on “lethal aid” to prolong Nato’s proxy war against Russia. Former prime minister Boris Johnson even flew to Kiev last April to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to scupper the prospect of a peace deal, which was on the table at that time. And Johnson now wants to be Nato’s next secretary-general.

But this war should never have started. Nato has been provoking Russia for many years and openly boasts on its website of its links with Ukraine. As long ago as 1997, Nato and Ukraine established the Nato-Ukraine Commission to “take co-operation forward,” which saw Ukraine “actively contributing to Nato-led operations and missions.”

In 2008, Nato issued the Bucharest Declaration, which categorically stated that Ukraine would become a member of Nato. Russia repeatedly made it clear that this was a red line, not least because of the promise made to Mikhail Gorbachev that Nato would not expand one inch beyond the reunified German border. But despite that pledge, Nato proceeded to incorporate 14 eastern European countries into its membership.

Following the Nato summit in Warsaw in July 2016, Nato agreed to a “comprehensive assistance package” for Ukraine. Furthermore, in June 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted legislation proclaiming membership of Nato as a strategic foreign and security policy objective. This was followed in September 2020 by President Zelensky approving an even closer partnership with Nato.

If the boot was on the other foot, the US would not tolerate a military alliance involving Russia making the moves in Canada or Mexico that Nato has made in eastern Europe. The Monroe Doctrine stipulates that interference in any nation in the Americas, let alone Canada or Mexico, would be viewed as a hostile act against the United States. So Nato is indulging in breathtaking double standards when it comes to the present crisis in Ukraine.

The portrayal of the conflict in Ukraine as a battle for democracy is absurd. The truth is Zelensky’s regime is backed by literal nazis and is brutally repressing political opponents. But the arrests, beatings, torture, and murder of Ukrainians who disagree with the Kiev regime are being ignored by politicians and the corporate media alike.

Even the Orthodox Christian Church in Ukraine is in the firing line after Zelensky signed a decree imposing personal sanctions on representatives of religious groups deemed to have sympathies with Russia. Consequently, the regime in Kiev has crushed any semblance of meaningful democracy or dissent in the country, and it is a barefaced lie to claim otherwise.

The geopolitical reality is that Nato wanted the war in Ukraine, to weaken and ultimately balkanise Russia. The aim is to provide rich pickings for global corporations who own the political class and mainstream media, which is why we are being deluged with pro-war propaganda, and that is why the No2Nato campaign is essential.

Chris Williamson is the former Labour MP for Derby North. Twitter: @DerbyChrisW.

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