Question: In your book on the Ukraine war, you say that the United States and NATO provoked the war. How do you understand this word, “provoked”?
Abelow: To say that the U.S. and NATO provoked the war could mean two different things. Do I mean that they wanted a war, and that they knew their actions would start one? That is one possible meaning of “provoked.”
But “provoked” can also mean that their actions caused the war unintentionally. In fact, one can provoke a war while trying to avoid war. Although it is possible that some in the U.S. foreign policy elite wanted this war, I believe that most did not. I think that most were honestly trying to stabilize the peace. In English we have an idiom, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I think this expression applies to the role of the United States and NATO in creating this war.
Dan Kovalik and Rick Sterling, two antiwar and social justice activists have just returned from a fact-finding trip to Russia, including Crimea. They wanted to speak to Russians and, as people from the U.S., let the Russians know that they opposed the sanctions on Russia and the Western imposed isolation of their country. As the proxy war in Ukraine is putting nuclear powers in conflict to an extent we have not seen in decades, such trips should be the norm for antiwar activists in the US and Russia. But few Russians can get into the US and Western countries make it very difficult for people to travel to Russia.
Video of the Webinar (held on Saturday, June 3) is now available below.
Dan and Rick wrote three articles for Antiwar.com about their trip:
Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball at Breaking Points interviews Ben Freeman about his article at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Freeman reports on defense contractors buying off Ukraine war coverage in the media. It is a fascinating interview.