We in the peace community dialogue with a number of progressives who are all in for weaponizing Ukraine till it repels Russia from the Donbas and Crimea. They oppose any negotiations till Russia vacates both areas, ceasing all military action. They oversimplify the war as authoritarianism v. democracy, Russia’s attempt to gobble up Eastern Europe starting with Ukraine, and having noting to do with Russian security issues over NATO expansion and Ukraine’s war on its own people in the Donbas. They utterly disregard any US/NATO/Ukraine provocations for 8 long years that made invasion of a year ago this week virtually inevitable.
Ukraine war supporters are so convinced of the righteousness of the Ukraine cause, they will not acknowledge the 15 point peace plan that Turkey hammered out with Russia and Ukraine last March that could have ended the war within its first 2 months. In their minds the March visit of former UK PM Boris Johnson and April visit of US Defense Secretary, both of whom demanded Ukraine President Zelensky end negotiations in order to weaken Russia, never occurred.
Ukraine war supporters have maintained this position for all 365 days of this war. It’s now fair to ask them, ‘What has your support for endless war accomplished?’ If they were honest, they would reply nothing but 365 days of devastation to Ukraine which has turned it into a failed state. Twelve million Ukrainians either gone from Ukraine or relocated within. A third of its economy vanished. Over 100,000 military and civilians dead. Ukraine is essentially on life support, dependent on the US and NATO to continue functioning.
When we ask folks how they’re going to accomplish their goal of a Ukraine victory, they simply argue we must continue arming Ukraine till it prevails. They appear oblivious to the near certainty, that short of US/NATO going to war with Russia, that will never happen, whether in months, even years. Worse, they dismiss any concern the current conflict, as pursued by the US and NATO, may possibly lead to nuclear war. As one of my progressive friends advised me, “I trust President Biden to do the right thing.”
Right thing? President Biden had provoked confrontation with Russia over Ukraine for 8 years as Vice President and 2 years as President. He torpedoed a negotiated settlement that could have been reached last April. He has squandered over $100 billion is aid that has prolonged Ukraine suffering rather than end it.
We all want peace in Ukraine. Had the peace community position been followed by the US, there would have been no war. Once started, it would have ended last April. We’ve been shut out of the national debate by both our government and our media. That has been a catastrophe for Ukraine and may end up a catastrophe for mankind.
We voices of peace will not be silenced. We will continue to tell those seeking total Ukraine victory, “We know what you want. After a year of failure, how do you get there without blowing up the whole world?”
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.