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Briefing: NATO Claims Africa as Its ‘Southern Neighbourhood’

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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In August 2022, the United States published a new foreign policy strategy aimed at Africa. The 17-page document featured 10 mentions of China and Russia combined, including a pledge to ‘counter harmful activities by the [People’s Republic of China], Russia, and other foreign actors’ on the continent, but did not once mention the term ‘sovereignty’. Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that Washington ‘will not dictate Africa’s choices’, African governments have reported facing ‘patronising bullying’ from NATO member states to take their side in the war in Ukraine. As global tensions rise, the US and its allies have signalled that they view the continent as a battleground to wage their New Cold War against China and Russia.

A New Monroe Doctrine?

At its annual summit in June, NATO named Africa along with the Middle East as ‘NATO’s southern neighbourhood’. On top of this, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ominously referred to ‘Russia and China’s increasing influence in our southern neighbourhood’ as a ‘challenge’. The following month, the outgoing commander of AFRICOM, General Stephen J Townsend, referred to Africa as ‘NATO’s southern flank’. These comments are disturbingly reminiscent of the neocolonial attitude espoused by the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, in which the US claimed Latin America as its ‘backyard’.

This paternalistic view of Africa appears to be widely held in Washington. In April, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Countering Malign Russian Influence Activities in Africa Act by a vote of 415-9. The bill, which aims to punish African governments for not aligning with US foreign policy on Russia, has been widely condemned across the continent for disrespecting the sovereignty of African nations, with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor calling it ‘absolutely disgraceful’.

The efforts by the US and Western countries to draw Africa into their geopolitical conflicts raise serious concerns: namely, will the US and NATO weaponise their vast military presence on the continent to achieve their aims?

AFRICOM: Protecting US and NATO’s Hegemony

In 2007, the United States established its Africa Command (AFRICOM) ‘in response to our expanding partnerships and interests in Africa’. In just 15 years, AFRICOM has established at least 29 military bases on the continent as part of an extensive network which includes more than 60 outposts and access points in at least 34 countries – over 60 percent of the nations on the continent.

Despite Washington’s rhetoric of promoting democracy and human rights in Africa, in reality, AFRICOM aims to secure US hegemony over the continent. AFRICOM’s stated objectives include ‘protecting US interests’ and ‘maintaining superiority over competitors’ in Africa. In fact, the creation of AFRICOM was motivated by the concerns of ‘those alarmed by China’s expanding presence and influence in the region’.

From the outset, NATO was involved in the endeavour, with the original proposal put forward by then Supreme Allied Commander of NATO James L Jones, Jr. On an annual basis, AFRICOM conducts training exercises focused on enhancing the ‘interoperability’ between African militaries and ‘US and NATO special operations forces’.

The destructive nature of the US and NATO’s military presence in Africa was exemplified in 2011 when – ignoring the African Union’s opposition – the US and NATO launched their catastrophic military intervention in Libya to remove the government of Muammar Gaddafi. This regime change war destroyed the country, which had previously scored the highest among African nations on the UN Human Development Index. Over a decade later, the principal achievements of the intervention in Libya have been the return of slave markets to the country, the entry of thousands of foreign fighters, and unending violence.

In the future, will the US and NATO invoke the ‘malign influence’ of China and Russia as a justification for military interventions and regime change in Africa?

Africa Rejects a New Cold War

At this year’s UN General Assembly, the African Union firmly rejected the coercive efforts of the US and Western countries to use the continent as a pawn in their geopolitical agenda. ‘Africa has suffered enough of the burden of history’, stated Chairman of the African Union and President of Senegal Macky Sall; ‘it does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War, but rather a pole of stability and opportunity open to all its partners, on a mutually beneficial basis’. Indeed, the drive for war offers nothing to the peoples of Africa in their pursuit of peace, climate change adaptation, and development.

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International Peace Forum: The United States Is Waging a New Cold War

Join us for a webinar on 17 September jointly organised by No Cold War, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, and Monthly Review.

We are witnessing a dangerous military, economic and political escalation by the United States and its Western allies against Russia and China. The US-led expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe is paralleled by an aggressive policy around Taiwan, symbolised by Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit.

Not only is the majority of the US political establishment united around pursuit of such hostile policies, some go even further, seeking to gain a “first strike” nuclear capacity. To secure its global hegemony, Washington appears willing to use any means to “weaken” both Russia and China, even at the risk of destroying the planet.

Confronted with this dangerous trend in international politics the No Cold War campaign, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, and Monthly Review have jointly produced a book analysing the situation titled The United States is Waging a New Cold War: A Socialist Perspective. The book contains essays by Deborah Veneziale, John Bellamy Foster, and John Ross, along with an introduction by Vijay Prashad

Join the authors for a panel discussion moderated by Mikaela Nhondo Erskog. The webinar will be held on Saturday 17 September at 09:00 Pacific Time, 12:00 Eastern Time, 17:00 British time, and 00:00 China time.

Register for this important event, here.

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Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a dangerous provocation

On 2 August, United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island of Taiwan in a dangerous provocation of China. The visit by Pelosi – the third-highest ranking US official in order of presidential succession – is the most significant trip to Taiwan by a U.S. official in 25 years, when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited the island.

Intended to encourage separatist forces on the island, Pelosi’s visit is a flagrant violation of the one-China principle. This principle, which recognises that Taiwan is part of China, has been adopted by the United Nations for over fifty years and forms the basis of diplomatic relations between the US and China. Today, 180 of the 193 UN member states recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan. 

This is a red line issue for China. Pelosi’s visit has been rightly condemned by the international community, and was even opposed by the US military, for threatening to escalate tensions between the US and China into a military conflict.

The United States must abandon its rogue foreign policy agenda and adhere to the international consensus. Failing to respect the territorial integrity of other countries leads to war – we are witnessing this in Ukraine, a war provoked by NATO’s decades-long expansion up to Russia’s border. The world does not need any more conflict, we need peace and cooperation to resolve the urgent crises facing humanity.

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Briefing: The world does not want a global NATO

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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In June, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) gathered in Madrid, Spain for their annual summit. At the meeting, NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept, which had last been updated in 2010. In it, NATO names Russia as its ‘most significant and direct threat’ and singled out China as a ‘challenge [to] our interests’. In the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this guiding document represents a ‘fundamental shift’ for the military alliance, its ‘biggest overhaul… since the Cold War’.

A Monroe Doctrine for the 21st Century?

Although NATO purports to be a ‘defensive’ alliance, this claim is contradicted by its destructive legacy – such as in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), and Libya (2011) – and its ever-expanding global footprint. At the summit, NATO made it clear that it intends to continue its global expansion to confront Russia and China. Seemingly oblivious to the immense human suffering produced by the war in Ukraine, NATO declared that its ‘enlargement has been a historic success… and contributed to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area’, and extended official membership invitations to Finland and Sweden. 

However, NATO’s sights extend far beyond the ‘Euro-Atlantic’ to the Global South. Seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, NATO welcomed Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand as summit participants for the first time and stated that ‘the Indo-Pacific is important for NATO’. On top of this, echoing the Monroe Doctrine (1823) of two hundred years ago, the Strategic Concept named ‘Africa and the Middle East’ as ‘NATO’s southern neighbourhood’, and Stoltenberg made an ominous reference to ‘Russia and China’s increasing influence in [the Alliance’s] southern neighbourhood’ as presenting a ‘challenge’.

85% of the World Seeks Peace

Although NATO’s member states may believe that they possess global authority, the overwhelming majority of the world does not. The international response to the war in Ukraine indicates that a stark divide exists between the United States and its closest allies on the one hand and the Global South on the other.

Governments representing 6.7 billion people – 85% of the world’s population – have refused to follow sanctions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia, while countries representing only 15% of the world’s population have followed these measures. According to Reuters, the only non-Western governments to have enacted sanctions on Russia are Japan, South Korea, the Bahamas, and Taiwan – all of which host US military bases or personnel.

There is even less support for the push to close airspace to Russian planes spearheaded by the US and European Union. Governments representing only 12% of the world’s population have adopted this policy, while 88% have not.

US-led efforts to politically isolate Russia on the international stage have been unsuccessful. In March, the UN General Assembly voted on a nonbinding resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 141 countries voted in favour, 5 countries voted against, 35 countries abstained, and 12 countries were absent. However, this tally does not tell the full story. The countries which either voted against the resolution, abstained, or were absent represent 59% of the world’s population. Following this, the Biden administration’s call for Russia to be excluded from the G20 summit in Indonesia was ignored.

Meanwhile, despite intense backing from NATO, efforts to win support for Ukraine in the Global South have been a complete failure. On 20 June, after several requests, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the African Union; only two heads of state of the continental organisation’s 55 members attended the meeting. Shortly thereafter, Zelensky’s request to address the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur, was rejected.

It is clear that NATO’s claim to be ‘a bulwark of the rules-based international order’ is not a view which is shared by most of the world. Support for the military alliance’s policies is almost entirely confined to its member countries and a handful of allies which together constitute a small minority of the world’s population. Most of the world’s population rejects NATO’s policies and global aspirations and does not wish to divide the international community into outdated Cold War blocs.

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Briefing: Is the United States preparing for war on Russia and China?

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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The war in Ukraine demonstrates a qualitative escalation of the United States’ willingness to use military force. In recent decades, the US launched wars on developing countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Serbia. In these campaigns, the US knew it enjoyed overwhelming military superiority and that there was no risk of a nuclear retaliation. However, in threatening to bring Ukraine into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the US was prepared to risk crossing what it knew to be the ‘red lines’ of the nuclear armed state of Russia. This raises two questions: why has the US undertaken this escalation, and how far is the US now prepared to go in the use of military force against not only the Global South but major powers such as China or Russia?

Using Military Force to Compensate for Economic Decline

The answer to ‘why’ is clear: the US has lost in peaceful economic competition to developing countries in general and China in particular. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in 2016 China overtook the US as the world’s largest economy. As of 2021, China accounted for 19% of the global economy, compared to the US at 16%. This gap is only growing wider, and, by 2027, the IMF projects that China’s economy will outsize the US by nearly 30%. However, the US has maintained unrivalled global military supremacy – its military expenditure is larger than the next nine highest spending countries combined. Seeking to maintain unipolar global dominance, the US is increasingly substituting peaceful economic competition with military force.

A good starting point to understand this strategic shift in US policy is the speech given by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on 26 May 2022. In it, Blinken openly admitted that the US does not seek military equality with other states, but military supremacy, particularly with respect to China: ‘President Biden has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead’. However, with nuclear armed states such as China or Russia, military supremacy necessitates achieving nuclear supremacy – an escalation above and beyond the current war in Ukraine.

The Pursuit of Nuclear Primacy

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the US has systematically withdrawn from key treaties limiting the threat of use of nuclear weapons: in 2002, the US unilaterally exited  from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; in 2019, the US abandoned the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty; and, in 2020, the US withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty. Abandoning these treaties strengthened the US’ ability to seek nuclear supremacy.

The ultimate aim of this US policy is to acquire ‘first strike’ capacity against Russia and China – the ability to inflict damage with a first use of nuclear weapons against Russia or China to the extent that it effectively prevents retaliation. As John Bellamy Foster has noted in a comprehensive study of this US nuclear build up, even in the case of Russia – which possesses the world’s most advanced non-US nuclear arsenal – this would ‘deny Moscow a viable second-strike option, effectively eliminating its nuclear deterrent altogether, through “decapitation”’. In reality, the fallout and threat of nuclear winter from such a strike would threaten the entire world.

This policy of nuclear primacy has long been pursued by certain circles within Washington. In 2006, it was argued in the leading US foreign policy journal Foreign Affairs that ‘It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike’.  Contrary to these hopes, the US has not yet been able to achieve a first strike capacity, but this is due to development of hypersonic missiles and other weapons by Russia and China – not a change in US policy.

From its attacks on Global South countries to its increased willingness to go to war with a great power such as Russia to attempting to gain first strike nuclear capacity, the logic behind the escalation of US militarism is clear: the United States is increasingly employing military force to compensate for its economic decline. In this extremely dangerous period, it is vital for humanity that all progressive forces unite to meet this great threat.

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Briefing: The United States has destabilised the world economy

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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The International Monetary Fund has announced that the global economy is entering a major slowdown, downgrading the growth prospects of 143 countries. At the same time, inflation rates have reached historic levels. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are falling into poverty, particularly in the Global South. Oxfam has sounded the alarm that we are ‘witnessing the most profound collapse of humanity into extreme poverty and suffering in memory’. What is producing this immense human suffering?

An Economic Crisis ‘Made in Washington’

On 13 April, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claimed that this global economic deterioration was due to the Russian war in Ukraine. This is factually incorrect. Although the conflict has worsened the situation, the key driver which has destabilised the world economy is the massive inflationary wave that had already built up in the United States and has now begun to crest on the world. Prior to the war in Ukraine, US inflation had already tripled in recent years from 2.5% (January 2020) to 7.5% (January 2022) before accelerating further to 8.5% (March 2022) after the war broke out. 

‘This isn’t Putin’s inflation’, the Wall Street Journal editorial board noted. ‘This inflation was made in Washington’.

The US consumer market absorbs a fifth of the world’s goods and services; as the demand for these goods outstrips the global supply, the tendency for US inflation to spread around the world is very high. The average Commodity Research Bureau Index, a general indicator of global commodity markets, has risen astronomically: as of 25 April, year-to-year prices have soared for oil (60%), palm oil (60%), coffee (56%), wheat (45%), natural gas (139%), and coal (253%). These price increases have sent shock waves through the global economy.

This instability is inseparably connected to US economic policy. Since 2020, the United States has increased its budget by $2.8 trillion. To finance this budgetary expansion, the US government increased borrowing to 27% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the Federal Reserve Bank increased the money supply (the quantity of money issued) by 27% year-on-year. Both of these increases are the highest in US peacetime history.

These huge US economic packages were generated to put cash in the hands of consumers. The US government focused on the economy’s demand side by putting money into circulation for consumption, but it did not increase spending on the economy’s supply side by putting money into investment. From 2019–21, 98% of US GDP growth was in consumption, while only 2% was in net investment. With a large increase in demand by consumers and almost no increase in supply, a huge inflationary wave grew in the United States.

Investing in Guns or People?

Inflation in the United States, which has global implications, is a by-product of its economic priorities. For the past half-century, US governments have not used the country’s social wealth to make substantial social investments in areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure, nor have they invested in the manufacturing sector to increase supply. Instead, to manage inflation the government has chosen to push an agenda which cuts demand. These cuts in demand have already lowered living standards; for instance, real wages in the United States have fallen by 2.7% in the past year. 

Instead of making social investments to prevent such economic downturns, the US government has prioritised its military, which receives a budget increase every year. In 2022, the Biden administration proposed a military budget of $813 billion, a 9.2% increase over the military budget in 2021 – larger than the next eleven highest spending countries combined. To justify this massive expenditure, the Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, has invoked the need to ‘combat threats’ posed by China and Russia.

A reduction in US military spending would free up government funds to invest in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and manufacturing. However, this would necessitate a shift in US foreign policy, which does not appear to be on the horizon. Until that time, the people of the United States and other countries will have to sustain the costs of Washington’s new Cold War.

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Briefing: World hunger and the war in Ukraine

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our new series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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The war in Ukraine, along with sanctions imposed by the United States and Western countries against Russia, have caused global food, fertiliser, and fuel prices to ‘skyrocket’ and endanger the world food supply. This conflict is exacerbating the existing crisis of global hunger and imperils the living standards and well-being of billions of people – particularly in the Global South. 

War in the ‘breadbasket of the world’

Russia and Ukraine together produce nearly 30 percent of the world’s wheat and roughly 12 percent of its total calories. Over the past five years, they have accounted for 17 percent of the world’s corn, 32 percent of barley (a critical source of animal feed), and 75 percent of sunflower oil (an important cooking oil in many countries). On top of this, Russia is the world’s largest supplier of fertilisers and natural gas (a key component in fertiliser production), accounting for 15 percent of the global trade of nitrogenous fertilisers, 17 percent of potash fertilisers, 20 percent of natural gas.

The current crisis threatens to cause a global food shortage. The United Nations has estimated that up to 30 percent of Ukrainian farmland could become a warzone; in addition, due to sanctions, Russia has been severely restricted in exporting food, fertiliser, and fuel. This has caused global prices to surge. Since the war began, wheat prices have increased by 21 percent, barley by 33 percent, and some fertilisers by 40 percent.

The Global South is ‘getting pummelled’

The painful impact of this shock is being felt by people around the world, but most sharply in the Global South. ‘In a word, developing countries are getting pummelled,’ United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently remarked.

According to the UN, 45 African and ‘least developed’ countries import at least a third of their wheat from Russia or Ukraine – 18 of those countries import at least 50 percent. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, obtains over 70 percent of its imports from Russia and Ukraine, while Turkey obtains over 80 percent. 

Countries of the Global South are already facing severe price shocks and shortages, impacting both consumption and production. In Kenya, bread prices have risen by 40 percent in some areas and, in Lebanon, by 70 percent. Meanwhile, Brazil, the world’s largest producer of soybeans, is facing a major reduction in crop yields. The country purchases close to half of its potash fertiliser from Russia and neighbouring Belarus (which is also being sanctioned) – it has only a three month supply remaining with farmers being instructed to ration.

‘The United States has sanctioned the whole world’

The situation is being directly exacerbated by U.S. and Western sanctions against Russia. Although sanctions have been justified as targeting Russian government leaders and elites, such measures hurt all people, particularly vulnerable groups, and are having global ramifications. 

‘They’re preventing fertilisers from getting to producing countries,’ said Antonio Galvan, president of the Brazilian national soybean farmers association, Aprosoja. ‘How many millions are going to starve to death because of the lack of these fertilisers?’ 

Nooruddin Zaker Ahmadi, director of an Afghan import company, made the following diagnosis: ‘The United States thinks it has only sanctioned Russia and its banks. But the United States has sanctioned the whole world.’

‘A catastrophe on top of a catastrophe…’

The war in Ukraine and associated sanctions are exacerbating the already existing crisis of world hunger. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation found that ‘nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020.’ In recent years, the situation has worsened as food prices have risen due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and related disruptions.

‘Ukraine has only compounded a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe,’ said David M. Beasley, the executive director of the UN World Food Program. ‘There is no precedent even close to this since World War II.’

‘If you think we’ve got hell on earth now, you just get ready,’ Beasley warned.

Regardless of the different opinions on Ukraine, it is clear that billions of people around the world will suffer from this hunger crisis until the war and sanctions come to an end.

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Ending the war in Ukraine and constructing a lasting peace

On 24 February, the Russian Federation launched a military intervention into Ukraine, marking a serious escalation of this conflict. No Cold War opposes the unilateral use of force against any sovereign state in contravention of the United Nations Charter and international law. At the same time, we recognise that the current crisis is the outcome of a decades-long policy of eastward expansion of the NATO military alliance, the consequences of which were rightly warned against in advance by leading figures of the US foreign policy establishment such as George Kennan, original architect of Washington’s strategy during the Cold War. 

Today, we are witnessing how war breeds fear, hatred, and jingoism, with the flames often being fanned by our politicians and media institutions. This conflict has the potential to spiral out of control and bring the United States and Russia – the world’s two largest nuclear powers, who together account for 90 percent of all nuclear warheads – into direct conflict. 

We urgently call on all parties to immediately pursue a diplomatic resolution of this conflict. Now more than ever, the priority is peace. 

In order to end this war and minimise the suffering and death of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, it is urgently necessary that we understand how we arrived at this moment – only then can we navigate our way out.

NATO’s eastward expansion

In 1990, the United States and Western governments made repeated assurances to the Soviet Union that, in the words of then US Secretary of State James Baker, NATO would not expand ‘one inch eastward’ from Germany. However, since that time NATO has added 14 countries to its membership, primarily in eastern Europe. 

Major figures within the US foreign policy establishment have repeatedly warned that the expansion of NATO would provoke Russia and inevitably lead to war. In 1997, George Kennan put it plainly: “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.”

“I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War,” Kennan stated. ”I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else.”

Over the years, similar assessments of how Russia would react to NATO expansion were made by numerous figures in the US establishment, including by the last Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack F Matlock, former Secretary of Defense Robert M Gates, and current CIA Director William J Burns, who in 2008 called it a “redline” issue. 

Successive US administrations ignored these warnings about Russia’s security concerns, continuing NATO’s reckless, dangerous march to the East.

The 2014 coup 

In 2014, the United States openly backed a coup against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Why? In 2020, US House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff spelled out Washington’s aims: “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.” In other words, US policy has sought to use Ukraine and its people as a proxy and cannon fodder to combat Russia.

The coup empowered Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis, who have a substantial influence within the country and have shattered its social fabric. State policies and neo-Nazi militias have threatened Russian-speaking and other ethnic minority groups within Ukraine, which has prompted them to seek protection from Russia. 

Since 2014, serious armed conflict has taken place in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine, known collectively as the Donbass, which is home to a substantial Russian-speaking ethnic minority population. According to the United Nations, this war has produced over 14,000 deaths and over 50,000 casualties between 2014 and 2021.

Ending the war and establishing peace

These policies have produced a deep tragedy for the Ukrainian people. Thus far, the United States and allied governments have eschewed diplomacy in favour of further escalation and intensification of the war. In recent weeks, these governments have pledged billions of dollars worth of additional weapons to Ukraine, encouraged their citizens to join the fighting as foreign mercenaries, and implemented further unilateral sanctions against Russia which will principally harm the country’s people.

All parties should immediately act to bring an end to the war and establish a lasting peace. This requires a diplomatic solution which addresses the following issues:

  1. Adherence to the Minsk Agreements (2014–15), a set of de-escalation measures including ceasefire and the withdrawal of weapons, which all parties agreed to in an effort to mitigate ethnic cleansing and end the war in the Donbass region.
  1. Security guarantees for Russia and Ukraine, including that Ukraine never become a member of NATO and that nuclear weapons never be deployed in Ukraine
  1. Reversal of Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist laws and protection of the rights of ethnic minorities.
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Event: Racism, Witch-hunts and the New Cold War

Join No Cold War’s next international webinar.

Register for ‘Racism, Witch-hunts and the New Cold War: taking on the new McCarthyism’ here.

SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2022 

9:00 New York Time / 14:00 London / 00:00 Sydney (13 March)

This event is organised by No Cold War, Qiao Collective, No Cold War Britain and the Chinese Community Council of Australia. 

Featuring:

  • Dr Gerald Horne, Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston (United States)
  • Sheila Xiao, Co-founder of Pivot to Peace (United States)
  • Vijay Prashad, Director of the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research (India)
  • Amanda Yee, Podcaster on politics, culture and media criticism (United States)
  • Kevin Li, Qiao Collective (United States)
  • Anna Chen, Writer, poet and broadcaster (Britain)
  • Nick Estes, Red Nation (United States)
  • Dr Ping Hua, Co-founder of the Chinese Association of Southampton and No Cold War Britain (Britain)
  • Dr Anthony Pun, Chair of the Chinese Community Council of Australia (Australia)
  • Dolores Chew, Fellow of the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute (Canada)

The first casualty in war, hot or cold, is the truth.

As the New Cold War against China escalates, the United States political establishment and its allies are intensifying their efforts to restrict discussion on the international political situation, invoking anti-Chinese racist rhetoric and targeted smear campaigns.

This dangerous agenda seeks to justify an aggressive foreign policy towards China and is having a chilling effect on the political climate within the United States and allied countries such as Britain, Australia, and Canada.

Politicians and the mainstream media demonise China in an attempt to justify the New Cold War. McCarthyite witch-hunts are being launched against individuals for merely questioning or criticizing their government’s foreign policy. Especially concerning is the sharp increase of hate crimes and attacks against people of Chinese and East and Southeast Asian heritage in the West. It is clear that the propaganda war against China is directly fuelling this rise in racism and creating a climate in which Asian diaspora communities are being increasingly treated as “enemies within.”

This repressive environment is not merely a threat to democracy, it also increases the likelihood of dangerous and destructive foreign policy choices by shutting down debate. During the 20th century, McCarthyism prevented robust and objective discussions from taking place in the US about its Cold War foreign policy. This confining approach contributed to disastrous and criminal US policy decisions such as the Vietnam War. A similar atmosphere of fear and racism helped pave the way for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Instead of adopting these Cold War, ideologically-charged, and alarmist approaches, we must create an open environment which fosters fact-based discussion and dialogue. Racism, witch-hunts, and censorious attacks on free speech are not only reprehensible, but also an obstacle to the global cooperation necessary to resolve the serious problems that the world faces.

On Saturday 12 March, join No Cold War for an international webinar featuring a range of scholars, experts and members of the international Chinese diaspora who will discuss why it is vital to oppose the rise in racism and witch-hunts and build the broadest opposition to the New Cold War.

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La expansión de la OTAN hacia el Este es la causa de la crisis en torno a Ucrania

Las tensiones entre Rusia y la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN), liderada por Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea, han aumentado, con un grave riesgo de guerra en Ucrania. 

El conflicto en Ucrania no es nuevo, es el resultado de un proceso de expansión contínua de la OTAN. A principios de los años 90, la administración estadounidense de George H.W. Bush aseguró repetidamente que, tras el colapso de la Unión Soviética, Washington no buscaría extender la OTAN a Europa del Este, Asia Central o el Cáucaso.

“Entendemos que no solo para la Unión Soviética sino también para otros países europeos es importante tener garantías”, dijo el entonces secretario de Estado estadounidense James Baker a Mikhail Gorbachev en 1990. “Si Estados Unidos mantiene su presencia en Alemania dentro del marco de la OTAN, ni una pulgada de la actual jurisdicción militar de la OTAN se extenderá en dirección este”.

Sin embargo, desde ese momento, 14 países se han agregado a la lista de miembros de la OTAN, la mayoría de ellos en Europa del Este. Esta política ha sido claramente provocativa, reconocida como tal incluso dentro de los círculos “dominantes” de política exterior estadounidense. Como señaló George Kennan, el arquitecto original de la política exterior de EE. UU. en la Guerra Fría: “expandir la OTAN sería el error más fatídico de la política estadounidense en toda la era posterior a la Guerra Fría”.

Ucrania tiene una importancia geoestratégica particular, dado que comparte una frontera de 2.000 kilómetros con Rusia. En los últimos años, la agresión e interferencia de EE. UU. han servido para convertir a Ucrania en un importante punto álgido de la nueva Guerra Fría. En 2019, EE. UU. se retiró unilateralmente del Tratado de Fuerzas Nucleares de Alcance Intermedio de 1987, lo que aumentó la probabilidad de una carrera armamentista.

El conflicto en Ucrania también tiene un componente económico. Además de las sanciones económicas de EE. UU. y la UE contra Rusia, EE. UU. amenaza con expulsar a las instituciones financieras rusas de la plataforma de pago internacional SWIFT y bloquear la operación del gasoducto Nord Stream 2 ya construido que va desde Rusia a Alemania.

Además de estas tensiones entre estados, dentro de Ucrania, organizaciones armadas explícitamente fascistas han recibido apoyo y reconocimiento oficial dentro del territorio controlado por la administración de Kyiv, representando una amenaza directa a la población de habla rusa que vive en el este del país.

La entrada de Ucrania a la OTAN significaría el establecimiento de misiles, potencialmente con armas nucleares, a solo unos minutos de vuelo de Moscú. Es importante recordar que fue precisamente este tipo de trato el que Estados Unidos no aceptaría, y que de hecho estuvo dispuesto a arriesgarse a una guerra mundial durante la Crisis de los Misiles en Cuba.

El gobierno ruso ha hecho dos propuestas claras para resolver la crisis: primero, que Ucrania nunca se convierta en miembro de la OTAN; segundo, que nunca se desplieguen armas nucleares ni armas convencionales avanzadas en ese país. Al día de hoy, Estados Unidos ha rechazado esas propuestas afirmando que el tema en juego es el derecho soberano de Ucrania a decidir libremente sus propias alianzas militares. Una vez más, esto es hipocresía pura, ya que Estados Unidos se negó a aceptar este argumento durante la Crisis de los Misiles en Cuba. ¿Hay alguna duda sobre cómo reaccionaría Estados Unidos si un país que limita con sus fronteras se uniera a una alianza militar que incluyera a Rusia y China?

La causa de la crisis en torno a Ucrania no es Rusia sino la política de Estados Unidos. Es evidente que Estados Unidos ha estado presionando a varios miembros europeos de la OTAN para unirse a estas acciones peligrosas.

La única solución a esta peligrosa situación es que todas las partes adopten una posición clara de que Ucrania no se convierta en miembro de la OTAN. Esto puede convertirse en un punto de partida de futuras discusiones para aliviar la situación en la región. Si Estados Unidos y la OTAN no cesan en sus acciones agresivas, el mundo continuaría enfrentando una grave amenaza a la paz.

Firme la petición de No a la Guerra Fría y defienda la paz y la cooperación.