Americans Should Be Dying in Ukraine: Random Notes from the Resistance Underground

Let’s face it. The United States is the world’s classic bully – a synonym for “coward.” It’s like the playground tough who fearful of a bloody nose has others do the dirty work for him. “Let’s you and him fight,” is the bully’s refrain.

When you think about it, that’s exactly what the United States and the gang of thugs called NATO are doing in Ukraine. They admit it’s a proxy war. But our cowardly “leaders” know that a direct battlefield confrontation with Russia would be monumentally unpopular at home. (Imagine having to explain to American wives, children, parents, and grandparents why it’s worth their loved one’s death or maiming to bring “freedom” to a country more than 7000 miles away and which most would have difficulty locating on a map! It would be worse than Vietnam.)

Instead, it’s better to have Ukrainian husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers die rather than Americans. Yes: Let’s you and him fight. Few of us would have it any other way.

What I’m saying is that in the final analysis, it’s our permission, apathetic disinterest, and empty virtue signaling that has transformed the “land of the free and the home of the brave” into the land of cowardly and powerless bullies. I’m talking about you and me.

In other words, if we really believe that we’re the ones at war in Ukraine and (as Joe Biden said) “Putin must go,” then we should be willing to send our brothers, husbands, fathers, and uncles to die there, not Ukrainians. If we’re young enough, we should be willing to enlist and put our own heads into the Russian meat grinder.

But would any of us do that? Why should we dirty our hands? Why should Americans die in the war planned for decades?

No: Let’s you and him fight.

***

In the prolonged conflict in Ukraine, I’ve found that virtually the only completely informed, honest and balanced analysis derives from interviews involving Scott Ritter – the former Marine intelligence officer, Russia expert, and U.N. weapons inspector. Most others (i.e., all the mainstream media) are nothing but U.S., NATO, and Ukraine cheerleaders. Even the few who dare to speak out against “our” country’s belligerent policies miss the big picture that Ritter sees. 

***

Here’s what he’s saying now:

  • Despite its undeniable battlefield successes, Russia is not winning in Ukraine.
  • Russia had three clear objectives in initiating its special operation: (1) Free Ukraine’s Russian-speaking populations in the country’s southeastern region from attacks by the Ukrainian army which over the last six years have cost the Donbass more than 14,000 lives. (2) De-Nazify Ukraine which has incorporated card carrying, swastika-tattooed Nazis into its government and military forces. (3) Force the Kyiv government to drop its ambitions to join NATO – instead adopting a position of neutrality like Sweden once did
  • Russia will surely achieve the first objective. Its forces have surrounded Ukrainian troops in the Donbass in ever-tightening pincers. There, Ukrainians will be compelled to surrender or be annihilated. They have no other options.
  • Russia success in Mariupol (a major Neo-Nazi center) has also removed from action many extreme right-wing cadres. It has achieved the same result in the Donbass where the Ukrainian army had been spearheaded by openly white supremacist, fascist troops. As already indicated, the latter are surrounded and trapped in what Russian military theory describes as an inescapable “cauldron.” In other words, Ukraine has been or will be significantly (though by no means completely) de-nazified.
  • However, the massive and unforeseen influx of U.S. funding and ordnance into Ukraine has rendered virtually impossible the achievement of Russia’s goal of demilitarizing the country and forcing it into political neutrality. (The $40 billion just authorized by Washington means that in just two months, Ukraine will have received dollar amounts exceeding Russian defense budgeting for an entire year!)
  • This unexpected development means that even if Russia declares “mission accomplished,” withdraws, and ends up controlling Donbass, Odessa, Crimea, and a few other cities and regions, it will always have to deal with a massively armed and NATO trained adversary threatening those gains.
  • Russia’s President Putin can counter such moves only by securing his Duma’s permission to move from special military operation to all-out war against Ukraine. That’s because his countermove would necessarily entail national mobilization including a military draft to increase Russian forces in Ukraine far beyond the 200,000 now deployed there.
  • In Ritter’s eyes, there’s no way anything short of the latter change in strategy might be called “victory.”
  • In other words, Russia will have won its battles but lost the war.

***

As he himself admits, Ritter makes the above analysis while wearing only his military glasses that allow him to perceive nothing but highly predictable battlefield realities. Such limited vision, he concedes, blinkers out crucial political factors whose effects are less foreseeable. For instance, how long will it take Ukraine’s mothers and wives to demand that Kyiv stop sending their sons, husbands, brothers, and uncles to certain death in that Russian meat grinder? How long will it take electorates in Europe and the States to rebel against food, petrol, home heating and cooling prices inflated by sanctions interdicting Russia’s supply of oil and natural gas? In other words, rebellion at the ballot box and/or in the streets could pressure NATO representatives to the negotiating table despite their desire to prolong the conflict. Ritter chooses not to highlight such factors.

***

Of course, the same holds true for Moscow. Though Russian casualties are fewer and though (contrary to the intentions of the sanctions) the ruble is now stronger than ever and even though Russia’s producers are successfully locating markets (in China, India, Iran, and by import substitution) and even though Putin’s approval ratings are over 80%, Russian wives and mothers find body bags just as repellant as their Ukrainian counterparts.  

***

I do too. So let’s change the subject.

***

They say that about a thousand Ukrainian Neo-Nazi soldiers have finally surrendered after months of de facto imprisonment in the bowels of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant. But our deceitful MSM has called the capitulation an “evacuation” (Where? To Siberia?). They’ve called it a “leaving,” a “withdrawal,” a recognition of “mission accomplished.”

***

Can you imagine the MSM reaction if the situation were reversed – if the Russians were the ones virtually imprisoned for weeks in that steel plant? That, after all, is the way they would have been described – helplessly imprisoned rather than heroically resisting. And their “evacuation” from their underground holes waving their underwear as white flags would have been described as a humiliating surrender.

***

Where’s the peace movement in all of this? Why are the most prominent voices for peace in Ukraine coming from the right — from Trumpists for God’s sake? Can’t figure that one out.

***

And where are the followers of the one who said “Put away your sword. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (MT 26:2) and “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you” (MT 5:44) and “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (LK 23:34)? Catholic Joe Biden’s not saying that — even though Pope Francis lays much of the blame for Ukraine’s war at his feet.

***

Are you saying any of those things?

***

Can anyone say “Bully for you?”

Only Critical Thinkers Taking to the Streets Can Save Us

­I just finished watching an hour-long interview on Garland Nixon’s “Saturday Morning Live with Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern” (see above). Both the guests are former U.S. government insiders with wide experience in Russia.

As an anti-imperialist, I found the program quite sobering.

Scott Ritter, it turns out, has drastically changed his assessment of what’s occurring in Ukraine.

His previous analysis was quite certain that the Ukrainians would be no match for the Russians. Now however Ritter’s evaluation of Moscow’s threefold goals (liberation of Ukraine’s Donbass region, denazification of its army, and general demilitarization of the country) is much more nuanced.

He still sees the Russians moving ahead (but much more slowly than anticipated) with the liberation of the Donbass and with destruction of significant Nazi cadres there and in Mariupol.

However, he now admits, that destroying the Ukrainian military has been gravely complicated by the influx of money and weaponry (most recently, $40 billion worth) from the United States.

That flood of support has allowed the Ukrainian army to reconstitute itself in Ukraine’s west.

So, even if the Russians might be successful in the country’s southeast region, the question becomes what next? Reconstitution of the Ukrainian army complicates achievement of the goal of demilitarizing Ukraine.

All of this also raises the question of maintaining any gains the Russians might be able to achieve in the Donbass region. Maintenance there could potentially bleed the Russians dry in terms of resources, materiel, and lives lost. Will it be necessary for Moscow to keep an occupation force there to protect the breakaway republics of Luhansk and Donetsk?

Such developments and questions have forced upon the Kremlin serious decisions which include:

  • (1) Declaration of “mission accomplished” after the Donbass region has been secured and (2) subsequent withdrawal of forces from Ukraine, however without securing the surrender of the Ukrainian government or the country’s demilitarization
  • In pursuit of the goal of demilitarizing Ukraine turning attention north towards Kyiv and the military capabilities developing in that area of the country. This option would entail extensive bombing of western supply routes, depots and garrisons.
  • However, this would also involve widening the conflict from a “special military operation” to a declared war on Ukraine along with a corresponding mobilization of millions of Russian troops – with the social and economic costs inevitably associated with that decision.
  • Broadening the war even wider to include Finland’s threat to Russia before it can become a NATO member under the protection of Article 5 of the NATO Charter.

Of course, all of this involves China (by far the ultimate and real target in NATO’s crosshairs) which is keeping a close eye on the situation.

According to Ritter and McGovern, China’s fear is that NATO will try to draw it into a debilitating conflict like Russia’s in Ukraine. To that end NATO’s imperial forces seem bent on encouraging Taiwan to declare independence from China.

In the eyes of McGovern and Ritter, China would not tolerate such a move and would act immediately and decisively to keep Taiwan under control. They point out that the island’s situation is far different from Ukraine’s. Whereas Ukraine can be supplied militarily from surrounding NATO countries, that same possibility isn’t available for Taiwan. As shown by the sinking of the Russian flagship (the Moskva) any NATO ships carrying materiel would be easily sunk by Chinese artillery onshore.

So, Taiwan has two alternatives, both including ultimate control by China: (1) Taiwan can either continue with its mutually beneficial socio-political and economic arrangements with the mainland or (2) those arrangements will be maintained under Chinese occupation. China will tolerate no third eventuation.

Conclusion

Of course, both McGovern and Ritter were quite clear that none of this need be happening. No critical thinker should forget this or get swept up into our nation’s current war fever.

Instead, critical thought entails remembering that it is the bellicose insistence of the United States on widening NATO right up to Russia’s borders (rather than the dissolution of NATO itself as an outmoded organization) that has provoked this entire crisis.

Absent U.S. insistence on expanding NATO and installing missiles on Russia’s border, the Kremlin represented a military threat to no one in Europe. Neither does China constitute anything other than an economic competitor to the United States. Militarily, it is nowhere threatening the United States.

Rather, within the web of capitalist sanctification of competition as the ultimate value, China’s mortal sin consists merely in the fact that it greatly outperforms the U.S. and Europe in terms of economic growth, foreign assistance, and elimination of world poverty.

It is the decision of the United States to allow no economic rivals, it is its arbitrary and criminal insistence on maintaining “full spectrum dominance” that lies behind the current lamentable set of events. Only an anti-war movement taking to the streets in the name of clear vision, critical thinking, and sanity can prevent our government’s warmongers from leading the world to ultimate disaster.  

Why Is the U.S. so Interested in Ukraine? The Conflict’s Long and Deep Conceptual Roots

Why is the United States so interested in Ukraine more than 7000 miles away?

The answer to that question goes to the conceptual taproot of the conflict. It lies much deeper than is commonly perceived and is connected with U.S. ambitions (like Nazi Germany’s) to control the entire world. The details are supplied in the April 2022 edition of Monthly Review (Vol. 73, No. 11) in the journal’s “Notes from the editors: Ukraine as the ‘Geopolitical Pivot’.”

Here’s what the editors say:

In 1904, Britain’s Halford Mackinder articulated the relevant and guiding geopolitical doctrine (later developed in Nazi Germany by Karl Haushofer as well as by John Spykman in the United States during the 1930s and 40s.)

The doctrine’s basic idea was that the domination of Eastern Europe (including Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the western part of the Russian Federation) was the key to dominating the planet. Mackinder said in effect:  Who rules East Europe commands Eurasia. / Who rules Eurasia commands the rest of Asia and Africa. /Who rules those continents commands the World.

Since its original expression at the beginning of the last century, Mackinder’s doctrine has informed the strategies of all leading capitalist nations as they sought world domination – including Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the United States. In its latter form, the doctrine is commonly referred to as “The Grand Strategy.”

It was further refined by U.S. planners such as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Paul Wolfowitz. Following their advisement, U.S. presidents from Nixon to Biden have used it to guide their geopolitical policies.

The advisors’ clearest expression emerged in 1991, when then undersecretary of defense (appointed by George H.W. Bush) Paul Wolfowitz published his Defense Planning Guidance. There he wrote, “Our policy [after the fall of the Soviet Union] must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”

Towards achieving this end, Wolfowitz recognized a particular need to defang a weakened Russia which was then the strongest military power in Eurasia. Russia, he contended, must be quickly neutralized before it could recover from its post-Soviet reduction in status and power. The most effective avenue towards such nullification of Russian might would be to bring into the Western orbit the countries that had been part of Eastern Europe’s Warsaw Pact defense organization.

In making his case, Wolfowitz was echoing not only Mackinder, Haushofer, and Spykman, but the position of Truman advisor, George Kennan who in 1948 had written, 

“. . . we have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…. We should cease to talk about vague and … unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

Though adopted in practice by United States policy planners, Kennan’s strategy remained their unarticulated “quiet part,” because (following so closely upon World War II) it eerily echoed the ultimate goal of Nazi Germany’s aspirations to world domination.  

However, following the fall of the Soviets and its bruited “end of history,” it became fashionable for U.S. politicians to finally speak the quiet part aloud openly identifying America’s system as “imperialist,” “dominant,” and brooking no rivals.

In turn, Carter advisor Brzezinski’s own elaboration of The Strategy shaped U.S. policy vis a vis Russia for over three decades.

In pursuit of controlling Russia, Brzezinski was the one responsible for creating a quagmire in Afghanistan to trap the Soviet Union in an unwinnable war. Supported by Carter, he initiated the program that armed and trained the Mujahideen to confront the Soviets in “the graveyard of empires.”

The trap worked and its debilitating swamp became a key element contributing to the dissolution of the USSR (and to the disastrous events of 9/11 in the United States). Brzezinski considered it a giant step towards seizing control of Eastern Europe.

Bill Clinton took the next step. Contravening U.S. promises to Gorbachev not to move the alliance “one inch” eastward, the U.S. president proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia and decided to move the organization into the actual sphere of the former Soviet Union.

Subsequently (in 1997) Brzezinski produced his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. There he argued that the U.S. had finally found itself in a position “for the first time ever (for) a non-Eurasian power” to become “the key arbiter of Eurasian power relations,” while at the same time “emerging as “the world’s paramount power.” In other words, because of the opening in Russia, the United States found itself poised to become the first and the last globally dominant empire.

For Brzezinski, assuming that role in Eurasia required further weakening Russia to deprive it of any pretension to being a world power. Such debilitation, he argued, depended on incorporating Ukraine (which shares a 1,200 mile border with Russia) into NATO as a kind of Damocles’ sword over the head of the geographically largest country in the world.

However, Brzezinski warned that the inclusion in question would inevitably be perceived by Russia as an existential threat – as an unacceptable crossing of a red line that would force Russia into an anti-hegemonic alliance with China and possibly Iran in a tripartite bloc.

A U.S. countermove, Brzezinski wrote, would involve gradually expanding NATO into countries formerly belonging to the Soviet Union. It would mean applying pressure on China by creating distracting problems for it in Hong Kong and Taiwan and by forging closer NATO ties with the regional powers Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Nevertheless, the greatest stumbling block to such moves on the grand chessboard remained Ukraine. How could the U.S. gain its control without having Russia interpret the move as a death threat aimed at its breakup and without having China perceive Russia’s balkanization as destabilizing its own far western regions?

With those questions still unanswered, Washington continued to implement Brzezinski’s grand strategy. Over the past 30 years, it has moved ahead with the project of normalizing NATO expansion to include 15 previous Warsaw Pact members. In those countries, it placed troops (including U.S. divisions) while locating missile facilities in Poland and Romania. The final goal continued to be the incorporation of the crucial Ukraine prize. So, finally, in 2008 NATO formally announced its intention to admit that trophy as a member state.

Towards that end, the U.S. played a major role in provoking a coup d’état in the Ukraine capital. It replaced the country’s elected president Viktor Yanukovych, who though once favorable to the West sought economic help from Russia when the International Monetary fund proposed austerity conditionalities on its loans. That move was unacceptable to U.S. ambitions in Ukraine. So, using Neo-Nazi agents provocateurs, they had Yanukovych replaced with a more amenable hand-picked client.

The U.S.-supported coup led to uprisings of dissent in Ukraine’s Donbass region and to brutal repression by the replacement government. For instance, in Odessa, more than 40 resisters were burnt alive in a union hall at the hands of Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis. Such right-wing repression led the Donbass regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to break away from Ukraine and form two people’s republics.  

Additionally, even before the coup (in 1991) Crimea (whose citizens are predominantly Russian speaking) had become an autonomous republic within Ukraine. After the coup, a referendum had it voting to merge with Russia.      

Kyiv’s response to these secessions took the form of intense military operations against the breakaways. Since 2014, the resulting civil war has taken the lives of over 14,000 people and has created 2.5 million refugees most of whom have fled to Russia.

The conflict came to an apparent end with the signing of the Minsk Agreements of 2014-15. The accords were worked out between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany and endorsed by the UN Security Council. The pacts gave Luhansk and Donetsk the right to self-government while remaining in Ukraine. However, Kyiv ignored the agreements and pressed on with its Donbass offensive.

Russia replied by demanding that the Minsk Agreements be honored. It also insisted that Ukraine agree not to enter NATO and that the 130,00 Ukrainian troops then attacking Donbass cease their operations. All of these, Moscow said, were red lines which if crossed would require vigorous response.

NATO and Kyiv insisted on crossing all the lines just noted. Russia’s “special military operation” was the result.

Conclusion

So, there we have it. The Ukraine conflict has been over a century in the making.

In 1904, Mackinder saw its importance for world hegemons who themselves (from Great Britain and Nazi Germany to the United States of America) concurred with his assessment. Though recognizing the dangers of doing so, Kissinger, Brzezinski, and Wolfowitz embraced Mackinder’s viewpoint. They focused their Grand Strategy on the world’s Chessboard towards ultimately securing control of Ukraine. To that end, the presidents they advised following the breakup of the Soviet Union expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders.   

In doing so, they insisted on crossing red lines repeatedly drawn by Russian leaders. U.S. support of a coup and the installation of a NATO friendly government in Kyiv caused alarm bells to ring in Moscow. So did a Neo-Nazi-led assault on dissenting Russian speakers in Ukraine’s Donbass region.

U.S. refusal to recognize and enter negotiations over Russia’s concerns on such matters represented the last straw.

All of that explains not only a desperate Russia’s “special military operation” against what it sees as a threat to its very existence, but why a U.S.-led NATO is pouring billions into the conflict.

It’s about the lynchpin of world domination. It’s about shoring up a vanishing U.S hegemony. It’s about America’s brooking no rivals. It’s about maintaining “full spectrum dominance” in a doomed unipolar world.

20 reasons why the U.S. & NATO are ultimately responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.

Despite what you might read in the mainstream press, the United States and NATO, not Putin, are the ones ultimately responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. More specifically, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has consistently provoked Russia by:

  1. Repeatedly interfering in Russian elections and internal politics from Boris Yeltsin on
  2. Resulting in the shocking U.S.-sponsored theft (by privatization) of the Russian people’s communal property by oligarchs and the Russian mafia
  3. Ignoring Russian sensitivities about the geostrategic importance of Ukraine in Russian history. (Russia has twice been invaded by its European enemies using Ukraine as their entry point.)
  4. Discounting Russia’s concerns about the ideological ties of Ukraine’s current leadership (including that of its army) to Nazi collaborators during World War II
  5. Breaking the promise of George H.W. Bush to Mikhail Gorbachev not to move NATO “one inch closer to Russia” than its position in 1990
  6. But instead incorporating into NATO countries of the former Soviet Union often extremely close to the Russian border
  7. Constantly entertaining the possibility of extending NATO membership even to Ukraine against Russia’s demands to the contrary
  8. Refusing to put in writing a promise not to do so
  9. In this way blocking diplomatic solutions to the Ukraine crisis
  10. And also hypocritically denying to Russia the same rights the U.S. claims (via its Monroe Doctrine) to be free from international threats in its own “backyard”
  11. Engineering a coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014 to replace the neutral (towards Russia) and democratically elected president of Ukraine (Viktor Yanukovych) with a far right rabidly anti-Russian U.S. client (Petro Poroshenko)
  12. Who then surrounded himself with anti-Russian, often neo-Nazi advisors, and cabinet members who are internationally recognized as constituting one of the most corrupt governments in the world
  13. Selecting the leaders of Ukraine by American fiat rather than by democratic processes
  14. Thus, making Ukraine a quasi-U.S. neo-colony right on Russia’s border
  15. And giving rise to an anti-coup, anti-corruption, anti-NATO rebellion on the part of constitutional democrats and anti-fascists centered in Ukraine’s pro-Russian Donbas region
  16.  Which over the last seven years has been subject to shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces costing over 14,000 mostly civilian lives
  17. Ignoring the provisions of the Minsk I and Minsk II agreements between Russia and Ukraine calling for a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Donbas front line, release of prisoners of war, and constitutional reform extending self-government to certain areas of Donbas, while restoring to the Ukrainian government control of its national borders
  18. Pouring weapons of mass destruction into Ukraine
  19. Countenancing (by not denouncing) Ukraine’s threat to seek installation of nuclear armaments on its territory
  20. While constantly proposing harsh sanctions on Russia as if it alone were responsible for the Ukrainian crisis.

None of this is to say that Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is justified. Like the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, it is clearly a violation of international law.

The claim here, however, is that Putin was provoked into his act of aggression by NATO led by the United States. The provocations benefit the U.S. not only in terms of discrediting Russia as a regional power, but of providing European markets for U.S. liquified natural gas (after sanctions deprive Russia of its own natural gas markets in Europe). The crisis also creates huge profits for U.S. arms manufacturers along with persuasive rationales for increased Pentagon budgets. As well, the entire fiasco promises to raise (at least temporarily) President Biden’s abysmal poll numbers.

As a final note, there is good reason to believe that the United States would long ago have adopted military measures similar to Putin’s had it experienced comparable acts of aggression for instance on its border with Mexico.

Imagine the response of “our” government had Russia or China sponsored a coup d’état replacing a Mexican government neutral or friendly to the U.S. with a virulently anti-American puppet regime. Imagine further if Russia or China had armed that hostile government to the teeth and shelled mercilessly Mexican citizens friendly to the United States. History (such as that of United States throughout Latin America during the 1980s) tells us that such action would never be tolerated. It would predictably result in American military operations dwarfing those of Russian forces in Ukraine.

So don’t believe what the mainstream media is telling you about Ukraine. Putin has his reasons and is no worse than our own country’s leaders. This is yet another tragedy created by the country Martin Luther King described as the “greatest purveyor of violence” in the world.

Three Simple Questions about Brexit & NATO for Y’s Men of Westport and Wise People Elsewhere

Our Y’s Men of Westport/Westin (CT) and its Current Affairs Discussion Group has decided that the focus of its next meeting will be Brexit (British exit from the European Union) and the future of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

The Y’s Men umbrellas a group of 400 or so retired men who meet weekly for fellowship and informative programs on community and national concerns. Its clever name comes from some association with the YMCA that has never been clearly explained to me.

In any case, one of the Y’s Men’s many subgroups meets bi-weekly to discuss world issues precisely like Brexit and NATO. That topic was chosen because at the time of its selection, NATO was holding its 70th anniversary meeting in London.  Meanwhile, Great Britain was looking forward to a General Election on December 12th, which would once again centralize the Brexit issue.

In preparation for the meeting, the leader of the Current Affairs Group shared numerous articles with us. One was entitled “12 Questions about Brexit You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask.” Others were drawn mainly from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.  They detailed further information about Great Britain’s attempt to withdraw from the international trade agreement known as the European Union. Other articles asked the question whether or not NATO should or should not be dissolved.

As it turns out, both issues are intimately connected with questions of borders and immigration. After all, the European Union has virtually erased borders across the continent to facilitate what it terms its “four freedoms.” These include free movement of goods, services, capital, and people. Meanwhile NATO is also and obviously a multinational body. In fact, it treats member states as one. According to its central policy, an attack on any single member is considered an attack on all.

So, with those two issues in mind (borders and immigration) let me pose three questions related to Brexit and NATO. They are intended not only for Westport’s Y’s Men, but for thoughtful people in general.

Here are the questions:

  1. Are you in favor of absolutely open borders for people?
  2.  Are you in favor of absolutely open borders for multinational corporations (MNCs) and/or military operations?
  3. What’s the connection between Brexit and borders on the one hand and NATO on the other?

Open Borders for People

So, what about immigration and open borders? Should foreign workers be allowed to cross unrestrictedly from one country to another as they currently are under the European Union rubric?

To this question, I’m quite confident that most people’s initial answer would probably be “no.”

At least that’s what 52% of Great Britain’s voting population said last March when asked whether or not their country should remain within the European Union. By most accounts, disapproval of the Union’s policy of unrestricted immigration lay behind the votes of those approving exit from the EU.

That’s because open borders in Europe have led to massive relocations of population across frontiers that were closed in the pre-EU world. Such migrations especially intensified “foreign” presence in Great Britain whose borders had already long been open to immigrants from the country’s former colonies, e.g. India and Pakistan.  Add to these the climate and war victims who have also found refuge in Europe in general including Great Britain, and you’ll begin to understand why many there might rashly blame their growing sense of lost national identity exclusively on the European Union. Boris Johnson has given voice to such discontent.

And all of that stands to reason, doesn’t it?  That’s true even for those of us who (unlike the British) have not actually experienced free movement of people from one country to another. We can hardly imagine a world without passports, visas, or government control of entry or exit. It all sounds like a recipe for anarchy and chaos.

In our context, it would mean, for instance, that low wage workers could enter the United States and take our jobs. Our way of life would be completely upended. Our culture would be profoundly and unacceptably altered as well.

No, I’d venture to say that open borders are completely unacceptable to most of us.  That’s why conservatives can get away with constantly ridiculing opponents of Mr. Trump’s border wall as advocating “open borders.” Life without borders simply doesn’t make sense. It’s clearly threatening to most Americans. And it’s largely the lived experience of open borders that has driven Great Britain out of the European Union.

Open Borders for MNCs

Yet despite our objections to free movement of people, most of us take for granted open borders for transnational corporations. We do and so does Mr. Trump! So, I’m quite confident in predicting that the answer of most Y’s Men to my second question would be “yes” — at least implicitly. “Yes, I approve of free movement of capital from one country to another. And yes, (in the case of NATO) I approve of attacks on other countries even though those forays pay no attention to borders.” Or (perhaps more accurately) the “wise” response might be: “Well, I’ve never thought about that.”

The latter response comes from the fact that on the face of it and for most of us, the movement of capital and of armies seems somehow harmlessly abstract and less devastating than the unrestricted movement of people. Moreover, we’re taught that treaties like the EU, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) and the proposed TAFTA (Transatlantic Free Trade Area) are good for us because they create jobs. So, why not allow transnational companies like Exxon, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Ford Motor, Kennecott Mining, Weyerhaeuser Lumber, Ralston Purina, and Del Monte to cross borders freely?

The answer to that query comes loud and clear especially from the Global South – from indigenous tribes, Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, or Salvadorans. They shout: “Free movement of capital is far more devastating to us than you’ve experienced in the European Union or imagine in North America. Free movement of capital destroys more jobs than it creates. It’s the main reason behind what you describe as your ‘immigration crisis.’”

Their evidence? Mom and Pop stores are driven out of business by Wal-Mart. Millions of campesino farmers are forced off their land when, for instance, Ralston Purina lobbyists persuade the U.S. government to dump subsidized corn on the Mexican market. The displaced farmers are forced off the land and driven into urban slums. Food consumption patterns are altered by McDonalds. Indigenous tribes have burial sites dug up and defiled by Exxon’s oil pipelines. Rain forests are cut down indiscriminately by Weyerhaeuser regardless of the impact on ecosystems and climate. Entire ways of living and interacting with nature and community are disrupted and thrown into chaos.

But that’s not the end of the devastation wreaked by the open borders most of us take for granted. NATO and its de facto leader, the U.S. military, demonstrate little to no respect for borders either. Think about it. Despite international laws to the contrary, those military entities claim the right to indiscriminately cross national frontiers to bomb and drone wherever they see fit — and without the required approval of the United Nations. In the recent past they’ve done so on a large scale in the former Yugoslavia, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ethiopia. We don’t even know where they’re bombing; borders make no difference to them.

And the chaos produced by such disregard of borders is unbelievable.  As its result, homes, schools, hospitals, churches, synagogues, mosques, stores, warehouses, factories, water, sewage, and communication systems lay in ruins across the planet.

The NATO Connection

But what’s the connection between all of this and NATO?  The short answer is that a disbanded NATO represents a source of funding for remedying the just noted deficiencies of free trade agreements like the EU, NAFTA, CAFTA, and TAFTA.  

To begin with, those defects can only be remedied satisfactorily by democratizing them to protect jobs, cultures, and local social values. And that will cost a lot of money. That’s because true reform demands that all stakeholders (not merely corporate representatives, lawyers, bureaucrats, and politicians) be present at the renegotiating conference table. This includes trade unionists, environmentalists, and groups representing the specific rights of indigenous peoples, women and children. All those affected must have equal voice and vote. Nothing else will work. Nothing else is just.

Yet, if all stakeholders have voice and vote, they will predictably complicate matters. (Democracy, remember, is messy.) Predictably, they’ll make demands that will radically restrain the freedoms of the corporations involved – even to the point of rendering unworkable the type of trade pacts we’ve come to know.

For instance, (and perhaps most crucially) workers in places not only like Greece and Italy, but in Mexico and Central America will require the same freedom their employers enjoy to move to where the money is. Developed world workers will demand compensation for their lost jobs. Everyone will vote for the unrestricted right to unionize. They’ll want seats on corporate boards of directors. At the same time, environmentalists will demand industrial technology that is clean and non-polluting. They’ll want waste and chemical dumps along with polluted rivers and aqua firs repaired. Those whose towns, homes, churches, schools, and hospitals have been destroyed by NATO wars will want them rebuilt. They’ll demand compensation for the needless deaths caused by the bombs, drones, planes, tanks, and military personnel employed in the service of corporate-friendly trade pacts.

Again, all of that will take money – lots of it!

And the source of the money should be NATO. It must be dissolved. And its annual funding must be diverted to meet the working class demands just listed.

After all, the organization has outlived its usefulness. Its enemies have disappeared. The Soviet Union (the very raison d’etre for NATO) vanished 30 years ago. Moreover, announcements that the Russians are coming once again and that a new Yellow Peril is on the horizon are nearly laughable.

In fact, when those threats are examined, they turn out to be only pale reflections of standard practices the United States has engaged in since the conclusion of the Second Inter-capitalist War.

Take Russia first. Its “crimes” include:

  • Interference in the 2016 U.S. elections
  • Alleged cyber-attacks
  • Dissemination of “fake news”
  • Aggression against the Ukraine
  • Annexation of Crimea

China’s alleged threat is represented by:

  • Its repression of democracy in Hong Kong
  • Its attempts to take over the world through its Belt and Road Initiative
  • “Stealing” intellectual property of U.S. corporations
  • Its jailing of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities

To repeat: “crimes” like those have been central (and on much larger scales) to United States policy for the past 75 years and more.

For instance, since 1823 under the Monroe Doctrine, the United States has routinely claimed the right to intervene militarily in its “backyard” (all of Latin America) whenever it perceives any undue foreign influence in the region. All during the 1980s, the U.S. invoked Monroe to counter Russian influence in Central America.

Yet, the U.S. insists that Russian military action in the Ukraine and Crimea (which arguably remain parts of Russia) is a threat to world peace. And this even though the new leadership in Ukraine promises to seek membership in NATO in clear violation of a 1990 agreement that the alliance would not expand eastward. In fact, NATO bases currently surround Russia. If the U.S. claims Monroe Doctrine protection for itself, logic demands honoring parallel claims by Russia.

Similarly, immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States interfered in the Russian electoral process to ensure that Boris Yeltsin would be elected president there. And U.S. interference in electoral processes world-wide is beyond dispute.

The bottom line here is that Russia is only doing in its backyard what the United States has long practiced in its own backyard and across the world.

The case is similar with the alleged Chinese threat. Remember, Hong Kong is not in China’s backyard; it is indisputably part of China itself. Moreover, if the U.S. and its NATO allies were implementing their own Belt and Road Initiative, they would be trumpeting it as an example of their generosity and openhanded foreign aid.

As for China’s alleged stealing of intellectual property . . . As Vijay Prashad has noted, such ownership is a fiction concocted by industrially developed countries to guarantee that their former colonies will remain in situations of extreme dependence and relative poverty. The concept of intellectual property ignores the essentially communal nature of human knowledge. For instance, concepts foundational to modern science (such as the links between the Vedic zero in the east and imaginary numbers in the west) are part of the world’s intellectual commons. To pretend otherwise itself constitutes an act of intellectual larceny.

In fact, reverse engineering has long been the backbone of industrial development everywhere in the world including the United States as it strove during the 19th century to catch up with its European competitors. It is inevitable that workers and states will attempt to understand and replicate rather than purchase the technology they are asked to operate.

Conclusion

With all of the foregoing said about trade agreements, military spending and the artificially manufactured threats posed by Russia and China, it now becomes possible to recognize that the Global North has no enemies. And in turn, that realization frees up huge caches of money already there, allocated, and set for diversion towards correcting the defects of so-called free trade agreements – even like the European Union.

The money’s to be found in the NATO budget; it’s also there in Pentagon allocations.  (In fact, just last week, the U.S. Congress set aside more than $2 billion each day for military purposes, even though the prime reason for doing so has completely disappeared from the world stage.)

So, the answers to my original questions might well be these:

  1. No:  Immigrants should not be allowed to move unrestrictedly from one country to another
  2. Unless that freedom is extended to MNCs. Or to reverse the assertion: MNCs should not be allowed to move unrestrictedly from one country to another unless labor is accorded the same freedom.
  3. A disbanded and now pointless NATO can provide any funds necessary for democratizing otherwise one-sided trade pacts like the European Union, NAFTA, CAFTA, and TAFTA.

Do you agree?