The crisis that has erupted in Ukraine following the right-wing coup engineered by the United States and Germany and the intervention of Russia into Crimea has created the most dangerous international confrontation since the end of World War II. Almost overnight, in a manner not seen since the 1930s, ultimatums are being issued and military forces are being placed on high alert in Europe.
All of the claims that the dissolution of the Soviet Union signaled the end of the 20th century era of wars and revolutions have been blown to pieces by the events of the past several days. The 20th century was the “unfinished century,” whose unresolved economic, social and political contradictions underlie the explosive tensions of the present century. One hundred years after the outbreak of World War I and 75 years since the beginning of World War II, mankind is again facing the dangers of world war and fascism.
The principal responsibility for the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine rests with the United States and Germany. Both countries, along with their European Union allies, systematically intervened to channel popular dissatisfaction with the corrupt regime of President Viktor Yanukovych behind ultra-right nationalist and fascist forces. Their aim all along was to topple the elected government and install a regime aligned with Western imperialism and willing to participate in its well-advanced plans for the geopolitical isolation and carve-up of Russia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with leaders of the right-wing opposition. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union, financially supported the Udar party of former boxer Vitali Klitschko. Top European Union officials marched with the Svoboda party fascists and Right Sector armed gangs in Kiev’s central square.
US Undersecretary of State for Europe and Asia Victoria Nuland made at least four trips to Kiev, joining the neo-fascist “protesters” and meeting with opposition figures Klitschko, Arseny Yatsenyuk and the notoriously anti-Semitic Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok. She acknowledged in December that the US had poured $5 billion into Ukraine since the 1990s to build up US proxy forces in the country.
Nuland’s leaked telephone conversation with Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in which they discussed installing Yatsenyuk after toppling Yanukovich, exposed the degree to which Washington was manipulating events in the country.
There is no question but that Russia is confronted with an existential threat. The integration of Ukraine into the expanding anti-Moscow alliance would render Russia more vulnerable to imperialist aggression and destabilization. Future operations will unfold not only on the periphery of Russia, but within its borders. The United States and the European imperialist powers will have no difficulty finding new “human rights” causes to encourage, finance and arm.
However, the dangers confronting Russia—which threaten its dismemberment and reduction to semi-colonial status—cannot be lessened, let alone overcome, by the Putin regime’s resort to military force. No support can be given to the actions of Putin. His response to the aggressive actions of US and German imperialism is bereft of any progressive content.
Putin represents oligarchs who enriched themselves by plundering state industry following the dissolution of the USSR. His regime is incapable of making any appeal to the Ukrainian working class or to progressive sentiment within the country. Instead, he seeks to whip up chauvinism both in Russia and eastern Ukraine, adding to the dangers of civil and sectarian warfare stoked up by the Ukrainian fascists and their American and German backers.
The statements of US spokesmen such as Secretary of State John Kerry on the crisis reek of hypocrisy and deceit. Over the weekend, Kerry condemned Russia’s “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity” as being in contravention of the United Nations Charter and “a threat to the peace and security of Ukraine, and the wider region.”