Risk of WWIII grows, Ukraine peace talks a must
Emergency workers clear the rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building leaving many people under debris in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, Saturday, January 14, 2023 | AP

Following is an editorial reprinted from the Morning Star, the UK’s daily socialist newspaper:

NATO is pushing further escalation of the war in Ukraine — with Germany facing immense pressure from the United States to send tanks to fight Russia.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz hesitates. He does so partly because of the historic connotations — panzers rolling east against Russia are darkly reminiscent of Hitler’s genocidal invasion of the Soviet Union.

But other factors are at play. As Die Linke (Germany’s Left Party) MP Sevim Dagdelen explained in the Morning Star last week, Washington’s insistence that Germany send tanks is not explained by the desire to boost Ukrainian military prowess alone. If it were, the U.S. — with by far the largest military-industrial complex on Earth — could simply send its own tanks.

For the United States, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has delivered key dividends. It may even have anticipated these. The U.S.’s warnings that Russia was likely to attack Ukraine were not accompanied by any effort to stop it from doing so — indeed, it contemptuously rejected Russian de-escalation proposals such as the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Europe.

NATO is expanding, its member states are spending more on arms and more of their military units are now organized in NATO, and thus U.S.-controlled, command structures. This helps the U.S. concentrate on its acknowledged main rival, China.

But it also helps diminish another economic competitor — Germany itself. Decades of economic cooperation with Russia have been brought to an end, despite a catastrophic impact on German manufacturing.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, long opposed by the U.S., has been mysteriously blown up. The threat of a coherent Eurasian trading bloc with Germany and China at either end has been staved off.

The U.S. is determined that there should be no rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow. Europe must be thoroughly entangled in the Ukraine war to ensure that.

But the risks being taken by European countries on behalf of the U.S. ruling class are extreme. They are being brought close to a direct war with Russia.

Voices in the British press — Simon Tisdall in the Observer, for example — even advocate such a war. Yet the possibility of it turning nuclear and reducing Europe to a radioactive wasteland is obvious.

Boris Johnson airily dismisses Russian threats to use nuclear weapons. The same war hawks claiming Vladimir Putin is too crazy to negotiate with simultaneously maintain that he will be rational when it comes to nuclear war. Maybe, but it is a foolish risk to run.

Given the cross-party consensus in Britain behind escalating the war, Stop the War’s call to build a larger, louder peace movement must be an urgent priority.

That does not mean excusing Russia’s war. A war can have been provoked — Russia’s fear of NATO expansion is real enough — while remaining unjustified: claims it is defensive are belied by Putin’s imperial rhetoric and annexation of vast areas of Ukraine, and his armies’ brutal bombardment of civilian infrastructure is as savage as NATO’s destruction of Belgrade in 1999.

But the conference was right to place that in its wider context: a world in which tensions are being ratcheted up with both Russia and China because of the U.S.’s quest to remain top dog. With the deliberate provocation of China through U.S.-British naval deployments along its coasts, Ukraine could be the first battlefield of a third world war.

There would be no winners in such a war. In a best case scenario, the destruction and loss of life would be immense; in a worse, but not unthinkable, one it could spell the end of human civilization.

What utter madness that our government is prepared to risk that. What a disgrace that the Labor Party is.

The peace movement is the voice of reason. The war in Ukraine must be ended before it spreads. That means building pressure for peace talks from the ground up.


Morning Star
Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.