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Opinions of Friday, 25 February 2022

Columnist: Soyombo Opeyemi

Ukraine: US, NATO must be held accountable

Russia Ukriane Crisis Russia Ukriane Crisis

For weeks, from the CNN through the BBC to Al Jazeera, we were fed the same diet on a daily basis. We run the risk of being victims of intellectual kwashiorkor. Hence, some of us have to cry out!

This exercise is not in defence of President Vladimir Putin, a dictator of no mean measure. I reject fascism, communism, Nazism, militarism, sit-tightism and all forms of tyranny. Putin epitomises monocracy. I like democracy of the Westminster model. The United States presidential system of government is fascinating. When it comes to the rule of law, freedom and right to dissent, I belong to the West (the US). I reject the strangulating, despotic governments in China and Russia. They are an open sore on our humanity. The Kim Dynasty in North Korea must fall. Everything must be done to bring down autocracy everywhere in the world. The world must stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Myanmar (Burma), Chad, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso,etc. and take all legitimate measures, including use of force, to remove unconstitutional governments and usurpers of political power.

However, I reject the month-long mobilisation of mass hysteria against Russia through the agencies of instant communication – the Cable News Network, British Broadcasting Corporation and Al Jazeera. I refuse to be hypnotised. The Ukraine crisis (now developing into a full-scale war), which has claimed over 14,000 lives, is deplorable. The blame for the deadly turmoil rests squarely at the doorsteps of Washington. The United States, through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, is obsessed stealthily with the ambition to emerge the only superpower in the globe. The notion of ‘balance of power’ is anathema to the American establishment. The European Union, the United Kingdom and other allies in NATO are mere pawns on the power chessboard of America. The US is neurotically against a bi-polar world. After using the so-called allies to achieve a unipolar world of its dream, it will dispense with their services. Did America not stab France, a major ally, in the back recently by undercutting it through the Australia-UK-US pact on nuclear-powered submarine in Australia? The uppercut delivered by Washington to Paris was so devastating that France had to withdraw its ambassador to the US! Looks surreal; looks impossible! “Yea, you’re dispensable; you’re our ally only on our own terms” – the import of the US message to France.

The European member states had better open their eyes before it is too late. Recall the infamous statement of ex-Prime Minister of UK, Tony Blair – “I will be with you, whatever!” Yes, the UK, France and others went everywhere with the then President George Bush blindfolded. By the time President Joe Biden withdrew American troops from Afghanistan, he practically didn’t remember any ally for consultation!

What is the purpose of NATO after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? NATO should have dissolved after the fall of communism, disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and fall of the Berlin Wall. How can you have military bases all over the world, if there are no ulterior motives? The US once mooted the idea of having another military base in the Gulf of Guinea, in the backyard of Nigeria. In a strident article, this writer reacted against it.

In the current face-off with the West (the US), we must align with Russia in order to ensure a bi-polar world, where there is balance of power. Personally, I do not want to look back from my grave and observe my future generation in chains of political, legal and economic servitude. I do not wish to watch them at the beck and call of aliens or governed by whims and caprices of their contemporaries in distant Washington D.C. I am not sure there is any leader that is worth their salt either in Russia, China, Nigeria or France that will allow their nation to be surrounded by machinery of annihilation without appropriate and commensurate response. Ever since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the US has been moving machinery of force to Eastern Europe through NATO enlargement, cunningly to encircle Russia, another superpower. Hence, Russia is fighting back. The only profound regret is that this battle is not on a diplomatic front but involves blood-letting, which is comprehensibly inadmissible. There is no justified war. Had US abandoned its sly intention to hem in or surround Russia militarily in order to emerge the only superpower, there would have been no war in Georgia and currently in Ukraine.

In 1989, the torchbearer of the world’s communist ideology made a volte-face and renounced a dogma that had polarised the world. The US establishment/ultra-nationalists felt supremely elated. Before a stupefied world, President Mikhail Gorbachev declared in February 1990, “We should abandon the ideological dogmatism that became ingrained during the past decades” and followed up the ‘sacrilege’ with an elaborate visit to the US, where he submitted, “The Cold War is now behind us. Let us not wrangle over who won it.” Apparently, the Soviet President deluded himself with that submission. The war had been won and lost. The US wasted no time in sending the message of a new empire or a new world order. The Warsaw Pact may die as it was bound to but not NATO; in fact, unified Germany must be a member of NATO; and the US-controlled NATO must reap in full the spoils of war through expansion and occupation of the ‘defeated territories’ in Eastern Europe. To achieve this, the US continued to massage the ego of Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and their successors while pushing the apparatus of death to their doorsteps under different guises in order to realise its dream of a unipolar world.

The American establishment nurtures mortal fear for an unreined Russia. With her long-range nuclear missile arsenals, air and sea-launched cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles with chemical weapons not yet fully dismantled and a host of weather-beaten Cold War generals still in the force, Russia may have lost the ideological battle of communism to the US capitalism but it is not yet drowned militarily. Of course, America is not in a hurry in its strategy of containment of the former arch-foe – it took some five decades for communism to be defeated – but the process of achieving the American Empire must be jump-started under different guises (a process which the US no less regards as supremely adroit). Russia can see through the slyness, camouflage, hence his counteractions, which have rattled the US and will surely return CIA, Pentagon and the military-industrial complex to the drawing board. Russia’s counteractions in Georgia must be viewed in the context of an effective riposte to the US manoeuvres in some countries close to its borders. It is exactly the same scenario that is playing out in Ukraine. Pre-emptive strikes are justified in international law. If there is palpable evidence that Territory C might ultimately use Territory B to launch an attack against Territory A or compromise its security, then Territory A can take proportionate pre-emptive strikes against Territory B.

Americans claim they are lovers of freedom but that liberty they have denied others. It claims Ukraine is a sovereign state and is free to choose a path that pleases it by joining NATO. Why then is it fighting Iran, another sovereign country, for choosing a path that pleases it by developing (potential) nuclear arms?

It is good the vast majority of American citizens do not believe in the unipolar agenda of their ultra-nationalist leaders. The US must abandon its expansionist drive and dream of the only superpower in the world. The US and Russia must lead the campaign to rid the world completely of nuclear arms, starting with the two powers. NATO must be dissolved without further ado while Russia must pull out from Ukraine without further assault – the war must stop immediately. The UK and European Union should be in a hurry to dismantle NATO. Otherwise, either now or in the future, Europe risks being the battlefield in a feud between the US and Russia, and Europe will be the loser for it – the US being thousands of miles away from the warfront.

I call for immediate ceasefire in Ukraine while the US with its allies and Russia return to the negotiating table. There is no justified war.

In this age of globalisation that opens unprecedented doors for economic integration and prosperity for peoples of the world, military alliances have become anachronistic.