Responding to 8 reasons for peace  of Medea Benjamin and Nick Davis

ukraine 1

As a careful observer of the Ukrainian-Russian-US/Nato war I was happy to see  Medea Benjamin and Nick Davis approaching that war in Dec.1’22 issue of Countercurrents. I noticed that the Codepink, the group led by Medea Benjamin was the first on the Left, which while acknowledging the responsibility of the US/NATO as many other leftist groups in the country for the many acts of provocations, stated very simple correct demands: Russian troops out, No NATO expansion. Such a direct unqualified recognition that both Russia and US/Nato are equally responsible for the war was unique on the Left during the first months of the war. Codepink presents itself as the Leftist, Feminist group, hence it is anchored both in the class struggle and in the identity liberation movement, feminism, what, in my opinion helps to arrive at such balanced point of view. However, the war continues unabated.

Where is the issue?

Maybe the simplest explanation is in the words of Putin who just before the attack on Ukraine had justified his actions by pointing to the threat Russia feels when the NATO troops are along its borders. Indeed, they have been, and taking the history which started with the verbal commitment given to Gorbachev in the early nineties that NATO will keep away from Russian borders, and whose commitment was already broken in late nineties when Poland together with Hungary and Czech republic became members of NATO, his fears are justified.

At the same time however, it is obvious and not mentioned by Putin, that countries of East Europe feel equally strong threat due to the Russian troops on their borders, which by the way, Russians have crossed four times since the end of WWII. Both threats, and related to them fears, are real. (The more so for all the countries in the region that is Ukraine, Poland and Belarus whose issues with, and grievances to Russia date hundreds of years in the past.) That means that simultaneous elimination of both threats is the necessary condition for, and practice of peace.

That is why the Codepink demands: Russian troops  out, No NATO expansion were conceptually and strategically correct because they addressed both sources of the war: the threat to East Europe by Russia and the threat to Russia by NATO on equal footing.

Generally, the Left doesn’t see both causes as of equal importance, and therefore it focuses its conscious attention on only one of them, West/USA/NATO support for Ukraine thus missing the possibility of deeper understanding of the contemporary situation leading to (just) peace as well. Even Corbyn’s last statement quoted on 8/5/22 by Terina Hein has that feature: Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution, it’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war.[1]

Undoubtfully true. It is equally true that continuing attacks of Russian troops upon the Ukrainian territory will not bring the solution either.

So what is the solution? How to stop this nonsensical war?

First we have to understand this war correctly. We cannot see it solely in its reduced form as a “proxy” war between two powers. That also is the war of national liberation from foreign aggression by another nation.

On the other hand, it is not only the defensive war of Ukraine against well known to all of us aggressor, as it has been seen for long in Ukraine and in Poland for example, but it also is the great powers competition and collision. Of course both of those wars are closely connected to each other yet they are different because based on fundamentally different motivations.

I call such wars, bisociative wars, that is wars that draw its war motivation from two relatively separate sources: here, global power competition and national liberation struggle.

Such wars are more difficult to control because their bisociative structure gives them big dose of flexibility to transform from one mode to another, or to exist in both modes simultaneously as it’s at present. They can also disconnect from each, and that is one of the ways in which this war can diminish its global threat.

In order to end that war a compromise has to be found which addresses both threats and related with them fears: that of countries of Eastern Europe by Russia and that of Russia by US/Nato. The initial form of such a compromise was suggested by Codepink in its early statement: Russian troops  out, No NATO expansion.

However this minimum demands are not enough at this point, independently of how correct are all 8 points of the presented peace suggestion, because they don’t eliminate the Russia’s threat to the countries of East Europe.

However, the more extreme version of Codepink’s approach: Russian troops behind Ural, NATO-out of Europe goes further in the direction to eliminate both threats in a balanced manner. Until we find a workable solution that address both threats, the war will continue, in my opinion.

Dr. Bronislaw Czarnocha,Professor, Mathematics Department, Hostos CC, City University of New York

Email: [email protected]



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