The extreme hypocrisy of the United States’ position on NATO and Ukraine begs for journalistic coverage and open debate in major American media outlets. But, with a few exceptions, those outlets have gone into almost Orwellian mode, only allowing elaboration on the theme of America being good and Russia being bad.
Legislators on Capitol Hill are aiding and abetting a potentially catastrophic — and I do mean catastrophic — confrontation between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Members of Congress, like the media they echo and vice versa, can barely manage more than vague statements that they prefer diplomacy over war.
Can you imagine Washington’s reaction if a powerful Russian-led military alliance asserted the right to be joined by its ally Mexico, while also shipping large quantities of weapons to that country? Yet we’re supposed to believe that it’s fine for the US-led NATO alliance to assert that it has the authority to grant Ukraine membership — and, in the meantime, to ship large amounts of weaponry to that country.
Mainstream US news outlets are uninterested in history or documentation that might contradict the current frenzy presenting NATO’s expansion to the Russian border as an unqualified good. Despite this promise, NATO quickly expanded into Eastern Europe, eventually putting the alliance on Russia’s doorstep. The current conflict between the United States and Russia is a direct result of this expansion.”
The journalists who have been revved up by ranting nationalists on U.S. TV networks and other media outlets have no use for such comprehension. Why think about how anything in the world might appear to Russians? Why bother providing anything resembling a diverse range of viewpoints on a conflict that has the potential to erupt into the world’s incineration with thermonuclear weapons? Jingoistic conformity is a far wiser career path.
Andrei Tsygankov, a professor of international relations at San Francisco State University and author of “Russia and America: The Asymmetric Rivalry,” is at odds with that kind of conformity. “Russia sees its actions as purely defensive in response to NATO’s and Ukraine’s increasingly offensive military preparations (half of Ukraine’s army, or about 125,000 troops, are stationed near the border, according to Russia’s foreign ministry),” he wrote a few days ago. “However, rather than putting pressure on Ukraine to de-escalate and comply with the Minsk Protocol, Western nations continue to supply the Ukrainian army with lethal weapons and other supplies.”
Tsygankov notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has two decades of experience trying to persuade Western leaders to consider Russia’s interests.” During these years, Russia has unsuccessfully opposed the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and build a new missile defense system in Romania, expand NATO, invade Iraq and Libya, and support Kyiv’s anti-Russian policies.
The professor nails a key reality: “Whatever plans Russia has for Ukraine and NATO, conflict resolution is heavily dependent on the West.” A major war can be avoided if Western leaders gather the confidence and will to abandon counterproductive threats and engage Russia in reasoned dialogue. If diplomacy is given a fair chance, the European continent may reach an agreement on a new security system that includes, among other things, Russia’s interests and participation.”
What about progressives in Congress in the midst of all of this? As we face the most dangerous crisis in decades, with the world on the verge of nuclear war, few are doing anything more than mouthing safe platitudes.
Are they caving in to public pressure? No, not at all. It appears that they are cowering in fear of being attacked by hawkish media and militaristic political forces.
The magazine’s reporting paints a portrait of leading congressional progressives who can’t bring themselves to directly challenge fellow Democrat Joe Biden’s escalation of the current highly dangerous conflict, as he sends yet more large shipments of weaponry to Ukraine, including a new $200 million batch, while deploying 8,500 US troops to Eastern Europe.
Asked about the issue of prospective Ukraine membership in NATO sometime in the future, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., treated the situation as a test of superpower wills or game of chicken, saying: “I would not be blackmailed by Putin in this situation.”