Today marks one year since Russia’s military forces directly intervened into Ukraine – a devastating conflict that has caused tens of thousands of deaths, destabilized the world and forced millions to flee their homes. Invariably across corporate media outlets today Russia is treated as the sole villain and initiator of the war. But a look at what has actually transpired since February 2022 reveals that the conflict is dragging on into its second year because the United States wants it to.
Biden’s personal visit to Ukrainian president Zelenskyy on the eve of the anniversary of the war is a clear sign that the United States intends to cement Ukraine as part of a sphere of U.S. influence on Russia’s borders. Without constant U.S./NATO escalation, the war could have ended long ago with peace talks and a new security arrangement that demilitarizes the region – something that would have also prevented the war in the first place.
After the United States and its allies refused over and over to negotiate on existential security concerns like the expansion of NATO membership to countries on Russia’s border and the deployment of advanced missile systems to Eastern Europe, Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Russia may have expected the Ukrainian government to collapse in the opening days of the war and for a new government advocating neutrality to take its place, but it remained intact and its backers in the West swiftly moved to turn the conflict into a proxy war. Comprehensive sanctions were imposed on Russia in an effort to lock the country out of the world market and cause an economic collapse.
The basic logic was that the longer the war drags on, the greater the human and economic cost to Russia, and therefore the more likely it is that the United States will achieve its long-standing goal of overthrowing the Russian government (or at least severely diminishing its power). “We want to see Russia weakened,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin openly stated in April after a visit to Kiev.
Just two weeks after the war began, U.S. Congress passed a massive aid package for Ukraine totaling $13.6 billion. Part of this money was directed towards financing essential functions of the Ukrainian government and shoring up the economy, and another part of roughly equivalent size consisted of military support. But this first installment paled in comparison with the package passed two months later, which amounted to $40 billion and was again split between economic and military aid. Alongside smaller but still substantial military aid commitments from its junior imperialist partners in the NATO alliance, this was a clear signal that the major Western powers were prepared to provide virtually unlimited support to prop up Ukraine for as long as they possibly could.
The largest appropriation of military aid came in December, when approximately $47 billion was budgeted to keep the war going. In total, over $100 billion had been committed by the U.S. government to the proxy war against Russia in a steady stream of escalations that sabotaged any hopes for peace.
This enormous sum of money is pocketed by U.S.-based arms manufacturing corporations, whose fabulously wealthy executives profit from death and destruction. Meanwhile, dire social problems in the United States go unaddressed.
U.S./NATO escalation came not only in the form of ever-increasing amounts of aid, it also involved more and more powerful types of weaponry as the fighting went on. As Russia’s opening offensive of the war stalled, instead of taking the opportunity to negotiate peace U.S. officials pressed Ukraine to launch major counter-offensives. Central to this was the delivery of an advanced missile system called the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) in the beginning of the summer. Despite Russia’s warnings that the delivery of missiles to Ukraine capable of striking Russian territory would be viewed as a grave deepening of the crisis, the United States did just that less than one month ago when it announced the shipment of a weapon called the “ground-launched small-diameter bomb”. GLSDBs double the range of existing Ukrainian missiles.
When it came to the delivery of tanks, even Washington’s NATO allies were reluctant. But an intense lobbying campaign primarily directed at the government of Germany succeeded at the end of January – both German-made and U.S. tanks are now on their way to the battlefield in Ukraine. Immediately following their success with tank deliveries, the most hardline elements in the West began to push to go even further and send fighter jets. This is not the behaviour of people who have even the slightest interest in a peaceful resolution.
The war appears to have, at least for now, settled into a grinding stalemate where neither side is able to make a major breakthrough. But the U.S. government insists on keeping the slaughter going. Their strategic doctrine is “great power competition” – that the two principal obstacles standing between the United States and world domination are Russia and China. If the war continuing means that there is a chance that they could achieve one of their two central goals by weakening or overthrowing the Russian government, then the number of lives lost and upended are of no consequence whatsoever to the Pentagon war makers.
And Russia claims to have been open to a negotiated settlement since before fighting even commenced. In a major national address on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin stated, “in December 2021, we officially submitted draft agreements on security guarantees to the USA and NATO. In essence, all key, fundamental points were rejected. After that it finally became clear that the go-ahead for the implementation of aggressive plans had been given and they were not going to stop.”
The Pentagon and State Department planners view the war in Ukraine as just one front in a worldwide effort to assert the unchecked dominance of U.S. empire. Every existential security concern of its major rivals – whether it is the militarization of Ukraine for Russia or separatism in Taiwan or Hong Kong for China – is viewed as a pressure point to be relentlessly inflamed using all the tools at the United States’ disposal. It is clear who the main threat to peace in the world is.