NATO statements of hostility towards Russia this week demonstrate beyond all doubt that a Cold War mindset among Western leaders is entrenched more than ever. There is a weird sense of going back in time to a world where the Americans are billed as the good guys wearing white hats whose noble purpose is saving everybody from the bad guys wearing black hats.
It’s all very corny and cliched. And yet the world is being gaslighted to believe it and watch a re-run of an old movie. Cold War the Sequel.
The United States-led military alliance convened for its annual summit in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, on July 11-12. U.S. President Joe Biden was joined by leaders of the other 30 member nations, including newly admitted Finland. Also in attendance was Sweden whose membership was ratified, thereby soon making it the 32nd member.
Of course, among other scripted rants, there was a shrill denunciation of Russia, accusing it of mounting “an unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine”. The rhetoric was saturated with militarism and emergency. The entire continent of Europe is in a state of war not seen since the Second World War, and the whole blame for this crisis was laid at Russia’s door, according to NATO.
There is no room for diplomacy. The Ukraine conflict has been reduced and distorted to a simplistic “good versus evil” parody in which the United States is, as usual, riding to the rescue of European allies who are threatened by alleged Russian malice and supposed plans for invasion. This is a re-run of the Soviet Union as big bad bogeyman.
The Western media, of course, conveniently contrived the necessary atmospherics of frightful tensions, describing how Biden and other NATO leaders were convening in a high-security setting wary of a possible Russian military attack with “chemical and radiological weapons”.
Attending the conference was Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky dressed in his trademark military fatigues and repeating his tiresome lines pleading for more weapons from the NATO bloc. His appeals were duly met with yet more pledges to keep the arms bazaar flowing to Ukraine despite the horrendous slaughter in that country over the past 17 months. Nevertheless, Zelensky’s incessant whining for more military largesse and access to NATO membership for Ukraine showed up divisions and fragility behind the facade of “alliance unity” and bravado.
President Biden and other NATO leaders ruled out definite membership for Ukraine, only repeating vague commitments. They know that bringing the Kiev regime into the alliance at this time could trigger World War Three with nuclear-armed Russia. Zelensky’s over-the-top begging and cajoling were slapped down by the Americans and British who were irked by the spotlight-grabbing antics of the former comedian-turned-president.
Regardless of the antics and showboating, it is abundantly clear that the United States has to a degree succeeded in entrenching a Cold War chasm in which Europe is more than ever subordinated to Washington’s geopolitical ambitions for hegemony. The Americans may want to steer away from an all-out conflagration with Russia, but they do want to demarcate a war-like face-off. That is a reckless high-wire balancing act.
The NATO declaration this week illustrated, too, that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has arrogated to itself a global enforcer role. The cynical rhetoric about defending democracy and rules-based order was very much directed at China and Iran in addition to Russia. Every corner of the globe is now designated as a mission for NATO’s “security”, meaning security for U.S. hegemony.
It is no exaggeration that NATO has appointed itself as a global military enforcer for U.S. interests whose demand for domination is resisted by others under the pain of death. The communique issued this week in Vilnius reads like an obsessive war footing – albeit drenched with Orwellian rhetoric about defending democracy, peace, the United Nations Charter, and the rule of law. This is from Western powers that have made a mockery of democracy and international law by waging countless illegal wars and subterfuges around the planet.
Russia and China both deplored the return of Cold War mentality among the U.S.-led West. Moscow and Beijing lament that this polarized division of international relations is anachronistic and anathema to the present would-be historical development of a multipolar world, one that is not dominated by presumed uni-powers.
The late American diplomat and strategist George Kennan warned in 1997 that NATO expansion would lead to “the return of the Cold War”. Kennan, who formulated early Cold War U.S. foreign policy towards the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, had in his later life enough intellectual integrity to realize that NATO expansion following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was an unwise provocation. If he were alive today, Kennan would essentially corroborate Russia’s arguments for why Ukraine has been tragically turned into a bloody red line for Moscow.
However, the truth is the Cold War has not merely “returned” through the unwise policy of successive U.S. administrations wantonly antagonizing Russia and China. The Cold War never really ended in 1991.
Admittedly, for a while, the overt military and ideological hostility seem to have subsided. That was partly because Russia was seen during the 1990s under former President Boris Yeltsin as a weak and feckless defeated superpower over which American capital could run amok and plunder at will.
Since Russia recovered its independence and military power, notably by thwarting the U.S. and NATO regime-change war of aggression in Syria in 2015, that rude development has put Moscow in Washington’s cross-hairs as an obstacle to its ambitions for global dominance. China, Iran and others are also bracketed by the United States as “enemies”, meaning obstacles to its sought-after hegemonic suzerainty. Suzerainty and subordination are the zero-sum dictates of Western capitalism. There can be no mutualism, cooperation or parity under such a monopoly system.
The war in Ukraine is, therefore, the culmination – not the return – of Cold War hostility, a hostility that was temporarily latent, disguised by disingenuous talk about “partnerships”.
But we need to go deeper into the systemic problem if we are ever to find a solution.
The origins of the Cold War, or what might be termed U.S. imperialism’s hybrid war, go back to largely hidden nuances of the Second World War. When the NATO alliance was formed in 1949, it was openly declared as a U.S.-led defender of Europe against “Soviet aggression”. Of course, this was the Americans interloping as a self-appointed chivalrous “protector”. It was all an act. The same vainglorious and conceited pretense of noble Americanism is peddled today regarding Ukraine and the rest of Europe. “You’re stuck with us,” joked Biden during the NATO summit in a faux attempt to sound magnanimous and selfless.
When the Second World War was coming to an end, it not solely signified the defeat of Nazi Germany and European fascism – momentous though that historic defeat was largely due to the valor and sacrifice of the Soviet people. The end of that war was already sowing the seeds for a new war by Western imperialist interests against the Soviet Union. That subsequent phase of conflict was labeled the Cold War and sold to the public as a principled cause defending democracy and the “free world”. The reality was that the Americans and their British allies recruited and redeployed remnants of Nazi Germany and European fascism to wage the next phase of hostilities against the Soviet Union under the hypocritical guise of claims about “Soviet aggression”. Those fascist remnants across Europe were the foundation of today’s NATO. Fittingly, the summit this week was held in Lithuania, one of the worst killing fields rampaged by the Nazi war machine and its collaborators.
Truth be told, Nazi Germany and European fascism was financed and weaponized by American and British capital as a bulwark against the Soviet Union during the 1930s. That was before the Second World War had even begun in 1939. So, when Hitler’s dictatorship was defeated in 1945 that event would not be the end of the undeclared long war for “securing” Western imperialist interests. That explains why the so-called Cold War, or hybrid war, was immediately embarked on in 1945. It should strike anyone as strange that so soon after the horror of WWII and 70-90 million dead, the world would succumb to yet more hostility and four decades of nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction.
Hence, when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 (unwisely by Russian leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev who were beguiled by American blandishments about world peace), the long war did not stop. NATO’s inexorable and deceitful expansion is proof of that.
Thus, today, the world is seeing not the “return” of the Cold War. But rather the intensified continuation by the American-led Western capitalist powers to assert their total domination of the planet. Russia, China, Iran, and others are not willing to roll over in obeisance, and that is why the U.S.-led Western powers are increasingly on a maniacal warpath.
World peace will never be possible while the U.S. and its Western lapdogs are indulged with impunity to wage their criminal wars and mass killings in every part of the planet. Peace will always be an illusory figment as long as the criminal Western powers are never held to account and as long as they are allowed to persist in their predations under their grotesque masks of “defenders of democracy and peace”.
The Western powers, their capitalist and imperialist war machines are the font of all wars in recent centuries. Nazi Germany was but a marque of a larger suite of vehicles whose modern souped-up iteration is NATO.
The Cold War is but one iteration of a long war for global domination. It doesn’t stop or restart. It will continue for as long as the warmongering Western system continues. It will end and, hopefully, world peace will prevail at last only when the Western war system is finally smashed. That outcome will inevitably entail a radical transformation in the present political and economic order particularly among Western states whose bankruptcy is long overdue.