The secret of Ukraine

Lubna Abdel-Aziz
Tuesday 21 Feb 2023


“Russia, Russia, Russia,” as Donald Trump is wont to say. He may not be far from the truth.
Many of us have pondered the question as to why the US has plunged so deeply, both economically and militarily, in the war between Russia and Ukraine while it has looked away at other similar conflicts.
Forget the generic excuse, such as “the unwavering support for sovereignty and territorial integrity” or “in response to Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified war.” Does this not apply to Israel?
No matter. The US itself with its surrogate Western allies committed the same act of aggression against Iraq in 2003, totally ignoring Paragraph 4, Article 2 of the UN Charter, which “prohibits the use, threat of force against the integrity and political independence of other countries”. It clearly prohibits the use of force yet accepts the application of a double-standard policy. One cannot help but sympathise or better still, condemn, the UN, for almost 80 years of missed opportunities to implement its very charter.
We have watched globe-trottere Zelensky, president of Ukraine, pleading for help throughout the Western world. His reception is that of a hero — David against Goliath with standing ovations, hugs and tears, and promises of help.
He even had the audacity to visit the Middle East, Israel of course, and addressed the Knesset by comparing Israel to Ukraine, both under attack by the threat “of fatal destruction of the people, the state, the culture and even of the names — Ukraine and Israel”. He certainly does not know his history.
Palestinian political scientist Asad Ghanem described Zelensky’s speech to the Knesset as a “disgrace”. He reversed the roles — which is nothing new.
He regularly takes public positions in support of the Israeli occupation.
Israel, however, is noncommittal, with 150,000 Jews still living in Russia. However, if the war continues, it may be forced to choose to be a US ally. Without the US there is no Israel; there is no Ukraine.
The main reason why the US, the UK, EU, and others support Ukraine, is not to save Ukraine itself. Though the whole world sympathises with the people of Ukraine and their plight in their war-torn country, the help is not for them, but against Russia.
This is a proxy war against Russia, without casualties — but the economic price is much too high and cannot continue for long. The US has already enabled Ukraine to do immense damage to Russia’s overall capability, but stopping Vladimir Putin from restoring the Great Russia is no easy task for all the allies put together, even if you throw in Japan.
The war has already cost the US $53 billion. Taxpayers are feeling the pain.
A newly elected Republican majority in the US Congress is not so gung-ho about helping Ukraine as Biden is. Noises are heard such as “Our country comes first. We must stop Zelensky demanding money and weapons. We are being dragged into World War III.”
Support for aid among US residents has diminished. With their economy faltering and food prices rising, the desire to refrain from helping Zelensky has risen from six per cent to 30 per cent, and to 48 per cent among Republicans.
Even the Europeans are slow in sending help and some are having second thoughts, claiming it’s an Eastern European rather than a pan-European conflict. It all depends on how long the war continues. The cost of aid could exceed past levels of wartime. The US and all its strategic partners face major economic problems already. A truly long war is estimated to reach $500 billion, even trillions.
The alliance between Russia and China is the strongest it has ever been in 70 years. Xi Jinping calls Putin his best friend. During their recent meeting on 4 February Putin and Xi renewed their commitment of their friendship treaty of 2022. Xi emphasised China’s readiness to keep up their high-level exchange. Ominous.
Does this imply nuclear weapons will be used? We hope not, but these are two of the five countries who signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, which permits five countries to build or acquire nuclear weapons. You must have guessed the other three: the UK, the US, and France.
The fear of an apocalypse is not imaginary. Russia possesses an impressive arsenal of mass destruction. Should not the US put the brakes on, before the situation turns into a global catastrophe? The prestige of two nations is at stake. Russia will not be defeated.
While helping a small nation fight for independence is noble, how many times has the US lost such fights? Is the Ukraine, known as “the most corrupt country in Europe”, worth it, or is the US and its allies trying to deter Russia from gaining more territory and power?
Biden miscalculated this outcome, Russia took advantage of his weakness. Will Taiwan be next?
The US is not the world’s policeman, healer, teacher, ruler, or the saviour of democracy or the human race.
It is so far the greatest country in the world, but it is unnecessary to pick a fight with Russia and use Ukraine as an excuse. Instead, become a messenger of peace and understanding. Where is the UN Charter? Could someone pull it out from under the rubble, and give it a read?
Has the desire for peace disappeared? We hope not. Yet, we surely know the desire for violence will never disappear.

“You cannot prepare for war and peace at the same time.”
 Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

* A version of this article appears in print in the 23 February, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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