Folly in Ukraine by Phil Anderson

Folly in Ukraine

Phil Anderson

“Today we face an avoidable crisis between the United States and Russia that was predictable, willfully precipitated, but can easily be resolved by the application of common sense.” Jack F. Matlock, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987-1991

Once again, our government is meddling in another conflict on the other side of the world. Given we just got out of a disaster in Afghanistan, one would think we might be a little cautious about jumping into another no-win situation in Ukraine. But we are actively “precipitating” an “avoidable crisis.”

Our government and corporate media insist Russian “aggression” is to blame. A free and democratic Ukraine is threatened, and we must respond.  But once again we are being misled into a military conflict.

We need to be hearing more from people like Ambassador Matlock, a career diplomat, Russian expert, and Reagan appointed ambassador to Russia (see sources below).

Any notion that we are defending freedom or democracy in Ukraine is ludicrous. This is always the justification for all our military adventures. But we have a long history of supporting dictatorships, military coups and overthrowing democratically elected governments. The current government in Ukraine is another example. The thirty years of Ukrainian independence is more accurately described as a story of corrupt oligarchs battling for power and control than freedom fighters struggling against Russian aggression.

Numerous reliable sources have documented that neo-Nazi militias are an integral part of the current government, including local police. These militias have a history of anti-Semitism and are currently engaged in ethnic and political violence against the Ukrainian opposition and ethnic Russians in Ukraine. This is also documented by the personal experiences of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the violence and by American observers who have experience in Ukraine (UNAC webinar listed below).

The problems in Ukraine will not be solved by joining NATO. The United States pushing the expansion of NATO is, in Ambassador Matlock’s words, a “profound strategic blunder.” Our shipping more weapons into this volatile situation will only exacerbate the problems.

Ukraine is simply a pawn in our reinvigorated Cold War struggle for spheres of influence and containment of communism. This conflict has little to do with Ukrainian freedom or the wellbeing of its people. The only winners will be the merchants of death who profit from war and our militarized foreign policy. Playing nuclear brinkmanship over Ukraine is simply stupid.

Ambassador Matlock’s experience speaks clearly, “…what Putin is demanding is eminently reasonable…By any commonsense standard it is in the interest of the United States to promote peace, not conflict. To try to detach Ukraine from Russian influence…was a fool’s errand, and a dangerous one. Have we so soon forgotten the lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis?”

I am reminded of the 1960’s protest slogan, “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.” Our government is seldom part of any solutions to problems. We are either stonewalling positive developments, like climate change agreements or bans on nuclear weapons, or we are throwing fuel on the fire in some conflict like the civil war in Ukraine.

To learn more, see:

  • “NATO and the Origins of the Ukraine Crisis,” Common Dreams, Jack F. Matlock, firsthand account by a Republican diplomat who was there during the Cold Aware and collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • “3 decades of turmoil bring Ukraine to perhaps its greatest crisis,” National Public Radio, the history of Ukraine since independence.
  • Google “Ukraine neo-Nazi’s” to find many news articles on right wing militia violence and collaboration with the current government.
  • “Ukraine on Fire” is an Oliver Stone documentary available free on
  • “Human Rights Watch Ukraine” for the impact on women, minorities, dissidents, and others.
  • The United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) has a good webinar with Ukrainians, Russians and Americans discussing the situation.