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Ukraine is a distraction from service to the people
The US Senate passed a bill on May 19 to provide some $40 billion in military and other aid for Ukraine (Reuters breakdown here.) This works out at around $120 for every living soul in the USA; imagine going around America’s poor and asking how they and their loved ones could use their share.
The cost is more than financial, of course. Aside from military casualties, Reuters says 3,500 civilians have been killed in the Russia-Ukraine conflict since February. However, that is almost exactly the same as civilian deaths in the time before that, starting in 2014, when much of the world took no interest.
So why now? Conservative (but not Tory) journalist Peter Hitchens has quoted former US Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta as saying (17 March 2022) ‘It's a proxy war with Russia whether we say so or not.' Yet unlike China, Russia is no longer Communist and its people have every historical reason not to want the Reds back in charge.
Maybe the answer lies in something Prime Minister Harold Macmillan wrote to US President-elect JFK in December 1960. In the previous decade (the 1950s) the Soviet economy had been growing twice as fast as Britain’s, and Macmillan saw the West as not so much in an arms race, as an economic one:
‘What is going to happen to us unless we can show that our modern free society – the new form of capitalism – can make the fullest use of our resources and results in a steady expansion of our economic strength… If we fail in this, Communism will triumph, not by war, or even subversion, but by seeming to be a better way of bringing people material comforts. In other words, if we were to fall back into anything like the recession or crisis that we had between the wars, with large-scale unemployment of men and machines, I think we would have lost the hand.’
- Quoted in ‘Macmillan: The Official Biography’ by Alistair Horne (Macmillan, 1988)
Since the 1980s the cross-party community-serving consensus in both Britain and America has broken down; perhaps it was to do with the passing from power of people who had fought side by side with their social inferiors during WWII.
Or rather it is a new consensus, between the party of business-profit-maximisers and the party of false friends of the working classes; what some in the US are now calling the Uniparty.
Rather than nurture the masses (that illusion of democracy) our politicians have let themselves be lobbied and suborned by big money; so much so that they have ceded much of our countries’ manufacturing capacity to an ideological mortal enemy, and one that has become too powerful to challenge militarily, despite our sabre-rattling.
Instead, overtly hostile attention has been focused on Russia, whose population is a tenth the size of China’s and whose GDP isn’t even in the top ten of world nations. It looks as though the game-players of the Pentagon, State Department et al. think they can use Ukraine, (about the poorest country in Europe) to pluck Russia’s feathers until the latter is weak enough to conquer by domestic subversion or otherwise.
Thousands of miles away and with access to deep bunkers, American war planners may feel invulnerable, maybe even able to risk the use of nuclear weapons in Europe without (as presumably they calculate) escalation to global Mutually Assured Destruction.
Like Madeleine Albright when confronted about the deaths of half a million Iraqi children, they must see third-party bloody chaos in the service of their corporate sponsors as a price worth paying. Especially if it’s someone else who pays.