The highly dangerous situation in Ukraine has brought into focus the threat of a new cold war, and the possibility of military conflict. It is in the interests of no one for such military conflict to take place. The British and US governments are placing the blame for any escalation on Russia, which has sent troops into Crimea.

We oppose all foreign military intervention. But we should be clear that this is not the only intervention. In fact, the EU and the US have been very directly intervening in the affairs of Ukraine, and have played a major role in the changing of the government there, and in the composition of the new government, which contains within it far right and fascist elements.

We should also take no lessons from those who have supported intervention in the past in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and who proposed major air strikes in Syria as recently as last August. Nor should we believe concerns about national sovereignty from countries which have launched drone attacks on Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

There are many political differences in Ukraine that can only be resolved politically and by respecting the language and civil rights of all concerned. But the background to this lies far beyond the borders of the Ukraine in terms of conflict between major powers.

At the end of the Cold War, as agreed with the western powers, Russia disbanded the Warsaw Pact, its military alliance. But the United States and NATO broke their word to Russia, by adding most of Eastern Europe and the Balkan states to their own military alliance, and by building military bases along Russia’s southern border.

The expansion of the EU and Nato eastwards has led to the growth of a neoliberal and militarised agenda in the region.

In addition, the experience of the war on terror and previous interventions has built up a legacy of conflict between major powers. The defeats in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and over Syria have led to a desire from the US neocons in particular for a settling of scores, especially with Russia. At the same time the Russian and Chinese governments have been alarmed by the range of Nato interventions from Serbia in 1999 to the bombing of Libya in 2011.

It is these tensions which are really fuelling the new cold war, a war which is against the interests of the people of the world, whether in Ukraine or elsewhere.

03 Mar 2014

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