Lindsey German: The threat of war hangs over Europe and NATO’s refusal to allow any sort of settlement is leading to serious dangers of escalation

The intervention by NATO in the Ukraine war is escalating in very dangerous ways. Weapons and money are being provided by the western powers. Joe Biden agreed last month that US-supplied weapons could be used to hit military targets in Russian territory, thus making more likely direct confrontations between nuclear armed powers.

Russia’s advances over recent months are limited but real. They reflect the failure of last year’s heralded Ukraine summer offensive, and the fact that Russia is able to draw on much greater reserves of manpower in a war which has seen extremely heavy fatalities and injuries on both sides.

The brutal truth is that the Ukraine war has been lost and the key question now is how to end it. There was no answer to this at the supposed peace conference in Switzerland at the weekend when Ukraine’s President Zelensky gathered representatives from 90 countries to discuss the question. Russia put forward its own plan, but it was not discussed, even though parts of it will almost certainly form any eventual peace agreement.

Several major countries, including India, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and UAE, refused to sign up to most of Zelensky’s peace plan. The overarching reason for this, whatever the particular political interests of each state, must surely be the recognition that Zelensky cannot unilaterally organise a peace deal and that at some point there will have to be a ceasefire and talks.

You don’t have to agree with Putin or his invasion of Ukraine (which I don’t) to recognise the reality. Even with record levels of arms supplied by western powers, Ukraine is losing territory and troops. Despite the claims of the western media, many Ukrainians do not want to fight, with many leaving the country. This means that the age of conscription has been lowered and the country is conscripting prisoners, something for which Russia has been rightly condemned.

The threat of war hangs over Europe and NATO’s refusal to allow any sort of settlement is leading to serious dangers of escalation. Both Russia and the west now talk about the possibility of the tactical use of nuclear weapons. As the situation in Gaza worsens for the western imperialist powers, so they invest more in arming Ukraine and supporting a war which cannot be won without direct NATO intervention and at huge cost to humanity.

What impact does this have on domestic politics? The far-right in a number of European countries oppose the war and are gaining support because they are doing so against the liberal interventionists who demand more money for weapons and more sacrifices from workers. What a tragedy here in Britain that it is Farage calling for a ceasefire and so gaining support for the far-right.

The militarism and jingoism adopted by Keir Starmer is also reflected by the French President Macron and the German government. Meanwhile they all demand that health and other public services suffer as a result. Costs for continuing support for this war will be immense domestically as Europe rearms, and dangerous politically.

The anti-war movement must fight to end this war. The arms race now under way worldwide will not end in peace, but in more war. That is the lesson from the years before 1914 and from the 1930’s. The next war, which will involve nuclear weapons, will mean the potential destruction of humanity and that cannot be allowed to happen.

17 Jun 2024 by Lindsey German

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