If we want peace we have to talk about Imperialism.
Framing the violent invasion of Ukraine by Russia as an unexpected and inexplicable act of aggression by Putin is intentionally misleading. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a vile act against humanity which should be condemned but it is neither unexpected or inexplicable. We have seen this all before, many times. Imperialism.
We have watched the outcome of the Balfour Declaration spill sacrificial blood across the Holy Land for decades whilst the US continues to send $38 billion of militarily “aid“ to the State of Israel. The State of Israel that has violated 28 United Nations resolutions and Geneva Conventions including Ethnic Cleansing.
We are urged to be shocked and disgusted at Russia’s behaviour, yet at the same time accept (and often revere) justifications for the countless acts of aggression, invasions and war crimes committed by our own imperialist countries.
The heinous motives of Putin are based on the same supremist and pre-emptive arguments that bordering European countries are using to excuse their outrights acts of racism and Islamophobia towards non- white non-Christian refugees.
The same pre-emptive arguments that the US and UK used to invade Iraq twenty years ago. The same pre-emptive arguments that UK and the old Imperialist empires used for centuries to steal land, resources and commit genocides.
Russia is holding up a huge mirror to the West. If we wish to prevent any further bloodshed we need honest and critical reflection not partisanship. With a ground swell of public support, this could be an opportunity to force Governments to invest in green energies, divest in arms and prosecute billionaire corporations tax evaders. It is an opportunity to reform immigration and foreign policy. To overturn the attacks on the rights to protest. Ending the bloodshed means working towards dismantling the structures at the root of all wars. Imperialism.
It may sound like a “hippy” dream but just as we have seen imperialist invasions and wars before, we have seen the social reform possible after. State interventions like free healthcare, housing and education that would have seemed unimaginable to the average Victorian 100 years previous.
So in the name of all of the innocent victims of war, may this be the time that humanity learns from it’s past mistakes rather than repeating them.