All posts by Kristin Christman

Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2B)

Part 2B. The Violence of Ukrainian Ultranationalists

We’ve been examining how threats to life are driving much of the violence of the current crisis in Ukraine. In the last part, we discussed how threats to Russian lives posed by the US and NATO have in turn provoked Russia to take military action. In this part, we’ll look at some of the threats to life within Ukraine itself, threats that Ukrainians feel from other Ukrainians, particularly the violence of ultranationalists.

Some Ukrainians have feared for their lives and safety because of Ukrainian extreme right-wing violence, a form of violence that seems to be aggressive and clearly criminal, since the targets of its violence appear to often be unarmed and non-violent. Groups such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Svoboda Party—which used to be named the Social-National Party, Right Sector, Azov battalion, C14, the police regiments Dnipro 1 and Dnipro 2, and the Tornado, Donbass, and Aidar battalions are all linked with fascism and far right-wing violent extremism. Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of Svoboda and Patriot of Ukraine, whose members became the core of Azov, reportedly regularly meets with Washington DC think tanks and politicians.1

As an aside, note that some consider fascism to be left-wing, rather than right-wing. It’s true that the very word Nazi comes from the words National Socialist, and the word “socialist” implies left-wing. However, others argue that while the Nazis were socialist in name, they were not socialist in action. In fact, the first groups that Hitler attacked and imprisoned were the left-wing political groups: socialists and Communists. Typically, Communism and socialism are considered left-wing, and fascism is considered right-wing.

For purposes of this essay, while I’ll continue to call them right-wing, it doesn’t matter to me whether you want to consider them left-wing or right-wing. A simple two-dimensional left-and-right line might not even be the best way to think about political viewpoints. But most importantly, my point in calling them far-right wing is not to disparage the right wing, or to suggest that the violence of the far-right wing is due to their being on the right wing. It’s due to their being “far,” which also doesn’t necessarily mean violent either.

Left-wing violence and left-wing dictatorships, such as that of a Communist totalitarian dictatorship, and right-wing violence and right-wing dictatorships, such as life under Chile’s Pinochet, are both horrendous, and they both violate the principles of left-wing and right-wing individuals who do not believe in such violence, dictatorship, or totalitarianism. Violence and aggression should be addressed with caring and concern and without bias, whether it is far-left wing or far-right wing. The deeper point is to address these groups, their aggressive ideas, their violence, and also their fears and grievances, no matter which side of the political spectrum they fall.

Perhaps in addition to the left-right horizontal line it would be more meaningful and purposeful to also draw a vertical line running through it and extending from cooperative, egalitarian non-violence at the top to dominating, hierarchical violence at the bottom so that there are four quadrants. Hopefully, whether we’re left or right, we can aim for the top.

It’s important to note that not all people in these groups are neo-Nazis, and perhaps some have views that are distinct in significant ways. Most or all of these groups do not formally embrace Nazi ideology. In fact, members of these groups have often vociferously denied that they are neo-Nazis. The label only angers them, and they explain that they are Ukrainian nationalists. At the same time, many of the groups do include some neo-Nazis in their membership. For example, in 2015 a spokesperson for the Azov battalion stated that 10 to 20 percent Azov’s recruits were neo-Nazis. The Svoboda Party supposedly expelled its neo-Nazi members when it was trying to transform its image and changed its name from the Social National Party to the Svoboda (Freedom) Party in 2018.

Perhaps a better term than neo-Nazi for these groups would be fascists, since Nazis are more specifically associated with Hitler’s Third Reich and perhaps many of these far-right-wing Ukrainians care much more about Ukraine than Hitler. An excellent article about the defining beliefs and fears of fascists is written by Dan Tamir, “When Jews Praised Mussolini and Supported Nazis: Meet Israel’s First Fascists.” 2 The article lists these defining characteristics of fascism: conviction of superiority of one’s group, a feeling of victimhood, feeling justified to commit any form of revenge, subjugation of the individual to the group, and belief in the supreme leader as having extraordinary, even divine or supernatural powers. Many also would include as a characteristic a repulsion to left-wing policies. While fascist beliefs are intolerant, ruthless, and violent, they appear to be goaded simultaneously by convictions of superiority and by fears and convictions of victimhood.

Not mentioned in the article is the idea that fascist governments are defined by some as existing when a strong, undemocratic tie exists between government and big business, so that government and businesses collaborate in harmful ways to serve each other’s purposes. To my knowledge, such collaboration is not something that’s being promoted by Ukraine’s far-right-wing violent extremists who seem extremely angered by the stealing, dishonesty, and corruption within government and the disproportionate power of oligarchs within the nation.

Many articles refer to Ukrainians’ violent far-right wing simply as ultranationalists, and this may be the best term for them, a type of extreme nationalism that includes violence and hatred towards those who are not of their ethnicity. But again, I don’t have access to any type of survey of these groups, and I don’t know whether they all look down on others or not. Most of all, it’s important to listen to the particulars of their beliefs. It would be a disservice to smear an entire group with the ideas and actions of its most violent and intolerant members, who may not even be representative of the entire group. In fact, in situations of conflict, this tactic, called pathological stereotyping, of defining and perceiving an entire group by the most repulsive behaviors and actions of unrepresentative members, is a tactic that only heightens misunderstanding and places harmony and reconciliation even farther out of reach. Of course, just because a group isn’t neo-Nazi doesn’t mean it’s harmless, non-violent, and just. It could be highly prejudiced, fascist, and violent whether it’s neo-Nazi or not.

With regard to US foreign policy, it’s critical to understand that US weapons and funding are helping, either intentionally or unintentionally, to support the behaviors of these violent Ukrainian extremists. It’s reportedly difficult to keep US aid and weapons from ending up in the hands of these groups. Yet these groups are not representative of the Ukrainian population as a whole. The Svoboda Party, for example, won 10 percent of the vote in 2015, and that was much more than it had ever gained. 3 In supporting these groups more than others, therefore, US policymakers can hardly say they’re supporting democracy within Ukraine. In fact, it’s impossible to help one side kill another side in a foreign nation’s civil war and call that assistance democratic and supportive of that nation’s population. Democracy involves caring equally for all, not obliterating the side you disagree with. For this reason, Biden’s sending weapons to Ukraine is an extremely undemocratic gesture. US policymakers try to make it seem democratic, as if the other side of the civil war is really a bunch of Russian puppets. But that’s not the truth of it.

With regard to the dangers from these groups in Ukraine, several articles, especially Lev Golinkin’s highly informative article in The Nation, provide much evidence. 4 Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN, have reported and condemned rising far-right-wing paramilitary violence in Ukraine, including attacks on women’s rights marches, the LGBTQ community, and several attacks on the Romani (Gypsies), who were also the primary target of Hitler’s Nazis in terms of percentage of the ethnic group destroyed.5

The UN has accused the Azov regiment of violating international humanitarian law.5 Azov’s infliction of rape and torture in the Donbas region of Donetsk and Lugansk is documented for the years 2015–2016.6  Yet right-wing extremists from several nations on three continents, including the United States, have travelled to Ukraine to join with Azov. 7

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In 2018, the far-right group C14 drove away a Romani community, chased Romani women and children, and burned down their tents. A few months later, using batons and other weapons, they attacked a Romani community, injured several, and killed one young Romani man. C14 was originally the youth wing of the Svoboda party. The seven suspects in the murderous attack were aged 16 and 17. 8 

The UN insisted that Kiev cease persecution of the Romani, but months later, a human rights group reported that C14, in collaboration with Kiev’s police, was allegedly intimidating the Romani. Well prior to the 2014 coup, the BBC reported that Svoboda Party activists attacked and sprayed tear gas at a gay rights rally in Kiev. The party also was calling for a requirement that passports specify the holder’s ethnicity. 9  

Meanwhile, at the start of the civil war in 2014, the Aidar battalion, referred to as a neo-Nazi battalion, fired weapons at a monastery and held 300 monks and other civilians hostage.  10   Amnesty International has documented cases of abuse it states were committed by Aidar in 2014 and are classified as war crimes, including extorting money, abducting, and beating Ukrainians suspected of collaborating with pro-Russian Ukrainians. Aidar’s leader himself honestly admitted, “‘I don’t deny people were looting there (in eastern Ukraine).’” The Tornado battalion, as well, was accused by Ukraine’s government of including about 40 members who have criminal records, though the types and severity of the crimes committed are not stated. The 2015 article states that eight members had been accused of crimes including rape, forcing captives to rape another man, murder, and smuggling.11    

As Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies of Code Pink explain, the extreme right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party played a major role in Ukraine’s 2014 coup. The peaceful protests against the administration of President Viktor Yanukovich turned into violence, thanks to the armed behavior of the extreme right-wing Right Sector. 12 Russ Bellant, who has written about the ties of right-wing Nazi-collaborating Eastern European immigrants with US Republican Party campaigns since the 1950s, has stated that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, an intolerant, violent organization from the 1920s that backed the all-Ukrainian 14th Waffen SS Division during WWII, is behind the Svoboda Party, a party supported by the US government and a party that was a force within the 2014 coup. 13 

In stating the reasons for Russia’s invasion, Putin referred to this violence and to the war crimes of Ukrainian extremists, but US media makers called his grievances phony. Putin referred to the inhumane blockades which prevented Russia’s humanitarian aid from reaching Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia also claimed that Kiev cut off utilities, including water, to the republics. Again, US politicians and their obedient media makers dismissed these fears as phony.

This denial of Putin’s and Russia’s fears is the same callous, dehumanizing disrespect for another’s fears and the same denial of suffering, assault, and violence that has been present towards the victims of other forms of US prejudice, including prejudice against women, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans, as well as less-recognized forms of prejudice within our systems and institutions against the rights and dignity of children, employees, and the non-wealthy.

A truly evolved society is one which can recognize its own prejudices, not merely in hindsight, but in the present, when groupthink and mainstream media are at their zenith in applauding prejudice, and particularly in times of conflict when prejudice is harnessed and fueled to justify violence and injustice against certain people deemed evil, dangerous, and morally inferior. When people truly think someone else is dangerous and malicious, prejudice, itself dangerous, suddenly seems moral and is allowed to grow like cancer, disguised as good but actually taking over one’s cells.

While US policy and media makers have been busy drowning truth in the stew of their prejudice, in 2014, Amnesty International accused the Dnipro-1 battalion of war crimes, including the use of starvation of civilians as a weapon of warfare. Amnesty also accused Dnipro-1 of blocking humanitarian aid. An Amnesty International official also described as a war crime the actions of the Dnipro, Aidar, and Donbas battalions in blocking food and clothing to Donetsk and Lugansk, regions where more than half the people depend upon food aid. Golinkin reports that six months after this accusation, US Senator John McCain visited Ukraine and praised Dnipro-1. 14  Articles from German and British news sites reported on Ukraine’s attacks in 2014 that damaged a power plant in Donetsk, thus cutting off access to water, and on Ukraine’s cutting off the electricity supply and funding to the republics in 2017.15 

In addition to the blockades of food, water, electricity, and humanitarian aid, and in addition to the physical attacks, abuse also comes in the form of symbolism. The use of Nazi symbolism, such as swastikas and swastika-like symbols, has been on the rise—Golinkin refers to an “explosion” of swastiskas. Statues and streets have been dedicated to Ukrainians connected with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists who massacred thousands of Jews and Poles and collaborated with Nazis during WWII. Right Sector, who formed the most militarized parts of the 2014 coup, included demonstrators who wore anti-Semitic symbols. At the same time, Jewish Holocaust memorials, Jewish centers, and Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized and at least one synagogue was firebombed.

Verbal abuse against minorities has also escalated. Golinkin reports that torchlight marches celebrating Nazi collaborators have become a routine feature under the post-coup Ukrainian government. In a march in 2017 honoring Stepan Bandera, the former leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, thousands chanted, “Jews out!” Other forms of verbal abuse, such as by right-wing members of parliament, have been coarse, vulgar, and threatening towards minorities such as Jews and Russians. A politician, Golinkin reports, regretted that Hitler hadn’t annihilated the Jews completely. These remarks and these statements of goals are made without repercussions.

Hatred against Russia has become venomous amongst far right-wing extremists. One article reported that a Ukrainian man was attacked simply for speaking Russian. In 2015, Reuters quoted a member of the St. Mary’s battalion who stated that he’d like to create a Christian “Taliban” to reclaim eastern Ukraine and Crimea. “‘I would like Ukraine to lead the crusades. . . .Our mission is not only to kick out the occupiers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.’”

In 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution asking Kiev not to associate with the Svoboda Party due to its racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic views. But after the 2014 coup, Svoboda Party members were appointed to about one-quarter of the Cabinet positions in the interim government. One Svoboda Party member even assaulted a Ukrainian state TV station merely for broadcasting a speech given by Putin. In 2014, NBC reported that the party’s goals listed on its website included preserving Ukraine’s national identity, protecting Ukraine’s “living space”—the lingo used by Hitler, and criminalizing any displays of “Ukrainophobia.” 16 In other words, it’s okay to be fearful or even hateful and violent towards Russians, Jews, feminists, and gays, but it’s not cool to be fearful, hateful, or violent towards heterosexual male ethnic Ukrainians.

Israel itself has publicly requested Kiev to stop the epidemic of anti-Semitism. In 2018, the World Jewish Congress, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and 57 members of the US Congress denounced this Nazi glorification and anti-Semitism emanating from Kiev. Golinkin reports that, while many Ukrainian Jewish leaders supported the anti-corruption protests in 2014, 41 Ukrainian Jewish leaders have since condemned the growth of anti-Semitism. 17

The connections between violent far-right extremists, including neo-Nazis, and Ukraine’s government and legal apparatus are disturbing. Neo-Nazis work in Ukraine’s police, national guard, and military, which is said to be the reason why far-right-wing violence in the streets is given impunity. The Azov battalion was incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard in 2014 to become the Azov regiment. Shortly after the 2014 coup, the US began equipping and training Ukraine’s National Police, which is under the jurisdiction of Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior, a cabinet post given to Vadim Troya, a veteran of Azov and Patriot of Ukraine.  18 Volunteer battalions have received some of their weapons from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and others from oligarchs. Al-Jazeera’s article states that Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president at the time, praised Azov when it was integrated into the National Guard in 2014 as “our best warriors.”

Yet, while the post-coup Ukrainian government seems to have directly supported these groups and has also been accused by human rights organizations of ignoring their violence, at the same time, at least back in 2015, the post-coup Ukrainian government itself saw many of these volunteer unofficial battalions or certain criminal members within them as problematic. The Reuters article from 2015 pointed out that President Poroshenko stated that these illegal groups must disarm because they’re threatening to make the country even more unstable than it already is. He also stated that groups could not be both politically involved in government and also militant; they could only be one or the other, presumably because militant vigilantism in Ukraine is allowed only in order to support Ukraine’s police and protect the Ukrainian population as a whole, not a particular political party.

The Ukrainian Minister of the Interior and Ukraine’s military prosecutor were both intent on weeding out the criminal elements within these volunteer battalions and prosecuting them for crimes. However, as the article from 2015 reveals, hostility has occurred between these far-right wing groups and the Ukrainian government and police. Extremists are angered that the revolution of 2014 has still not been completed and that corruption still exists. They’ve also been angered by the government’s attempt to dismantle them. Right Sector and the police even had a shoot-out. Far-right-wing extremists poured manure in front of the office of Ukraine’s military prosecutor.  19 

While the Ukrainian government is accused of collaborating with neo-Nazis by bringing the Azov regiment into military service, it’s possible that this was part of an attempt to control Azov. The 2015 Reuters article states that the Ukraine government, in an effort to bring Aidar and other volunteer battalions under control, ordered Aidar to reform into the 24th assault battalion as part of Ukraine’s official forces. In 2015, Aidar members were lighting tires on fire in front of Ukraine’s Department of the Interior in protest of government attempts to disband them. Therefore, incorporating them into official forces may have been an attempt to disempower their criminal elements while empowering their non-criminal elements. 20 Even Poroshenko’s praise could have been intended to be aimed at the non-criminal aspects of Azov, as a way of helping them to feel proud of being a part of the official forces and more inclined to stay non-criminal.

Clearly, ultranationalist violence has been an enormous, complicated problem for many in Ukraine. Since US media is so one-dimensional and narrow in scope, it’s not clear that US weapon shipments are something that most Ukrainian leaders would even advocate, given the consequences of building up the violent capabilities of far-right-wing extremists. Nonetheless, with brazen falseness and stuffing its ears to Putin’s, Israel’s, Ukrainian civilians’, and the Ukrainian government’s severe concerns, with callousness that denies the suffering of victims of neo-Nazi and other far-right-wing violence, American “experts” deny the whole problem by first inflating these accusations of neo-Nazism and far-right-wing extremist violence into an accusation that the entire government of Ukraine is neo-Nazi, and then by rejecting that accusation as ridiculous.

So-called US “experts” persist in “educating” Americans by uttering with unwarranted confidence the simple-minded argument that it’s impossible for Ukraine’s government to be neo-Nazi or to collaborate with neo-Nazis because Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy is Jewish. Infographics, which repetitively derides Russia and Putin with relish throughout the program, mocks Putin’s accusation of neo-Nazism within Ukraine’s government by stating that the idea of a Jewish president leading a Nazi government is “not only blatantly false…but ridiculous.” The tone of the narrator is meant to assure us that Infographics has accurately explained Putin’s concerns and validly denied its foundations.21

Other US “experts” and scholars also dismiss neo-Nazism, claiming it is no more a problem in Ukraine than in other nations. They seem to forget that the neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists in Ukraine are being armed with US and NATO heavy weaponry to fight on the front lines in Donetsk and Lugansk. Moreover, Ukraine is the only nation in the world with a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces.22

And if neo-Nazism has no more power in Ukraine than any other nation, then why were Ukraine and the US the only two nations that voted against the Feb. 2022 UN resolution to condemn the glorification of Nazism? In his July 2021 essay, Putin points out that Ukraine has repeatedly voted against past attempts to pass this resolution. In 2022, the resolution was passed with 130 nations voting in favor, 51—including the entire EU—abstaining, and only 2 voting against it: Ukraine and the US.23 The US supported its decision by falsely claiming that the resolution was a thinly veiled attempt by Russia to serve as fraudulent cover for its actions in Ukraine. This denial of neo-Nazi violence, vandalism, and symbolic, verbal, and physical abuse is maddening. Perhaps US policymakers should speak with the human rights groups and the victims of assault, rape, and robbery that have condemned neo-Nazi violence in Ukraine.

With its typical spineless sense of morality, the US government briefly forbade US support and training to Azov in 2015 but then lifted the ban in 2016, under some sort of unknown pressure from the Pentagon.24 (US foreign policy is always made by this “pressure,” not by informed, cooperative thought and discussion.) The very presence of the Azov battalion on the front lines of war in Donetsk and Lugansk is yet one more factor that provoked Russia to invade Ukraine to protect Ukrainians from horror.

Nonetheless, with a sense of logic matching its sense of morality, US policymakers decided that Azov, whose violent presence was helping attract a Russian invasion, wasn’t so bad after all since it was fighting the invading Russians. Of course, perhaps US policymaker logic is the same as US National Security Adviser Brzezinski’s logic in 1979: arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan is a great idea because it will provoke the Soviets to invade and get mired in their own “Vietnam.” 25

It seems US policymakers are going to extremes to both support neo-Nazism and other forms of far-right-wing violence and also to deny its existence as a significant force in Ukraine, a behavior so peculiar that it deserves more attention. The use of President Zelenskiy’s Jewish ethnicity as “proof” of the lack of neo-Nazism as a force in Ukraine’s government and society is illogical on many levels. Of course, it’s understandable that Americans equate Nazism solely with anti-Semitism, since that’s pretty much all that’s emphasized in the US. We certainly don’t learn about Hitler’s viciousness towards socialists, Communists, the Romani, and Slavs in general—such knowledge would not have been conducive to fueling American Cold War anti-Soviet fear and hatred. And we certainly don’t learn about Jewish fascism as it exists in the form of Jewish Revisionism.

Beginning in the 1920s, Jewish Revisionists, perhaps psychologically traumatized by their own family backgrounds experiencing pogroms in Eastern Europe, believed in the necessity of the ruthless use of force to achieve their goals of Israeli statehood. Ironically, Jewish Revisionists admired Hitler and sought to collaborate with the Axis powers to rid themselves of Britain’s attempts to equitably manage and remedy the fact that enormous numbers of impoverished Arabs were not only being economically threatened by rising Jewish immigration but were being pushed out of Palestine.

So while Britain was attacking Nazi Germany which was slaughtering Jews, the Jewish Revisionists’ Irgun, at one point led by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, at one point led by future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, launched terrorist campaigns against British personnel and Arab civilians.  26 The Irgun was a political predecessor of today’s Likud party in Israel, strongly supported by US policymakers who, in turn, receive financial contributions from pro-Likud lobbyists of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 27

Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy is not necessarily fascist. He could simply be under pressure to cooperate with the extreme right-wing. But the point in mentioning this aside about Jewish fascists in Israel is to prove even further that this US “expert” claim that a Jewish president cannot exist or even collaborate with neo-Nazis within the same government is false.

So you have to wonder, if this US expert claim is false, what else is false? And why are Americans making up false stories? Is their argument against Russia and against Putin too shaky to stand on its own without lies?

Ukrainian fears for life from attack by far-right-wing violent extremists—both before and after the 2014 coup—are valid fears that deserve attention, not denial. At the same time, as we follow the Paradigm for Peace model which entails seeking to understand and analyze the Defensive and Aggressive Roots of Violence on all sides of conflict, we must also learn whether these far-right groups, including neo-Nazis, have feared for their own lives and safety.

One of the worst things to do to people is simply to condemn them without even trying to understand their fears and their point of view. It’s also poor human relations to condemn an entire group based upon the worst behavior of its members, if those members’ actions are not representative of the group’s typical behavior. We need to learn whether these ultranationalist groups hold legitimate grievances or even certain legitimate aspects of grievances that should be addressed.

For example, why do these groups attack the Romani? Is it possible that any members of these groups have been threatened in major or minor ways by the Romani? Were ultranationalists’ lives threatened? Or property? Or feelings? If so, were the offending Romani acting typically for Romani, or were they more poorly behaved than most? If so, why should an entire camp be attacked? To what extent are attacks on Romani simply a way for ultranationalists to fulfill certain psychological needs that are otherwise unmet? Such as needs for identity and superiority? Can we talk about this?

For those grievances that prove to be largely illegitimate, irrational, or immoral, we need to figure out which forces and circumstances in culture created those perspectives, for these people, while inflicting suffering upon others, seem to be suffering in their own way. So much rage and hate must be difficult to endure. And be sure not to confuse sending weapons to these groups with solving these groups’ problems, for the weapons are not solving their problems and are only making them capable of worse crimes, which will, in turn, make their cause and their very existence appear even more illegitimate.

In her work, Women of the Klan, Kathleen Blee shows how Ku Klux Klan members in the 1920s truly thought of themselves as good people. It’s important to understand this and find out why. Highly-prejudiced, violent extremist groups such as the KKK do have underlying fears, not necessarily about their lives, but often about their economic security, values and morality in society, their social standing in society, and their personal value.28) They tend to irrationally blame their problems on entire categories of people of certain ethnic groups, religions, or socioeconomic classes other than their own. Without excusing or supporting right-wing or left-wing extremists’ violence and callous hatred, we’ve got to listen to their fears and see if they possess certain legitimate grievances that can be alleviated or simply irrational fears that also need to be addressed.

In order to understand why right-wing Ukrainians honor Ukrainians who collaborated with Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles, we might also try to understand the rational and irrational fears of those WWII Ukrainians, such as the all-Ukrainian SS unit, who committed the murders. Is it possible that these Ukrainians felt, correctly or not, that their lives were endangered by Jews and Poles? If so, to what extent was this feeling a result merely of propaganda?

In the course of my research and writing, I’ve run the Paradigm for Peace model through the circumstances of Nazi Germany, and it’s easy to see that German Nazism emerged from severe threats to life, power, wealth, land, love, worth, and respect from WWI, the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, and unequal international relationships of power, wealth, and trade. Nazi views about Jews and Communists and German convictions that Hitler was a man of peace fighting on the defense against aggressors, resulted from heavy, lengthy doses of propaganda.29 Not only that, US banks, law firms, and businesses directly helped build up Hitler’s arsenal.30 To what extent were Ukrainian Nazi collaborators during WWII and to what extent are ultranationalist Ukrainians today experiencing these same types of threats, these same types of propaganda, and these same types of access to weapons? To what extent are Americans?

Obviously, the point is not to understand to the point of agreeing that Jews and Poles should be murdered or that certain people are inferior. The point is to discover how these extremists have felt threatened, even if only psychologically, even if only as the result of propaganda, in order to help them feel physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically safe without having to resort to violence or injustice, in order to help prevent people from ever experiencing such fears and frustrations and from ever feeling the need to respond to fears and frustrations so violently. As repulsive as it might seem to various people to try to understand neo-Nazis, or Russians, or US policymakers, it’s critical not to exclude any group from our efforts to understand fears and hopes and the forces in society that have shaped these minds.

While all fears cannot be remedied in conflict resolution and cooperative negotiation, especially since some may originate in the physical and emotional insecurities of childhood dynamics, school and community dynamics, or personal biologies, and while perfect understanding and harmony is impossible, these efforts, unlike weapon-corporation-sponsored efforts and good-guy-killing-evil-guy efforts, could actually move us forward instead of backward. Moreover, if some American, Ukrainian, or Russian fears are more irrational and are rooted, not in actual current threatening circumstances, but rather more deeply in the stress, trauma, threats, frustrations, or alienation of childhood or community dynamics, in the skewed information developed by propaganda, or in the skewed mentalities festering within certain organizational cultures, such an analysis can point to the need for reforms in societies’ priorities and traditions of human relations to help humans grow and develop with much more social and emotional security, caring, and friendship and with respect for the truth as something to seek, not contort.

  1. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019.
  2. Dan Tamir, “When Jews Praised Mussolini and Supported Nazis: Meet Israel’s First Fascists“, Haaretz, July 20, 2019.
  3. David Stern, “Svoboda: The Rise of Ukraine’s Ultra-Nationalists,” December 26, 2012, BBC.
  4. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019.
  5. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019.
  6. Al Jazeera, “Profile: Who Are Ukraine’s Far Right Azov Regiment?” March 1, 2022.
  7. See Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019; Josh Cohen, “Commentary: Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Problem,” Reuters, March. 19, 2018; Olga Sukharveskaya, “How Ukraine’s ‘Revolution of Dignity,’ Led to War, Poverty, and the Rise of the Far Right,” Russia Today; Ria Novosti, Interview with Dennis Kucinich, “NATO ‘Anachronistic Nightmare’ and Should Be Disbanded—US Politician,” April 9, 2014; Democracy Now, “Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism?” January 30, 2014; Kirit Radia, James Gordon Meek, Lee Ferran, and Ali Weinberg, “US Contractor Greystone Denies Its ‘Mercenaries’ in Ukraine,” ABC News, April 8, 2014; and Tass, “Militia claim spotting up to 70 mercenaries of US military company Academi in east Ukraine“, April 21, 2015.
  8. BBC, “Ukraine Roma Camp Attack Leaves One Dead,” June 24, 2018.
  9. David Stern, “Svoboda: The Rise of Ukraine’s Ultra-Nationalists,” BBC, December 26, 2012.
  10. Neo-Nazi Aidar Battalion Holds 300 Locals and Monks Hostage,” Al Mayadeen, March 13, 2014.
  11. Elizabeth Piper and Sergiy Karazy, “Special Report: Ukraine Struggles to Control Maverick Battalions,” Reuters, July 29, 2015.
  12. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, “The Presence of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine”, Fair Observer, March 11, 2022.
  13. Paul H. Rosenberg, “Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret,” Interview with Russ Bellant, Foreign Policy in Focus, March 18, 2014,
  14. Lev Golinkin, The Nation.
  15. Russia Today, “War in Ukraine Started 8 Years Ago, Russia Is Now Ending It—Moscow,” February 24, 2022, BBC; “Ukraine Crisis: Donetsk without Water after Shelling,” November 19, 2014; DW, “Ukraine Cuts Electricity to Rebel Areas, Russian Steps In,” April 15, 2017.
  16. NBC News, “Analysis: US Cozies Up to Kiev Government Including Far Right,” March 30, 2014.
  17. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” Nation, February 22, 2019.
  18. Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,
  19. Elizabeth Piper and Sergiy Karazy, “Special Report: Ukraine Struggles to Control Maverick Battalions.
  20. Piper and Karazy, “Special Report: Ukraine Struggles to Control Maverick Battalions,” Reuters, July 29, 2015.
  21. Infographic Show, “Russia’s Big Problem with Ukraine,” April 8, 2022.
  22. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine.
  23. Countercurrents, “US and Ukraine, Only Two Countries Vote against UN Resolution Condemning Nazism,” December 17, 2021.
  24. Al Jazeera, “Profile: Who Are Ukraine’s Far Right Azov Regiment?
  25. Bill Van Auken, “Zbigniew Brzezinski, Architect of the Catastrophe in Afghanistan, Dead at 89,” World Socialist Web Site, May 29, 2017; and Nick Turse, The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (New York: Verso, 2010); and Chalmers Johnson. “Abolish the CIA!” 31-32; and David N. Gibbs, “The Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998),” Translated by William Blum and David N. Gibbs.
  26. William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2004), 262-63.
  27. M. J. Rosenberg, “This Is How AIPAC Really Works,” The Nation, February 14, 2019; and Connie Bruck
  28. Kathleen M. Blee, Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California, 1992
  29. Ian Kershaw, The “Hitler Myth”: Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford University, 1987).
  30. Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1993), 48, 63-65; and Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War” (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), 38-39, 50-51.
The post Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2B) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2A)

Part 2A. Russian Fears for Life

In the Paradigm for Peace model, the Roots of Violence are divided into seven categories. While a few of the categories aren’t as easily divided into defensive and aggressive motivations, for the most part, we examine how each party to the conflict may be defensively motivated or aggressively motivated to inflict violence with regard to each category. For example, with regard to the category Wealth, Land, and Possessions, a person using violence to protect his home from attack has a defensive motivation to use violence. A person using violence to attack another person’s home to seize that other person’s wealth and belongings has an aggressive motivation to use violence.

Matters can get complicated, and it can sometimes be quite difficult to distinguish between defensive and aggressive. Sometimes the motivations are mixed within a single person or appear defensive or aggressive simply depending upon one’s perspective. However, without getting all harried about trying to figure out who exactly is motivated by what, it’s hugely helpful to be generally aware of these two categories of violence and to think in these terms so that we never rule out the possibility of legitimate motives in the so-called bad guys and illegitimate motives in the so-called good guys.

Most importantly, it’s crucial to have policy solutions that address both Defensive and Aggressive Roots of Violence. After all, if US foreign policymakers’ policies are always based on the assumption that terrorists, Iranians, North Koreans, left-wing Latinos, and Russians are aggressive and malicious, then US policymakers will never implement policies that help address the very real and legitimate Defensive Roots of Violence in the so-called enemies. Also, note that while Defensive Roots of Violence have legitimate motivations, the use of violence for defensive reasons isn’t necessarily legitimate, especially if there are non-violent means to protect what’s under threat.

In the condensed analysis below, I tend to spend more time writing about the Defensive Roots of Russian Violence and the Aggressive Roots of US Violence, rather than the Aggressive Roots of Russian Violence and the Defensive Roots of US Violence. This imbalance is largely due to the fact that I’m much more aware of these particular roots of violence for these nations. I’m not deliberately hiding anything to create this imbalance but am sharing what I know. This angle also helps place a counterweight to the dominant narrative in the US media that Russia is aggressive and the US and the Ukrainian government are defensive. However, please understand that in a full analysis with cooperative dialogue, equal attention should be paid to all sides’ defensive fears and all sides’ aggressive motivations.

In this essay, we’ll look at the first of seven categories: Life and Safety.

If we were creating a quick chart of the Roots of Violence, we’d list down the left side of the chart the seven categories. Across the top, we’d write in the names of the players in the external and internal conflict. We’d look at the first category, Life and Safety. How do people feel that the lives and safety of those they care about are under threat?

For example, let’s start with Russia. We’d list under Russia’s and President Vladimir Putin’s fears for life several items. NATO has expanded straight across Europe into Slavic lands and former Soviet republics. This is obviously a severe threat to Russia’s survival. After all, NATO was formed precisely to combat the USSR, and now NATO is in Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It’s as if the American Southwest seceded, allied with Mexico, and deployed missiles in Texas aimed at Washington, DC.

While those who support NATO may think of NATO’s expansion as enhancing US and European security, they fail to recognize the psychological ramifications of NATO on potential enemies: its existence topped by its expansion could easily cause physical insecurity by creating an ever-present threat to Russia. Emotional insecurity can lead to hostility, thus augmenting physical insecurity. And that, in fact, has happened with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This failure to sympathize with an enemy’s perspective, to be able to imagine an enemy’s feelings of being threatened, to respect the need for another’s emotional and psychological security, is the Achilles Heel of US foreign policymakers, who perpetually only think of how to control and dominate enemies. It’s the Achilles Heel because, by provoking rather than alleviating tension in the so-called enemy, US foreign policymakers actually weaken US security, weaken respect and genuine friendship for the US, and weaken the international foundations of democracy—caring equally for all. The resulting policies are also extremely costly and deadly. This is why in cooperative dialogue, or right now in this essay, it’s important for us to practice really sinking into Russia’s shoes and pretending we’re the leader of Russia, feeling these threats, and determined to protect our people.

When NATO expands, it means more than just a picture on the map of NATO covering nearly all of Europe. It means that physical weapons and military bases to potentially be used against Russia have also expanded in coverage across the continent. For example, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ashore Mark 41 Vehicle Land System with its SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptors has been deployed in Romania and Poland by the US through NATO. This system is capable of intercepting and destroying an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), thereby theoretically rendering ineffective Russia’s missiles and the strategy of mutual deterrence. If Russia can no longer feel safe, it will feel the need to develop more weapons and new strategies.

Moreover, the Mark 41 VLS, while allegedly intended solely for defensive purposes, could be fitted with aggressive weapons. 1 Making the weapon-imposed threat even more precarious is the fact that the Trump administration withdrew in 2018 from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which had previously regulated land-based ballistic missiles and missile launchers. Even more ominous are the joint US-Ukrainian and NATO-Ukrainian military training in the nations and seas bordering Russia. 2

US policymakers and media makers have denied Russia’s accusations of US chemical and biological weapon intentions in Ukraine, but with US policymakers and media makers so untruthful about so many things, even the representation of Putin’s essay, and with a terrible documented record throughout the decades of US presidential administrations lying to the American people and Congress, we would be foolish simply to believe these denials on faith alone. Therefore, we should open-mindedly consider these Russian reports and predictions. Russia’s Ministry of Defense recently claimed that forces loyal to Kiev are preparing a chemical attack in eastern Ukraine. Russia has also previously warned of chemical weapons being stored in Ukraine. US policy and media makers, as they have done repeatedly and without proof, reverse Russia’s claims and state that Russia is using its claim as a pretext for its own planned chemical attack. 3

As civilians, how can we know the truth? Who’s preparing a chemical attack? Is anyone? It’s impossible for us to know. But we should understand one thing that’s based upon a long record of US government lies to the American people: there is absolutely no reason to believe US policymakers more than Russian policymakers. Just because we are Americans and each of us may be truthful does not mean that American policymakers are truthful. Our individual identities as Americans are not melded with the identities of US policymakers. They are strangers to us and we do not know them at heart.

Russia has also released documents that allegedly prove that Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has played a significant role in providing and seeking funding for a military biological program, particularly with the labs of Black & Veatch and Metabiota, in Ukraine. According to Russia’s Defense Minister Igor Kirillov, the Pentagon issued contracts with a number of labs, including Black & Veatch, Metabiota, and CH2M Hill, for this military biological program. Investors in the program have included Hunter Biden, his investment fund Seneca Rosemont, and George Soros and his Open Society Foundation. Documents have reportedly revealed Hunter Biden’s close connections with both the labs and with the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the part of the Department of Defense engaged in the biological weapons program.

In the past, the Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly drawn attention to the Pentagon’s military biological programs in former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. During its invasion, Russia found more than 30 biological laboratories in Ukraine, some of which may be for military purposes. In fact, Russia reports that it has found traces of a biological weapons program in the labs, which Ukraine reportedly was desperately trying to hide.4 Again, although US policymakers deny such an operation, they obviously would never admit it if it were true. And in the current climate, in which US policymakers automatically dismiss every single one of Russia’s fears as absurd, even the obviously valid ones, we cannot gauge the validity of Russia’s fears based upon US denials of their legitimacy.

In fact, a reading of “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (2000) by Project for a New American Century is enough to be jolted into awareness of the ardent enthusiasm the neoconservative writers feel for conquering several other nations, for enhancing and preserving US hegemony, and for developing weapons including pocket-sized robots to be let loose on enemy territory, skin-patch pharmaceuticals to negate fear in US troops, and biological weapons to target specific genotypes—a recipe, perhaps, for genocide.  5

PNAC is defunct, but one of its co-founders, William Kristol, is an advisor to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a neoconservative-liberal hawk mix of individuals that has the singular mission of thwarting, weakening, and basically destroying Putin.  PNAC’s other co-founder, Robert Kagan, is the husband of Biden’s Undersecretary of State, Victoria Nuland, infamous for the leaked tapes at the time of the 2014 Ukrainian coup. She is also the former CEO of the similarly-sounding Center for a New American Security. To deny that US policymakers have the intention to develop biological weapons seems unwise.

In the column of our chart under Russian fears, we might also include the US-built Ukrainian naval base on the Black Sea, particularly because of the US ties. We could include Russian and German news reports of the presence in 2015 of US private military contractors connected with Academi in Ukraine training far right-wing Ukrainian extremists.  6 We also might investigate whether there were further results from meetings between Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy and Erik Prince, former head of the infamous Blackwater, regarding the development of a private military contract in Ukraine. 7

Instead of dismissing these fears as “phony”—as US policymakers and media makers perpetually do—we’d recognize the validity of each of these fears. This is how kind, responsible people treat others with fears. They listen to the fears, whether rational or irrational, until they understand the other’s feelings. Then they help them address these fears. Had the tables been turned with all of these military alliances, bases, weapons, and military drills transpiring along US borders or in former US territories or states, US policymakers would have been quaking in their boots long before this. The Russians have shown remarkable restraint.

The Russians also are not stupid and, unlike Uncle Sam, they’re not prone to war. They’re very unlikely to invade anywhere unless they’re feeling severely threatened by realistic, actual threats. They know full well from experience that any invasion attempt will be severely skewed by Western propaganda to make them look bad. With that in mind, it behooves us to seriously examine Russia’s and Putin’s fears, including the threats of chemical and biological weapons, for only something severely threatening must have drawn Russia out.

If Russian fears seem rational, participants should try to create solutions to give Russians valid reasons to no longer fear. Americans can’t simply say, “Trust us.” They have to provide valid reasons not based merely upon trust. If Russian fears come across through discussion as more irrational, then participants should work together supportively to uncover the psychological reasons for these irrational fears.

In dialogue, participants would discuss these fears and really try to step into Russia’s shoes to understand why these factors are mortally threatening. Participants would ideally reverse roles, or reverse the scenario and imagine a similar situation occurring to the US in reverse, such as if Alaska seceded, allied with Russia, and deployed missile launchers aimed at Washington, DC. The goal here is understanding and empathy—not control or intimidation of the other side, and certainly not dismissal of another’s fears as absurd.

For all those foreign policymakers who believe understanding and empathizing with others’ fears—especially enemies’ fears—is not appropriate to foreign policy, I suggest you find another line of work.

In light of these Russian fears, consider that statement made by Defense Secretary Austin, who expressed his belief that the US needs to “weaken” Russia “to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”8 Austin totally misses the point: Russia invaded because it felt militarily threatened and it felt Ukrainians’ lives in Donetsk and Lugansk were threatened. Russia invaded because it felt existentially threatened by expanding US and NATO domination in Eastern Europe and Ukraine and by threats to Ukrainian lives in Donetsk and Lugansk. Why make it feel even more threatened by insisting that Russia become militarily weaker? It doesn’t make sense.

US policymakers persistently demonstrate zero capacity for understanding human dynamics. Their answer to those who resent US domination is always more US domination. Is it because US foreign policymakers want to dominate so completely that no significant signs of resistance are possible? But why? Is this some misguided attempt to seek pseudo-popularity by forcing itself upon those who don’t want it? Are policymakers mistaking domination for being liked and accepted? Is this craze for domination in part the result of clumsy social skills magnified by a billion? What on Earth is going on with these people in power?

And why wasn’t Austin’s idea of weakening an improperly-behaving nation to prevent future misbehavior suggested after the US invasion of Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Or Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, and Korea? Or after the first weapon shipment to the contras in Nicaragua? After the very first US extrajudicial drone attack? After the very first CIA coup? As far as I can see, the answer is that US foreign policymakers do not support justice. They support themselves.

To continue with our chart, we should include for Putin the fear of assassination, which he likely feels. After all, the CIA and its paid foreign agents are infamous for their assassinations which they inflict with impunity, as described in several books and articles, including William Blum’s Killing Hope.  9  The venomous anti-Putin US propaganda which falsely depicts him as both cruel and stupid, the economic sabotage against Russia by means of sanctions and shutting off Nord Stream 2, the cutting off of money to Russia, and even the collaboration with neo-Nazis are all reminiscent of the CIA’s propaganda and economic war against Chile’s President Salvador Allende. With its lies and economic tactics, the CIA helped foment riots and also funded the fascist Patria y Libertad thugs to help with the 9/11/1973 coup, in which Allende was killed. Patria y Libertad also helped ensure a gory aftermath for tens of thousands of civilians of Chile. A coup in Russia is obviously hoped for by American leaders. The blatantly propagandistic program by Infographics, “Russia’s Big Problem with Ukraine,” even portrays with its paper cut-out art a group of Russian troops leveling their weapons at a man intended to be Putin.10

We should also include for Putin’s and Russia’s fears some of the ideas Putin set forth in his February 2007 Munich speech, including Putin’s disappointment that the US and NATO nations failed to ratify the newly adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. The original treaty of 1987 between Russian President Gorbachev and US President Reagan was adapted in 1999 to reflect the expansion of NATO and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. However, only Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan signed the new treaty.

It was an important treaty for Russia because NATO had expanded to include the nations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia, but these nations were not parties to the original treaty. After years of hoping the other nations would sign, Russia pulled out of the treaty in December 2007. If the Baltic nations on the border of Russia were not required to observe the treaty, it didn’t make sense for Russia to observe it either. Russia blamed the West for not signing. The US and NATO nations blamed Russia for not complying with certain terms. Either way, one would think that intelligent negotiators talented in integrative negotiation could have worked something out.11

In the 2007 speech, Putin also expresses the dangers of weapon proliferation, nuclear arms, weapons in space, and the hyper-use of force by the US government. Putin offered Russia’s cooperation in disarmament, 12 but instead of reciprocation, his honorable speech was instead followed by a 15-year anti-Putin campaign 13 and by the continuation of US policies of proliferating weapons, revitalizing its nuclear arsenal, preparing for weapons in space, and favoring the hyper-use of force, by US troops and private military contractors.

After really sinking into Russia’s shoes to feel these fears, we’d step out of those shoes and then step into the shoes of Americans who mortally fear Russia. Now I’ll admit right here that I don’t understand US fears, so in this essay I won’t be able to fairly represent those fears. However, in an actual cooperative dialogue, the idea is to ensure it includes people who can sincerely represent US fears, both as American civilians and as US policymakers from groups such as the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Just as we did with Russia and Putin, we’d all sink into these people’s shoes and feel their fears and sincerely try to see their logic as they do. As with Russian fears, there may not be agreement as to which fears are rational and which are irrational. However, participants will try to provide valid reasons for Americans not to mortally fear Russia, and they’d also work together to try to uncover psychological reasons for irrational fears, including decades of propaganda and social dynamics within US culture.

So we’d ask, during the decade or two prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and also since the invasion, have any Americans felt their lives and safety were threatened by Russia? If so, how exactly? Did Americans or other NATO members feel the need for NATO expansion in order to feel safe and sleep peacefully at night? Was there disagreement amongst NATO members? Ukraine and Russia had improved their relations in 2010, when Ukraine officially abandoned the goal of joining NATO.14  Was the abandonment of this goal threatening to Americans? Which ones? Why?

Did any Americans feel a sense of lethal danger and an urgent need to send weapons to the Ukrainian government to fight in its civil war? Do Americans feel their current fears are connected with the decades of anti-Soviet Cold War propaganda? Did they think of the USSR as malicious, belligerent, and untrustworthy then and do they think of Russia as malicious, belligerent, and untrustworthy now? What fatal scenario do some American civilians or policymakers fear could result from Russia’s actions?

Whether fears are rational or irrational, we must spend time in dialogue learning about the nature and causes of these American fears. They won’t go away just by dismissing them as absurd. And, frankly, I also don’t think they’ll go away by merely continuing an arms race, sending weapons, and devising lethal strategies for use against Russia. While weapons are one component of security, they’re not even half of what it takes to feel emotionally and psychologically secure and to actually be secure. That type of security requires—not the transfer to nations far and wide of an American form of plutocratic pseudo-democracy pinned upon elections, capitalism, privatization, globalization, and US dominance—but rather egalitarian justice, mutual understanding, and genuine friendship.

It’s not only foreigners who need these components to feel secure, it’s Americans. This is probably why US policymakers have been forever on this wild goose chase for security: they’re feeding an insatiable need for security that is insatiable precisely because they’re feeding it all the wrong food. They seek domination when what they need is friendship. They insist that others understand US goals and serve US interests, when what they really need is two-way mutual understanding and caring. They’re giving themselves junk food when what they really need are all the root vegetables of a big bowl of borsch.

Within Ukraine, we should ask Ukrainians from a range of perspectives how they felt about billions of dollars of US and NATO weapon shipments arriving since the civil war began in 2014. Did these weapons help them feel safer? Did they protect them from harm? Or did they put Ukrainians in greater danger from other Ukrainians and from Russia? Would Ukrainians be suffering now if the weapons had never been sent? Do Ukrainians feel the weapons helped resolve the problems that caused the civil war or did they make the problems worse? Did Ukrainian government members all agree that they wanted to receive US and NATO weapons? Or not? Were the weapons placed in responsible hands? What effect did US and NATO weapon shipments have on the effectiveness and strength of any formal or grassroots non-violent conflict resolution initiatives that may have been unfolding, including the Minsk Agreements?

We should also ask whether Russian weapons were sent to Donetsk and Lugansk, as the West claims. If so, how did these weapons make various Ukrainians feel with regard to their safety? Better or worse? The same set of questions we asked about US and NATO weapons should be asked about Russian weapons.

In the next part, we’ll look at threats to life within Ukraine with regard to the violence of Ukrainian ultranationalists.

Read Part 1 here

  1. Jack Detsch, “Putin’s Fixation with an Old-School US Missile Launcher,” Foreign Policy, January 12, 2022; Tass Russian News Agency, “Russia Slams US Aegis Ashore Missile Deployment in Europe as Direct Breach of INF Treaty,” November 26, 2016; and Ankit Panda, “A New US Missile Defense Test May Have Increased the Risk of Nuclear War,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 19, 2020.
  2. NATO, “NATO and Ukraine Navy Together in the Fight against Piracy,” October 30, 2013; and Reuters, “Ukraine Holds Military Drills with US Forces, NATO Allies,” September 20, 2021.
  3. Russia Today, “American Mercenaries Preparing ‘Chemical Weapon’ Incident in Eastern Ukraine, Russia Claims,” December 21, 2021; and Paul D. Shinkman, “Fears of False Flag Operation Grow as Russia Claims Ukraine Poised for Chemical Weapons Attack,” May 6, 2022.
  4. Al Mayadeen, “Russia Releases Documents in US-Funded Bio-Weapons, Hunter Biden Exposed,” March 31, 2022; and Al Mayadeen, “Russian Forces Find 30 Biological Labs in Ukraine, Possibly for Bioweapons,” March 7, 2022.
  5. Project for the New American Century (PNAC), “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt, Project Co-Chairmen; Thomas Donnelly, Principal Author, (Washington, DC, 2000).
  6. Tass, “Militia Claim Spotting up to 70 Mercenaries of US Military Company Academi in East Ukraine,” April 21, 2015.
  7. Simon Shuster, “Exclusive: Documents Reveal Erik Prince’s $10 Billion Plan to Make Weapons and Create a Private Army in Ukraine,” Time, July 7, 2021.
  8. Julian Boyer, “Pentagon Chief’s Russia Remarks Show Shift in US’s Declared Aims in Ukraine,” Guardian, April 26, 2022.
  9. William Blum, Killing Hope, (London: Zed, 2014).
  10. Infographic Show, “Russia’s Big Problem with Ukraine,” April 8, 2022.
  11. Daryl Kimball, contact, “The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, last reviewed August 2017.
  12. Vladimir Putin, Munich Security Conference, February 11, 2007.
  13. Diana Johnstone, “For Washington, War Never Ends,” Consortium News, March 16, 2022.
  14. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, “Svoboda Party”.
The post Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2A) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that Western nations will continue “moving Heaven and Earth” to send weapons to Ukraine in its war against Russia. 1 While they may be moving Earth, it’s doubtful they’re moving Heaven, which could very well be enraged at US policymakers’ habit of seizing for itself divine powers to inflict massive amounts of death whenever conflict looms on the horizon. For good reason, so much power was never intended to be in the hands of mere mortals.

US policymakers are responding to the current crisis in Ukraine with weapon shipments. They responded to the outbreak of Ukraine’s civil war in 2014 with weapon shipments. In fact, the very factors that provoked Russia to invade Ukraine in the first place pertain precisely to Western weapons: the West’s obsessive clinging to militarism in the form of NATO expansion, missile launchers at bases in Eastern Europe, NATO joint military training with nations along Russia’s borders, and shipments of billions in dollars of weapons to help Ukraine attack Donetsk and Lugansk. There have also been reports of US private military contractors training far right-wing extremists in Ukraine during the civil war.2 In addition, Russia accuses the US of developing biological weapons in Ukraine.3 and Russia accuses forces loyal to Kiev of preparing to launch a chemical attack in Ukraine. 4

If Western weapons provoked Russia, why, then, would more Western weapons be the solution?

For those who can’t think outside the box of 245 years of US foreign policy grounded in weaponry, war, and greed, weapons are the answer. It’s like a home on a hot summer day that has only one thing in the fridge: weapons.

For 245 years, the US government has been like an ostrich with its head in the sand, refusing to see the immense damage inflicted upon society and the planet by its unwarranted, magical faith in weapons. Refusing to see, it’s unable to learn and therefore persists in its habit of responding to foreign threats, not with efforts to reduce tension and increase harmony between opposing sides, but with weapons, threats, and the escalation of tension.

When foreign nations are immersed in civil wars, US policymakers never impartially seek reconciliation between all sides. Instead, they perpetually take sides to further their own ulterior motives, hence the need to send weapons to help one side kill off and dominate the other, as if one side is so good and the other side so evil that one deserves to kill and the other deserves to be killed. US policymakers then cut off communication with the enemy, thus further preventing the ability to understand the enemy’s point of view—and making all the more possible a blackout of truth within the US that in turn bolsters the perception of the enemy as malicious and deserving of death.

Yet every one of these steps is a backward step away from peace and away from truth and understanding. Why should we apply on the international level forms of human relations that we would never condone at the level of personal, local, or national relations? Why should we allow violence to determine who will acquire which resources and markets, when violence would never be accepted as a tool to allow one US corporation to take over the market of another?

Our goal should be reconciliation between both sides, not conquest of one side over the other. And the power we need isn’t technological power but a power that has been Missing in Action amongst US foreign policymakers for 245 years: the power of hearts, minds, and spirits to foster across lines of conflict qualities of love, truth, peace, understanding, and joy. The power and will needed to adhere to such qualities and pursue non-violent solutions of conflict resolution and reconciliation can be compared to that of a hero clinging to the side of a cliff, struggling to reach a branch just overhead, and determined not to fall but to keep trying, no matter what. But instead of that hero, we have President Joe Biden, who recently decided that Americans have to fork over an additional $33 billion in military aid to help Ukraine wage war for US policymakers against Russia.5

Rather than applying backward, dysfunctional forms of human relations to international conflict, let’s place our consciousness in our hearts, turn on our brain power, and impartially, logically, cooperatively, and peacefully address the roots of violence on all sides of conflict.

While there are many approaches to non-violent conflict resolution, I’ll provide a condensed analysis here using my own model in the hope that it may help with the current crisis, if anyone is listening at all. This essay was hard to keep down to size because more and more issues, examples, and perspectives can always be found. However, I trust that this abbreviated analysis, as imperfect as it may be, can enable us to take several leaps forward in a helpful direction across the stepping stones of the river, and I hope that Readers can add to this their own knowledge and insights to further this analysis and develop the national and international resolve to seek cooperative, non-violent conflict resolution.

The autumn of 9/11, I created a model called Paradigm for Peace which has four parts: the Defensive and Aggressive Roots of Violence; the Mental, Legal, and Physical Escalators of Violence, Three Facets of Solutions, and a Cooperative “Quest” Attitude of Thought and Dialogue. I spent the next twenty years writing a multi-volume work on foreign policy and peace in which I applied the model primarily to the Mid-East/US conflicts, but also to other conflicts, including the Cold War, Nazi Germany, and the US Civil War.

This fourth element, the cooperative quest attitude, is the model’s underlying and ever-present dynamic. Participants in dialogue and conflict resolution strive to uphold attitudes of bold amiability, curiosity for the truth, and a determination to figure out how to make the pieces of the puzzle of peace fit together. Participants express themselves clearly and solidly, yet, with just as much strength, they endeavor to genuinely understand opposing perspectives and get in their shoes. They can even practice temporarily switching roles and arguing sincerely on behalf of those on the other side of conflict. Unlike a debate in which each side views victory in terms of beating the other and making knock-out verbal jabs, in cooperative quest dialogue, winning is cooperative and victory is the growth of truth, understanding, and harmony for all.

Using this open-minded, cooperative attitude of thought and dialogue, the key to promote impartiality is to cast aside the belief that conflict is always a case of one’s own good guys fighting defensively against aggressive bad guys. Instead, we look at both the defensive and aggressive motivations experienced by all the different sides both in the larger external conflict, which involves Russia, the US, and NATO, as well as by those in the internal conflict within Ukraine, including those Ukrainians who support Russia, those who support the US and NATO, those who support violence in this conflict, and those who don’t.

It’s important to non-violently address both fronts of conflict, the external international and internal national conflicts, because they feed off each other. Throughout the Cold War, US conflicts perpetually fed off the internal conflicts of other nations. US policymakers, perhaps deceiving themselves that they were fighting evil, would take advantage of other nations’ internal tensions, fuel them with weapon shipments and military aid, and use the conflict to try to indirectly fight the USSR, even if the USSR’s involvement was just a figment of US policymakers’ imaginations, as in Greece following WWII.6 Sometimes US policymakers would bait the USSR into conflict, as they did in Afghanistan in 1979.7

We should also address the multiple fronts of conflict and friction that likely exist within each side, and we should be sure to break down the analysis to separate the views of policymakers from civilians. After all, policymakers cannot speak for civilians, even though they try to all the time. Biden and Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy are stating or implying that Ukrainian civilians want weapons. But do they really? Or do they favor non-violent conflict resolution? There are more fronts of conflict amongst policymakers themselves—within Ukraine, Russia, and the US. Hopefully, cooperative dialogue can be developed into a habit used by policymakers to learn to treat their differences of opinion in a functional and caring manner rather than in a threatened manner that leads to the silencing, intimidation, or firing of those who disagree.

It’s crucial to never deliberately exclude any group from this thoughtful, caring analysis—no matter what—but to take the time to impartially consider and understand how all of these actors feel threatened. Although it’s important to analyze the roots of conflict comprehensively, a rough comprehensive understanding can be acquired quite quickly, even within a single hour of discussion. Non-violent conflict resolution actually saves time because the process doesn’t psychologically, socially, physically, and financially retard the road to peace the way war and sanctions do. The obstacle to non-violent conflict resolution isn’t time. The obstacle is US policymakers’ lack of commitment to choose cooperative non-violence.

When you analyze various conflicts and make the effort to lay out the Roots and Escalators of Violence, you come to a stunning conclusion: there’s barely a single Root or Escalator of Violence that can be remedied or even alleviated by weapons, violence, war, threats, and sanctions. Perhaps this is why US foreign policymakers refuse to examine the roots of conflict. They know the truth will put war and weapon corporations out of business, and they know they’ll no longer be able to use war and “fighting for freedom” and “rescuing humanity” as a pretext to gobble up foreign resources and markets.

On the other hand, perhaps some really do believe they’re fighting for freedom. Judging by the bizarre and illogical reactions of US “experts” who felt offended and threatened by President Putin’s 2007 speech in Munich and his July 2021 essay, a speech and an essay that actually delivered admirable and honorable ideas, it could be that US foreign policymakers honestly see the world as much more threatening than it really is because they lack skills in relating to, cooperating with, and even understanding the words and intentions of other people and nations.

In the following parts of this essay, we’ll run the current Ukraine crisis through the Paradigm for Peace model in order to gain insight into the roots and escalators of violence and a cooperative, intelligent approach towards peace and justice.

  1. Jacob Knutson, “Austin: West Will ‘Keep Moving’ Heaven and Earth’ to Arm Ukraine,” April 27, 2022.
  2. Tass, “Militia Claim Spotting up to 70 Mercenaries of US Military Company Academi in East Ukraine,” April 21, 2015.
  3. Al Mayadeen, “Russia Releases Documents in US-Funded Bio-Weapons, Hunter Biden Exposed,” March 31, 2022; Al Mayadeen, “Russian Forces Find 30 Biological Labs in Ukraine, Possibly for Bioweapons,” March 7, 2022.
  4. Russia Today, “American Mercenaries Preparing ‘Chemical Weapon’ Incident in Eastern Ukraine, Russia Claims,” December 21, 2021; Paul D. Shinkman, “Fears of False Flag Operation Grow as Russia Claims Ukraine Poised for Chemical Weapons Attack,” May 6, 2022.
  5. Peter Baker and Michael Levenson, “Biden Digs in on Ukraine Strategy, Sending $33 Billion in Aid,” New York Times, April  28, 2022.
  6. Thomas G. Paterson, J. Garry Clifford, and Kenneth J. Hagan, American Foreign Policy: A History Since 1900 (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1991), 450-51; Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith, “Athens 1944:  Britain’s dirty secret,” Guardian, November 30, 2014.
  7. Bill Van Auken, “Zbigniew Brzezinski, Architect of the Catastrophe in Afghanistan, Dead at 89,” World Socialist Web Site, May 29, 2017; Nick Turse, The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (New York: Verso, 2010), Chalmers Johnson. “Abolish the CIA!” 31-32; David N. Gibbs, “The Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998),” Translated by William Blum and David N. Gibbs.
The post Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Russia, Ukraine, and the USA: Trapped in a Cultural Script

Compassion for Ukrainians victimized by Russia’s violence demonstrates that human hearts care. However, beneath the visible current of compassion there’s an alarming, dangerous dynamic at play.

What’s hair-raising about this crisis is not only the violence but the fact that US political leaders and media makers are not recognizing positive and negative motivations on both sides of conflict. Instead, they’re deliberately creating an inaccurate good vs. evil storyline, a storyline that ignites unwarranted, dangerous feelings of self-righteous hatred against Russia.

The US perpetually perceives its role in conflict as that of a heroic rescuer or innocent victim upholding humanity and freedom against evil persecutors. However, 245 years of US history reveal that this perception is fiction, a psychological construct. Psychological analysts Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward called the persecutor, victim, and rescuer scenario a “cultural script.”

Examination of 245 years of US history reveals that the perception of always being a good guy fighting evil is fiction, a psychological construct. In fact, good and bad, truths and lies invariably exist on both sides of conflict.

Nonetheless, to deceive others and perhaps themselves, US policymakers’ pattern of relentlessly legitimating their violence, deadly sanctions, and foreign coups by denying the validity of enemy grievances, hiding their own greed and aggressive motives, refusing to cooperatively negotiate, concealing enemy negotiation offers, fabricating lies, omitting significant facts, using false pretexts, and overlooking the disastrous results of a pseudo-religious faith in the problem-solving magic of weapons is so predictable that it’s hard to decide whether it’s more enraging, pathetic, boring, or nauseating.

Consider one persecutor-victim-hero drama that began in 1979. President Jimmy Carter, livid over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, claimed it was “the greatest threat to peace since the Second World War.” Actually, Afghanistan’s Marxist government, which had been trying to reform the extreme, unjust inequalities of wealth and land ownership in Afghanistan, had requested Soviet assistance against insurgents, but the USSR, the “evil persecutor,” didn’t want to send troops. When the Soviets finally complied, they explained it was because of secret US involvement in Afghanistan. The world called the Soviets liars.

Two decades later US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted that Carter had begun aiding the insurgent mujahideen—the “heroes”—six months prior to the entry of the persecutors, the Soviets. A delighted Brzezinski knew this could provoke the Soviets to invade and get mired in their own “Vietnam.” Convinced of Soviet evil and mujahideen goodness, US policymakers ignored that the mujahideen skinned Soviet POWs alive.

And now we’re to believe that weapon shipments and sanctions are needed for the US to help rescue Ukraine from “evil” Russia.

The first step in convincing the world to believe the script’s good vs. evil dynamics is to depict Russia as the persecutor who’s motivated, not by fear, but by evil. No problem! Simply label Putin as paranoid and discount Russian fears as ludicrous: NATO’s expansion into Slavic lands, NATO—Ukraine military collaboration, US missile bases in eastern Europe, anti-Russian policies and prejudice in Ukraine, neo-Nazi violence in Ukraine, neo-Nazis and ultranationalists in Ukraine’s police, military, and government, the manipulation of Ukraine by Western profit-seekers, and Western economic and political conquest—likely of Russia itself.

The next step is to paint the US as a heroic rescuer motivated purely by integrity and compassion. Simple! Muffle up all greed-related motives for antagonizing Russia: US weapon industry profits, NATO’s agenda for bases on the Black Sea, IMF goals, ExxonMobil’s coveting Black Sea fossil fuel deposits, and Biden’s connections with Ukraine’s largest natural gas corporation. Then, conceal US hopes to dominate the global energy trade, maintain the dollar as the international energy trade currency, displace Russia from Europe’s gas market, shut down Nord Stream 2, and export fracked liquefied natural gas to Europe via Ukraine.

Also ignored are the biases and aims of those social and business circles who are forever dictating US foreign policy according to their pecuniary priorities and uncooperative, control-oriented habits of international relations. President Biden’s administration, for example, includes many members of the Alliance for Securing Democracy—with an advisory board that combines neoconservatives with liberal hawks, Albright Stonebridge Group—with its interest in Russian business acquisitions, and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

CNAS, whose donors include multiple weapon corporations, the European Union, US Department of Defense, Finland’s Defense Ministry, Amazon, Google, and ExxonMobil, was formerly led by President Biden’s current Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, whose husband, Robert Kagan, co-founded the conquest-seeking neoconservative Project for the New American Century. Yet we’re to assume that donors’ priorities aren’t skewing foreign policy in dysfunctional ways.

With Russia’s fears dismissed and US greed disguised, the good vs. evil script is further strengthened by permitting only shallow public analysis. For example, how do we know that Russia wasn’t deliberately provoked so that the ulterior goals of certain American social circles could be advanced under the guise of nobly responding to Russia’s aggression? The topic isn’t permitted into discussion.

Another topic given quarter-inch deep analysis is Biden’s seemingly fair-minded declaration that each nation has the right to choose alliances. It’s an unusual statement coming from a “you’re with us or against us” nation that has punished or ousted national leaders who refused to sever alliances with the USSR or Cuba.

Nuland’s leaked tapes from 2014 (which mention Biden and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan) and a US record of instigating coups indicate that Americans were likely involved in promoting the bloody 2014 coup of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Yanukovich to install anti-Russian leadership agreeable to European Union and NATO ties. So does Biden’s “right to choose alliances” proclamation apply to nations before a US-approved coup or only afterwards?

Another enraging example of shallow analysis is the opinion falsely parroted by US “experts” that Putin’s 2021 essay, “On the Historical Unity of Russia and Ukraine,” lays bare Putin’s imperialist vision for Ukraine and his lack of recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders. Whether the experts are deliberately lying or lack reading comprehension skills, their claim is false and, given the self-righteous hatred their claim generates, utterly irresponsible.

Nowhere in the essay does Putin speak of conquering Ukraine or refusing to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty. Putin specifically describes the relationship between the US and Canada as the type of relationship Russia seeks with Ukraine. When he speaks of “unity,” he’s not speaking of dissolving Ukraine’s political sovereignty. He’s speaking of cultural and historical ties between the two nations.

Putin’s description of the Bolsheviks’ creation of borders never suggests that he’s doing away with them. It’s possible he’s implying that Donetsk, Lugansk, and certainly Crimea have large Russian populations and do not necessarily belong in Ukraine, especially if Ukraine’s post-coup government is harboring neo-Nazism and installing language and indigenous people policies of a deliberate anti-Russian nature. Note that Ukraine and the US are the only two nations in the UN to vote against the recent resolution to condemn the glorification of Nazism.

Of course, US policymakers are not uncomfortable with Nazism and, following WWII, employed one thousand Nazis to spy on Russia. And it was US banks and companies such as Ford, General Motors, and du Pont that opportunistically helped fund Hitler’s war arsenal. Even in 1973, the US worked with pro-Nazi collaborators and US corporate funds to plant protests, propaganda, economic sabotage, and violence that climaxed in the CIA’ s horrific 9/11/73 coup of Chile’s Salvador Allende. It’s not surprising that in 2014, Russian news sources claimed that US private military contractors were training right-wing Ukrainian extremists.

In his essay, Putin clearly states his wish to negotiate with Ukraine, but not with Ukrainian leaders who are mere representatives of Western profiteers eager to use Ukraine’s land and resources for their own benefit. But, of course, US commentators either ignore the statement or, forgetting US history, discount Putin’s fears of Western profiteering as conspiracy theory.

Double standards also fortify the script. Russia’s invasions are motivated by belligerence, never legitimate fears, while US invasions are motivated by legitimate fears, never belligerence. Same behavior, different judgment.

Headlines scream of savage Russian war crimes. TV reporters interview sobbing Ukrainians. Yet US, NATO, and Ukrainian war crimes are barely publicized, their victims ignored. Same actions, different judgment. To learn about US war crimes and Afghan and Iraqi suffering, you’ve got to read investigative reporters’ books.

American groupthink, inflated by its self-righteous role in the script, and seeming to borrow from middle-school social dynamics, jeers and smears President Putin’s every word as absurd and staged. But we’re to trust Biden as honest, unstaged, unconcealing. No proof is needed. Just faith in the script.

Putin’s wish to protect Donetsk and Lugansk, self-declared republics since 2014, and end Kiev’s 8-year war that has killed 14,000 is automatically mocked as false pretext for conquest. Yet US wishes to protect Ukraine from Russia are trusted as caring, without ulterior design. The role of private military contractors, NATO, and the US in escalating civil war and provoking Russia by arming Ukraine with billions in weapons since 2014 rather than committing to non-violently resolve Ukraine’s internal conflict remains shamefully unassessed.

The consequences of belief in this drama? The US habitually uses exaggerated fears of evil enemies as false justification for colossal military budgets, NATO expansion, more military bases, troops, weapons, and nukes—all of which pour gasoline on the world tinderbox of tension, drain desperately-needed funding, and fail to resolve conflict.

If evil is equated with enemies, it becomes deceptively simple for “heroes” to champion goodness: bomb enemies into submission, impose deadly sanctions, strangulate funding, send weapons, engineer coups. But none of these methods nurture goodness. The truth is, those convinced they’re fighting evil are frequently blinded to the immorality and injustice of their own actions against people who aren’t so evil after all.

The good vs. evil script is also unjust because it enables the “innocent” to get away with all they’ve done to exacerbate conflict. The script can even enable the “innocent,” including Biden administration neoconservatives and liberal hawks, to slickly seize power, resources, and markets from those deemed evil.

US leaders’ promotion of this good vs. evil storyline appears compassionate, but it isn’t against killing. It isn’t about justice. It’s about pushing a script that provides pretext on the part of those proclaiming their own goodness to inflict injustice and violence against Russia and Putin, already verbally crucified by a mob of liars. It’s about solidifying our allegiance to US policymakers’ decisions about whom we should kill and whom we should cry for. Yet policymakers step beyond Constitutional grounds when they use their power to turn our hearts on and off, to bait us to hate some and love others to serve their greed for Mid-Eastern, Ukrainian, and Russian wealth.

We’ve got to scrap the script and view conflict impartially. We deserve accurate, sophisticated information about conflict, not propaganda that teaches us to hate. We need full truth to help us ground irrational fears of bad guys, cure the sickness of greed, and offer caring and friendship, not just for those falsely deemed innocent and heroic, but for all of us, with 360 of empathy, all the way around the world.

• View all six videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-1OIk-CwU-5vAElcg

• Read the entire essay at Countercurrents

• This article was first published at TRANSCEND Media Service

The post Russia, Ukraine, and the USA: Trapped in a Cultural Script first appeared on Dissident Voice.