This Geopolitical War is a ‘Geopolitical Crime’

9 Apr

[Prefatory Note: This post was earlier published on April 9, 2022 in a somewhat modified form in CounterPunch with the title “Why Ukraine?” Please read the last paragraph to make sense of the title.]

There is no doubt that atrocities have been committed in Ukraine, seemingly yet not exclusively by Russian attacking forces, and in a perfect world those who so acted would be held responsible. But the world is highly imperfect when it comes to accountability for international crimes. When the International Criminal Court in 2020 found it had authority to investigate alleged crimes committed by Israel in Occupied Palestine after painstaking delays to make sure that their inquiry would meet the highest standard of legal professionalism, the decision was called ‘pure anti-Semitism’ by the Israeli prime minister, and defiantly rejected by Israeli leaders across the whole political spectrum. Similarly, when authorization was given by the ICC to investigate crimes by the United States in Afghanistan, the decision was denounced as void and unwarranted because the U.S. was not a party to the Rome Statute governing the operations of the ICC. The Trump presidency went so far as to express its outrage by imposing personal sanctions on the ICC prosecutor, presumably for daring to challenge the U.S. in such a manner even though her behavior was entirely respectful of her professional role and consistent with relevant canons of judicial practice.

Against such a background, there is a typical liberal quandary when faced with clear criminality on one side and pure geopolitical hypocrisy on the other side. Was it desirable after World War II to prosecute surviving German and Japanese political leaders and military commanders at the ‘legal’ cost of overlooking the criminality of the victors because there was no disposition to investigate the dropping of atom bombs on Japanese cities or the strategic bombing of civilian habitats in Germany and Japan? I am far from sure about what is better from the perspective of either developing a global rule of law or inducing respect for the restraints of law. The essence of law is treating equals equally, but world order is not so constituted. As suggested, there is ‘victors’ justice’ imposing accountability on the defeated leadership in major wars but complete non-accountability for the crimes of the geopolitical winners. Beyond this, the UN Charter was drafted in ways that gave a constitutional status to geopolitical impunity by granting these victors in World War II an unconditional right of veto, and this of course includes Russia. In these respects, liberalism defers to geopolitical realism, and celebrate the one-sided imposition of legality, with the naïve hope things will be different in the future, and the next group of victors will themselves accept the same legal standards of accountability are imposed upon the losers. Yet the post-Nuremberg record shows that geopolitical actors go on treating restraints on recourse to war as a matter of discretion (what American liberals called ‘wars of choice’ in the course of the debate about embarking upon a regime-changing attack on and occupation of Iraq in 2003) rather than an obligation. When it comes to accountability double standards are still operative, illustrated by the ironic execution of Saddam Hussein for war crimes in the wake of a war of aggression against Iraq.

Another lingering question is ‘why Ukraine’? There have been other horrific events in the period since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, including Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Palestine yet no comparable clamor in the West for criminal justice and punitive action. Certainly, a part of the explanation is that the Ukrainian victims of abuse are white, European, Christian, which made it easy for the West to mobilize the mainstream global media and by the related international prominence accorded to Volodimir Zelensky, the embattled, energetic Ukrainian leader given unprecedented access to the most influential venues on the global stages of world opinion. It is not that the empathy for Ukraine or support for Zelensky’s national resistance is misplaced, but that it has the appearance of being geopolitically orchestrated and manipulated in ways that other desperate national situations were not, and thus give rise to suspicions about other, darker motives.

This is worrisome because these magnified concerns have acted as a principal way that the NATO West has gone out of its way to make the Ukrainian War about more than Ukraine. The wider war is best understood as occurring on two levels: a traditional war between the invading forces of Russia and the resisting forces of Ukraine as intertwined with an encompassing geopolitical war between the U.S. and Russia. It is the prosecution of this latter war that presents the more profound danger to world peace, a danger that has been largely obscured or assessed as a mere extension of the Russia/Ukraine confrontation. Biden has consistently struck a militarist, demonizing, and confrontational note in the geopolitical war, deliberately antagonizing Putin while quite pointedly neglecting diplomacy as the obvious way to stop the killing, and atrocities, in effect, encouraging the war on the ground to be prolonged because its continuation is indispensable in relation to the implicitly higher stakes of grand strategy, which is the core preoccupation of a geopolitical war. When Biden repeatedly calls Putin a war criminal who should face prosecution, and even more so, when he proposes regime change in Russia, he is cheerleading for the Ukrainian War to continue as long as it takes to produce a victory, and not be content with a ceasefire.

If this two-level perception is correctly analyzed in its appreciation of the different actors with contradictory priorities, then it becomes crucial to understand that in the geopolitical war the U.S. is the aggressor as much as in the traditional war on the ground Russia is the aggressor. In these respects, despite his understandable anger and grief, one must wonder whether even Zelensky with Russo-phobic echoing of war crimes allegations and calls for the expulsion of Russian from the UN, has not had his arm twisted so as to support the geopolitical war despite its premises being contrary to the interests of the Ukrainian people.

Could the delivery of weapons and financial assistance to Ukraine come with a large price tag?

So far, the geopolitical war has been waged as a war of ideological aggression backed up by weapons supplies and enveloping sanctions designed to have a great a crippling effect on Russia. This tactic has led Putin to make counter-threats, including warnings about Russia’s willingness under certain conditions to have recourse to nuclear weapons. This normalizing of the nuclear danger is itself a menacing development in a context of an autocratic leader backed into a corner. The U.S. approach, while mindful of escalation dangers and taking steps so far to avoid direct military involvement on behalf of Ukraine, shows no rush to end the fighting, apparently believing that Russia is already suffering the consequences of greatly underestimating Ukrainian will and capability to resist, and will be forced to acknowledge a humiliating defeat if the war goes on, which would have the strategic benefit additional to other incentives, of discouraging China from aligning with Russia in the future.

Additionally, the Western architects of this geopolitical war with Russia seem to assess gains and losses through a militarist optic, being grossly insensitive to its disastrous economic spillover effects, especially pronounced in relation to food and energy security in the already extremely stress conditions of the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, and even Europe. As Fred Bergsten argues, the overall stability of the world economy is also being put at great risk unless the U.S. and China overcome their own tense relationship, and come to understand that their cooperation is the only check on a deep, costly, and prolonged world economic collapse.

The geopolitical war also distracts attention from the urgent agenda of climate change, especially in light of recent indicators of global warning causing climate experts to be further alarmed. Other matter of global concern including migration, biodiversity, poverty, apartheid are being again relegated to the back burners of global policy challenge, while the sociopathic game of Armageddon Roulette is being played without taking species wellbeing and survival into account, continuing the lethal recklessness that began the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima more than 75 years ago.

In concluding, the question ‘why Ukraine?’ calls for answers. The standard answer of reverse racism, moral hypocrisy, and Western narrative control is not wrong but significantly incomplete if it does not include the geopolitical war that while not now directly responsible for Ukrainian suffering is from other perspective more dangerous and destructive than that awful traditional war. This geopolitical war of ‘poor’ choice is now being waged mainly by means of hostile propaganda, but also weapons and supplies while not killing directly outside of Ukraine. This second war, so rarely identified much less assessed, is irresponsibly menacing the wellbeing of tens of millions of civilians around the world while arms dealers, post-conflict construction companies, and civilian and uniformed militarists exult. To be provocative, I would it is time for the peace movement to make sure that US loses this geopolitical war! To win it, even persisting with it, would constitute a grave ‘geopolitical crime.’

5 Responses to “This Geopolitical War is a ‘Geopolitical Crime’”

  1. rediscover911com April 9, 2022 at 2:29 pm #

    The demonization of Russia with “false flags”, in my observation, began in July, 2014 with the shoot-down of MH17–a plane identical to MH370 and carrying embalmed Asian adult bodies. https://www.dropbox.com/s/dd81fppe9jge8c8/CC%2018%2B%20MH17%20is%20MH370%21.mp4?dl=0 This explains also the disappearance of MH370.

  2. rediscover911com April 9, 2022 at 2:30 pm #

    Zionist Ukraine leadership is so desperate to blame Russia that they are killing their own citizens to make it look like Russia did it. Many examples.

  3. Ray Joseph Cormier April 10, 2022 at 4:40 am #

    This article is definitely more persuasive, Richard, and I would hope the Decision Makers in Washington would take it to heart.
    Unfortunately, I think those decision making experts are sleepwalking this World into the Abyss.
    This reply to Congressman Eric Swalwell Friday is self-explanatory, so I don’t have to take up additional space here although I excerpted a few thoughts, posting them on your previous page. .

    Hello Congressman Swalwell,

    I was surprised to receive your email last week, especially since I never contacted you on Ukraine. I do vaguely recall writing to you sometime in May last year long before Ukraine replaced COVID as the 24/7 MSM story manipulating the Minds of the Masses inciting for War as the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse.

    I did send a Message to all 100 Senators on Ukraine between 3-6 of February before the War started. On the day I got your email, I also received emails from Senators Josh Hawley and Joni K. Ernst, the 14th & 15th Senators to reply to the February Message. That Message was not necessarily Pro-Putin but Pro-Peace.

    Not surprisingly, all those Senators reflecting the equal Democratic-Republican make up of the Senate, had the rare bi-partisan unanimity usually reserved for any issue concerning Israel or raising the the DoD Budget.
    They all had the usual anti-Russia/Putin talking points. I answered them all except for Senators Hawley and Ernst since the Message obviously has fallen on deaf ears as the US, in the delusional belief in it’s own exceptionalism and BLIND patriotism, is leading this World to the End of Civilization as we know it.

    You can read what I wrote to the Senators in February, and my replies to Senators Feinstein of California and Cornyn of Texas, posted to my Blog, HAVE WE ARRIVED AT ARMAGEDDON/WWIII? There is not much more to add since it’s obvious the US dominated NATO is forcing Russia into a corner of EXISTENTIAL THREAT, oblivious to the fact that by doing that, the chances of Armageddon/WWIII happening are increasing tremendously. The US isn’t interested in any Diplomatic Resolution, willing to expend Ukrainian lives as the Sacrificial lambs in the US War with Russia that has taken some form or another since the end of WWII.

    You should also read the latest Blog post, ‘THE NATIONS ARE ANGRY……Russia is angry. The US is angry. Ukraine is angry. The 30 NATO Nations are angry. China is angry, The People are angry, and hatred is on the increase.’

    Just before the War started, I went to the OSCE reports of truce violations between the Ukrainian government and the Russian speaking Donbas regions in the East daily, and there was a dramatic increase in Ukraine government shelling of the Civilians that provoked the Russian invasion US/Ukraine War Propaganda never mention.

    That 8 year Civil War was precipitated by the 2014 US orchestrated Coup/regime change of the Russian friendly government the Russian speaking Ukrainians in the East and Crimea VOTED for, installing a puppet Neo-Nazi anti-Russian government headed by the man US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught on tape saying she wanted to head the changed Ukraine government before it was changed. This was not a co-incidence but long planned to bring about Zbigniew Brzezinski vision who said “Ukraine should not be allowed to side with Russia. With Ukraine, Russia is a great power, while without Ukraine, it is a regional player.”

    It seems you were successful urging the President of Finland to join NATO on your recent Congressional tour, reading this morning Finland seized artwork en route to Russia as part of E.U.-imposed sanctions. The paintings, sculptures and antiquities were on loan to museums and galleries in Japan and Italy, and are worth 42 million euros ($46 million). It seems Finland is no longer Neutral.

    For as much as US Propaganda demonizes Putin for not tolerating any dissent from the Official narrative, The Washington Post does exactly the same EVIL thing, deleting my comments on the alleged Russian massacre in Bucha this morning, these 2 being the latest among many the Post deleted since the War started.
    Truth is the 1st casualty of War, especially in this one.
    After introducing Nukes into the World, the US was the only Nation to use them needing only 2 to kill over 200,000 innocent civilians, and since WWII, the US, with the most expensive Military Force in the History of Nations, invaded and bombed only poor, 3rd World Nations resulting in the Death of MILLIONS, and couldn’t get a win in any of them, the hurried, frantic evacuation of Kabul being only the latest example.
    On the way out, the latest violent War Crime we know about is the slaughter of an innocent civilian Family of 10 including 7 children by a remote controlled drone. No American is held accountable.

    The American Oligarchs must be rubbing their hands in glee with the increased Weapons sales because of the US Tug of War with Russia over Ukraine, President Biden says is the cause of US inflation.

    The US is the biggest ARMS MERCHANT in the History of Nations, and the American People mirror that love of Weapons having more of them in private hands than any other Society on Earth.

    Americans can expect a long hot murderous Summer of American Carnage on the streets, when the Economic straitjacket tightens here, as the US/NATO wages Economic War to tighten the Economic straitjacket on the People of Russia, as it is written, ‘what you sow, so shall you reap.’

    They also deleted this comment this morning among other comments,
    Twitter suspended the account of Scott Ritter because he Tweeted this,
    “The Ukrainian National Police committed numerous crimes against Humanity in Bucha. Biden, in seeking to shift blame for the Bucha murders onto Russia, is guilty of aiding and abetting those crimes. Congratulations America…we’ve created yet another Presidential war criminal!” The specific Twitter rule justifying the suspension is “You may not engage in the target harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm” That “Rule” is exempted when Putin is the target.

    Because of push back by so many other Twitter users that suspension was lifted.

    In the Timeline that can’t be changed, the Russians pulled out of Bucha on March 31.
    “The mayor of the Ukrainian city of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, confirmed that the Ukrainian military had expelled the Russian occupiers from the city. The liberation of the village began yesterday, March 31. He noted that “this day will enter the glorious history of Bucha and the entire Bucha community.”

    There was no mention of bodies littering the streets on that glorious Day. The bodies appeared days later after the National Police arrived. If they were left on the streets on the day the Russians left, the Mayor would have noticed and said something about them on that Glorious Day, but he didn’t.

    Americans don’t need proof or evidence. They’ve been brainwashed and indoctrinated to believe Russia always lies, and is 100% Evil, while the US always tells the Truth and is 100% Good. Such one dimensional delusional thinking!

    The Washington Post suspended me for a week February 28, just for making the comment posted in THE NATIONS ARE ANGRY…. linked above.

    The 1st Time I was sent to jail in my Life was by an Ottawa Court in 1977 for violating a 1 year Probation with only 1 condition typed in the bottom of the form with these EXPLICIT Words, “not to attend on the Sparks Street Mall or any other street in Ottawa for the purpose of SPEAKING or shouting” and that was in a Democratic NATO Nation!
    This was after US Authorities deported me to CanaDa as an ALIEN in 1976 for reaching such a high level of Visibility at the 1976 Republican National Convention and the City after the Republicans left Town.
    I’m accustomed to people not liking me telling it like I see it as is my Democratic Free Speech Right.

    Peace

    RayJC

    Ottawa-Hull, CanaDa

  4. roberthstiver April 10, 2022 at 8:22 am #

    Thank you, sir…a thoughtful, crucially needed discourse. My own view, as an internal, bitter dissident in this era against the awful machinations of the “exceptional” US, is that we are witnessing, not merely a “geopolitical” war between Russia and the US/”rest of the West” but a fundamentally “geographical” war wherein the US et al deliberately, as formulation and execution of policy (sic), ignore the very real “on the ground” threats perceived by nationalistic Russia as infringing on its borders, core national-security interests, and future. My benighted country is tone-deaf, diplomacy-averse, unable/unwilling to “slip into the sandals” of an adversary, bellicose, insulting, vindictive, militaristic, etc., etc., etc. … antithetical to every overt and nuance-laden principle of a “democratic,” “enlightened,” peace-oriented approach to the advance of “civilization” and compassion and care, if you will, for “the other” among God’s children and His Prince of Peace Who is being piously [surely sanctimoniously and hypocritically on so many levels…] celebrated during this Easter season.

  5. Beau Oolayforos April 12, 2022 at 10:56 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Does the US, even yet, have an ambassador to Ukraine? It already sounded fishy when Trump fired Ms Yovanovich, as he withheld “vital, bipartisan-approved arms shipments to Ukraine..”

    Let’s see…we cooperate on the International Space Station, launching astronauts from Kazakhstan, as we feed weapons to Ukraine, for their future war with Russia. What does ‘duplicity’ mean?

    Everyone knows that, despite mumbles & promises, NATO has expanded relentlessly eastward, until…why Ukraine? Remember when the media was having orgasms about Old Bush drawing his “Line in the Sand”?

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