Viewpoint by John Scales Avery*
COPENHAGEN (IDN) — Both Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin and its Foreign Secretary, Sergey Laverov, have repeatedly stated that Russia does not intend to invade Ukraine. Logic also tells us that if they had wished to do so, they would have done it long ago. The threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is a western invention.
To understand how Russians feel about having western weapons and troops poured into a position on their nation’s borders, we should imagine how the United States would react if large numbers of Russian weapons and troops were stationed in Mexico or Canada.
In 1990, US Secretary of State James Baker assured Mikhail Gorbachev that “not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastward direction”. In return, Gorbachev agreed not to oppose the reunification. Russia kept its side of the bargain, but the United States broke its promise.
The illegality of NATO
Former UN Assistant Secretary General Hans Christof von Sponeck used the following words to express his opinion that NATO now violates the UN Charter and international law: “In the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the Charter of the United Nations was declared to be NATO’s legally binding framework. However, the United-Nations monopoly of the use of force, especially as specified in Article 51 of the Charter, was no longer accepted according to the 1999 NATO doctrine. NATO’s territorial scope, until then limited to the Euro-Atlantic region, was expanded by its members to include the whole world.”
Article 2 of the UN Charter requires that “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” This requirement is somewhat qualified by Article 51, which says that “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
Thus, in general, war is illegal under the UN Charter. Self-defence against an armed attack is permitted, but only for a limited time, until the Security Council has had time to act. The United Nations Charter does not permit the threat or use of force in preemptive wars, or to produce regime changes, or for so-called “democratization”, or for the domination of regions that are rich in oil.
What military-industrial complexes want
Military-industrial complexes do not actually want war. What they want is a level of tensions sufficiently high to justify obscenely bloated military budgets. In 2021 the world spent roughly two trillion dollars on armaments. This enormous river of money, almost too great to be imagined, flows like current in a devil’s dynamo from immensely rich arms corporations to buy the votes of corrupt politicians and the propaganda of mass media, numbed by which, citizens vote to perpetuate the system.
In the United States the industrial-military complex is particularly strong, and it has bipartisan support. This may explain US President Biden’s aggressive actions in the Ukraine crisis. However, although nobody wants war, and especially not a suicidal and potentially omnicidal nuclear war, a situation with very high tensions can become out of control through a technical or human error, through escalation of a small inciident, or through a false flag operation.
The threat of a nuclear war
Looking at modern history we can remember a number of times when the world came extremely close to nuclear war, The Cuban Missile Crisis is one example, but there are a number of others. We cannot continue to be lucky forever. Just as the politicians and generals who started World War I had no imaginative idea of what it would be like, our present-day leaders seem not to realize the catastrophic nature of nuclear war.
Because of the nuclear winter effect and because of the long-lasting effects of radioactivity, our civilization and much of the biosphere would not survive such a war. In the present crisis over Ukraine, Both the United States and Russia possess more than enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world completely.
As citizens we must prevent our politicians from pursuing this insane brinksmanship. [IDN-InDepthNews – 11 February 2022]
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* John Scales Avery (born in 1933 in Lebanon to American parents) is a theoretical chemist noted for his research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. Since the early 1990s, Avery has been an active World peace activist. During these years, he was part of a group associated with the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.
Photo: Michail Gorbachev discussing German unification with Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Helmut Kohl in Russia, July 15, 1990. Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders, among others from James Baker, George H. W. Bush, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Helmut Kohl, and the President of France, and the Prime Minister of Britain. Photo credit: Bundesbildstelle / Presseund Informationsamt der Bundesregierung.
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