If Washington wanted peace in Ukraine, it would stop sending weapons
By: Rachel Marsden
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — “Can the U.S. and NATO provide Ukraine with
enough weapons?” asked NBC News at the end of last month, wondering whether
western weapons deliveries into the country are sustainable. But where are the
voices questioning how flooding a country with weapons could possibly be the
best strategy to achieve peace?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy keeps asking the West for more weapons. But he also has repeatedly asked for NATO to institute a no-fly zone, which would trigger a third world war. The fact that Zelenskyy has asked for insane things should have more people taking his requests with a grain of salt rather than at face value.
Zelenskyy serves many masters. He’s the president of a country that ranks 122nd out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 corruption index of least to most corrupt nations, and, according to The Guardian, his personal wealth has been called into question with the Panama Papers offshore account leak showing that he participated in a “sprawling network of offshore companies.” Zelenskyy is in an existential position of having to balance various special interests, which run rampant in the country amid longstanding systemic corruption, with those of his people whose suffering will persist the longer the conflict rages without a peace agreement.
The interests currently driving Zelenskyy away from a peace deal are various and blatantly obvious. First and foremost are the western weapons manufacturers of the military industrial complex, inextricably tied to western governments, who are perversely exploiting the conflict in order to write blank checks with taxpayer cash to fund the endless flood of weapons into Ukraine. Peace in Ukraine would mean shooting their cash cow.
There are also the Canadian-trained Ukrainian neo-Nazi fighters now integrated into the country’s army — the armed wing of a minority group representing an ideology that’s nonetheless so powerful as to have been described by Reuters in 2018 as a “growing problem” for Ukrainian officials and by the New York Times in February as capable of “destabiliz[ing] the government if it agrees to a peace deal they reject.”
It’s not hard to imagine the threat these fighters represent for Zelenskyy’s life should he act contrary to their wishes to continue antagonizing Russia and Ukrainian Russophones.
American big business interests also have every reason to push Zelenskyy to lasting conflict with Russia so as to instill a fracture between European and Russian business spheres, with Uncle Sam swooping in to fill the Russian void at a much higher cost. Any peace deal would risk normalization of relations between Russia and Europe.
Zelenskyy is supposed to be doing what’s in the best interests of the average Ukrainian citizen. But due to all of the other aforementioned pressures, he seems incapable – or unwilling – of putting his people first by prioritizing peace over war. The first signs of such came when Zelenskyy failed to enforce the cease-fire Minsk agreements endorsed by Ukraine, France, Germany, Russia to end violence by Kyiv in the Russophone Donbass region. Another sign of Zelenskyy’s leadership inability and misplaced priorities came when he admitted to CNN that he was told by western officials: “You’re not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open.” In other words, the NATO threat didn’t have to be used to antagonize Russia into conflict, but Zelenskyy acquiesced to doing so.
Zelenskyy’s constant public statements requesting weapons, no-fly zones, greater NATO involvement, and generally rejecting a prioritization of peace over prolonged conflict are all troubling indications that Zelenskyy’s master isn’t the Ukraine citizenry first and foremost but rather the more shadowy interests that pose a potentially even greater risk and cost to him personally than dragging out an armed conflict.
To put it bluntly, this conflict will only end when Zelenskyy stops allowing himself to be used as a pawn for western military-industrial and economic interests, and finds a way to secure peace with Russia while protecting himself from the western-backed neo-Nazis whom he knows will threaten his life for doing so.
If Washington and its allies were truly interested in securing peace rather than continuing to flood the battlefield in Ukraine with weapons to be used by whomever gets their hands on them, they would make it easy for Zelenskyy to accept peace as the only option. They would give him the ability to save face by telling his neo-Nazi detractors that he can no longer continue with a war without weapons. Instead, they’re forcing Zelenskyy to continue fighting Russia on behalf of NATO down to the very last Ukrainian citizen.
COPYRIGHT 2022 RACHEL MARSDEN