The crimes related to this current violence in Ukraine began long before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Thank you to Jeffrey Sachs for sharing some of his knowledge.
Saturday August 26, 2023
“Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed the Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Co-Chair of the Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition, Commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, academician of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences at the Vatican, and Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Honorary Distinguished Professor at Sunway University. “
Speakers (vfpconvention.org) Veterans for Peace 2023 Convention Speakers
The transcript is from an earlier talk in June, but similar topics.
“This conflict is actually decades in the making. It didn’t just come out of a Russian invasion in 2022, as is often said in the Western mainstream media. The war is often defined as an unprovoked attack in 2022. Actually, the roots of this war go back to the end of the Soviet Union and to the geopolitics around that.
In 1990, the US and Germany promised the Soviet government at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, the President, that NATO would not move one inch eastward if Gorbachev went ahead and disbanded the Soviet Military Alliance. In other words, there would be a deal that on the Soviet side, the military alliance, the so-called Warsaw Pact, would be ended, and on the Western side, NATO would not take advantage and Germany would be reunified, but NATO would not move one inch eastward. The US cheated on that because as soon as the Soviet Union ended in 1991, the policymakers in Washington, especially in the Pentagon and in the permanent state in the United States, immediately planned for the Eastern expansion of NATO.
So this war started, in my opinion, because the United States could not accept a peace in which the military alliances of both sides of the Cold War would stand down. Well, many things happened over the 30 years between the early 1990s and today, but probably the highlights to mention are that in 2008, George W. Bush forced NATO, pushed NATO, but really pressed that NATO would announce that Ukraine would become a member. And that happened at the Bucharest NATO Summit in 2008. The Russian leadership was furious. They had warned again and again: Don’t do that. We don’t want your military right up against our 2000-kilometer border with Ukraine. Then a Ukrainian President won the election in 2010 on the program of neutrality for Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovych won the election based on the idea that Ukraine doesn’t want to become the battlefield between two superpowers and called for neutrality, which had been enshrined in the original Ukrainian Declaration of Independence, but then was abandoned by some of the NATO-oriented politicians of Ukraine.
So in 2010, Jankovich called for neutrality, but he was overthrown violently in early 2014 with US participation. So this was really a terrible escalation because the relatively pro-Russian president, but one who called for neutrality, which I think was the only safe course for Ukraine, was overthrown. And the United States played a significant role in that. People know about the famous tape of Victoria Nuland, who is now our Under Secretary of State. At the time, she was the Assistant Secretary of State and she described who the US would see as the next government three weeks before a violent overthrow.
The US signed several statements in 2021 confirming that NATO would enlarge. I think this was all absolutely irresponsible. Russia massed troops on its border and put on the table a draft US-Russia security agreement on December 17th, 2021 based on no NATO enlargement. The Biden administration formally replied that it was not willing to negotiate over that issue in a response in January. Then Russia invaded on February 24th, 2022, making clear that it was the failure to reach an understanding on the NATO question that was central to Russia’s action.
Four weeks later, Zelenskyy declared that Ukraine was accepting of neutrality. In other words, the initial Russian invasion brought Ukraine to the negotiating table, and during the second half of March, with the Turkish government being the mediators, Russia and Ukraine hammered out a peace agreement.
Incredibly, the United States blocked it because the United States told the Ukrainian government you fight on because American policymakers had two ideas. One was that Ukraine should not be neutral. It should be a NATO country. And second, that the war would be won by some combination of Western armaments and financial sanctions.”