Must we accept black-and-white thinking regarding this war? Here are some questions to challenge our assumptions.
- Both Russia and Ukraine claim self-defense. What do you think?
- What is your position on war and violence in general?
- Do you consider loyalty more important than a just peace?
The Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts holds to the value of Non-Violence. How can this principle of non-violence be applied to mitigate the current violence in Ukraine?
This is a complex set of issues that our political leaders, media and people are not inclined to explore. To this end I give the Green Party of Alameda, California credit for hosting a Green Party discussion of opposing positions on the war. Differing positions were offered by Howie Hawkins and Jill Stein. (It should be noted that the National Committee of the Green Party US has voted 88 to 7 in favor of peace through cease fire and negotiations). Aside from judging the merits of either argument, the critical point is that the Green Party stepped up and opened up the dialog. This is fundamental to a democracy and critical to reestablishing the "peoples' voice'' in our country.
The basic point of dispute is whether this war was provoked or unprovoked and what is the present path to peace.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not neutral on this issue. I believe that those who promote, provoke, prolong and profit from war are as culpable as those who seemingly commit the first act of aggression. Here is the timeline of critical facts which demand our consideration in light of "cause and effect".
1991: Commitment of no NATO expansion post German reunification. There is ample documentation that this was the stated position of the west.
1999: Clinton pursued inclusion of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic into NATO
2004: Bush #2 included: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia
2008: Definitive invite @ Munich Security Conference for Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO
2009: Further expansion of NATO under Obama: Albania, Croatia
Further action by the West shows ongoing intent to subdue Russia despite warnings by senior US diplomats.
1990's: George Keenan, Jack Matlock (senior US diplomats) testified before congress that NATO expansion would create an existential threat to Russia.
2008: William Burns, US ambassador to Russia stated in a memo to Condolezza Rice that Ukraine's invitation to join NATO could lead to civil war in Ukraine. Russia would be compelled to intervene although they did not want to. In fact, Putin publicly stated that this existential threat would compel Russia to seize Crimea in consideration of their security interests. Crimea has been a historic part of Russia since 1780's.
2014: In a call with G. Pyatt (US ambassador) Victoria Nuland (US State Department) discussed the new composition of government for Ukraine. Two weeks later, democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych was forced from office.
2014(March): Russia annexes Crimea in response to the February, 2014 coup.
2014 to February 24, 2022: Civil war, as predicted by William Burns (now CIA director) broke out in the Donbas (heavily populated by ethnic Russians) shortly after the coup in Kiev.
2014: Initial Minsk agreements giving more autonomy to Donetsk while remaining within Ukraine was signed but not implemented by Kiev. This civil war continued for 8 years with 14,000 civilians killed.
2015: Minsk II agreement is signed in an attempt to enforce the principles of Minsk I. France and Germany were Europe's overseers of implementation. The civil war continued.
2016-present: Alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election poisoned the environment for bi-lateral negotiations between Russia and the US.
Dec. 2021: Putin submits to US and NATO a draft proposal for a new European security architecture as a means to sustaining peace. All negotiations were rejected by the US and NATO.
Feb 24, 2022: Russia invades Ukraine.
April/May, 2022: Reports that a peace deal was in the making between Russia and Ukraine, inTurkey. Further reports had Boris Johnson going to Kiev to warn Volodymyr Zelensky that such a deal would lose Zelensky the support of the West. Negotiations collapsed.
Late 2022: Angela Merkle, Francois Hollande, Peter Poroshenko (all participants in the Minsk accords) admit that the accords were merely to buy time to build Ukraine's military to NATO standards to fight Russia. The training and war continues with ever increasing escalation.
The pro-Ukrainian position is that the Russian invasion was unprovoked and thus Ukraine is on the side of a nationalistic “Just War.” The pro-Russian position is that for at least 23 years Russia has been provoked by NATO’s encroachment into their national security space. They defend their actions by claiming rights of “preemptive self defense” based on their security needs. The pro-Peace position calls for an immediate cease fire without preconditions, peace negotiations among all parties involved. The pro-peace position must be informed with a clear understanding of historical facts and context.
There will be no meaningful peace without each parties’ willingness to discuss and consider their adversaries’ points of view. This is the path of non-violence.