Ukraine: We Are Having A Good War

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Volodymyr Zelenskyy

David Lindsay’s satirical look at the war in Ukraine…

Even The New York Times is getting there. As the war in Ukraine has worn on, then everything that we have said from the start has gone from being lunatic evil to being something that everyone pretended to have been saying from the start.

The internal boundaries of the Soviet Union were never designed to be international borders, indeed they were specifically designed to make impossible independence in those forms, and they were never going to last more than one generation as frontiers. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

People wanting a homeland for ethnic Ukrainians would therefore be better off without the south and east of the former Ukrainian SSR, while Russia could not want anything less than the west of it. Accordingly, Russia has never stated any war aim of taking, much less holding, the whole of Ukraine. Crimea is not part of the Ukraine at all. In Galicia, it is Poland that may press a claim to the region centred on one of its principal historical cities, just as it is Hungary that has a thousand-year claim to Carpathian Ruthenia. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Ukraine has never “given up its nuclear weapons”. It never had any. The nuclear weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan were all Soviet, with the launch codes in Moscow, where no one would ever have handed them over to anyone else. Keeping those weapons outside Russia would have rendered them useless. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Khrushchev came of age in Ukraine, and he continued to identify with it so strongly that he gave it Crimea as a drunken birthday present to himself. Brezhnev was Ukrainian without complication. Chernenko’s name was immediately recognisable as Ukrainian, for such was his father. Gorbachev’s mother was an ethnic Ukrainian. And so on. Populous and industrialised, a land of coal and steel provided many leading figures in the Communist Party until only one generation ago. Used to being a big deal, Ukraine seeks a global role that befits a nation of more than 40 million, strategically located, abundant in natural resources, and the heir of the Kievan Rus’ and of the Kingdom of Ruthenia as well as of Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Chernenko, Gorbachev, and numerous other leading figures well into living memory. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

The Moldovan entry in the Eurovision Song Contest was not only great fun, but also an expression of yearning for reunion with Romania, which gave that entry 12 points in the public televote; the declared Romanian jury vote for Ukraine is now subject to dispute. The reincorporation of Moldova could not extend to Transnistria, which would instead complete a certain arc of Russian influence. But the Soviet-style economies and cultures of Donetsk, Luhansk, Transnistria, and no doubt Kherson very soon if not already, would tend against their incorporation into Russia itself, where the main opposition is the Communist Party, so that the regime could do without any more potential Communist voters. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Russia cannot even subdue Ukraine, much less would it be able to conquer the whole of Europe. NATO was founded six years before the Warsaw Pact, and has already outlived it by 31. It has always been the aggressor. People who sincerely believe that NATO was founded by Ernest Bevin, who by the way would get nowhere in today’s Labour Party, and that he did so as some sort of expression of British trade union principles, are like people who sincerely believe, as ostensible adults, that George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, or that servant girls used to go home on Mothering Sunday. But there is probably no one who does believe that. They say that ridiculous thing for effect. The world should not be run by smirking old Sixth Form and undergraduate debaters who had never grown up. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

The real founders of NATO, as of so very much else after the War, were Nazis. Not overly officious traffic wardens, but real, live, actual Nazis. Before the War in Europe was officially over, the generous political donors in the arms trade decided that the next lucrative enemy was going to be the Soviet Union, which in fact had neither the means nor the will to invade Western Europe, just as Russia manifestly cannot conquer even Ukraine, much less anywhere else. Therefore, we began to clutch to our bosom the people in Europe who were most anti-Soviet. Guess who? The sky was literally the limit for Wernher von Braun, and effectively so for Walter Hallstein, Adolf Heusinger, Kurt Waldheim, and numerous others. None of their pasts had ever been any kind of secret. Operation Gladio was full of Nazis, as were the parallel stay-behind operations in non-NATO countries, operations that had particularly close ties to Britain. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Having taken in only 10,000 Kindertransport children, Britain took in 15,000 Nazi collaborators, one and half times as many. 1,000 Kindertransport children had been interned as enemy aliens, and some of them had been sent as far as Australia and Canada to get rid of them, but there was none of that for the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician). Those were ethnic Ukrainians from a formerly Austro-Hungarian area that had been incorporated into Poland after the First World War, meaning that they were able to claim pre-War Polish nationality in order to enter Britain even though they had massacred ethnic Poles during the War. It had been Churchill who had handed Galicia over to Stalin, but that did not stop many of the 1st Galician from making their way to Britain. See how very much at home they made themselves. After all, it was by then Attlee’s Britain. The Attlee Government imposed austerity at home in order to go to war to restore the rule of old Nazi collaborators in Greece. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

By the early 1960s, more former members of the Nazi Party, a party that had been 8.5 million strong at the end of the War, were on the staffs of many West German government departments than there had been current Nazi Party members on those staffs during the Third Reich. In parts of Austria to this day, you can tell what were the American from what were the neighbouring Soviet zones from the vote for the Far Right, since as early as the summer of 1945 local Nazis fled across the river from the latter to the former. There had been no difference in voting patterns before the War. Old collaborators were often set up, usually in London, as governments-in-exile of Eastern European countries, or at least included in them, while Western spooks aided and abetted their stay-behind networks back home. From 1989 onwards, those emerged blinking into the light, essentially unchanged. And here we are. “We” have been allied to the Nazis for more than 12 times as long as we were ever at war with them. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Payton Gendron wore the same Sonnenrad symbol as those who have just lost the Azovstal steelworks. Welcome to the world of Svoboda, Pravy Sektor, the National Corps, C14, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, the Donbas Battalion, the Dnipro-1 Battalion, the Dnipro-2 Battalion, and all the rest of them. If it is not the Sonnenrad, then it is the Wolfsangel. Those symbols have only one possible meaning. You may as well wear a swastika, and they sometimes do. Despite his initial election as a peacemaker both with Russian-speaking Ukrainians and with Russia, these are the factions on whom Volodymyr Zelensky depends, and it is beside the point that he himself is Jewish; most of Hitler’s 27 million Soviet victims were not Jewish, and the post-War Western fantasy that the War had been fought because of the persecution of the Jews is more or less unknown in what was then the USSR. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

As in most wars, there are no goodies here. Each side is a ragbag of shady characters who wish to rule the whole of the area of the former Soviet Union. The likes of Mikheil Saakashvili and David Sakvarelidze have washed up in Ukraine, there to engage Nazi muscle. Everyone knows about the Wagner Group and so forth, but none of that makes any of this less true. The influence of Aleksandr Dugin does not negate the influence of Andriy Biletsky, to whom “the mission of Ukraine is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival against the Semite-led Untermenschen”. American and other politicians and their courtiers are now saying the quiet part out loud, that this is a proxy war with Russia with a view to its dismemberment. As long ago as 4th April, Joe Biden stated the aim of regime change. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

The United States has invaded Somalia again, yet Somali flags have not appeared all over social media or on public buildings, any more than Yemeni ones have. At the same time, the United States has found a further $40 billion dollars with which to arm Ukraine even though its own people cannot obtain baby formula. So much for Bernie Sanders. So much for the Squad. Unlike Somalis or Yemenis, and unlike Afghans, Iraqis or Libyans, Ukrainians “look like us”. Britons and Americans who do not “look like us” can whistle for any Marshall Plan. The Peace Corps is advising African-American volunteers not to go to Ukraine or to the refugee camps in neighbouring countries because the supporters of the Ukrainian Government would call them the n-word. Ukraine’s neighbours are turning away black and brown refugees. That is the EU that Ukraine has officially applied to join. That is NATO. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

If you “look like us”, then the homemade Molotov cocktail turns out to be an acceptable weapon in resisting occupation, and blowing yourself up to destroy a bridge turns out to be an acceptable tactic. The Foreign Secretary would support anyone who went to fight for those who engaged in such practices. You see, they “look like us”. Of course, ethnic Russians also “look like us”, but that did not protect the Irish, or the miners, or, in those days, football fans, before football was colonised by the warmongering liberal bourgeoisie that is practically certain never to fight in a war, being adept at finding cushy postings even in periods of conscription. That said, it is comical to imagine, even in their youth, Tony Blair and David Cameron sallying forth into battle alongside the staff of The Guardian and The Times. The proposals by the likes of Tom Tugendhat and Chris Bryant would give people with Slavic-sounding names, including Ukrainians, the treatment meted out to the Irish, to the miners, and to the football supporters of old, as to Afro-Caribbeans and to Muslims. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

The Ukrainian Government has seized control of all broadcast media, and 11 more political parties have been banned since this war began. They cover a wide spectrum, and most are tiny, which raises the question of why they were worth banning. But one has 43 MPs, having expelled a forty-fourth for not having condemned the Russian invasion. Ukraine has become more and more authoritarian since the putsch of 2014. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Like Russia, Ukraine is an Olympically corrupt oligarchy. As with ill-gotten Russian gains, London is awash with ill-gotten Ukrainian gains. The Labour Party’s policy is bought and paid for by Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch worth around $1.4 billion. The son-in-law of the amazingly corrupt and not inconsiderably oppressive former President Leonid Kuchma, Pinchuk bankrolls the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Over on the other side, Britain’s richest man is Alisher Usmanov. With a fortune in the region of $20 billion, he is one of Vladimir Putin’s three closest advisers. Having played a key role in the suppression of independent media, he lives unsanctioned in Surrey. But at least he is a British citizen. Unlike Pinchuk. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Ukraine has forsworn any official aspiration to NATO membership, exactly as we said that it would have to do, but the biolabs have turned out to have been as real as Hunter Biden’s laptop was, and as real as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were not. Admittedly or not, Finland is to play host to even more American weapons of mass destruction on Russia’s land border. Did anyone ask you whether you wanted an 840-mile land border with Russia, in addition to the ones that we already had? If Finland were to join NATO while Britain were in it, then that would be what Britain would acquire. Swedish accession to NATO would devastate both global humanitarian aid and nuclear nonproliferation, since Sweden’s leading role in each depends on its formal neutrality, although that would create two openings for Britain. That Turkey looks set to veto Sweden and Finland proves that that emerging Islamist dictatorship is the second most important country in NATO from the point of view of that Organisation’s own twisted objectives. Via Turkey, IS jihadis have been entering Ukraine for months, causing Russia to bring in Assadists against them. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Allied to Germany during the War, Finland did not drop the swastika from the insignia of its Air Force until 2020. If it were to be let into NATO, then it ought to restore that symbol, since NATO’s “educational” publications, defining Russia as the eternal enemy, laud the 1940s collaborators as the liberating heroes. Their successors are in government in much of Eastern Europe, while Japan, which has imposed sanctions on Russia and which is talked of as a potential member of AUKUS, is run by people who believe, “that Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers, that the 1946–1948 Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals were illegitimate, and that killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre were exaggerated or fabricated,” as well as that the comfort women were not coerced. South Korea as we know it was effectively created by Park Chung-hee, who had been an officer in the Japanese Manchukuo Army that occupied Manchuria. And one who always regarded Japanese as his first language and Tokyo as the cultural capital of his wider civilisation was Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan, for which watch out in the coming months. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

A backlash is showing signs of beginning in tennis, but sport in general and football in particular have been thoroughly politicised, although people who will not play Russians or in Russia are still happy to go to Qatar. Yet this war is usefully compelling us to face the fact of a real world beyond “the international community”. On 2nd March, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to deplore the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote. On 7th April, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote, and the number of countries voting with Russia had increased sixfold, from four to 23. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

This is the world of the newly inaugurated BRICS+ Dialogue with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. If we would not have picked some of those partners, then it is very telling that they have accepted the invitation. This is the world in which China, India and Russia are trading with each other in currencies that are not the dollar, in which even Saudi Arabia is accepting yuan for oil, in which even Israel has added yuan to its reserves, in which China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands of which the Queen is Head of State and thus technically a signatory to that pact, in which Russian Embassies in Africa are having to thank local men for their goodwill but ask them not to travel to Russia to join up in such numbers, and in which Vietnam has announced new joint military exercises with Russia, let the American sanctions regime be damned. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

They are weakening because pompously saying that “we must be prepared to pay the price” is an unerring sign of someone who would never have to do any such thing, but sanctions against Russia have been imposed only by North America, by Australia and New Zealand, by the American military colonies of Japan and South Korea, and by Europe, although obviously not by Europe’s largest country, the capital of which is Europe’s largest city. 77 per cent of Russia’s population lives in its European part. Those 110 million people make Russia Europe’s most populous country as well as its largest. As a major entrepôt to the vast world of emerging Eurasia and to the world of alliances beyond even that, it offers a potentially glittering future to Mariupol and Avozstal. Part of the same pattern is the expansion of cryptocurrencies in Africa, unwelcome though that is in itself. From Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond, people remember who stood with them in the liberation struggle, and they remember from whom they were liberated. The same tiresome types who pretend to believe that NATO was founded as an expression of social democracy also pretend to believe that it was and is some sort of liberation movement, but the world should not be run by smirking old Sixth Form and undergraduate debaters who had never grown up. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

Falkland Islanders and Chagossians may both be British citizens, but the former “look like us” while the latter do not. If you object to the extension of the death penalty in Belarus as part of its support for Russia in Ukraine, then you presumably have no truck with Saudi Arabia, or indeed with the United States; likewise, you cannot criticise any action of the Taliban or any other Islamist movement unless you reject any alliance with Saudi Arabia, a choice that the BRICS and others are also going to have to make. The intentional killing of civilians and of prisoners is hardly unknown to NATO or to its allies. Shireen Abu Akleh was also a Byzantine Rite Catholic, but of course she did not “look like us” any more than Child Q does, and in the last two days the Israeli Police that beat Abu Akleh’s pallbearers, one of whom it has since arrested, was out on patrol with Child Q’s rapists in Hackney. It already teaches the Police in the United States how to keep down those who do not “look like us”, and the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act is now on the Statute Book here. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

The murder of Abu Akleh ought to have led to the proscription as terrorist organisations of the Israeli Defense Forces, of Mossad, of Shin Bet, of the church-burners and anti-miscegenation activists of  Lehava, therefore also of Otzma Yehudit, and thus also of parties that had formed electoral alliances with it, including Likud, of which the Israeli Ambassador to London is a particularly racist member, such that she would have had to have been expelled. That would certainly have happened if Abu Akleh had “looked like us”, or at least if she had done so without being a Russian or a Russian-speaking Ukrainian. As it was, though, she was only an American citizen who did not “look like us”, and are any lives on earth valued less than those? We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

The Far Right has seen Israel as the frontline of white supremacy for 20 years. The Israeli flag is now ubiquitous at Far Right events the world over. Look out for the Ukrainian flag as well, and especially for that of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which has already been seen on our streets. It has been seen in the hands of apparently the most incongruous people, but the line between liberalism and Fascism is always a fine one, since the bourgeoisie will go to any lengths to preserve its supremacy, which is the foundation of the liberal order. The advocacy of the more extreme such lengths is precisely what Fascism is. No doubt we shall soon be naming a football stadium after Roman Shukhevych, as has happened in Ternopil on a street named after Stepan Bandera, something else to be anticipated eagerly. We told you all of this. You screamed us down with hysterical abuse. Now you pretend that you have been saying it all along.

This extremely long post could nevertheless have been three times as long. There is a very great deal to be said here. Never trust any politician or commentator who was calling for military intervention unless you could imagine that person at the age of 18, going into battle. You almost never could. In fact, in very nearly every case, merely attempting to do so would make you laugh out loud. As the war in Ukraine has worn on, then everything that we have said from the start has gone from being lunatic evil to being something that everyone pretended to have been saying from the start. Even The New York Times is getting there.

David Lindsay is a writer and activist based in Lanchester, County Durham.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Labour Heartlands or its editors Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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