Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

PEACE IN UKRAINE

Posted by strattof on July 23, 2015

Rather than seeking a peaceful resolution to hostilities in Ukraine, Canada has been beating the drums of war.

  • Canada sent 200 soldiers to Ukraine to train its military forces fighting pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
  • Canada provided the Ukrainian government with an aid package of $570 million.
  • Canada supplied 200 troops to NATO forces in eastern Europe.
  • Canada is sending 1,650 troops to Europe this fall to take part in NATO exercises.
  • Canada has imposed economic sanctions on Russian corpor-ations and cut off nearly all diplomatic ties with Moscow.
  • Canada signed a free trade deal with Ukraine last week.

M A K I N G W A R

WHAT STARTED THE CONFLICT?

According to most western leaders, the crisis in Ukraine was precipitated by Russian aggression in Crimea. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper put it: Russia is “aggressive, militaristic, and imperialistic.” He has even gone so far as to compare Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to Hitler.

In its war-making policy, the Harper government has the support of the Liberals and New Democrats. According to all three main parties, the crisis was precipitated by Russian aggression in Crimea and Vladimir Putin is solely responsible for it.

It is not quite that simple. Left out of this version of events is the role of NATO in initiating the crisis.

NATO PROVOCATION

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO began to court former Soviet republics to join the western military alliance.

  • In 1999, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic became NATO members.
  • In 2004, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania joined NATO.
  • NATO has also made overtures to Georgia and Ukraine.
  • Canada is currently campaigning for Ukrainian membership in NATO. 

The aim of these NATO actions is to intimidate and humiliate Russia.

LINGUISTIC PROVOCATION

  • The demonization of one side in a conflict ‒ in this case Russia ‒ and the idealization of the other side ‒ the west ‒ is a strategy of war.
  • Such a good-versus-evil scenario lays the groundwork for war by creating a culture of hate and fear.
  • When simplistic notions of good and evil drive policy decisions, war is inevitable.

There must be another way of human beings living together than dividing them into us and them, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable.Ursula Franklin, Canadian physicist, feminist, and pacifist

N A T O

NATO HISTORY

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, is a military alliance that today consists of 28 member states. It was established in 1949 on the initiative of the United States to contain the Soviet Union and ensure worldwide military and economic domination by the US-led capitalist west. Canada was one of the original 12 member states.

The 1990s saw the collapse of the Soviet Union. The dissolution of NATO did not, however, follow. Instead NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept, reserving for itself the right to interfere in the internal affairs of any country.

Since 1999, NATO has waged war almost continuously: first in Yugoslavia, then in Afghanistan and Libya. Now NATO is gearing up for an offensive in eastern Europe over Ukraine.

NATO, A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE

  • NATO has armed forces in all six inhabited continents.
  • NATO has at its disposal two million troops.
  • NATO member states account for over 70% of world arms spending.
  • NATO insists on its right to employ nuclear weapons on a first strike basis.

M A K I N G P E A C E

5 things Canada can do for peace:

  1. Stop demonizing one side in a conflict.
  2. Start working for negotiated non-violent resolutions to conflicts.
  3. Get out of NATO. Get into working on UN-led peace initiatives.
  4. Work to curb the arms trade.
  5. Work to abolish nuclear weapons.

“We urge all parties involved in events in Ukraine to take a step away from violence and seek peaceful political resolution of differences. We call on the countries of NATO (including Canada) and the EU to reduce their stance of hostility to Russia. The continuation of the Cold War, with Russia substituted for the Soviet Union, is a dangerous policy which limits, rather than enhancing, global development.”National Executive Committee of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians

TAKE ACTION

In the run-up to the federal election, ask candidates in your electoral district the following questions:

  1. Do you think Canada should be forcefully intervening in Ukraine? Would your party support a non-violent negotiated resolution to the conflict?
  2. Where does your party stand on Canada’s membership in NATO? Would it support a move for Canada to get out of NATO and into working on UN-led peace initiatives?
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