Can the Peace Movement Hold US, NATO, UK, Russia, Ukraine to Account? - Excellent speech given by Uniting for Peace Chair Vijay Mehta on 20 July 2022 regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine. He discusses the militarisation of Nato, the US propaganda war on Russia and China, why Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East are not supporting the war, and offers solutions to end the war and create lasting peace.
The following article is based on a speech given by peace activist, author, and Chair of Uniting for Peace, Vijay Mehta. The speech was given at the Uniting for Peace Conference entitled ‘Escalating War in Europe Could Lead World War Three’ on July 20 2022.
Good evening, and welcome to today’s meeting. My name is Vijay Mehta, Chair of Uniting for Peace, Board Member of GAMIP (Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructure for Peace), and author of ‘How Not To Go To War'. If any of the delegates wish to have a copy of my book, I will be too pleased to post it to them free of charge. Send me an email with your name and address.
Allow me to say a few words about our organisation, Uniting for Peace. Working since 1979 for over 43 years, Uniting for Peace is a non-profit organisation devoted to creating and promoting a global culture of peace, non-violent alternatives to ending war, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.
Among its core aims is establishing Ministries and Departments for Peace by lobbying and influencing parliamentarians and legislators for abolishing war, militarism, and arms trade, including nuclear and conventional weapons. The savings achieved by the reduction of the armaments is to be used for promoting a culture of peace and non-violence.
Dear Friends, I am going to start on my presentation on the escalating war in Europe. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is to be condemned in the strongest terms, as there is no such thing as a good or just war. It brings bloodshed, carnage, and suffering to the innocent people of Ukraine. The UK is complicit in the war as they are supplying weapons and intelligence to Ukraine to continue the war.
RAND Corporation Think Tank outlines plans for the USA to ‘balkanise’ the Russian Federation, neutralise Moscow, and encircle China. If one is thinking of starting World War 3, then one couldn’t come up with a better idea.
The planned enlargement of NATO eastwards, and to accept Finland and Sweden as NATO members, proves that NATO is a vast military pact of expansionist nature. All the promises the West made to Russia of not expanding eastwards were nothing but a pack of lies.
NATO has announced at the Madrid Conference that it is going to bolster its defence from the present 40,000 troops, to 300,000 troops in order to deter Russia from invading other countries, and China from invading and capturing Taiwan. The increase in the arms budget, and sending troops from NATO countries, can only escalate war and loss of life. It makes NATO the most dangerous military alliance on the planet.
Dear friends, the Ukraine conflict is a propaganda war intended to weaken Russia and China, and create new enemies of the US in its pursuit of hegemony, and control of its dwindling power and crumbling empire. It is a US hero-villain narrative for call to arms rhetoric dividing the world into different categories to generate public support for military action and selling armaments.
There is a major difference between the US resource wars of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc. and the present war between Russia and Ukraine. There was hardly any opposition in Middle Eastern countries, and the US Military could prevail in all those situations occupying foreign territory.
However, the difference in the Russia and Ukraine war is that Russia is a nuclear armed country, with massive fire power, which is quite hard if not impossible to defeat. There is a proxy war going on between NATO (US and its allies), and a frontal war between Ukraine and Russia.
The main intention of NATO is to prolong the war, and weaken Russia by supplying Ukraine with money, troops, and military hardware. A perfect scenario to turn a regional war in Europe into World War III, and perhaps with devastating consequences if nuclear weapons are used. The longer the war continues, the more likely that a line will be crossed to a direct war between Russia and the United States.
EUROPE’S PEACE PROJECT TURNS INTO WAR PROJECT
Dear Friends, as described in my 2016 book ‘Peace Beyond Borders’, after 75 years of relative peace, and 7 decades of European integration driven by the quest for peace in Europe, we are in the midst of a war which has no sign of ending soon.
The quest for peace has given in to a war project with EU member states, and the US who are all sending heavy weapons to Ukraine continuing the war. The EU is also considering nuclear options, a frightening scenario.
There are many explanations as to why Europe’s peace project has turned into a war project. NATO expansion eastwards is the source of Russian entanglement, and conflict between Russia and the West. It’s a feeling of betrayal, and Russia fears of encirclement.
NATO has been a serious threat to world peace since its creation in 1949, having left a trail of destruction from Libya, Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan. NATO is a war alliance, part of the US Military Industrial Complex intensifying global conflict for the gain of weapon manufacturers and war profiteers. We need to defund war, and disband NATO as the Warsaw Pact was once dissolved.
WHY ASIA, AFRICA, AND THE MIDDLE-EAST ARE NOT SUPPORTING THE WESTERN WAR
Dear Friends, unlike COVID where most of the countries of the world cooperated and were on the same page, the countries of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are not supporting the Western War, and their propaganda against Russia.
They have refused to impose any sanctions on Russia, and are trading as usual. They see the apparent hypocrisy and double standards at play, as western countries are behaving differently in supporting the war in Ukraine, but not elsewhere such as in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and Venezuela not condemning war aggression by the US and its dictatorial regime change policies in Latin America.
Let’s not forget that Russians have done so much, in so many ways, at so many levels. We live in a free independent society because of the sacrifices of the Russians during World War II.
It’s only sensible to stop military responses, agree to ceasefire terms, and normalise relations between Russia, Ukraine, and the West. Otherwise, continuing the war will have devastating consequences, and may lead to nuclear options or World War III. To address the Ukrainian conflict, peaceful dialogue is the only way to settle the conflict.
Dear friends, sooner or later war will end. Russian forces will retreat back to Russia, and peace will prevail between Russia and Ukraine. It is a folly of the US and the West to think that by supplying weapons to Ukraine, the West can force Russia in to submission. Trying to win or humiliate a nation as large as Russia by force or arms is not only dangerous, but also delusional.
It is up to all of us in the peace movement to formulate strategies to make sure that this never comes to pass. Peace-making responses to Russia is not appeasement, and portraying Russia as evil and dehumanising them is not helpful.
The destruction, killing, and suffering in World War II, where over 85 million people died is recent history, and not a distant memory. In no circumstances should it happen again, as there’s enough blood and carnage already happening in Ukraine.
Dear Friends, we cannot achieve peace through supplying heavy weapons, it heightens the risk of World War III. Rearmament by countries is detrimental to their own population as it means less investment in health, education, and jobs. Increases in military spending cannot be justified as we are in the midst of a fuel crisis, and there is widespread hunger throughout the world, demonstrated by the current food crisis.
My book published in 2019 ‘How Not To Go To War’, proposes an alternative and radical solution to ending war by establishing Ministries / Departments for Peace, and Peace Centres in all countries of the world. This will promote a culture of peace and non-violent solutions for domestic and international conflicts by addressing the underlying root causes of violence in society and alternative peace strategies.
The long-term objective of the peace movement should be working towards dissolving NATO, and replacing it with a collective security system based on dialogue, diplomacy, disarmament, and cooperation. There cannot be any peace in Europe unless we have Russia as a part of the international community.
Dear friends, we need to work towards ending this war and culture of militarism. It is astounding that there is not a single mention of peace, ceasefire, or negotiations. What we need today is to establish Departments / Ministries for Peace which will institutionalise peace in the same way that war has been institutionalised by the Department of Defence. As John F Kennedy said in his address to the United Nations in 1961, “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”
Article/speech by Vijay Mehta, contact: vijay [at] vmpeace [dot] org (vijay[at]vmpeace[dot]org)
Escalating War in Europe could Lead to World War III by Vijay Mehta is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0