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The Ukraine tragedy

How America is dragging the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation in a matter of no strategic interest to it

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Western media coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been propagandistic. It demonstrates that they are not independent as they claim. Instead, they are mouthpieces of their governments. How else can they fail to hold their governments to account for dragging Ukraine to war?

For 24 years, Russia has complained that NATO expansion eastwards is a threat to her security. Even an amateur in international relations would acknowledge this fact. Ukraine is right on the border with Russia. Its membership to a hostile military alliance poses an existential threat to Russia.

On the other hand, Ukraine is of near-zero strategic value to the USA, the country pushing her satellites in Europe into this. Why risk war where the only thing to suffer is loss of prestige and loss of face?

This war runs the risk of escalating into a nuclear conflagration. For those who may think I am being an alarmist, it is important to read two books on the outbreak of the First World War. The first is The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, the second is Sleepwalkers; How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark. Both books show that this Great War was a result of miscalculations, misunderstandings and misinformation.

After the war that killed more than 10 million people, the former foreign minister of Germany said “I wish we had known.” Therefore, we must be wary that the same can happen today. Given that we live in a nuclear age, civilisation could come to a tragic end.

My views of global power politics are entirely influenced by American and a British scholars and foreign policy experts from the realistic school of thought. I have never read or listened to Russian scholars or security experts about their nation’s security until recently when I watched a video clip of President Vladmir Putin.

Therefore, although I am very critical of West policy towards Russia, I have never consumed Russian propaganda. On the contrary I am a student of Western scholarship. I therefore wonder why voices like those of Henry Kissinger, Graham Alison, John Mearshimer, Stephen Walt, Stephen Cohen, or even the liberal Joseph Nye do not appear on Western television.

The western media give a one-sided account. Instead of addressing the serious security concerns of Russia, which it has argued for 24 years, and which America and her satellites in Europe have continually ignored, they attack the personality of Putin. They present the problem as a result of the psychological make-up of Putin, whom they claim is old, isolated and delusional. These diversionary tactics may win over the masses to support a war policy but will not save the world from nuclear annihilation.

When USA integrated Poland, the Check Republic and Hungary into NATO in 1998, Thomas Friedman, a senior American establishment journalist with The New York Times called George Kenan and asked him about its implications. Kenan is the architect of containment, the very foundation of USA policy toward the USSR during the cold war. He is one of the finest minds in foreign policy strategy America produced. I quote him: “I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely, and it will profoundly affect their politics. I think it is a tragic mistake. There is no reason for this whatsoever.”

In 2004 when then President Bush sought to expand NATO to include the Baltic states, the U.S. security establishment wrote a memo arguing against this move. The memo clearly stated that this move would anger Russia and stimulate a new cold war. They were ignored. In 2008, when the Bucharest Summit invited Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine at the time, William Taylor, sent an urgent cable to Condolesa Rice, then U.S. secretary of state, advising against such a move and giving the same reasons as Kenan in 1998 and the U.S. intelligence community in 2004. He too was ignored. Therefore, the arguments against Ukraine joining NATO have not been made by Russians alone, but by leading pillars in the U.S. academia and foreign policy establishment. And we need to appreciate that the cause of the current crisis is attempts by the USA and her satellites in Western Europe to integrate Ukraine into NATO.

I used to be suspicious of Putin’s claims that the West was seeking to destroy Russia until this conflict reached its height. The way Western governments have reacted with sanctions and other measures against Russia is illuminating. It seems they have been looking for an excuse to totally destroy that country, Ukraine was just an excuse, a provocation. Listening to their politicians and journalists speak in sanctimonious tones about Russian aggression and violation of international law is frustrating. America and her allies have invaded and occupied Iraq without UN approval. They bombed Serbia and forced the independence of Kosovo under similar circumstances. America bombed and sanctioned Sudan and forced the independence of the south. With her NATO allies they invaded and occupied Afghanistan for two decades. America with UK and France invaded and bombed Libya, removed its government, killed its president and destroyed the state.

In all these military adventures I did not see the sanctimonious appeals to international law from Western journalists and their media (except a few exceptional cases). Why then do they make a huge fuss over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In any case, America’s middle eastern allies Saudi Arabia and UAE have been indiscriminately bombing Yemen where innocent men, women and children are being killed in thousands daily. There has not been any condemnation in the Western press, academia and diplomacy except for a few marginal voices. It seems therefore that international law only applies to everyone else but America and her European satellites.

In fact, Moscow is using the very script America and her allies always use when they invade a small country. They always accuse the local leadership of killing its own people. Russia claims to be fighting neo NAZIs and genocide by Kiev – I suspect they do this cynically to mock USA and her satellites. Indeed, the demonisation of Putin as psychologically deranged, isolated and angry could be used by the Russians against U.S. president Biden, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama. I always wonder why decisions by non-Western countries are often presented by Western media as a reflection of the megalomania of individual leaders. I agree with Kissinger when he said that “the demonisation of Putin is not a policy, it’s an alibi for not having one.”

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13 comments

  1. Well put.
    In a simple way, i would add: A ‘friend’ afar can never be trusted when he sets you against your very neighbour with whom you not only share a common boundary, but also share cultural similarities and language.
    The West is to blame for this conflict, which is beefed up with arrogance and ego and total hypocrisy.
    This is scripture is in my view a befitting description of most of the Western governments:
    Isaiah 14:12 KJV
    … which didst weaken the nations!…

  2. The reasoning in this article fails to acknowledge a few facts. Like all third world ideologues Mwenda likes to vilify the west and USA yet when he wants education he runs to stanford, when he goes on holiday he brags about being in New York, London, Tokyo etc an never Moscow or Minsk not to mention holding a Black Visa card issued by USA banks. Ask your friend Muhoozi where he sends his kids for school… The hypocrisy is nauseating. Uganda’s budget and military are funded and trained in UK and USA including Muhoozi never by Russia. Cause Mwenda like all other third world arm chair international commentators you admire the west but love to bash it. Now to to the main gist of your article…
    1. Russia previously soviet union conscripted all those eastern european nations in to the soviet union and greatly oppressed them. There was nearly no willing partner in the Soviet union
    2. When USSR fell these countries happily fled into the arms of western countries however you want to call them because like anyone with sense in his head living under Russia was oppressive. That is why your friend
    3. NATO does not force anyone into their alliance… all those countries vote and aan choose willingly to join NATO
    4. You want to convince us Mwenda that all the Ukrainians dying to kick Putin out are somehow being forced into this situation
    5. Putin is the aggressor and the one who started this war; if a woman does not like you she has the right to marry someone else and Putin is acting like a jealous boyfriend who pours acid on a woman because she rejected him.
    6. We live in a free world Mwenda ny Nation can belong to NATO or Russia without coercion or force. Imagine Uganda attacking Rwanda on the basis that Rwanda and Ugandans are one ( which is true) but Rwandans hate Ugandans!!

    • Atuhairwe Novert

      You talked so much but no solid content for a rebut

    • safi kabisa Awitong
      unfortunately a lot of junk in mwenda’s discourse
      but this is war and not dialectic theoretical exercise
      it is an insult to the people suffering from this war and the human casualties
      the Ukrainian people – as the other East European nations – have a right to exist as democratic countries without being taking hostage by tsarist dictator for his wet dreams about an soviet lost empire
      time to move on

  3. Godfrey kambere

    Well articulated and close to the presentation you put on NBS television however inspite of all the reasons put forward, you realise that there is no need for loss of a single life if any sober heads exist in those boardrooms and conference halls. For all I care, Russia and China could opt to join NATO and the whole club would lose relevance.
    Your thinking and that is what most of the bystanders do reads like some religious creed it is only close examination that reveals to you the fragility of human enterprise.
    Those deaths and the stocks of arms some that can destroy the world six times over has in a way exposed how stupid technology can be.
    Thank you

  4. The only countries to end this war is USA, Russia and Ukraine

  5. Mwenda intentionally or unintentionally distorts facts to suit his arguments. One pities those who take his arguments as gospel truth. He is a Propagandist for M7 Tibahaburwa ; Kagame , Muhozi Tibahaburwa and now wants to be one for Putin.
    This is no surprise because anyone in the world who hates human rights ; rule of law and disdains democracy are live in awe and idolism of Putin. That includes all the far right political ideology supporters – Trump and his supporters ; Nationalists ; Racists and the like. Unfortunately, it includes Some African who are brain-washed and confused.
    In his article Mwenda either does not know [ ignorance is no excuse ] or ignores many facts. I will list a few
    (a) After the 2nd World War, Russia controlled all countries in Eastern and Central Europe including half of Germany under the USSR. Russia committed horrendous atrocities in these countries- killings ; all forms of oppression imaginable etc.. For instance people were summarily executed if they were caught trying to flee to the west ; Those who were lucky to survive were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour in the freezing temperatures of Siberia prisons; killer dogs were released on some who were caught and the dogs were allowed to tear them into pieces. On top of that the general population in these countries was really poor . I know these facts I am not only a student of history but i have visited both Hungary 4 times and Slovakia. In Hungary they have a museum called House of Terror on Andrassy Ut 60 in Budapest . It contains exhits of the communist regime and also memorial of the victims of this regime including those detained , interrogated, tortured or killed in the building. My friends in those two countries will tell horror stories of life under the Soviet rule. When these countries gained independence they did not only abandon communism for capitalism but also asked/requested to be members of NATO because they could not trust Russia will respect their sovereignty. It was not NATO that came to them. On top of that they all applied to be members of EU.

    (b) In in 1993 /1994, in Budapest, through a series of Agreements between Russia, Britain, USA And Ukraine, whereby those countries committed to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine and to guarantee her security in return Ukraine was made to hand over all her nuclear war heads to Russia. Ukraine had the 3rd highest collection of nuclear war weapons after USA and Russia.
    Fast forward- 20 years later, Russia attacked Ukraine and annexed Crimea , and the two provinces in the South East [ Donbass Region] that is the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk and continued threatening Ukraine.

    (c) Ukraine is not a member of NATO countries . Although she applied in 2008. Those plans were shelved in 2010 when Viktor Yanukovych a pro Russian, was elected president.

    (d) The other countries which are not members of NATO and EU which were formerly part of USSR – Georgia and Moldova were attacked by Russia and some of their territories annexed. Georgia was attacked in 2008 while Moldova was invaded in 1992.

    (e) it well known that Putin has ambitions of creating “NOVOROSSIYA” New Russia which included the whole of Eastern Ukraine while leaving Western Ukraine as a Vassal State.

    So in this case, Mwenda, NATO does not pose an existential threat to RUSSIA but Russia/Putin poses that threat to so many countries.

    Russia is known for deceiving and saying one thing while they mean another e.g. until the day Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine, he was telling the world leaders that he had no intentions of attacking Ukraine , that the 180,000 troops , tanks, war ships and all sorts of heavy artillery amassed around the Ukrainian borders since December 2021 was for peaceful exercises. Putin talked to Biden ; Macron; Borris Johnson; etc… and in UN assembly they totally denied that they were going to invade a sovereign state.

    The rest we know is history. We are now in a way which as Mwenda rightly say, a slight mistake can lead to a 3rd WW

    BUT Mwenda is unhappy because the Western press are reporting the truth – the truth that Russia is being given a bloody nose by the Ukraine Army in this way. Putin called the invasion a Military Operation thinking that he will (a) be welcomed with open arms in Ukraine (b) with his fire power and superpower status he expected the campaign to be so easy. Both did not happen. He boasted by saying in 2014 after taking Crimea that it would take him 6 days to march to and capture Kiev/Kyiv. In reality, he used a shortcut to Kyiv through Belarus this time and two weeks into the campaign the Russian army has failed to capture any significant city or cover any ground. Even cities at the borders with Belarus – Sumy, Kharkiv, etc…. are still in Ukraine control and Russia is losing a lot of manpower and arms. Each day of little progress is psychologically a victory to a small Ukraine Army and Government.
    He will win but after completely wiping off the map the cities and all infrastructure and people from the country now known as Ukraine and that will be a pyrrhic victory and Putin will be a pariah in the majority of the world other that China and deluded Africa with leaders like Muhoozi and Zuma [ Sad]

    • My dear sir; I could not have said it better!

    • Basammula Ekkere

      Well done Jack. Andrew and many Museveni’s sycophants take the dictator’s side without any hesitation. If tomorrow the dictator changes his mind and supports Ukraine, the same sycophants will immediately condemn Russia for its naked aggression on a peace loving sovereign State of Ukraine!

  6. safi kabisa Awitong
    unfortunately a lot of junk in the discourse and article
    we should remember that this is war and not dialectic theoretical exercise
    it is an insult to the people suffering from this war and the human casualties
    the Ukrainian people – as the other East European nations – have a right to exist as democratic countries without being taking hostage by tsarist dictator for his wet dreams about an soviet lost empire
    time to move on

  7. 1.Joseph Stalin and Mikhail Gorbachev shaped the History of Eastern Europe. Gorbachev’s reforms resulted into the emergence of states like Ukraine,Lativia and Estonia.
    2.The World has witnessed various civilized reforms in that the new breed of World leaders are not in a hurry to launch wars actually Putin is just making a fool of himself.What is he trying to prove to the World in this era?Every one knows that NATO and USA can destroy Russia in 5 minutes.
    3. Ukraine wants to be free like hers sisters Lativia, Lithuania and Estonia who joined the EU.
    4. Putin’s days are numbered let him not think that NATO and USA ‘s silence is normal.
    5. If you a neighbor of Russia please dont vote for a Comedian as a President .Perhaps in Putin’s head he just bombing the comedy out of the President of Ukraine’s head.
    6. Putin wants to be like the Queen of England who has a string of Common Wealth Nations that happily recognize her.The difference between the Queen and Putin’s expansionist idea is that;There is no space for such ideas of colonization in this era. Back then the World was so backward thats why Britain conquered enough territories and they got these territories at least through civilized approaches like Christianity.
    7.Putin was misled into thinking that USA cooking something in Ukraine that explains the reluctantly to attack Russia despite USA ‘s advance Technology. Russia fears USA’s modern satellite and ICT tactics dont be surprised if Putin is picked like Osama Bin Laden.

    • Winnie, is that you?

      I am surprised because, of all people; I thought you were AM and Gen Muhoozi’s cheerleader in supporting Putin’s War Crime, genocide and Crime against Humanity in Ukraine.

      Maybe Jesus is about to come back!

  8. Andrew Mwenda has become the Spokesperson of all the world’s wrongdoers (the Devil’s Advocate).

    And I am beginning think, the more he loses the remaining hair on his head, the more Andrew is losing some fuses in his head. Moreover, except the height, he is also beginning to look like Gen Paul Kagame.

    Otherwise, Andrew embodies the typical characteristics of narcissistic people who are least concern for others and causing harm.

    Full of himself and backed by Gen Tibuhaburwa and his tipsy son, Gen Muhoozi’s false security; Andrew sees nothing terribly wrong with the long-term ripple effect on the global economy (turmoil), as a result of the unprovoked Putin/Russian invasion of Ukraine. Maybe e.g. every week, Gen Muhoozi fills up Andrew Mwenda’s car fuel tank, using the UPDF free fuel Card.

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