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Why Neither America Nor Russia Are Innocent In The Ukraine Conflict — From A Socialist’s Perspective

Photo: Vitaly Korovin / Trevor Bexon / hyotographics / Sasa Dzambic Photography / esfera / Shutterstock.com
Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, US, Russia, Ukraine

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is complicated and becomes even more complicated when the United States and NATO get involved in the conversation.

Without getting too far into the history of Ukraine’s independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent aggression from Russia, the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be boiled down into a tale of imperialism, power, and political posturing from opposing sides of the political spectrum.

The current Russia-Ukraine conflict has threatened US capitalistic power.

Ukraine is in the middle of the longest tug-of-war battle between the United States and what remains of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence that has been going on for decades, nearing a century.

The rise of the USSR after the fall of the Romanov rule introduced the world to the first Marxist-Communist state in the world in the early 1900s.

The Soviet Union would quickly advance from an agrarian society into an industrial and militaristic powerhouse within decades and introduced the expansion of healthcare and education while bolstering the economy to new heights.

Despite some of Stalin’s shortcomings — like his complete disregard for human life — he effectively reserved the Soviet Union’s spot at the big kid’s table.

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This is why, when Nazi Germany fell thanks to a massive collaboration between Russia, the United States, and Great Britain, the US feared the spread of communism.

You see, the USSR was spreading communism through the countries that they had liberated from Nazi Germany, and this was a massive problem for the capitalist agenda since they were on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Thus, NATO was formed to fight off the “Red Scare” and the “threat” of communism.

NATO was an alliance (that still stands today but has since expanded) between Canada, the US, and their Western European allies to fight off the Soviet Union’s advance.

The Soviet Union responded by creating the Warsaw Pact, and the two alliances were land-locked through the Iron Curtain that was laid down across the continent of Europe.

Fast forward through the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union and we have Russia as we know it today, a capitalistic state with a flawed democracy.

You might be wondering, “If Russia is a capitalist state then why is there still a conflict?”

Well, US-Russian history is very complicated and includes a lot of transgressions on both sides which can be boiled down to differences in ideologies and foreign policy.

This is where NATO comes into play.

The collapse of the Soviet Union wasn’t enough, and the United States wants to keep Russia in check since they refused to conform to the ways of the western world, all the while Russia wants to keep its place as a superpower in the state of the world and continue spreading its influence over regions that used to be a part of the Union.

In the simplest terms, Russia is fighting back against the United States’ influence while the United States is fighting back against Russia’s influence.

Russia sees NATO as a threat to its country for many reasons, and at the top of the list is its advance towards the country.

While the United States claims that NATO is a defensive pact, they have used NATO as a “defense” for acts of aggression and policing around the world for “humanitarian” reasons.

After Ukraine’s separation from the USSR in 1991, they have been seeking to join NATO to secure protection from the United States, while the States sees it as a win for sticking it to Russia and also as an advantageous position for the US to place its resources since it's so close.

It’s a win-win that Russia has been desperately trying to stop via annexation of Crimea — a region that was controlled by Ukraine following their independence.

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These separatist regions hold Ukraine back from joining NATO, and the conflict we’re seeing is a continuation of the conflict that has been going on for decades.

A conflict that has gotten to the point of the UN imposing sanctions on the country that squeeze Russia into backing off their invasion attempt which they claimed to be for “peacekeeping” purposes.

Here’s why both countries are in the wrong.

The United States’ encroachment on the world is wrong. We want money, we want power, and we want to control.

Capitalism is driving the US into these foreign involvements. Not only do we want Ukraine for the reasons stated above, but we also want their resources — their oil.

War would also drive the US economy up since we live in a military-industrial complex.

Of course, Putin doesn’t want the United States to be parked on its front lawn.

It’s not exactly a show of good faith from a country it has been in conflict with historically.

But Putin is also wrong for its annexation of Crimea and constant pressure on Ukraine to cede control.

Putin’s grip on Russia is slipping. Their flawed democracy exists to stifle opposition and keep Putin in power, but the people are catching on and protesting his reign.

The Russia that he sees on the horizon is falling slowly into the sunset and by invading Ukraine and creating this international conflict, he’s hoping to unite his country behind him by fighting a common enemy while also gaining control of these resources for his own benefit.

This conflict of interests from both sides means that the whole world has to come into play, and these sanctions are affecting everyone — even people in the United States.

Russia supplies a lot of the crude oil that the US imports, causing gas prices to rise and reach record highs — not to mention the constant political posturing and propaganda of a “World War III” striking fear into the hearts of those who are afraid of mutually-assured destruction.

But despite all of that, this is just another way for the United States to continue its capitalist expansion into international waters while weakening Russian opposition to it.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.