Ukraine, super powers and the plight of Africa
By Prof. Obasi Igwe
There are multiple perspectives on the *events around Ukraine*. In Nigeria and other African countries, some people demand that we should neither bother nor worry because they concern the great powers, and we have enough problems of our own to begin to mind about the business of others. To those great minds we assure that those matters are even more about us/Africans than about them, whether NATO, Germans, Ukrainians, or Russians. In fact, the issues in contention are directly linked to our own problems, because it is substantially the attempt by the West/NATO to solve the problems of Europe the way they have tidied up those of humiliated Africa that is at the root of the crisis. What we see and hear is NATO and Russia in contention, but what is deep inside is whether Africa, including Nigeria, and other oppressed and self-oppressed peoples of the world have a right to live and develop in peace as modern democratic secular states of equal laws and equal applications without Western diktats. Of course, the decision, the choice, lies more with us than them, and this depends on whether we in Africa desire to be equal human beings with dignity, or whether we insist on continuing the slave trade and its mentality in the new form of taking dictations from the West up to this 21st century.
*Background of the Crisis*.
The Warsaw Treaty Organization/Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union fell apart in the early 90s, and Russia being the biggest component of the latter immediately became the inheritor of her nuclear weapons and successor state at the Security Council. However, one condition for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the so-called German Democratic Republic or East Germany, was that NATO will not and should not expand eastwards towards Russia, meaning that the central European states, previous allies of the Soviet Union, now reduced to Russia, should be allowed to develop in peace, consistent with the Helsinki Final Act, and not be absorbed or inveigled into NATO, which if allowed, would result in American, British, etc. troops and weapons “peacefully” being at Russian borders and just a few minutes or seconds missiles flight to Moscow and St. Petersburg, etc. NATO absorbing those East European states also means that the buffer that had shielded Russia from Western imperialist designs since the Roman empire, Napoleon and Nazi Hitler, etc, would be broken. This agreement or undertaking was not written down; it was a gentleman’s agreement to promote and sustain peace in Europe and by implication the whole world. It could not be written down also because events were moving very fast, Russia had been weakened, East European nations had to be free, Russian troops withdrawn, and none of this could wait for the laborious job of formal treaty-making that usually takes years. Indeed, although treaties are the major instruments for the conduct of relations between states, in actual fact, because of their daily volume and intensity, most of these relationships actually occur in informal settings, phone calls, etc.
Nevertheless, there were many treaties already in existence which could interpretatively attain the same objectives: Mutual and Balanced Force reductions, INF/Intermediate Nuclear Forces, Open Skies, several confidence building measures, SALT, START, just too many to name here. In time, the US, NATO, and West would find one pretext or the other to withdraw from each and every one of these agreements in view of Russian inability to stop them, including even the most recent ones relating to Climate Change, Iran Nuclear deal, and so on. What they practically demand, at least imply is a unipolar world order in which everyone is dictated to by America, or America will use NATO and conquer the country and destroy the people. The reasons they give is what you must believe. They killed and/or destroyed the best in Africa and elsewhere: Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel, Kwame Nkrumah, Ben Bella, Thomas Sankara, etc., and this was all in the name of “Western interests”. If all that was “justified” as part of the cold war, now this: Saddam Hussein was hanged and Iraq destroyed for being in possession of weapons of mass destruction – did he have such weapons; Gaddafi eliminated and Libya destroyed for not being a true democrat obeying the “international community”; and now, how possible is it for Boko Haram, ISWAP, and so on to massively penetrate the Sambisa forest surrounded by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and other strong enough states without a locally supportive international conspiracy of sorts, with Nigeria as the major target?
We are friends with America and the West, we love their peoples exceedingly, but they are not interested in anybody’s friendship; what they want and demand is our indefinite enslavement as condition for “friendship” with them, and that is the basic problem between them and Russia. Russia has refused to be dictated to, and any other country, even including those in the NATO such as Turkey and de Gaulle’s France that objects to American imperial methodologies risks vengeance and ultimately war. Even individual critics and civil rights actors get murdered for not supporting American/Western imperialism. That’s the democracy they promote, and there’s no dearth of African scholars glorifying such a system that diminishes and dehumanizes their peoples.
*Why Still NATO After the Cold War?*
Russia withdrew her forces from Germany; why is the US still occupying Germany with more than 30,000 troops, missiles, and so on? Why is America still occupying Japan, South Korea and other countries, and till today refuses to sign a Korean peace treaty? Why are NATO forces at Russian borders/Baltic states, etc overlooking Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities? If Nigeria and Mauritania are adversaries, and “peaceful” Mauritania steadily moves and deploys her weapons into the Gambia, then Senegal, then Côte d’Ivoire, then Ghana, then Togo, and finally at the Nigerian borders and Benin Republic, a few kilometers to Lagos and Abuja – what would Nigerians think, what would a responsible Nigerian leadership do?
America and her NATO instrument of dominating the world tell everybody that they are a “defensive organization”, defending freedom and democracy. Is Germany free with American occupation and teleguidance on a daily basis? Japan, South Korea, the various European countries, etc? Is a handcuffed unfree man free because he’s told by his captor that he is free and democratic? The day American occupation of Europe is ended, from that day will those countries prefer a French-German led European Union with a fair relationship with Russia, than alliance or tutelage under America. They all love warmongering America because of American guns pointed at their heads; the day America goes is the day the “love” will disappear – and America knows this and so, doing everything to delay or obviate such a time. The condescending way that Anglo-Saxon America treats her black and indigenous populations is the way they believe that such far more advanced civilizations as Russia, China, Germany, Japan and others in the world should be treated, and not everyone agrees. Almost 600 years of relations with the West produced underdevelopment, disease, want, war, arrogance and subjugation for Africa, but less than a generation of relations with the Chinese is producing modern roads, railways, seaports, factories and mutual respect. Invite the West to build anything, they must first overvalue the cost, despatch “experts” to assess it’s feasibility, conduct a dubious Environmental Impact Assessment, charge heartbreaking fees for all these unfriendly manoeuvres, determine how the project will either liberate you or affect their own high priced products, and then decide to either delay or pronounce it not feasible. Meanwhile you are already into loans and high interests on principals that never existed. The result: poverty upon poverty upon poverty, under the “democratic” governments they can trust. Instead of reparations for six centuries of killings and exploitations, Africans are through unsubstantiated loans, cruel interest rates, stolen money transfers and devalued currencies, actually paying reparations to the West for exploiting us, and thanking them for honouring us with more enslavements. From racist Burton’s _Wanderings_ _in West Africa_ , to the protesting Chinweizu’s _The West_ _and the rest _of_us,_ to Ian Morris’s rationalizing _Why the_ _West rules_ , etc are all a tale of why Anglo-Saxon racism must impose their malign will on the world or else. They are apprehensive of an emerging multipolar world order that would benefit mankind greatly and seem to be determined to wage war against it. We must not accept the distorted narrative promoting imperialist aggression against anybody.
*How Connected To The Ukraine*.
NATO having surrounded Russia from the Baltic states through Poland, Romania, Turkey, Israel, Iraq, to Afghanistan, it remains only Ukraine to complete the encirclement. When Russia is destroyed and dismembered, NATO forces would have their sights and weapons set on China, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, etc, while the Indo-Pacific carriers, bombers, submarines, and Australia and Guam-based etc missiles would hem in from the South. Hence, Russia is demanding written guarantees that this is not the intention of “peaceful” NATO; they request that the originally unwritten protocol be now cast in ink. Why?
A certain pro-Russian Yanukovyk was elected the President of Ukraine, and the West didn’t like it and manipulated another “election” or parliamentary intrigue that removed him in favour of a pro-American/NATO side that pursued everything anti-Russian, except the goal of European integration that is neither bad nor necessarily hostile to Russia that was pursuing the same goal in her own way. As if to test the popularity of the pro-Western government and legitimacy of its anti-Russian policies, another more honest election was held and the same Yanukovyk won again resoundingly – again to the annoyance of the West. This man started to pursue a balanced policy favourable both to Russia and the West, but with Ukraine’s interests in mind. Still, the West wouldn’t have it; for them it must be all or nothing. In a violent terrorist coup d’etat the West in 2014 orchestrated the unlawful overthrow of this popularly elected President, with him and his family barely escaping with their lives from a presidential palace under armed siege. Instead of condemning it and insisting on the restoration of Yanukovyk, the West immediately mounted a propaganda that this unconstitutional and treasonable act was a “revolution”. Probably in fear of an imminent onslaught through the Ukraine or to save the Russian-speaking regions from it, Russia occupied the Crimea, conducted a referendum, and annexed it, in addition to support extended to the Dombass and other Russian speaking regions of Ukraine to fight for freedom from an emerging anti-Russian Ukrainian system. These putschists or their allies are the people in power today in Kiev.
For America or West to subscribe to a written guarantee not to accept or drag Ukraine into NATO, or even not to attack Russia, is almost impossible, because it would destroy the whole essence of the continuation of NATO, which is to wage war on Russia at an appropriate time, dismember it across the Urals, and threaten or blackmail the Asian powers from the north. Ukraine has already been absorbed into the NATO military infrastructure, and only waiting for a final announcement of membership. When that is done, the war on Russia would be triggered by the Article 5 of defending every NATO member’s territorial integrity. Immediately the war starts nuclear weapons would come into play, because neither the US/NATO nor Russia would want to be defeated: in fact, whoever fires first shall “win” the day, for the first side would either have inflicted enough unacceptable damage to blackmail the other side into a surrender or at least gain the initiative. NATO, America, Britain, France, will destroy Russia a million times with their combined arsenals, and Russia on the other hand would distribute their arsenals and destroy the Western countries only once. It would now be Russia eradicated many times versus America, Britain, France and so on eradicated only one time, while the “survivors” would get hold of their guns, sticks, stones, curses, for the finishing touches. From some African standpoint that is the core of the NATO programme for Europe, and by extension the entire world. All they’re trying to see is how to conquer Russia while suffering “tolerable damage”. You might imagine that these are wonderful people reasoning in spirit land.
*Consequences of Nuclear War on Africa*.
The only word enough to describe such consequences is *indescribable*! And, no one might even live to “describe” anything. Nuclear dust and prolonged darkness destroying photosynthesis, nuclear winter, extreme heat and radiation, violent climatic and environmental alterations, total death of flora and fauna and the entire food, sociocultural and economic chains, against none of which we have any defences – not even the bombs themselves – would kill all or most Africans. Then, not all the missiles may have been fired; there would still be rogue or approved elements concealed in the high seas and skies, and they would point their guns on Abuja and other African capitals, blackmailing that African resources be used to reconstruct their societies or that they return right here to form renewed colonial governments. On the other hand, African tyrants already waging wars against their peaceful populations may now see that there’s no one anyone can any longer cry to, and so exploit the general confusion to implement further ethnic-cleansings. Nuclear War would be a war triggered by selfish satanic agents against God, man and nature.
*What Could Be Done To Prevent Further Wars In Europe and Nuclear War In The World.*
The 1975 Helsinki Final Act demanded the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of all nations of Europe. Strategically speaking, and experts in international law can help us here, the steady extension of NATO boundaries eastwards mindless of Russian security concerns practically and logically amounts to an alteration or shift of boundaries of NATO through the countries concerned and, therefore in clear breach of the Helsinki agreements. This cannot be defended on the principle that an independent country should decide her destiny, because breaching treaties and foreign military occupations are inconsistent with sovereignty and capacity for national autonomous decision making. There should be a written agreement guaranteeing the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including freedom to be part of the European Union, but not part of NATO, and never a stationing of lethal weapons or engagement in NATO military exercises. There should be a return to the Minsk framework, with European powers arriving at peaceful solutions to their problems. American troops should withdraw from the countries of Europe and allow them develop in conditions of actual sovereignty. There should be no need for any forward defence now or for the US continuing to breathe down on Europe after 77 years of unnecessary occupation. America cannot be pursuing an aggressive forward defence in Europe, protect herself with a Monroe Doctrine at home, and deny same to Russia and other countries. This means an end to NATO and all the aggressive wars and destructions they engage in all over the world. If Russia’s security is guaranteed, the possibility of a restoration of the Yanukovyk Presidency and another referendum in Crimea should not be totally discounted. America is a great power, there are millions of our kith and kin there, and we love and respect America, France and Great Britain, without in anyway loving less the Germans, Turks, Chinese, Indians, Japanese or Russians. We can have a balanced and multipolar world of American, British, French and other Western democratic leadership by example, not the reigning military-strategic command and control stoking fires of conflict and war everywhere. If a written guarantee for Russian security is not made and NATO continues the March to Russian borders, a war would break out one day and it would be catastrophic.
*What Nigerians and Africans Can Do To Prevent Further Wars in Europe or Nuclear War*.
First we must stop subjecting ourselves to Western propaganda, and try to understand the issues holistically. The West and Russia must be persuaded to exchange another written mutually binding guarantees against aggression. There must be a social and other mass media campaign against war in Europe. We must persuade the federal government not to promise to be an ally or friend to any side that is in any way preparing for or waging war in Europe or elsewhere. We should strive to have the ECOWAS, AU and the moribund Non-aligned Movement subscribe into the anti-war process, while government should continually conscientize the citizens of the clear and present danger facing mankind.