The Atlantic Camp delivers in the conflict over the Ukraine the picture of a more and more uniting front. But behind the scenes or below the surface, frictions concerning the policy towards NATO and Russia continue.
United World International had reported back in March 2021, how for instance the British government was preparing to suppress dissident opinions when a major armed conflict arises.
Today, news outlets such as Russia Today or Sputnik are marked as “part of the Russian war machinery” and banned from reporting. Western governments feel the need to close such as platforms obviously in order to suppress opposition against their Russia and NATO policy. A closer look to their public opinion shows they have reason to worry.
“Joe Biden is worse than Putin”
This was the title of an article written by Josiah Lippincott and published on February 24, the date when the Russian military operation started.
The author – banned from twitter for “criticizing the Biden Regime” as the website states – argues not “Putin’s but Biden’s reign is his problem”. Citing the US Declaration of Independence, he emphasizes that “Ukrainians and Russians have not consented on American rule over their affairs”, adding that Without a declaration of war by Congress, Joe Biden has no right to conduct acts of war against the Russian regime”. For Lippinscott, sanctions do constitute an act of war and their imposition is “absurd and unconstitutional”.
“Ukraine’s border security and the squabbles between its ethnic groups is not America’s business. Our business is to defend our own rights”, concludes Lippincott.
NATO is a “paper tiger”
Another critique of NATO’s policy is far more famous than Josiah Lippincott – none less but the last President of the United States, Donald Trump.
In an interview on February 22, Trump called the NATO a “paper tiger”. Saying “this all would not have happened if we were there”, the former US President added: I” knew Putin very well. I got along with him great. He liked me. I liked him. I mean, you know, he’s a tough cookie, got a lot of the great charm and a lot of pride.”
Asked about US troops deployment to Eastern Europe or a conflict with Russia, Trump responded: “Well, I’d rather see them send soldiers to our southern border.”
Days later, on February 26, Trump delivered on the matter a keynote speech delivered to the Conservative Political Action Committee.
“The problem is not that Putin is smart, which, of course, he’s smart,” Trump said. “The problem is that our leaders are dumb… and so far, allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity.”
He took the Ukraine crisis as a means for domestic politics: “Under Biden, Russia invaded Ukraine. I stand as the only President of the 21st century on whose watch Russia did not invade another country,” Trump said, while describing the global perception of United States during his presidency as “powerful, cunning and smart.”
“Under our administration, Russia respected America,” he told the crowd.
“Putin is saying, ‘sanction me?’ Well, they’ve sanctioned me for the last 25 years,” Trump said, calling Biden’s response earlier this week “pretty weak statement.”
The former US President displays a position where he blames the current administration to have responded too weekly to Russia, whereas a conflict would be fully avoided had he been in the White House.
“Why do I have to hate Putin?”
This was the question asked by Fox News’ famous TV commentator Tucker Carlson meanwhile. Referring to the conflict as a “border conflict” between Ukraine and Russia, Carlson then lashed out to Biden’s connections to Kyiv and called Ukraine “a tyranny by American terms”.
Implying that US intervention is a measure “for Biden to pay back debts to Ukrainian oligarchs”, Carlson continued with the effects of the conflict on US domestic politics and economy. With reference to energy prices, “You are about to measurably poor”, he said.
US elections ahead
It is worth reminding that the US is heading to midterm elections in November, and the approval rate of President Biden and his Democrat Party is low. The administration faces the possibility of losing the majority in both Senate and the House.
A frequent guest of Carlson is Tulsi Gabbard, former Congresswoman and presidential candidate. She was one of those that called to keep Ukraine as “neutral country” out of NATO. In her speeches, he frequently attacks the so-called “Power Elite” in Washington t be warmongering.
Retired Col. Douglas Macgregor, former advisor to the Secretary of Defense, blames NATO’s expansion policies for the eruption of conflict. Again on Fox News, he says “Russia has warned us since at least 15 years it would not accept US soldiers at its borders – just as we would not accept Russian soldiers in Cuba”.
NATO expansion a provocation
Macgregor repeats a widespread argument within the Realist School of international relations theory.
John Mearsheimer, considered as one the leading scholars of the theoretical current and influential in foreign relations establishment had warned already back in 2014 that a NATO enlargement would result in a severe conflict with Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reminded of his article published then in Foreign Affairs.
Ted Galen Carpenter, a research fellow at Cato Institute, argues similarly in an article titled “Ignored Warnings: How NATO Expansion Led to the Current Ukraine Tragedy”. Describing in length historical warnings against a NATO expansion to East by examples, Carpenter concludes “We are now paying the price for the U.S. foreign policy establishment’s myopia and arrogance”.
The US left, as represented in the Democratic Party, keeps mostly silent about the US’ or NATO’s role in the conflict.
The Democratic Socialists of America both “condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and reaffirmed its “call for the US to withdraw from NATO and to end the imperialist expansionism that set the stage for this conflict”.
British MP’s set under pressure for criticizing NATO expansion
The British Stop the War Coalition, a grouping supported by former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, has stated “The conflict is the product of thirty years of failed policies, including the expansion of NATO and US hegemony at the expense of other countries as well as major wars of aggression by the USA, Britain and other NATO powers which have undermined international law and the United Nations.”
The statement, supported by eleven MPs of Labour, continued that “The British government has played a provocative role in the present crisis, talking up war, decrying diplomacy as appeasement and escalating arms supplies and military deployments to Eastern Europe.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer responded “Let me be very clear – There will be no place in this party for false equivalence between the actions of Russia and the actions of NATO.”
Starmer gave the 11 MPs one hour to withdraw their signature from the statement – which they did.
MP Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile published a video message on March 1, where he both condemned the Russian invasion and demanded an immediate peace on the ground of the agreements signed in Budapest in 1994 and the later Minsk Agreements.
The Communist Parties of Britain and Ireland also made a statement, “condemning the political and military maneuvers of the US, NATO and the EU since the Euromaidan coup of 2014 after which reactionary forces took power in Kiev with the open support of the Western imperialist powers”.
Opposition in the German parliament
Since the eruption of the clashes, the German government has drawn attention with what is considered a U-Turn in Russia policy. The government has put on hold the operation of the Nord Stream2, has decided to send weapons to Ukraine and to declare an additional military budget of 100 billion Euros.
The steps were supported by the majority of the German parliament, including the Left, but on February 27, 7 members of parliament for the Left led by Sahra Wagenknecht have made an oppositional public statement. They both condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the expansion of NATO towards the East.
The MP’s evaluated the government’s decisions as “an un-reflected copying of the US policy of the recent years” and called all sides to abide to the existing international laws and agreements.
Other MPs of the Left, including influential former leader Gregor Gysi have criticized the seven for their statement.
Political articulation of opposition in the West mainly seems to follow the “America First” line, where domestic politics are preferred over interventionist policies, or the criticism of NATO expansion by simultaneously rejecting the Russian invasion.
Western expansionist forces try to impose pressure politics on Russia at the same time as they try to dominate their domestic public opinion by methods of censorship and political threats.
Still, with the European-Russian ties severed by day affecting European economies as well, and a Biden defat on the horizon in the US, these aggressive policies also look like a run against the clock.