Background of the War in Ukraine


John Scales Avery, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

Project for a New American Century

14 Aug 2023 – The Project for a New American Century was a Washington-based  “think tank” founded in 1997 by William Kristal and Robert Kagen. The basic idea behind the organization was that since the United States had emerged as the world’s sole surviving superpower, the country should increase its military spending and use its military power to promote US interests and values throughout the world.

Global Hegemony through Military Force

In recent years, the United States has aimed at “full spectrum dominance”, military dominance over all other nations, global hegemony through military force, and the construction of an empire. We should remember that the threat or use of military force violates both the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.

Incredibly Bloated Military Budgets

The United States Military-Industrial Complex seems to have a hold over both Republicans and Democrats. With almost no dissenting voices, both parties recently voted to give roughly a trillion dollars for weapons and other military purposes.

Militarism Is the US National Religion

Here are some quotations from an article by William Astore:

“We believe in wars. We may no longer believe in formal declarations of war… but that sure hasn’t stopped us from waging them. From Korea to Vietnam, Afghanistan to Iraq, the Cold War to the War on Terror, and so many military interventions in between, including Grenada, Panama and Somalia, North Americans are always fighting somewhere, as if we saw great utility in thumbing our noses at the Prince of Peace (that’s Jesus Christ, if I remember my Catholic Catechism correctly)

“We believe in weaponry, the more expensive the better. The underperforming F-35 stealth fighter may cost $1.45 trillion over its lifetime. An updated nuclear triad (land-based missiles, nuclear submarines, and strategic bombers) may cost that already mentioned $1.7 trillion. New (and malfunctioning) aircraft carriers cost us more than $10 billion each. And all such weaponry requests get funded, with few questions asked, despite a history of their redundancy, ridiculously high price, regular cost overruns, and mediocre performance. Meanwhile, North Americans squabble bitterly over a few hundred million dollars for the arts and humanities…”

The U.S. Interference with Ukraine’s Internal Politics

The current situation in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula is an extremely dangerous one. Unless restraint and a willingness to compromise are shown by all of the parties involved, the crisis might escalate uncontrollably into a full-scale war between NATO and Russia, perhaps involving nuclear weapons. What is urgently required is for all the stakeholders to understand each other’s positions and feelings. Public understanding of the points of view of all sides is also very much needed.

We in the West already know the point of view of our own governments from the mainstream media, because they tell us of nothing else. For the sake of balance, it would be good for us to look closely at the way in which the citizens of Russia and the Crimean Peninsula view recent events. To them the overthrow of the government of Viktor Yanukovitch

appears to be another in a long series of coups engineered by the US and its allies. The list of such coups is very long indeed. One can think, for example of the the overthrow Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, or the coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected President, Salvador Allende, and replaced him with General Pinochet. There are very many other examples:

During the period from 1945 to the present, the US interfered, militarily or covertly, in the internal affairs of a large number of nations:

China, 1945-49; Italy, 1947-48; Greece, 1947-49; Philippines, 1946-53; South Korea, 1945-53; Albania, 1949-53; Germany, 1950s; Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1953-1990s; Middle East, 1956-58; Indonesia, 1957-58; British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64; Vietnam, 1950-73; Cambodia, 1955-73; The Congo/Zaire, 1960-65; Brazil, 1961-64; Dominican Republic, 1963-66; Cuba, 1959-present; Indonesia, 1965; Chile, 1964-73; Greece, 1964-74; East Timor, 1975-present; Nicaragua, 1978-89; Grenada, 1979-84; Libya, 1981-89; Panama, 1989; Iraq, 1990-present; Afghanistan 1979-92; El Salvador, 1980-92; Haiti, 1987-94; Yugoslavia, 1999; and Afghanistan, 2001-present, Syria, 2013-present. Egypt, 2013-present.

Most of these interventions were explained to the North American people as being necessary to combat communism (or more recently, terrorism), but an underlying motive was undoubtedly the desire to put in place governments and laws that would be favorable to the economic interests of the US and its allies.

For the sake of balance, we should remember that during the Cold War period, the Soviet Union and China also intervened in the internal affairs of many countries, for example in Korea in 1950-53, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and so on; another very long list. These Cold War interventions were also unjustifiable, like those mentioned above. Nothing can justify military or covert interference by superpowers in the internal affairs of smaller countries, since people have a right to live under governments of their own choosing even if those governments are not optimal.

Victoria Nuland’s Coup in Ukraine

In the case of Ukraine, there is much evidence that the Western coup was planned long in advance. On December 13, 2013, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland said: “Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States has supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government… We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals.” Furthermore, Nuland’s famous “Fuck the EU” telephone call, made well in advance of the coup, gives further evidence that the coup was planned long in advance, and engineered in detail.

Although Victoria Nuland’s December 13 2013 speech talks much about democracy, the people who carried out the coup in Kiev can hardly be said to be democracy’s best representatives. Many belong to the Svoboda Party, which had its roots in the Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU). The name was an intentional reference to the Nazi Party in Germany. According to Der Spiegal’s article about SNPU, “anti-Semitism is part of the extremist party’s platform”, which rejects certain minority and human rights. The article states that in 2013, a Svoboda youth leader distributed Nazi propaganda written by Joseph Goebels. According to the journalist Michael Goldfarb, Svoboda’s platform calls for a Ukraine that is “one race, one nation, one Fatherland”.

The referendum regarding self-determination, which will soon take place in Crimea is perfectly legal according to international law. A completely analogous referendum will take place in Scotland, to determine whether Scotland will continue to be a part of the United Kingdom, or whether the majority of Scots would like their country to be independent. If Scotland decides to become independent, it is certain to maintain very close ties with the UK. Analogously, if Crimea chooses independence, all parties would benefit by an arrangement under which close economic and political ties with Ukraine would be maintained.

We should remember that for almost all the time since the reign of Catherine the Great, who established a naval base at Sevastopol, the Autonomous Republic Republic of Crimea has been a part of Russia. But in 1954 the Soviet government under Nikita Krushchev passed a law transferring Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia.

Russia’s Legitimate Fears

Russia has been invaded many times, and has suffered greatly from these attacks. In 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker Assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that if Russia would agree to the unification of Germany, NATO would not expand eastward, “not one inch”. This promise was broken almost immediately, and Russia regarded it both as a betrayal and as an attack.

War Has Become Prohibitively Dangerous

War was always madness, always immoral, always the cause of unspeakable suffering, economic waste and widespread destruction, and always a source of poverty, hate, barbarism and endless cycles of revenge and counter-revenge. It has always been a crime for soldiers to kill people, just as it is a crime for murderers in civil society to kill people. No flag has ever been wide enough to cover up the atrocities of war.

But today, the development of all-destroying thermonuclear weapons has put war completely beyond the bounds of sanity and elementary humanity.

Today, the existing nuclear weapons have half a million times the power of the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A thermonuclear war would destroy human civilization, together with most of the plants and animals with which we share the gift of life.

Research has shown that fire-storms produced by a nuclear war would send vast quantities of smoke into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, and blocking the hydrological cycle. The climate would become very cold for a period of about ten years. Human agriculture would fail. Plants and animals would also be killed by the nuclear winter.

Can we not rid ourselves of both nuclear weapons and the institution of war itself?

We must act quickly and resolutely before our beautiful world is reduced to radioactive ashes, together with everything that we love.

Many of my freely downloadable books can be found at the following web addresses:


John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf). Website:

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Aug 2023.

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