The seven sins of the US in Ukraine crisis
Published: Mar 24, 2022 06:26 PM
Unmasking the superpower: Where the Ukraine crisis started Cartoon: Xu Zihe/GT

Unmasking the superpower: Where the Ukraine crisis started Cartoon: Xu Zihe/GT

As much as the US wants to portray itself as a "force for good," the world deserves a correct narrative of the Ukraine issue. For that purpose, we should look at the seven sins that the US has committed in this unfolding Ukraine crisis.

Sin #1: Sticking to the Cold War mentality that aggravates global division
The end of the Cold War brought the US unipolarity to its apex, also legitimizing its arrogance and prejudice. The country feels free to classify others into "democratic vs authoritarian." In the decades since, the world has seen too much division and confrontation stoked by the US to keep "America First" evolving into humanitarian disasters. Countries have been forced to choose sides, being either "with us or against us," as the Bush administration stated. 

 As for the situation in Ukraine, backed by the US, NATO conducted five rounds of eastward enlargement. Seeing its security space being encroached on inch by inch, Russia, or any other country, cannot but feel the threat of being cornered. In this sense, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a sad case of the Cold War mentality backfiring on the European continent. 

Sin #2: Sowing geopolitical grievances detrimental to world peace

Before the trans-Atlantic alliance could heal its wounds left by the Trump administration, it suffered new blows last year when the US hastily withdrew from Afghanistan and grabbed from France the nuclear submarine deal.

To tie Europe to its wagon, strategically and security-wise, the US has co-opted, enticed and incited. The interests of Ukraine and Europe are nothing. The ties between Europe and Russia must be cut off. And then, Europe would have no one but its American ally to resort to. 

That is how Europe gave up its key projects with Russia like Nord Stream 2, and lost, at the same time, its strategic autonomy. Sweeping sanctions against Russia are imposed, only to worsen the economic, energy, refugee and security crises in Europe.

Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a recent interview that the EU "made a number of mistakes and missed the chance to get closer with Russia."

Sin #3: Using false narratives to manipulate the battle of information

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is the first large-scale war in the age of social media. The US has dialed up its information offensive and produced numerous pieces of news that are simply not true. Hillary Clinton openly advocated cyberattacks against Russia, claiming that the US "did some of that during the Arab Spring." 

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, did not hesitate to abandon their long-touted commitment to "freedom of speech," but were quick to mute Russia's state media and close pro-Russia accounts. 

Some US politicians, think tanks and media outlets are peddling conspiracy theories about China having "prior knowledge of Russia's military action" or China being "…willing to provide military and economic assistance to Russia." The purpose: get China dragged in and taking the blame. 

Sin #4: Propping up greenback hegemony at a hard time for the global economy 

The ongoing conflict has plunged global stock markets into violent turbulence, driven up energy prices, pushed global food prices to 11-year high and further disrupted industrial and supply chains. 

A recent UNCTAD report predicts a plummeting global economic outlook, with the situation in Africa and the least developed countries particularly worrisome. Oxford Economics estimates that a protracted conflict between Russia and Ukraine could risk fueling inflation to over 7 percent in the eurozone and over 10 percent in the UK.  

But for the US, the war seems to be a source of money. Right after the conflict began, the US stock market boomed and its military and energy exports soared. Indeed, the EU gets deprived, but Uncle Sam has a full pocket.

Sin #5: Fueling flames, handing weapons and practicing double standards on human rights

Self-portrayed as a human rights "defender," the US has, in reality, played a part in wars and chaos in many parts of the world. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the "universal values" have brought turbulence and hardships. The region has suffered. The world has to face the fallout.

In this Ukraine crisis, the US never fails to fan the flames. It trained and equipped Ukrainian soldiers prior to the crisis. It offered direct weaponry transfer to Ukraine and led the pressure campaign against Russia since the crisis began.

While tensions were escalating between Russia and Ukraine, the US didn't forget to muddy the water in the Taiwan Straits, sending its guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson to the Straits and a delegation of former senior officials to the island.

Sin #6: Harboring biological weapons endangering others

Russia has recently disclosed that the US has set up hundreds of military biolabs around the world, and many are located in former Soviet states, near Russia and China. In Ukraine alone, there are nearly 30 such labs.  

Facing the charge, the US first dismissed it as "disinformation" and then claimed it has acted "in full compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention." 

The truth is, after World War II, it was the US that took in war criminals like the notorious Shiro Ishii, commander of Unit 731, to help with its development of biological weapons. The US is the only party that has opposed the establishment of a verification mechanism under the convention for 20 years. Is the US developing and storing biological weapons? The world is waiting for a straight answer.

Sin #7: Using wars to shift the blame for domestic issues

Deflecting attention to external wars has been a regular trick to shift the blame for problems inside the US. Beset by political polarization, wealth gaps, racial divides and the COVID-19 pandemic, the US needs an external conflict to legitimize its hegemony. 

But wars are expensive and cruel. And the US-led sanctions will only cripple global industrial and supply chains already weakened by the pandemic. That is why the Chinese leader pointed out in his virtual meeting with the US president, "Sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer." 

Wherever there is suppression, there is resistance. The world has entered the age of awakening. Strength through independence, mutual respect and common development will prevail. If the US refuses to wake up from its zero-sum, bloc rivalry fantasy, more conflicts and miseries could follow. The outdated playbook is bound to be rejected by history. 

The author is a current affairs commentator based in Beijing. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn