Strategic Culture Foundation, February 10, 2023
This war is an existential one: it is all about preserving American hegemony and propping up the floundering Western imperial global order. “Unipolar world domination,” as Roger Waters put it.
Pink Floyd rock legend Roger Waters made an impressive and impassioned plea for peace at the UN Security Council this week. The English-born singer-songwriter was invited by Russia to address the specially convened forum on the prospects of finding a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.
Waters spoke eloquently and from the heart for over 14 minutes via a video link to the gathering at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York. Much respect is due to him for his strident call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine as well as for his general anti-war message on behalf of the world’s “voiceless majority”.
The 79-year-old artist has been a life-long advocate for peace and human rights, and many people around the world admire not only his musical creations but also his integrity and indefatigable defense of human rights. As he noted during his speech, his own father was killed in action during the Second World War when he was just an infant in 1944, and so he has been “touched by war”.
To his eternal credit, Waters has not taken megastar retirement in luxurious, mindless oblivion. He has remained as politically active and outspoken as when he was a younger artist, critical of exploitative corporate capitalist power and imperialist warmongering. With fierce integrity and poignant compassion, he has championed the cause of the Palestinian people and the freedom of publisher Julian Assange locked up in a British prison, among other causes. His music and artistry are a holistic expression of his pathos and politics.
He may have been invited by Russia to address the UNSC this week, but Waters showed himself to be no “apologist” for Moscow. During his speech, he claimed that Russia had “illegally invaded” Ukraine in February 2022, and he forthrightly condemned that. He is entitled to his opinion.
Nevertheless, he also condemned the provocations by the United States and NATO in building up Ukraine with armaments in the years before the conflict erupted last February. He denounced the war profiteering by Western powers from their relentless and reckless supplying of weapons to Ukraine which, he said, was risking a nuclear apocalypse if it spiraled into a bigger all-out confrontation.
The reactions to this noble intervention by Roger Waters were telling. While he spoke to the UNSC, the envoys from Ukraine fiddled on their phones, showing contemptible disrespect. Following his speech, the Ukrainian and the American representatives mocked Waters for peddling “Russian propaganda”.
There was little reporting in the Western media of his words. Some reportage tried to undermine his sincere calls for peace and his blistering critique of the warmongering capitalist system by focusing on what they claimed was his justification for Russian military action in Ukraine after he had said the war was “not unprovoked”.
Hardly surprising. Western mainstream news media have become so debased as propaganda channels that anyone who dares to discuss the historical context of the conflict is immediately smeared as a “Kremlin stooge”. Their media function is to prevent any intelligent, truthful understanding of how this conflict manifested or what is really at stake. The same goes for other conflicts and in particular, the next one Washington is fomenting with China.
Waters deserves immense praise for his courageous, unstinting calls for peace and for a broader understanding of the nature and causes of the conflict in Ukraine. But the dismissive response to his supplications illustrates clearly that the Western warmongers and their NeoNazi regime in Kiev have no intention or will to find a just peace. They are, to quote that classic song by Pink Floyd, “comfortably numb” to any feeling of justice and peace.
Thus, lamentably, his demands for an immediate ceasefire are naive. While many people around the world will admire the call for peace, it is misleading to not fully realize how the conflict in Ukraine came about and why it is being pursued by Western powers. Such appeals will not prevail against the war fundamentalists. Indeed, any ceasefire without resolving the root causes of the war would only prolong the conflict by allowing a rearming of the NATO-sponsored Kiev regime against Russia. Besides, Washington and its Western lackeys are “agreement incapable” and have no integrity.
The most effective immediate way to end the conflict is for Western powers to stop fueling it with the madcap armaments they are piling up in Ukraine. Washington and its European allies are embarking on endless rounds of supplying more offensive weapons. They have already committed to deploying battlefield tanks and this week there was more talk of supplying advanced NATO fighter jets as well as long-range missiles that can hit deep inside Russian territory. The lavish indulgence this week by Britain, France, Germany and the rest of the European Union towards Kiev’s incessant demands for more weapons shows that there is no interest in a genuine diplomatic dialogue for a peaceful settlement.
The European elite political class like their masters in Washington have dangerously distorted the conflict in Ukraine into one of absolute necessity for defeating alleged Russian aggression and “defending democracy”.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky – whose regime in Kiev is up to its eyes in corruption from the arms bazaar in that country as well as infested with Nazi-adulating paramilitaries – was feted in Europe this week with the preposterous claim that Ukraine was defending European values from Russian barbarity. The echo of Third Reich ideology and Russophobic propaganda here is truly astounding.
This war is an existential one. On the one hand, the defeat of Russia is being painted (falsely) as the ultimate challenge to supposed Western civilization. The West has made it a zero-sum contest based on false premises. On the other hand, a real existential issue is that the war is all about preserving American hegemony and propping up the floundering Western imperial global order. “Unipolar world domination,” as Roger Waters put it.
The blockbuster report this week by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh revealing well-founded allegations that the U.S. military blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Germany last September demonstrates that this war in Ukraine is only a part of a bigger geopolitical conflict. The Western media’s relative silence over what is ostensibly a staggering act of international terrorism by the Americans and their European minions is as damning as it is instructive.
Hersh credibly claims that the plot to sabotage the pipelines – signed off by the Biden administration – predated the Russian intervention in Ukraine. When added to ignominious admissions by European leaders that there was no intention of honoring the 2014-15 Minsk peace agreements because the tacit objective was always to weaponize Ukraine for an eventual showdown against Russia, then we begin to understand that the intrinsic agenda for war makes a mockery of the Western narrative about “defending Ukraine from Russian aggression”.
Appeals like that of Roger Waters – albeit principled and well-intentioned – are in the final analysis naive and, regrettably, futile. Such appeals presuppose that Western elites and their warmongering system are capable of peaceful and moral reasoning. They are not.
Russia had a legal and moral duty to defend the ethnic Russian people of former Ukraine from eight years of NATO-backed aggression after the CIA-backed coup d’état in Kiev in 2014. That NATO aggression will not be stopped now by moralistic appeals. For we are talking about a system that is tantamount to a rabid dog that needs to be put down. And we are not talking about a system that is limited to the vile Kiev regime. We are talking about the entire U.S.-led capitalist system and its imperialist war machine. A system that has ravaged the world for eight decades since the end of World War Two.
Or to put it another way by way of taking issue with a contradiction in Roger Water’s speech: you can’t appeal to a “bully” to do the right thing. You have to punch the bully in the face.
On the bigger historical picture, it can be increasingly seen now in this present time that the Second World War did not bring about an end to Nazism, fascism and imperialism, especially as Western history books would narrate. The end of that horrendous war was only a respite from the disease. There will be no peace in Ukraine or anywhere else until that disease is terminated – once and for all.
Roger Waters, ‘This is Not a Drill tour’ on 4, 6 and 7 April, 2023, Ziggo Dome Amsterdam