An end to the invasion and war in Ukraine can only be guaranteed if Russia’s security is itself guaranteed. Security is largely indivisible. Security for one state requires security for others, says the Los Alamos Study Group.
One of the most respected and best informed anti-nuclear war groups in the world is the Los Alamos Study Group. Founded at the end of the Cold War in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the first nuclear bombs were designed and built, the LASG’s aim of taking nuclear weapons out of foreign policy. It has won landmark environmental, civil rights and freedom of information lawsuits in the U.S., provided hundreds of top-level briefings, and played a crucial role in preventing the production of the core elements of plutonium warheads. As nuclear war threatens over Ukraine, the LASG has released this remarkable and urgent analysis of the risks and the solutions. — John Pilger.
By Greg Mello
Los Alamos Study Group
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, what was a regional conflict has become a global hybrid war with ever-greater stakes, not least the risk of nuclear war.
Perhaps the greatest danger lies in the difference of motives between parties, which is also the fundamental cause of this war: Russia seeks security, while the U.S. and its NATO allies have been using Ukraine to deny that security — to “break Russia,” in Henry Kissinger’s 2015 phrase. The U.S. does not want peace, unless it be the peace of a conquered Russia. That is why there is no obvious end to the escalations and counter-escalations. The U.S. and NATO see opportunity in the war they have been trying so hard to provoke.
The tragedy is that few people seem to understand that at the root of the Ukraine crisis is a specific strategy known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, named after Paul Wolfowitz who, as under secretary of defense in the administration of George H. W. Bush, was one of the authors of a 1992 document that laid out a neo-conservative manifesto aimed at ensuring American dominance of world affairs following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Our first objective,” stated the document, “is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival [to the United States], either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere. … This is a dominant consideration underlying [a] regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
The Wolfowitz Doctrine triggered the post-Cold War use of NATO as an instrument of bloody aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It declared, in effect, that diplomacy was dead and that American power ruled by violence if necessary. A resurgent Russia led by Vladimir Putin was next, and on the horizon, a risen China.
The 2014 Washington-engineered coup in Ukraine that removed an elected leader who sought to reinforce his country’s relationship with neighboring Russia, was a product of the 1992 Doctrine and the extremism it represented. Victoria Nuland, a neo-conservative ideologue and President Barack Obama’s “point person” in Ukraine, has played the same role in President Joe Biden’s State Department.
The 1992 Doctrine is elaborated in an infamous RAND study on how to overextend and, in Kissinger’s words, “break Russia.” This is U.S. foreign policy today: a fact well understood by the Russian leadership who regard their country as effectively under siege by the United States.
The potential of American missiles pointed at Moscow from former Soviet satellite countries, together with NATO troop deployments, is the reality they see. A militarized and virulently anti-Russian Ukraine being used as a tool by the U.S., with an expressed wish for nuclear weapons, on the brink of invading Russian-sympathizing provinces on the Russian border — all that was too much for Russia. What, do you suppose, the U.S. would do if such a situation arose in Mexico or Canada?
Since 2014, the Las Alamos Study Group has made it part of our business to understand the conflict in Ukraine and its significance for the world. In that year we held public meetings and teach-ins discussing it and since then have tried to examine developments as we could. In the Obama Administration, we took our concerns to the offices of the National Security Council — and were appalled by the lack of knowledge and understanding we found there.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have taken positions on this conflict. In our view, most (not all) of their statements are superficial, and/or omit the causes of the invasion as Russia understands them, or are in lock-step with U.S. and NATO propaganda.
The Study Group’s Basic Conclusions
- Understanding why Russia invaded is not condoning the invasion. Russia’s view is that of existential dangers to its very existence. The sincerity of that view is evident in the grave risks Russia is taking in this invasion which, again, we need neither justify nor condemn. Russia’s view has to be respected, whether or not we agree with it. Failure by the U.S. and NATO over the course of decades to respect Russia’s position, and to provide a humane and reasonable provision for Russia’s security needs is the main if not the only material cause of the present conflict.
- Telling Russia what to do is the problem, not the solution. We in NATO countries and in the West more broadly, and in peace-oriented groups, should confine our imperatives and judgments to what we ourselves can do, in our own countries and in relation to NATO. It is imperative to bring peace to Ukraine as best we can and to not inflame or broaden this conflict further. Our words can kill, or heal.
- An end to the invasion and war in Ukraine can only be guaranteed if Russia’s security is itself guaranteed. Security is largely indivisible. Security for one state requires security for others. This is a core principle of European security which Russia rightly insists upon. The U.S. should honor that. The fundamental cause of the current conflict is the desire of the U.S. to weaken or “break”Russia.
- Human rights, including the right of political self-determination, are pillars of Western values and institutions. The government of Ukraine has denied human rights and political self-determination to the peoples of the Donbass. Some 13,000 people have died during the eight years since the 2014 coup, according to the United Nations. The Ukrainian government has overtly genocidal policies toward Russian minorities. Since the 2014 U.S. sponsored coup, the U.S. and its European allies have used Ukraine to undermine Russian security.
- Nazi and neo-Nazi formations and ideologies in Ukraine present a clear danger to human rights and human life everywhere.
- Peace and nuclear disarmament organizations should be alarmed by NGO support for U.S. efforts to demonize and destabilize Russia.
What the Study Group Wants
1. We want a negotiated peace at the earliest possible time. In our own countries, every effort should be made to achieve this. We do not see those efforts.
2. We want an end to further escalation and broadening of the conflict, which threatens the well-being and security of the whole world. None of our countries should be introducing or transporting arms or conducting military activities or providing training or support of any kind in Ukraine. Peace groups should oppose all such escalation. “Helping Ukraine” with military “aid” is just a way of getting more people killed in the service of long-term U.S. aims to destroy the Russia.
3. Weapons should not be provided to civilian individuals, gangs, criminals, children, and “stay-behind,” guerrilla, or Volkssturmgroups. This only inflicts needless suffering and damages prospects for peace now and in the long run. There is no honor or legitimacy in such tactics in the present circumstances.
4. All economic sanctions – which hurt ordinary citizens more than elites – should be lifted. Economic sanctions are weapons of mass destruction, with global effects.
5. We want measured, just, de jure de-nazification of the Ukrainian government and laws.
6. The independence of the Donbass region within pre-conflict administrative boundaries should be accepted by all peace organizations and states.
7. The democratic decision of Crimea to rejoin Russia should be accepted by all peace organizations and states.
8. Peace groups should support a neutral, demilitarized (i.e. without heavy weapons or force projection capability) Ukraine, which is similar if not identical to the outcome sought by Russia.
9. Civilian areas must not be used as military staging or artillery bases. This is illegal, in fact. There is evidence that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are engaging in this odious practice.
10. Ukraine should not be allowed to join NATO. That was a capital demand of Russia and one that we should all support.
11. NATO should disband. The largest military alliance in the world, NATO consumes more resources than all the world’s militaries combined, and has conducted multiple wars of aggression, in violation of the U.N. Charter and Nuremberg principles. NATO is also a nuclear weapons alliance.
12. The U.S. and the five states that host U.S. nuclear weapons should, jointly or individually, end nuclear hosting arrangements, as well as end the training of non-U.S. pilots in nuclear weapons use and the prospective use of non-U.S. dual-capable aircraft for nuclear missions.
13. Clearly, all of the above is urgent if the killing is to end, and there is to be a lasting peace in Europe.
Greg Mello is the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.