The US Left & War in Ukraine

Lawrence Davidson says Matthew Duss, Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser, denies his own country’s role in bringing about Russia’s war in Ukraine.   

U.S. President Joe Biden, on right, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, on March. 24. (NATO)

By Lawrence Davidson

Matthew Duss is a leading figure 0n the American political left. However, the left is fragmented, and so we have to qualify this and say he is an important voice in one part of the left — the “connected” left.

Duss is a foreign policy adviser to the independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders is allied with the Democratic Party, which gives Duss some access to the foreign policy debate inside that party. This can be considered a good thing. We certainly need as many “connected” progressive voices as we can get. 

It is also true that progressives, among others, can come to conclusions that are swayed by their environment (in this case the Democratic Party) and thus not be as objective as they should be. Also, in times of struggle, keeping to a clear and analytical mind is hard for all of us. Duss faces this problem on the issue of Ukraine. 

Here is his position:

“This is apparently hard for some folks to grasp because it’s not true in many other areas of foreign policy, but a responsible progressive position on Ukraine is basically what Biden is doing right now.”

What he is saying is that the United States has so long been in the business of trampling on governments, be they democratic or otherwise, it is hard for many on the left to ally with Washington in the alleged promotion of democracy in Ukraine. Nonetheless, in this instance, it is Russia who is the bad guy, so it is okay to go with President Joe Biden. 

Is he correct? Well, he elaborates on his position in a June 1 article in The New Republic entitled “Why Ukraine Matters for the Left.” It lays out his argument in favor of supporting U.S. government policy in Ukraine. I am going to analyze important parts of this essay and then draw a conclusion.

My analysis is based on  factual evidence and hopefully clear thinking. I’ll say here at the beginning that I am sorry if folks on one side or another get upset. 

‘Biden Team Did Not Seek This War’

Duss starts by confronting the comparison, drawn by many on the left, between the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the U.S. activity in Ukraine. He tells us that “the Biden administration is not the Bush administration.” This is true. Biden hasn’t invaded Ukraine as Bush did Iraq. In the present instance, it is the Russians who are the invaders.

Duss goes on to contextualize Biden’s actions as follows: “The Biden team clearly did not seek this war, in fact they made a strenuous, and very public, diplomatic effort to avert it.” 

Here is where we run into a problem. This assertion is taken out of historical context. The truth is that Biden and most of his immediate predecessors set both Russia and Ukraine up for this war, albeit not as crudely and abruptly as Bush set up Iraq.

[See Related: “Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War”]

Biden, et al. also did this in a manner that bypassed the notice of the American people and much of the media.

Matthew Duss, second from right, in 2014. (New America, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The setup came by relentlessly pushing NATO’s boundary right up to the Russian border. This put Russia in a bad position. As they saw it, they were threatened by a partial encirclement by a hostile force. In response the Russians acted diplomatically by offering the West a mutual security treaty that included a red line proviso that Ukraine would never be invited to join NATO.

Biden and other Western leaders did not treat this proposal seriously. In fact they discovered, in a poorly timed fashion, that all countries have a sovereign right to associate freely with whomever they chose. This conveniently matched up with NATO’s “open door policy.” Biden seemed to assume that this new “basic principle” applied to Ukraine. But wait, perhaps not to Cuba. 

It was this sort of hypocritical position that cast the rest of Biden’s proposed half-measures in doubt, and led Russian President Vladimir Putin to eventually conclude that there was no choice but to invade and conquer Ukraine to avoid its becoming part of  NATO and therefore “an existential threat” to Russia. 

It should also have been a red flag to people like Duss that his ally was up to its old tricks. Perhaps Biden was not acting as “strenuously” as he seemed. Perhaps his newly found “basic principle” put forth in a “very public, diplomatic way” was a bit of idealistic propaganda for “public” consumption.

Once the war began, according to Duss, the Biden administration “acted with restraint and care not to get drawn into a wider war with Russia.”

I guess everyone has their own definition of “restraint.” In fact, the U.S. has given over $50 billion worth of assistance to Ukraine. Most of it has been military in nature, including now the prospect of “medium” range missiles. On this point, Duss tells us that we should remember “the instances when provision of military aid can advance a more just and humanitarian global order.”

U.S. military aid to Ukraine arriving Kiev, Feb.12. (U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine)

I do not know what instances Duss is referring to — at least not since World War II. To my knowledge, since 1945, the United States has not used military aid toward these ends. And indeed, U.S. aid has largely gone to extend the war, giving Russia all the more reason and time to literally destroy Ukraine.

A long list of premeditated U.S. and European sanctions have been placed on Russia in an attempt to ruin that country’s economy — and take away every yacht, west of the Caspian Sea, owned by a wealthy Russian.

Biden had warned these sanctions were coming if Russia invaded Ukraine. Subsequently, the Biden administration publicly declared that its goal is to “weaken Russia.” Put this all together and you begin to feel that, as The New Yorker magazine put it, “Ukraine is now America’s war, too.” Considering all of this has happened in a three-month period, we can ask just how much “restraint” Biden has exercised. At best, we can view his actions as resulting in a very dangerous version of mission creep.

The Ukrainian People

Polling line in Donetsk, Ukraine, for the referendum on independence in May 2014. (Andrew Butko, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Duss’ support of the Biden administration’s approach to Ukraine almost naturally leads him to play fast and loose with the term “the Ukrainian people.” For example, when Duss attempts to counter the charge that Biden is willing to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, he assures us that “it should be clear by now that the Ukrainian people are going to fight the Russian invasion whether we help them or not.” 

How come those Washington decides to support are “the people” and the opposition is not? For instance, most of the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country who have taken up arms against the government in Kiev are magically not of “the people.” How about the roughly one million Ukrainians who have taken refuge in Russia? Are they part of the Ukrainian people?

If we are to be accurate, the “Ukrainian people” are divided and are distributed on both sides of this fight. As always, the majority are fleeing the war zones or just trying to survive the violence from whichever side it comes.

There is one other factor that should make me question Duss’  use of “the Ukrainian people.” The roots of the present government in Kiev are with a U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that deposed a legally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who favored working with Moscow to settle the country’s neutral status toward the West.

Yanukovych also favored a round of early elections to settle disputes on this question. The overthrow of Yanukovych increased Russian fears that NATO and the European Union, with Washington’s backing, aimed to turn Ukraine into a pro-Western, anti-Russia state. 

Russia’s Imperium

Viktor Yanukovych, then president of Ukraine,  in March 2013. Russian President Vladimir Putin on right. (Kremlin, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Towards the end of Duss’ essay, he says Putin’s own words show that the Russian president is a self-confessed imperialist. “Look at what Putin himself said in the speech he gave on the eve of the invasion, in which he laid out a vision of reclaiming not only the Soviet sphere but a pre-Soviet vision of a new Russian imperium.”

Based on Putin’s professed “vision,” Duss concludes that “it seems absurd to suggest that even an ironclad public pledge from President Biden that Ukraine would never be accepted into NATO would have convinced Putin to draw back the 180,000 troops he had placed on Ukraine’s borders.”

While Duss is probably loath to believe Putin on any other subject, he is ready to believe him here. His assessment may be accurate; however, one can make just as good an argument that Putin’s “imperium” talk is propaganda for the home front. There is even a Western analogy. The major reason given for the expansion of NATO is no longer the defense of Western Europe, but rather the spread of democracy.

Putin uses talk of a Russian imperium to rouse his domestic constituency, and Western politicians (former U.S. President Donald Trump excluded) use the spread of democracy as an equivalent. And in both cases, national leaders may well have convinced themselves that their propaganda is true.

Finally, Duss’ declaration that even Biden’s “ironclad public pledge” of a neutral Ukraine could not have stopped Putin’s invasion may not be the whole story.

Putin’s disregard for any hypothetical pledge or promise on the part of Biden would probably be in recognition that the isolated policy decision of one president (e.g., the Iran nuclear deal) can be overturned by his successor. Such a pledge by Biden might well have forestalled a Russian invasion, but it would ultimately not been enough to end the crisis. The Russians want a real security treaty and not just a pledge from a U.S. president. 

Duss concludes with a plea for solidarity with Ukrainian leftists who, among others, are defending their homeland against the Russians. He admits that American hypocrisy is a problem, “recognizing the role that the U.S. and its allies have played in undermining the order they themselves built.”

[See the Telegram channel of Repression of the Left and Dissenters in Ukraine.]

But he seems to think that this hypocrisy has no impact on the present situation. He believes that the left must adopt as a “core principle” the struggle to “prevent powerful countries from invading and obliterating weaker ones.” To do so is to help create “a better, more stable, humane, and progressive [world].” And, because there is allegedly no hypocrisy in present motives and actions, it is all right to ally with the U.S. in defending Ukraine from the Russian aggression.  

I wish Duss good luck on preventing the strong from beating up on the weak. Just about all of the past (and present) history of states involves just such exploitation. Nonetheless, he is correct in stating that this is an ideal to be strived for. The notion of occasionally taking on disreputable allies might also be understandable.

However, before you ally with anyone, you’d best proceed with your eyes fully open: think through your arguments objectively and present them so. Duss does not do this. Maybe this has something to do with his present position and environment, which is that of an adviser to a U.S. senator.

For whatever reason, he denies his own country’s role in bringing about this war, notably by  (1) trying to block Russian influence through the Ukrainian coup of 2014, (2) rejecting the possibility of a neutral Ukraine by hypocritically inventing a “basic right” to choose any affiliation, and by (3) not taking seriously Russian efforts at diplomacy through the offer of a comprehensive security treaty. 

I point all this out to remind Duss and others (in the remote hope that they read this) that if they are to lead a viable left that can successfully build itself up domestically and ally with like movements abroad, they must be clear minded. And if they are to ally with the U.S. government, they’d better be ready to back off rather than be led astray.

Otherwise, they will end up as somebody’s tool. This entire exercise does not “deny atrocities” or support Russia’s decision to destroy Ukraine. It has to do with the formation of strong and honest arguments no matter one’s position — which should be another “core principle” of the left. 

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

 This article is from his site,

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

34 comments for “The US Left & War in Ukraine

  1. June 19, 2022 at 09:01

    When it comes to Russia, there is no left or right. There is only those spurred by the conviction that Putin is the devil and all his subjects are abject slaves to him. Left and right haven’t differed very much since Vietnam when the left realized their owns sons had to die along with the millions of others. That was corrected with the end of the draft

  2. Dave E
    June 18, 2022 at 15:49

    When Zelensky banned 11 parties recently that ban included all the left wing parties. So, if Mathew Doss wants us to ally with Ukrainian leftists, we need to ally against Zelensky.

    • robert e williamson jr
      June 19, 2022 at 12:12

      Dave you are making too much sense here! Something this entire event seems to be lacking.

      Although as one who thinks of himself as being [pretty much anchored in reality I agree 100%!

  3. Paine
    June 18, 2022 at 06:32

    Before Russia intervened, the US was supporting a Ukrainian government that suppressesd political dissent, and passed a law that proclaiming a national holiday for Stephen Bandera, a neo-nazi collaborator.

    The Ukraine military included neo-nazi ‘s that European security group had documented had increased their shelling of western Ukraine, and were preparing to engage in Russian ethnic cleansing, when Russia intervened.

    The UN had found that 13,000 people had been killed in western Ukraine since 2914 when the civil war began.

    Clearly, there was a civil war in progress, and as such, Ukraine was not a sovereign country.

    Under international law, any country can intervene and provide assistance to either side. Russia intervened
    to protect western residents from continuing escalating Ukrainian military attacks. Russia had every right to do so.

    The US knowingly decided to supply military arms to the Ukrainian government in order to weaken Russia, a war that has harmed Ukraine, and could have easily been resolved by Ukraine stopping it’s militarily attacks on people residing in western Ukraine.

  4. peter mcloughlin
    June 18, 2022 at 05:55

    Every imperial power, or empire, eventually faces the war it is fighting to avoid: its own destruction. That is the clear pattern of history – nothing has changed. Today every state wants to avoid nuclear war…
    For more search: a free ebook: the pattern of history wordpress.

  5. robert e williamson jr
    June 17, 2022 at 15:54

    Ed Nelson, he is the first comment here, gets this mostly “right”, pardon the pun!

    No politically viable “liberal” or “left” party or other wise adequately funded “leftist group” currently exists in the U.S. at this point in history. If it did exist it died when Vietnam went away. That is my opinion.

    If the left had any of power that momentarily flourished during the late sixties and had survived till the 2020 election maybe it would have exerted itself by supporting Barney.

    The “right” in this country has gone “far right” and the dimo’s followed them to become a “moderate right”. For the sake of dog figure it out.

    The two party system has devolved to represent only an authoritarian government. See the Patriot Act. One might want to review this travesty inflicted on the American populace.

    Where are the calls now for it’s repeal. Remember all that “those who seek safety and security by allowing the government to restrict their former freedoms, deserve neither. ” The transition has become “permanent” apparently resulting in our government becoming a vastly more authoritarian state.

    A direct result, in my opinion , of the “slow-con”, which has been ongoing for seventy years. But hell believe what you must. Which part of the problem we have now with everyone talking past each other. It’s about time we start working together cause those in D.C. have us right where they want us.

    Thanks CN

  6. Deniz
    June 17, 2022 at 12:10

    The over ridding platform of the modern-day Left is to hate the Right; it is that which unites all the disparate groups in the Democratic Party. A political party built on hatred, inevitably creates many problems and is easily exploited and manipulated as we see as their fury is now directed toward Putin. That hatred of Putin is now so, extreme, that it is willing to overlook evidence that the party is aligning with Nazis, the epitome of evil in the 20th century until a few months ago. This is not the Left of yore that championed the antiwar movement in the War on Terror – that Left is dead and gone.

    I am not suggesting that McConnel and his cronies, who disenfranchise the majority of Republican leadership and their constituencies will, are any less nefarious. There needs to be a great deal of sole searching in the country, unfortunately the only way that seems possible is through a cataclysmic event.

  7. Donald Duck
    June 17, 2022 at 05:57

    The West’s view of the Ukraine crisis might be summed up as follows. In February of this year (2022) Mr Putin thought – quite out of the blue – that it might be quite a good idea to invade Ukraine, this was termed the Special Military Operation. (SMO). This bizarre theory constituted the received wisdom of virtually the whole of the West’s political and media class. Whether the media-political bloc actually swallowed this account or just passed it off to fool their respective populations is a moot point.

    In fact, the whole issue can be traced back at least to the Orange Revolution of 2004 when the first rumblings of a colour revolution could be detected. Fast forward to 2014 and the stage was set to birth a colour revolution. All the social actors and forces were in play. Firstly, senior American diplomats Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, then came the usual colour revolution crowd of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Georg Soros and his Open Society Foundation (OSF) Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    Secondly the ultra-right streetfighters of the western Ukraine were bussed into Kiev from all points West of the River Dnieper: Lviv, Vinnytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytsky and so forth. These para-military units included, Svoboda, Right Sector, C14 and the Azov Regiment who had been training for a number of years prior to the get-go. Things were, in Pyatt’s view, ‘in play.’ (Telephone conversation with Nuland on the eve of the coup)
    The militants (neo-nazis) won the day. The atrocities in Kiev where 45 people were incinerated by the Banderist mob; and the Banderists made a surprise call on the people of Mariupol shooting up the town and murdering a number of its citizens.

    Things began to move when Victor Yanukovic was displaced as President and his position was taken over by Petro Poroshenko who immediately ordered a ‘police operation’ to take down the Don Bass – now self-styled the two Donbass Republics which was now controlled by the militants who set up their own functioning governmental structures. In military terms Poroshenko’s police operation ended up with two serious defeats by the Donbass Rebels over the Ukrainian Army at Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo. After these defeats the Ukie army was to lick its wounds but established a line of contact facing the two rebel statelets and to shell them for the next 8 years. During this time some 14000 residents of the two republics lost their lives.

    But the Ukies wanted another bite of the Cherry. Some 80,000 to 100,000 Ukrainian troops were positioned on the line of contact with the rebel republics and started to shell the Donbass. That did it for Putin, he handed over the responsibility to his military generals – Shoigu and Gerasimov – to take care the Ukie army, a military process which is ongoing.

    And this is where we are in 2022. In addition to the military issues there has been a diplomatic, economic and geopolitical fall-out. Things will not be the same.

    In the words of W.B.Yeats poem ”Easter”. ‘All changed, changed utterly.’

    • ForgettingTheSalt
      June 18, 2022 at 13:35

      “That did it for Putin, he handed over the responsibility to his military generals – Shoigu and Gerasimov – to take care the Ukie army, a military process which is ongoing.”

      Your other content does not rely on the “Disney” school of history, whilst the sentence above apparently does not consider networked warfare, which the opponents seek to suggest is synonymous with hybrid war, which apparently like sexual intercourse was invented in 1963 between Profumo and The Beatles first LP. instead of being the norm since the coalescence of agricultural societies a bit earlier.

      “But the Ukies wanted another bite of the Cherry.”

      Not quite, their appetites were encouraged with a little help from their “friends” – not on “Independence Square” though when that Jewish lady tried to tempt them and their “friends from afar” with plain bulkas without salt; disappointing when they had been expecting sernik with cinnamon, or even bulkas with soft cheese and raisins perhaps with some tea, since if memory serves it was raining, as can sometimes be the case in February, and many of their “friends from afar” had travelled far to aid the celebrations.

      “In the words of W.B.Yeats poem ”Easter”. ‘All changed, changed utterly.’”

      Multi-trajectory lateral change has always been a constant, although some attempt to hope that it isn’t – possibly because they are “exceptional” and consequently indispensable.

    • Pablo RG
      June 18, 2022 at 18:42

      Excellent summary.

  8. Realist
    June 17, 2022 at 01:27

    This professional public relations man and influence peddler, Matthew Duss, is simply being deceitful and hypocritical in reflexively supporting the role of the Democrat president Biden in the creation of this war simply to enhance the prospects of that party in keeping power within the federal government. The power of high office is the ONLY thing really at stake in the supposed ongoing ideological battle between Democrats and Republicans, who, as we all know, simply represent the two right wings of the Unified War Party.

    Professor Davidson may have taken a more circuitous path than I would have done to simply stating that Duss’ arguments baldly choose to ignore that this crisis has always been made up of many distinct working parts, most of which Duss chooses to ignore, as do most American politicians who are, simply put, fervid war mongers by they Republican or Democrat. Their motivations have been discussed, debated and exposed to a fare-thee-well on these pages at CN, basically boiling down to their alliance as mercenaries for the military industrial complex and the vast wealth mill that it represents for the wealthy donors who are their sponsors in the political arena.

    This sadly includes even Mr. Duss’ senatorial and periodic presidential project, the increasingly erratic Bernie Sanders. These days Sanders seems inclined to ally himself with every crackpot Russophobic smear just to keep his political base. (Really, it’s gone Bernie, after you sold out twice–to Clinton and then Biden–to retain your media presence for all that’s now worth.) Need more facts on Sanders’ big flip-flop and erratic inconsistencies? Peruse the dozens of reports on this fickle fellow by Jimmy Dore on You Tube, who has basically dedicated his career to outing the vast hypocrisies of the Democratic Party since it turned hard right, to stay in the game against Republicans, whilst vowing to support “progressives.” It’s really about as progressive as the Third Reich and as peaceful as the Wehrmacht in their last days.

    As to ANYONE even trying to objectively debate Biden face-to-face on his warmongering policies and profligate budget busting to facilitate one lying fanatic by the name of Volodymyr Zelensky who would keep this war going literally into the 22nd century if he could, forget it! Biden cannot even give you a coherent response to a request for the time of day. Whatever he does say is usually shockingly provocative, basically promising WWIII, and has to be quickly walked back by the chumps he was allowed to install in his cabinet and whose most noteworthy talent is their diversity. “Biden,” especially the one trotted before the cameras to “speak” for the country is more a collective construct of these mental midgets than the brain droppings of any single man.

  9. David Otness
    June 16, 2022 at 22:58

    I just don’t understand how the author of this piece, like virtually everybody who writes regarding “the 180,000 Russian troops” up against Ukraine’s border, neglects to account for the reason they were ever there at all. What’s with the crickets, the math and trigonometry were all over the equation, the 160,000 to 200,000 NATO-trained and equipped (for eight years) Ukrainian forces were present and had moved ever-closer to attacking the Donbass for a full year before the SMO ever took the initiative away from them. And then only on the eve of the Ukrainian offensive. Why is the front line Ukrainian army firmly in position there always treated for all intents and purposes in the Western press as nonexistent, let alone a phantom force or a figment of imagination?

    Then the author wishes Duss “good luck in preventing the strong from beating up on the weak….” Well those many thousands of crack Ukrainian troops (and their foreign mercenaries, tanks and artillery were on the verge of attacking the very civilians—they made several menacing 2021 moves that the Russians only then responded to—these same NATO-backed troops have and to this very day continued to shell Donetsk and environs remorselessly and immorally from their heavily-fortified positions, so much so only that they are the perhaps the only viable fighting forces left outside of Odessa because of their above-described complex positions, thanks to NATO’s (MI-5 & CIA) expertise in ‘building things,’ including nations. (Visit Libya and Syria, the beaches and restaurants are to die-for!)
    And finally I suggest the reason so many of these remaining Ukrainian holdouts have not surrendered is not because they don’t recognize the inevitability of their defeat and likely deaths in staying, but rather that their Azov/Right Sector enforcer goons will still shoot them in the back if they expressed such a notion.

    PS: Duss, “on the left?” You truly have me shaking my head. Look at that illustration. That ain’t no ‘leftist.’ That’s a pampered taxpayer-funded Beltway careerist growing older college boy who has his path likely marked on a wallboard with colored pins. He’s almost there, just waiting for the call from CNAS and/or Westexec. Don’t think he’s not doing all and everything to get the notice from Michelle Flournoy or the ‘wink-wink’ from her partner Blinken. He’s almost home free. And he knows all the moves.

  10. LookingForAHead
    June 16, 2022 at 20:35

    “Putin uses talk of a Russian imperium to rouse his domestic constituency”

    In analysis a caution is – Do you think your opponent is as stupid as you are ?

    Apparently the author of the assertion/invention in respect “talk of a Russian imperium” answers the question in the affirmative.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    June 16, 2022 at 18:44

    I have issues, my friend. Let’s take a walk down memory lane. The old SovU goes tits up in what? 1990? The RF tells the old Soviet republics they can not associate with the RF if they wish and several do choose not to associate. Has Russia attacked any of them other than the Ukraine? No. What was special about the Ukraine? Mostly it was the coup that the US fomented via Cookies Nuland. What that idiot didn’t seem to realize is that what is called the Ukraine is really at this point two countries. One is a largely ethnic Russian section in the Donbass and the other is an ethnically Ukrainian section (there’s also sections with a bunch of Poles and Hungarians) after the coup, using voter suppression techniques doubtlessly learned from the US the ethnic Ukrainians start suppressing the ethnic Russians (and the ethnic Poles and Hungarians with the Hungarian PM bitching about it vociferously). The Donbass appealed to Russia for protection. As President Putin put it, there’s a straight line between the USs bombing campaign in Serbia and our operation in the Ukraine. This is not to mention that Russia (and the rest of the world) has watched America’s flagrant violation of international law and the UN charter with our invasions, and subversions and subversion attempts in the Ukraine, Belarus, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Hong Kong, Libya, Nicaragua, Guatemala, China, and Russia. Just to mention a few. Mr. Duss apparently thinks that these countries are fools and suckers. I can assure you they are not. There is a reason why Russia has thrown all the American “NGOs” out of the country.

    • LaRonde
      June 18, 2022 at 06:50

      “What was special about the Ukraine?”

      Ukraine in a different language means borderlands.

      The outpourings of Treaty of Versailles facilitated the creation of “ethnic sovereign states with significant internal minorities” weakened from inception, and various opportunities for “the victorious allies” to derive benefits there-from throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

      One of these hoped for benefits was the usage of Ukraine in containment of the Soviet Union to enhance/protect benefits in other “ethnic sovereign states”, based upon Mr. Pilsudski’s observation that without Ukraine Russia – which became “The Soviet Union” in 1922 – Russia is a land of lakes and forests – which was an exageration but not without some content in 1922, and related strategies derived there from which the Brzezinski father and son subsequently presented as their own work.

      The prime tool chosen by “the victorious allies” to facilitate these hopes was The Second Polish Republic which did invade Ukraine and enjoyed a fleeting visit to Kiev, but were pushed back by the Red Army who were in turn pushed back and subsequently secured their position through “diplomatic” means by the treaty of Rapallo with Germany of 1922, facilitating The Second Polish Republic being contained by Germany in the west, and “The Soviet Union” in the east.

      The focus of initial concern of “the victorious allies” from 1945 was to ensure that they derived maximum benefit from their “saving” of Western Europe through various vectors including Gladio, The Marshall Plan, Military bases in locations, “intelligence service” integration; a strategic purpose which was also of major concern as fall back in 2022.

      2022 is a different context than 1922 or 1945 or 1991 or 2014, given that “the victorious allies” increasingly perceive The Russian Federation and The People’s Republic of China as existential threats, and that “Ukraine” could be used as active proxy in the hope of deriving maximum benefit from The Russian Federation and The People’s Republic of China both of whom are perceived as ” “ethnic sovereign states with significant internal minorities”.

  12. HelenB
    June 16, 2022 at 18:06

    Left out: The biolabs all along Russia’s western border put their by the US. Some reports claim this is a major reason for Russia’s final decision to invade Ukraine. One report indicated 46 labs in Ukraine all set up by the Pentagon.

  13. sam
    June 16, 2022 at 17:08

    While I appreciate this article, I find it far too kind. Davidson calls it mere hypocrisy, but I think it is far worse than that. The thing about the US “rules-based order” is it’s so transparent. So here’s the new rule: “all countries have a sovereign right to associate freely with whomever they chose.” OK, sure. The thing about new rules is they always follow the same pattern:

    1) The “rule” is always made up on the fly to fit the given situation. 2) The “rule” is worded as to look like it is universal, meaning it always applies, to everyone, everywhere. 3) Our own past “disgraces” over the rule go unmentioned. 4) The next time we or one of our “friends” breaks the rule, it is suddenly as if the rule never existed, and it’s time for a new rule.

    All of this is to say is Duss is merely a liberal interventionist, which is really nothing other than a neocon with “good-think” excuses. When he talks about advancing “a more just and humanitarian global order,” he is talking about the “global order” of the US empire which his neocon friends were so proud to justify not so far back. To put it simply he is flacking for empire. And that is not just hypocritical, that is justifying an evil in the world whose ending can only be the -first step- to a more humanitarian global order.

    It really does seem like our national so-called “elites” have become so out of touch that they are all sociopaths, from end to end.

  14. rosemerry
    June 16, 2022 at 16:47

    ‘led Russian President Vladimir Putin to eventually conclude that there was no choice but to invade and conquer Ukraine to avoid its becoming part of NATO and therefore “an existential threat” to Russia. ‘
    Please note the clear explanation of the SMO. No desire to invade, conquer Ukraine but to demilitarise and denazify it. Ukraine’s behavior, with USA?NATO?EU interference at every level especially the lying media, immediately followed. Russia did not consider itself an enemy -the USA’s Nuland coup in 2014 (she who now remains in a dominant position to wreak more havoc) has led to the poisoned relationship, the Nazi increasing influence, the refusal to allow normal language rights to minorities like Russian in the Donbass and other parts and the absolute refusal to follow the only UN-sponsored peaceful plan of the Minsk agreements for the last 8 years before it finally “invaded”. Has the USA ever waited so long ????

  15. Don
    June 16, 2022 at 16:22

    How is this persistence in characterizing liberalism as being of the left sustained? The right calls liberalism “left-wing”; great chunks of the left call liberalism the “left”.

    Liberalism is not progressive policy. Bernie Sanders and his posse are not, regardless of how Bernie characterizes himself, any sort of a socialists.

    There is a left in America, although much of it is dormant, amorphous and/or unaware of what it is. Sadly, it is utterly devoid of street-leadership, and therefore tempted by populism of all sorts, and equally, and possibly more tragically, drawn to the so-called left wing of liberalism.

    A good start to reviving and coalescing it might be to stop calling the vaguely more humanist and empathetic fringe of the Democratic Party “the left”.

    • Dienne
      June 17, 2022 at 10:50

      This, a thousand times. Leftism, at a minimum, starts at anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism. One can’t support a proxy war in Ukraine for the purpose of “weakening Russia” (and strengthening our arms manufacturers) and still be called “left”.

  16. RootBier
    June 16, 2022 at 16:21

    There can be no credible discussion of our support for Ukraine without mentioning our training, arming and funding of literal Nazis.

    Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.

    • Lois Gagnon
      June 16, 2022 at 20:30

      Thank you! Support for Nazis is a line I will never cross for any reason. That the public is being snookered into believing they are supporting defenders of democracy demonstrates clearly the level of depravity of US/Euro leadership.

    • Daniel
      June 17, 2022 at 09:58

      Precisely. Duss has no interest in discussing this reality, though, only that which will help him climb the D party ladder and stigmatize those exposing the fraud at the heart of his disingenuous arguments. An opportunist of the worst sort.

  17. Daniel
    June 16, 2022 at 16:21

    Oof. Just finished reading this article and Duss’s article, referenced within. I could go on and on about Duss’s willful omission of the context for the Ukraine conflict and the disingenuous framing he provides to reach his conclusion in support of Biden’s actions. But I’ll summarize by saying that I find his take ridiculously childlike, a take my gut tells me he was purposefully enlisted to spin, designed to bring along those not yet on board with unconditional support of Ukraine outside of sympathy and heartbreak for civilians and other innocent victims, and devoid of the very real and very distasteful neo-Nazi flavor of this ‘democracy’ we are arming to the teeth. Were the nature and buildup of this conflict honestly discussed, Duss would not be able to spin his fairy tale.

    Perhaps this quote sums it up best, from Duss: “…it’s important to differentiate between the genuine anti-war anti-imperialism of DSA and others in the American left and the pernicious authoritarian agitprop of The Grayzone and the like.”

    I think we have have his motive here.

  18. Ed Nelson
    June 16, 2022 at 16:05

    “Matthew Duss is a leading figure 0n the American political left. However, the left is fragmented, and so we have to qualify this and say he is an important voice in one part of the left — the “connected” left.”
    No Sir, Matthew is not a leading figure on the American political left, and neither is Berni Sanders (who I supported in two general elections). At best they, and their ilk, are the center of the center left. They are “left” when it is convenient and liberal imperialist when it is time to vote. To suggest that Duss is the “connected left” is of course a joke. Connected to the neo-liberals in the Democratic Party? But in no way connected to a genuine political left, who would never crawl into bed with NATO and the US military industrial complex as Mr. Sanders has done.
    Otherwise, I thought Mr. Davidson’s article was very good, and he made some very salient points. I hope Matthew Duss reads it and gets a clue.

  19. mgr
    June 16, 2022 at 15:34

    That Duss would get any traction on this simply confirms that there never was an actual “left” to begin with.

    I remember HRC declaring herself a “progressive.” I would rank Duss’s perspective with hers.

  20. JonnyJames
    June 16, 2022 at 13:39

    The New Left are just “moderate” centrist warmongers and hypocrites. Bernie Sanders called Hugo Chavez a “communist dictator” which he knew was a bald-faced lie. Sanders is just a middle of the road New Deal Democrat, dressed up as “Democratic Socialist” I consider him a moderate, not a leftist in the traditional sense of the word.

    Anyone who considers themselves anti-imperialist, anti-authoritarian Left would be screaming their lungs out against US atrocities like stealing billions from the poorest country on earth: Afghanistan. Illegally blockading the poorest country on earth, leaving them to starve to death (no hyperbole whatsoever). They would be screaming their lungs out against the flagrant and illegal US-sponsored coup in Ukraine and the obvious provocation of Russia – risking a nuclear confrontation. They would be screaming their lungs out against the Trump/Biden illegal blockade of Venezuela and the theft of billions of their wealth – resulting in thousands of people dying. They would be screaming their lungs out against the US-backed Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, and the Genocide of Yemen.

    Julian Assange? Where are the so-called left and civil libertarians on this issue? They should be screaming their lungs out every single day.

    At the end of the day, these dishonest sycophants have to be loyal to the DNC and the oligarchy that supports it. The Left is Dead in the USA, at least in the political establishment. The anti-imperialist left lives on outside the establishment.

  21. Alex Nosal
    June 16, 2022 at 13:35

    Well written article, but it also highlights that Dust cannot be viewed credibly as a “Leftist”. A core principle of the Left is that all wars (…and coups) are wrong. Instead Duss chooses not to anger the MIC or Big Oil with his convenient support for the official narrative. The absence of ‘context’ is a clear indication of a propagandist and here Duss fails miserably in his attempts to portray himself as being objective. One of the key aspects of the Biden narrative is to lump all Ukrainians into one untied group despite the fact that a smaller group (U.S. supported side) has been attempting to ethnically cleanse the country of the majority of Ukrainians who happen to speak Russian and feel connected to Russia both culturally, linguistically and ideologically. The Ukrainian civil war could have been avoided entirely if the U.S. had supported Zelensky in delivering his promises to end the the shelling of his fellow Ukrainians in the Donbass by offering to protect Zelensky from the far right, ending the American support for all fascist elements in the Ukraine and by abandoning the corporate led narrative to demonize all things Russian. Instead though, corporate America judged the conflict to be an opportunity to expand corporate control over a country that seemed rudderless to those on Wall Street. Unfortunately for Ukrainians, the miscalculation is resulting in an accelerated slaughtering of Ukrainians on both sides of the conflict while leaving the “suits in Washington” unscathed.

    • ks
      June 16, 2022 at 23:11

      ‘The Ukrainian civil war could have been avoided entirely if the U.S. had supported Zelensky in delivering his promises to end the the shelling of his fellow Ukrainians in the Donbass by offering to protect Zelensky from the far right, ending the American support for all fascist elements in the Ukraine and by abandoning the corporate led narrative to demonize all things Russian.”

      Hard to imagine why we would have done that after we empowered the fascists in the first place. I suspect Russia started preparing for the possibility that Ukraine would invade the Donbass and try to retake Crimea a long time ago, then mobilized when there were indications (construction of extensive defensive fortifications, receipt of offensive rather than defensive weapons from the West (or so I read recently,) intelligence, etc. But what do I know?, except that Duss is a useless liberal Democrat, not a leftist.

      • ks
        June 18, 2022 at 02:58

        I seem to have lost control of my sentence and parentheses. That should have been , “when there were indications…that an invasion was imminent.”

  22. June 16, 2022 at 13:03

    It was the democrats that overthrew the elected government in 2014. Remember Nuland” f..k the EU”. You forgot all the wars that USA waged around the world- an inconvenient truth.
    There is no left or right in America.

    • Alex Nosal
      June 16, 2022 at 13:47

      I would argue that we only have a “Right” and an “Ultra Right” in the U.S. as both party’s are completely beholden to corporate interests. This is the antithesis of a true “Left”. Instead many Americans, but not all, believe that the two corporate controlled corrupt party’s represent a ‘functioning democracy’ when in reality it is by design that the public will never have any input into federal politics because of the incessant reinforcing of the two Party system by the mainstream media as well as other nefarious acts to squash any attempts at a real alternative to the corporate narrative.
      In the case of the Ukraine conflict, it is indeed the Biden Democrats who have profited immeasurably from the chaos, but to assume that their official counter parts (the Republicans) would have retreated from undermining Ukrainian independence is naive at best and acutely dangerous at worst. When it comes to war and coups, there has always been bipartisan support in D.C. Until an alternative to corporate Party’s arise within the U.S., the endless carnage inflicted by corporate induced polices will remain indefinite and this is why the rest of the world needs to help average Americans in their quest to establish a viable alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.

    • RS
      June 16, 2022 at 16:34

      You’re right Mr. Luck. What bothers me is that this should be common knowledge. Under what rock does one find the American people? The death and destruction of numberless wars, the coups and attempted coups to topple legitimate governments, in the name of dem ocracy? Left or right ceases to have meaning.

    • Ed Nelson
      June 17, 2022 at 10:13

      There may not be much of a “left” in the US, but you must be totally nuts to say there is no “right” in the US. That is ALL that remains of our civil society. Our political struggles in the US are between the ultra (fascistic) Right and a more or less moderate Right that is generally referred to as the liberal left by the fascistic Right. Our politics in the US is the epitome of what unabated late-stage capitalism looks like, and it is fu*king ugly.

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