[pjw] UPDATES: India's neutral vote, Sunday rally facebook link

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Mar 1 19:33:11 EST 2022

Hi again

I'm not going to get into some of the hypocritical warmongering and name 
calling I've been seeing in some mainstream outlets right now, but was 
interested to read the opinion piece below from a diplomat from India. 
They indicate that resolutions of condemnation are not helpful to get to 
ceasefires and negotiations. They also call out the US for its 
belligerence against Iraq. This is all to explain why they were one of the 
countries on the Security Council to abstain on the vote the other day.

By the way, the General Assembly appears to still be holding an ongoing 
meeting to discuss the war. Apparently the US created a "Uniting for 
Peace" emergency session protocol in the 1950s to get around Russia (the 
USSR) vetoing Security Council resolutions on Korea. Which of course leads 
me to wonder whether any of those proposed resolutions were against the US 
actions in Korea...


Meanwhile, the VFP event thus Sunday at noon at Pioneer Courthouse Square 
I sent info about the other day has a facebook page:


The page is called "All Out For an End to War and Imperialism" and the 
graphic (which I think is from the international movement) says "Stop the 
War in Ukraine! Troops Out! No to Nato Expansion." That graphic provides 
the link

There you can see the description that says:

Join our Global Day of Action: Sunday, March 6th, 2022
Stop the War in Ukraine. Russian Troops Out. No to NATO expansion.

An international anti-war zoom meeting on February 26 attended by 
thousands and organized by CODEPINK, Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign 
for Nuclear Disarmament and the No To NATO network agreed to an 
international day of anti-war action on Sunday, March 6. We call on 
everyone who opposes this war to take to the streets on March 6 in a 
massive display of global opposition to the war and the warmongers. The 
war in Ukraine is a disaster for the people of Ukraine and a terrible 
threat to us all, including increasing the danger of nuclear war. We 
oppose the Russian invasion and call for the immediate withdrawal of all 
Russian troops. We recognize that the expansion of NATO and the aggressive 
approach of Western states have helped cause the crisis and we demand an 
end to NATO expansion. We also oppose sanctions that will harm ordinary 
Russians and call on all countries to welcome refugees fleeing the war.

There have already been many anti-war demonstrations in Russia and many 
other countries. What we need now is a massive, unified response by 
peace-loving people around the world to say No to War in Ukraine; Yes to 
Negotiations and Peace.

That's all for now, enjoy this op-ed.

dan handelman
peace and justice works

Russia's war in Ukraine: How India's UN Security Council vote was pragmatic
  March 1, 2022 PS Raghavan

    After months of tense drama over the massing of Russian troops on
    Ukraine's border, President Vladimir Putin launched a "special military
    operation" in that country. He defined its objectives as
    "demilitarising" and "de-Nazifying" that country. The first objective
    translated to dismantling or destroying military capacities allegedly
    established by NATO. The second, more nebulous, apparently meant
    ridding the country of "neo-Nazi" Russophobes, who have allegedly
    discriminated against and grossly ill-treated (he has called it
    genocide) ethnic Russians in Ukraine. This war has already caused
    civilian deaths and mass displacement, and the Russians have not made
    the rapid military progress they expected.

    A resolution, condemning the Russian invasion, did not pass in the
    recent emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council,
    because Russia exercised its veto. At the meeting, India stressed the
    importance of sovereignty and territorial integrity and urged a return
    to diplomacy and dialogue, but abstained in the vote. This has drawn
    criticism from some quarters at home and abroad, for sacrificing
    morality and legality at the altar of pragmatism.

    Putting aside, for a moment, questions of morality, legality and
    pragmatism, the issues at stake are worth reviewing.

    Ironically, the first act of this drama commenced with a meeting
    between the Presidents of the US and Russia in June last year, when
    they agreed to work for "stable and predictable" bilateral relations.
    After seven years of Cold War-like acrimony, involving confrontation --
    directly or through proxies -- across geographies in Europe and Asia,
    this foreshadowed a calibration of US policy. President Joe Biden
    signalled that the US would like to shift its foreign policy focus to
    the strategic challenges posed by China. This meant cooperating with
    Russia to resolve global problems -- Ukraine, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen
    and Afghanistan were a few on a long list.

    Russia appreciated this outreach, since the standoff with the US and
    Europe had increased its dependence on China, constrained the flows of
    investments and technologies from Europe, and forced it into an
    expensive militarisation programme, in response to the NATO arms
    build-up along its land and maritime periphery. But President Putin
    also indicated that Russia's security concerns about NATO's actions and
    strategic posture need to be addressed, for the cooperation to be

    There were bilateral discussions on these concerns in the months
    following the June summit. Despite the usual posturing on both sides,
    reasonable progress was seemingly being made on measures for Russia and
    NATO to moderate their strategic postures -- reducing the range and
    lethality of weapons systems aimed at each other, moratoriums on
    missile deployments and other confidence-building measures.

    But the core issue of Ukraine remained unresolved. From the security
    point of view, the porous Russia-Ukraine border is militarily
    vulnerable; over the centuries, it has been the route of invasions into
    Russia from the West. From a strategic perspective, the Crimean Black
    Sea port of Sevastopol houses Russia's naval fleet. It is Russia's only
    all-weather port -- an essential asset for projection of maritime
    power. Russia could not, therefore, countenance the possibility of
    Ukraine joining NATO or of NATO military installations in Ukraine.

    US pressure on NATO in 2008 to recognise Ukraine's membership
    aspirations and its encouragement for a change of government in Kyiv in
    2014, provoked the first Russian intervention in Ukraine when it
    stage-managed a referendum, after which Crimea (which has a majority of
    Russian-speaking people) acceded to Russia. Separatist groups captured
    territories in eastern Ukraine (Donbas), which are also dominated by
    Russian-speakers, and declared two independent republics.

    France and Germany brokered a peace agreement -- the Minsk accords --
    which provided for special autonomy for this region. Ukraine has been
    unhappy with this outcome. The US (and some European countries)
    supported its efforts to reinterpret the terms of the accords. In
    bilateral discussions after the June summit, the US reportedly
    indicated to Russia that it would now support the full implementation
    of the Minsk accords. Nevertheless, progress was not made. This may
    have convinced Putin that negotiations would not deliver the
    satisfaction of Russia's demands on this matter.

    The US and its NATO allies have announced a strong slate of sanctions
    on trade and other financial transactions with Russia. They may have a
    devastating impact on the Russian economy in the long run, but will
    also immediately hurt Western economies, because of their dependence on
    Russian oil and gas. Europe imports about 40 per cent of its gas and a
    quarter of its oil from Russia. A diversification of supplies can only
    be a medium-term enterprise. There will be pressure on India to join
    the sanctions, reversing its stand that it only recognizes sanctions
    collectively authorized by the UN. If the Russian actions continue for
    much longer, this pressure will become stronger. Even otherwise, since
    there will be restrictions on transfers of major currencies -- dollar,
    euro and yen -- financial transactions with Russia will have to be
    structured differently.

    We already have experience with this, since some form of these
    sanctions have already existed since 2014. India's defence cooperation
    with Russia will come under pressure, with intensified threats of the
    US legislation, CAATSA, which provides for sanctions on any company
    entering into a major defence transaction with Russia. India will have
    to walk very carefully on this tight rope. Of course, all these
    sanctions have a lead period for coming into force. If hostilities
    cease and an agreement is reached before then, these disruptions could
    be averted.

    Returning to the question of morality and legality, there can be no two
    views that the Russian action is a contravention of international law.
    This war, by whatever name, cannot be described as moral, whatever the
    given justification. At the same time, two points should be noted.
    Every major power -- contemporary and in history -- has had no
    compunction about embarking on immoral and illegal action, when it
    believes it is in its national interest or that its security is at
    stake. To quote one example, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 on
    what turned out to be a false allegation of weapons of mass destruction
    there, resulting in major damage to life and property. Then too, India
    resisted pressures to condemn the US action. Our Parliament's
    resolution criticised it but stopped short of condemning it.

    The second point is about foreign countries telling us that calling for
    restraint from both sides is unacceptable because it equates the
    aggressor with the victim. This is so, but Indian diplomats remember
    that this is precisely how many powers reacted in the past when
    Pakistan carried out major cross-border terrorist acts in India.
    Pakistan's assistance was important to them in the "war on terror", and
    so they were careful about criticising it. They should now understand
    the same logic of pragmatism in India's vote in the Security Council.

    This crisis is not of India's making. Though an invasion is an extreme
    act, the actions of all the stakeholders over the years have created
    this situation of breakdown of diplomacy. India has excellent relations
    with all the actors in this tragic drama: The US, Russia, European
    countries and Ukraine. It can only urge them to return to the sanity of
    mutual accommodation, as it did at the UN. Condemning one to please the
    others does not achieve anything. Whatever the contours of resolution
    of this war, the mutuality of India's interests with all these partners
    will remain important.

    The writer is a former Ambassador to Russia, now Distinguished Fellow,
    Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi. Views expressed are

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