109) The bad guys behind The Bad Guy: Or, How the West started this War

The thing that I wish our media talked about more often, and that we discussed more openly amongst ourselves, is how our governments are complicit in causing things like this war against Ukraine. There is a history here, leading back to the oh-so-celebrated “End of the Cold War”, which I remember clearly as I neared the end of high school.

But the facts of our own nations’ behaviour after this celebrated end, have been ignored, forgotten, or perhaps suppressed; I don’t know. Perhaps we are too happy to believe we’re the Good Guys and Evil Commie Russia is the Bad Guy.

But no, at the end of the Cold War, and repeatedly since then, it is us — NATO allies — who have been “bad guys”. At least, it sure does look that way, if you were to stop for a moment and take a Russian perspective.

For example, immediately upon the Cold War ending and Russia reaching out to us for a new alliance, we said no, screw you, and also we’re going to expand into Eastern Europe just as fast as we can. Yeah, yeah, we know we promised we would not expand NATO, “not one inch eastward”, but hehe, we didn’t really mean it. Sorry/not sorry.

We then broke our treaties to not militarize near the Russian border. We then interfered with Ukraine’s democracy, supporting a coup that replaced a leader who favoured Russian interests with one who favoured NATO’s. And say what you will about those two respective leaders, but from Russia’s perspective, it sure as hell would look like the CIA just waltzes in and takes over countries whenever it wants, pitting them against Russia in order, basically, to prop up the West’s grotesque military-industrial economy.

And, it is noteworthy, to say the least, that it has been the United States, primarily, who has backed out of their international commitments to nuclear arms de-escalation and non-proliferation. It’s been the United States taking the lead on R&D into next-generation nuclear and mini-nuke weapons. Etc….

Now, don’t get me wrong. Putin is, in the proximal sense of what’s happening right now in Ukraine, the bad guy. He’s the one throwing the first punch in the schoolyard, so to speak. But we, Canada, the US, and our NATO allies, are the bullies who picked on that kid until they threw that punch.

Again, not saying Putin is some innocent kid; my analogy certainly doesn’t go that far; Putin is far from innocent. But my point is, neither are we, and pointing fingers at an aggressor, without acknowledging our own provocation of this aggressor, is simply lying to ourselves. It’s avoiding taking responsibility. It’s being weak, hypocritical, and ultimately, it will prevent us from truly moving forward into a peaceful future.

So in my opinion, while condemning Putin and while supporting Ukraine, we also must look at our own hypocrisy and lying, as nations, and realize how many of the causal factors that led to this horrible war, were set in motion by us.

And why? As always…. $$$.

NOTE: If this is a history you don’t know, this article is an excellent, succinct, starting point. All the best —


  3 comments for “109) The bad guys behind The Bad Guy: Or, How the West started this War

  1. Paul Boychuk
    March 1, 2022 at 3:46 am

    I am speaking as a former student and Ukrainian.

    You are paying lip service to propaganda originating from a totalitarian state that is currently committing war crimes in my country.

    You have absolutely lost your mind. What a shame.

    • dandolderman
      March 1, 2022 at 1:30 pm

      No sir, this is Noam Chomsky’s and Chris Hedges’ argument, from whom I have gotten this perspective. Now if you believe Noam Chomsky has lost his mind and is parroting propaganda, then that’s the argument you will have to make here.

      And yes, what is happening in your country right now is an atrocity, absolutely a crime against humanity, and that should never be overlooked or put in the background, as one discusses larger sets of issues around it. I’m sorry if in any way my words gave you the impression that Putin is somehow less to blame. He’s absolutely, 100% to blame, as I see things. None of this “culpability of the West” argument lets Putin off the hook in the slightest. I felt this was clear in my essay, but I can appreciate it may not have come across that way to you.

      The point I was trying to make was simply that there is a larger web of causal factors at work in the perpetuation of war, and every conflict, occupation, or act of aggression from one nation to another is caught up in this web. If we want to solve the problem of war, we have to look at the entire web, and that includes our own contributions.

      I know this is difficult to talk about, and I am also learning-on-the-fly how to do this better. I see it kind of like an abusive relationship, large scale. And in an abusive relationship, even though it is the abuser’s fault, ultimately, and their actions have to be dealt with, there is also, always, a larger context at work. The abuser has a past; they have a set of stress impinging on them; they have their own construction of meaning and way of seeing things. And so, unless you want to regress to mere punishment as the deterrent to the “bad guys” of the world doing their terrible things, you have to figure out instead, the larger situation, which includes their perspective, which then includes your own contribution to their perspective.

      I mean, in the simplest sense, it’s like arguing how it would be pretty damn hard for countries to engage in high-tech wars, if we didn’t have a high-tech weapons industry that made gazillion$$$ shipping high-tech weaponry all over the bloody planet. It’s simple, but it’s true. So a country, like Canada, that supplies military equipment through contracts to other countries, and with Canadian companies as part of multinational corporations that do the same, then you can’t really say Canada is “working for peace”, when at the same time we’re “working for war”.

      In the case of Russia, the whole argument about NATO expanding, the “one inch East” reference, the Russian concern that American meddling in the governments of other countries meant, essentially, that other countries were being weaponized as American puppets against Russian security and interests, and the other pieces of this historical record, are just that — historical record. NONE of that justifies or in any way remotely condones Putin’s insanity here. But if we want to move the world towards peace, rather than temporary peace generally broken when a superpower decides it’s not getting its way, then we need to deal with this full complexity.

      In closing, I hope this war ends, immediately, that Russia backs down, that somehow dialogue evolves and the relevant issues are worked out. Anything else is abhorrent and unacceptable, I hope, to the global community. These acts of aggression simply cannot be tolerated; other means of negotiation must, I think at this point in humanity’s history, be forced by the rest of the global community uniting. It IS heartening to see this happening. I would argue, and I’m sure you would agree, that it’s not happening to the severity it needs to, but that doesn’t deny the fact that the world IS standing up for Ukraine, and escalating their use of economic, diplomatic and military-short-of-direct-involvement mechanisms quickly. Hopefully this paralyzes Russia and this ends. Hopefully China continues to withdraw their support. Hopefully the rest of the world stays united.

      And hopefully, this catalyzes a shift in global relations, revitalizing a United Nations type of approach to global governance, so that we can legitimately move towards de-militarizing the world. But first, before any of that can happen, Ukraine must remain free, Russia must withdraw, the world must stand against them. I don’t see any other option, for this conflict. It is profoundly wrong to let Putin’s actions stand.

      Thank you for your note. I would suggest you may have been misunderstanding what I was arguing, or I may have been unclear in the intent behind my argument. I’m not sure. I hope this clears it up a bit though. All the best to you.

    • dandolderman
      March 3, 2022 at 12:33 pm

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