The Pope calls for an end to the fighting and the Stop the War campaign tells us to stop the war. Pope Francis wants take his appeal directly to Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox church. But he may have to wait a long time for a response from the Kremlin to pious appeals for peace that ignore the root causes of the conflict.
To be fair the Pope did speak of an “anger” in the Kremlin which could have been “facilitated” by “the barking of NATO at Russia’s door”. But the Vatican has not addressed the central issue of the right of the peoples of the Donbas to self-determination.
The Stop the War movement shamefully takes an even weaker position demanding the “withdrawal of Russian troops, an end to the military escalation by the NATO countries and for all efforts to be focused on finding a negotiated solution to this terrible war” which is more or less what NATO wants as well.
The conflict in Ukraine has rightly heightened fears of escalation that could take Europe and possibly the world to the brink of nuclear war. But the cause of peace is not helped by those in the anti-war movement who blame the Russians for the crisis, ignore the legitimate demands of the people of the Donbas and fail to recognise that this war began in 2014 when the legitimate Ukrainian government was overthrown by fascist gangs supported by Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism.
The hidden hand is always at work amongst the fake left within the labour and anti-war movement who essentially argue that peace is only attainable on imperialist terms. These sinister forces have long acted as cheer-leaders for NATO and neo-colonialism.
They serve the war party within the United States –the most venal and aggressive sections of the American ruling class that seek to dominate the entire world in the name of “globalisation” and the “new world order”.
Some Americans call them them “deep state” – the war lobby that cuts across all party, regional or religious divides to serve the interests of the big corporations and finance houses of American imperialism.
We must be clear on this. The call for an unconditional Russian withdrawal from Ukraine is just the demand of US imperialism and its lackeys. It would not bring peace but simply leave the anti-fascist Ukrainians and the people of the Donbas to the tender mercies of the Azov brigade and the other Nazi militias of the Kiev regime. Needless to say it doesn’t provide a serious basis for any peace talks and it’s not going to happen – full stop.
Now, more than ever, is the time for a clear call from the anti-war movement for an end to the fighting and a just and lasting peace in eastern Europe. This can only come with a neutral and de-Nazified Ukraine that recognises the independence of the Donbas republics, Crimea’s decision to join the Russian Federation and equal rights for all the people of the regions of the Ukraine.