In recent months, the armed forces of Ukraine has been waging a successful counter-offensive against Russian occupied territories in both the country's East and South, routing the badly demoralized Russian troops, and liberating an increasing number of Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages. To compensate for these battlefield loses, Putin has quickly annexed four additional Ukrainian Oblasts, including territory Russia doesn't occupy, as well as territory it's losing. He also could use a ceasefire right about now. So, he's calling for negotiations on his terms—acceptance of the Russian annexations—and threatening to go nuclear if he doesn't get his way.
After Russia claimed a truck bomb coming out of Russia damaged the Kerch Bridge on Saturday, Putin used that as an excuse to target dozens of Ukrainian cities with missile attacks. This is the context in which Democracy Now began today's segment on Ukraine with its core complaint:
The Biden administration has ruled out the idea of pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia to end the war...
Amy Goodman lost no time in revealing her propaganda bias by uncritically quoting Putin calling the destruction of a key part of his military supply-line a "terrorist act," but failing to quote the dozens of prominent people that have called out Putin's massive terror campaign against Ukraine for what it is. Then, to seal the deal, she brings on Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies of Code Pink. They have a long history of promoting the Kremlin's outward-facing narrative on Ukraine.
They play a video in which Biden makes clear his position on negotiations with Putin about Ukraine, "Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine." I take this to mean, he won't go behind Ukraine's back, and make a deal with Russia about Ukraine without Ukraine, the way the imperialists always do, the Sykes-Picot way! I think that is the proper position for the United States to take. We should support Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion, including with weapons—that is our internationalist humanitarian duty—but we shouldn't be telling them how to fight, what to settle for, and certainly not when to give up. The Vietnamese had to fight for thirty years—against the Japanese, the French, and finally the Americans, but they won their independence! DN is so opposed to this stance, they get it backwards in their transcript ( "nothing about Ukraine with Ukraine" ) I had to roll the tape again to make sure I heard it right the first time:
"Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine"
Goodman goes on, "Despite Biden’s comments, there are growing calls for the U.S. to push for negotiations." Like, from Democracy Now and Code Pink, and other prominent members of this "peace" caucus, for example. What they don't say out loud is that if Zelensky continues to win victories, and refuses to meet Putin's tyrannical terms of negotiation, including Ukrainian recognition of the newly annexed "Russian" territory, and Crimea, they think Biden should make a unilateral deal with Putin, and enforce it by cutting off support to Ukraine. You see, things just aren't working out all that well for Putin on the battlefield. He needs their help.
It's a strange thing to see so-called anti-imperialists demand that an imperialist country bully an oppressed nation into submitting to its will.
It's easy enough to understand why Henry Kissinger, Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, and the other overt right-wing cheerleaders of imperialism take this position, but Democracy Now and Code Pink are suppose to be Left voices.
Benjamin peddles her new book promoting Putin's narrative: western-back coup in 2014, Nazis attacked Donbas, Crimea was a mistake, NATO expansion, etc., etc., all the way up to the current fable about Boris Johnson and the "torpedoed" negotiations. Never mind all the fables about Nazis running Ukraine, or the allegiances of the Russian speakers, have been disproved by the realities on the ground. Just as is the notion that Putin has been motivated by fear of NATO invasion. If he really feared that, he never would have committed so much of Russia's reserves to subjugating Ukraine.
It's that goal of subjugating and erasing Ukraine from existence that the Code Pink - Democracy Now "anti-imperialists" want desperately to hide from view. They ignore all of Putin's speeches and writings that claim Ukraine has no right to exist. Ukraine was Lenin's creation and Lenin's mistake. Ukraine was created on stolen Russian land, etc., etc. All of that amount to arguments for genocide, which explains why Putin takes down the Ukraine flag, and puts up the Russian one wherever he can, why he deports, and puts Ukrainian children up for adoption to Russian parents, why he is removing Ukraine from Russian history, and why he has no problem slaughtering Ukrainians en masse. These so-called peace activists hide all that and try to sell us the Kremlin front page that they were "forced" to do these things to Ukraine because of Nazis inside of Ukraine, and NATO expansion outside of Ukraine. They've even written a whole book about it, and if you try to follow their logic, it is, indeed, a senseless conflict.
Finally, Medea Benjamin says what they're all implying, that Ukraine must be forced to allow parts of Ukraine to to be converted to Russia:
So, I don’t think that it is realistic to think that there is going to be a clear victory by the Ukrainians that are going to be able to get back every inch of territory like they’re now saying, including Crimea and all of Donbas. There has to be compromises on both sides.
Is the Russian compromise not getting all of Ukraine, while the Ukrainian compromise is not keeping all of Ukraine? Somehow, that doesn't seem fair. It's like the courts allowing the thief to keep half of what he stole from you in the name of "compromise." Putin's goal for Ukraine is nothing short of genocide. What compromise would Medea Benjamin have them make with genocide? How many Ukrainians is she willing to surrender? Those demanding such a "compromise" must stop claiming they are fighting for social justice.
So, that's the situation. Russia is losing the territory its trying to steal from Ukraine. It's trying to force more Russian conscripts into its trenches, in the hope that more cannon fodder can turn things around. In the meantime, it badly needs a timeout, or ceasefire, NOW! It needs a cut-off of weapons and support to Ukraine, and it badly needs the other imperialist powers to united around a "compromise" that gives it the pieces of Ukraine it's having a problem stealing outright.