A lesson from Russia-Ukraine conflict: Don’t go along with U.S. provocations
By Global Times
The China-based Global Times published this interview with Sara Flounders April 14.
[Global Times] Editor’s Note: At the two ends of Eurasia, the U.S. has been provoking Russia through Ukraine and provoking China through the island of Taiwan. What lessons can the world draw from the Russia-Ukraine conflict? Does the U.S. want to provoke a war in the Taiwan Strait to contain China?
Sara Flounders, a political writer and activist for 50 years in the U.S., shared her thoughts in an interview with Global Times reporter Wang Wenwen. Flounders is a contributing editor of Workers World newspaper and helps coordinate the International Action Center and the United National Antiwar Coalition.
Global Times: The Russia-Ukraine conflict has dragged on for more than a year. What lessons can the world draw from this conflict?
Sara Flounders: Hopefully, they will draw the conclusion not to go along with U.S. provocations, intentional disruptions and efforts to create crisis.
Now, out of this war in the past year, Russia has not only survived economically; its currency and its trade with the Global South have been reinforced and are stronger today. However, for the European Union, they’re in a much weaker position. We shouldn’t forget that even though they are U.S. allies, they are also competitors. The euro is now weaker than the dollar. The war has benefited the U.S. and yet has been very harmful for all the EU countries that went along with the war.
I think countries around the world will draw their [own] conclusions. Do they want to be roped into this? Especially in Asia, who can U.S. imperialism rope in, in terms of their own sovereignty? Who can resist the U.S. pressure?
GT: Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen was in California and met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. While the U.S. contains Russia through the Ukraine war in Europe, does it also want to provoke a war in the Taiwan Strait to contain China?
SF: This meeting was a direct and intentional violation of signed agreements that the U.S. has made with China. China is one [country]— Taiwan is a province of China. This is agreed to by the world, by the United Nations, by the U.S. and by Taiwan’s “constitution.” For Kevin McCarthy to line up other congressional members and meet with Tsai Ing-wen is a direct violation of past agreements.
In the same way, Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last year was a direct and deliberate violation of the agreement. There’s no reason to do this, except to attempt to create provocations, to create further disruption of what had been an orderly process of reconciliation and of Taiwan becoming part of China, which is the wish for the great majority of the people, even in Taiwan.
China’s approach is to continue to use diplomacy to not be baited into an intentional provocation. However, it is becoming a difficult situation, because of one offense after another, one arms shipment after another. And U.S. aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, destroyers sail into the Taiwan Strait. These are all intended provocations, and any one of them could be a dangerous jumping-off point.
GT: The U.S. pursues hegemony by provoking conflicts. China promotes a human community with a shared future. What do the two differing governance concepts bring to the world?
SF: The very concept of a shared future and cooperation has a profound impact. It’s not threatening to other countries, and it has the win-win idea, meaning if your economy is growing and our economy is growing, that’s better for both of us. That’s the basis of building further and deeper trust.
The U.S. way of operating, from its very founding, has been ruthless competition. The U.S. is built on the African slave trade, the genocide of Indigenous people, the exploitation of workers and constant expansion. It must, as an economic system, a thoroughly capitalist system, expand or die. That is how they see it.
Corporate CEOs see now, they’re not expanding. That to them is death; and dangerous, because they can more easily literally envision the end of the world than the end of their own power, and they will risk a great deal. These are very ruthless people.
The U.S. and China have two systems. In China, the Communist Party of China is operating in the interests of the working people of China. It’s why China was able to solve its own problems and develop its economy.
The political parties in the U.S. operate in the interests of the top corporations and banks. And the top corporations are military industries, who pay the lobbyists and run the politicians. That’s where the loyalty is. You can’t even have antiwar politicians. They’re elected into office, and they will vote again and again for the military budget and go along with the wars, even if they’ve promised that they wouldn’t when they were running.
GT: What role does the Global South play in rejecting U.S. imperialism? What does this trend mean for the changing global geopolitics?
SF: It’s really quite incredible to see the refusal of all the countries of the Global South to go along with U.S. sanctions on Russia, and that they more actively sought to pursue trade in many different forms. It’s even clearer today. You can see it with the BRICS. You can see it with the agreement of Saudi Arabia and Iran. U.S. policy has always been to set countries, particularly these two countries in the Middle East, against each other. And instead they found this is a danger to both of them. They try to normalize relations and not go along.
De-dollarization has become a fact. That’s a huge change, because the U.S. dollar has been the basis of all trade for decades. These changes are coming so quickly, and it’s hard to even put them all together. In the past, to meet with the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, it was a surrender of sovereignty for many countries. You have to prove what industries you would lay at the feet of the U.S., what would be privatized, what you’re turning over to them. Entirely different agreements are being reached now.
So I think the term being increasingly used by so many is the emergence of a multipolar world — that is a reality. Will the world operate in the interests of a tiny handful of multibillionaires? Or will there be new forms of trade, exchange and development, that benefit the world and its billions of people, which are respectful of the many differences that do still exist?
U.S. hegemony is declining. It’s a very dangerous juncture, because this is very threatening to U.S. imperialism, and we have to be prepared for what they will do to try to preserve their role. Our interests are one with the people of the world for peace, for development, for reconciliation and not for corporate profit.