Home World Russia-Ukraine conflict: Bush, Putin, and Newton’s Third Law

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Bush, Putin, and Newton’s Third Law

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Bush, Putin, and Newton's Third Law

To every action there is a reaction”, would be the synthesis of Newton’s third law. This law of classical physics is fundamental in the social and political dynamics of peoples, with the difference that reaction is never proportional to action. If we add the golden rule of diplomacy and the oldest moral law of humanity (“Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you”), we will have the explanation of many phenomena throughout history and throughout the world. Present.

To begin, let’s take just one item, the rhetorical one, about the two major military interventions of the last generation: the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, March 17, 2003, from the Cross Hall of the White House, the then US president delivered a speech justifying the massive invasion of Iraq. A month earlier, from Spain, we published articles taking this invasion for granted and the subsequent bogging down in the chaos of the Middle East. At the time we thought the speech was a blatant lie. Today, after the recognition of its falsehood, both by President Bush and by his squire, President Aznar, it is clear that everything was a fabrication. As clear as it is it is almost impossible to find an American who is aware of these facts.

The speech said:

“For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have made patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without starting a war (but) have failed time and time again.” In reality, the UN inspectors only failed in their search for weapons of mass destruction.

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal some of the deadliest weapons ever invented (…) The regime has a history of aggression in the Middle East and has a deep hatred of the United States. United and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including Al Qaeda operatives.” We all know that it was the CIA that helped and trained Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Saddam Hussein was an enemy of bin Laden. We also knew that the regime’s “history of aggression” was sustained by Washington and even with biological weapons sold by Europe in the 1980s and with the approval of Ronald Reagan.

“The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve this threat.” sure not. Now, “all the decades of deception and cruelty have come to an end. Saddam Hussein and his children must leave Iraq in 48 hours. His refusal to do so will lead to a military conflict, beginning at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign citizens, including journalists and inspectors, must leave Iraq immediately (…) The military campaign will be directed against the lawless men who rule their country and not against the Iraqi people (…) We ask you to the Iraqi armed forces to act with honor and protect their country by allowing the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. (…) War criminals will be punished. And it will not be a defense to say ‘he was just following orders’”. Obviously, war crimes in Iraq have never been punished nor will they be, as in so many other countries invaded by superpowers.

“We will continue to take more measures to protect our homeland. Our enemies would fail. None of your actions can alter the course or change the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people (…) If our enemies dare to attack us, they will face terrible consequences. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe that the Iraqi people deserve and are capable of being free. And when the dictator is gone, they can set an example to the entire Middle East of a vital, peaceful, self-governing nation. The United States, with other countries, will work to promote freedom and peace in that region.”

On February 23, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to launch “a special military operation” to defend a breakaway province of Ukraine.

“I have made the decision to carry out a special military operation to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. To this end, we will strive to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. And also to bring to justice those who have committed numerous bloody crimes against the civilian population, including citizens of the Russian Federation. Russia cannot exist with a constant threat emanating from Ukrainian territory. We have no other option.”

To make it more similar to Bush’s speech, as if it were a deliberate rhetorical device:

“Today’s events are not related to the desire to undermine the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, but to protect Russia from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our people.” It is about “a right to defense against the threats of a misfortune even greater than the current one. Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories, we are not going to impose anything on anyone by force. Our policy is based on freedom (…) It is important that all peoples living on the territory of today’s Ukraine are able to exercise this right: the right to choose freely.”

For enemies who dare to attack, Putin, like Bush, warns that they will face dire consequences:

“A direct attack on Russia would lead to defeat and dire consequences for the potential aggressor (…) Not a single day goes by without shelling the towns of Donbass (…) The killing of civilians does not stop, nor does the harassment of people, including children, women, and the elderly (…) They have left us no other opportunity to protect Russia, our people, except the one we will be forced to use today.”

The two speeches that start both military interventions are almost a copy. This may have been deliberate on Moscow’s part, but it is clearly a crucial diplomatic and military reaction. Washington’s arrogance in not stopping the expansion of NATO, against the commitment made decades earlier and repeatedly violated, has crashed into the Russian wall (better said, “Sino-Russian”).

Putin is too smart for the leaders of the West. On the other hand, he is at the breaking point of the overwhelming influence of NATO and its landing. The examples of military inefficiency of the most expensive army in history (the United States invests as much as the first ten countries in the world) are endless. From the expansion wars of the 19th century, through the banana wars and all the invasions of the Cold War, tiny or poor countries have always been invaded or intervened. Even so, he was defeated in Cuba, in Vietnam and, more recently, in Afghanistan. Now, in the face of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine, Washington withdrew its military presence in Ukraine. Well, that’s what they were for, to intimidate.

Even if Putin withdraws from Ukraine, even if he keeps a part of it or invents a new country, he will be the inevitable winner in this dispute. Kim Jong-un had already learned the lesson after Saddam Hussein was hanged: the only argument hegemonic powers listen to is atomic bombs.

Sadly, it’s that simple, and that’s another reaction to a long-running action by Washington.

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