The West Is In Ukraine, a proxy war on the planet

by Aaron Mate, published on Substack, July 16, 2022

In 2015, one year after a US-backed coup ushered in a US-friendly, far-right-dominated government in Kiev, University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer issued a stark warning. “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path,” he said. “And the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked.”

Mearsheimer’s cause for concern was what he identified as a US-led campaign to convert Ukraine into a NATO proxy on Russia’s border. The events since have proved him to be both tragically prescient, and understated.

In using Ukraine to “fight Russia over there“, as Adam Schiff put it in January 2020, the US has not only sacrificed countless Ukrainian lives. Four months into Russia’s invasion, the Biden administration is signaling its willingness to sacrifice the rest of the planet, particularly the most vulnerable areas.

In an article headlined “Ukraine War Pushes Millions of the World’s Poorest Toward Starvation,” the Wall Street Journal summarizes the impact of the Ukraine war on global hunger:

The World Food Program says that increases in the cost of food and fuel since March have pushed an additional 47 million people into acute food insecurity, when a person is no longer able to consume enough calories to sustain her life and livelihood, taking the total to 345 million people world-wide. Of those, some 50 million are living on the edge of famine.

In the energy crisis that has followed Russia’s invasion, the New York Times adds, “the poorest and most vulnerable” have felt “the harshest effects.” In Asia and Africa, the International Energy Agency recently warned that “higher energy prices have meant an additional 90 million people in Asia and Africa do not have access to electricity.

By invading Ukraine rather than exhausting all diplomatic solutions, Russia bears obvious responsibility for the crisis. Ukraine’s grain exports, which feed multiple countries, have plummeted. Russia has denied blocking Ukrainian grain, instead faulting Kiev’s extensive mining of its Black Sea ports. Ukraine has refused to de-mine those ports on self-defense grounds, claiming that doing so could invite further Russian incursions. Turkey, which has been brokering talks between the two sides, has just announced a pending deal to break the impasse.

But even if the Turkey-backed deal is implemented, a major cause of the food crisis will remain. The US-led sanctions regime against Russia has blocked international payments for Russian goods and necessary export licenses, including food shipments. As the New York Times notes,

“[s]oaring fertilizer prices, driven by sanctions on Russia and Belarus, along with high global energy prices, are broadening the scope of food shortages by making it more expensive to produce and transport food around the world.”

The head of the African Union, Macky Sall, has linked US sanctions to the continent’s food shortages. “Anti-Russia sanctions have made this situation worse and now we do not have access to grain from Russia, primarily to wheat,” Sall warned in June.

“And, most importantly, we do not have access to fertilizer. The situation was bad and now it has become worse, creating a threat to food security in Africa.”

Rather than seek a diplomatic solution in Ukraine that could end the war and its worldwide deprivations, the US has shunned talks with Russia and made clear that it is even willing to tolerate global starvation.

Citing interviews with the White House, the Washington Post reports that Biden

“officials have described the stakes of ensuring Russia cannot swallow up Ukraine — an outcome officials believe could embolden Putin to invade other neighbors or even strike out at NATO members —as so high that the administration is willing to countenance even a global recession and mounting hunger.” (emphasis added)

Left unquestioned is why a group of officials in Washington have arrogated themselves the right to “countenance” a global recession and mounting hunger – including pushing millions toward famine — on behalf of the rest of the planet.

*Featured Image: (Marine Corps Cpl. Jailine Alicea-Santiago /

Aaron Maté is a  journalist and a reporter for The Grayzone.  He hosts the show Pushback with Aaron Maté on The Grayzone and as of January 2022 fills in as a host on the Useful Idiots podcast.  Aaron offers a 7 day free trial reading his Substack.

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