The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Using Ukraine to Set the World to War

May 1, 2023

What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters during the week of April 24, 2023.

Leaks of classified U.S. military documents on social media confirm that the U.S. and NATO provided almost everything Ukraine needed to keep its side of the war going. And from the beginning.

The U.S. Congress committed 115 billion dollars to Ukraine. The U.S. military funneled tons of high tech weapons into Ukraine. It trained Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them. It kept munitions flooding into the battle. It provided military intelligence used to target Russian forces. It sent advisers to direct the Ukrainian army and fascist nationalists who made up Ukraine’s deadliest units. It did everything but supply the actual cannon fodder, the ones who fight and die.

But even now, some of the U.S. military’s advanced forces sit just miles away from this war. A brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division trains in Poland; another from the 101st Airborne Division is deployed in Romania. All told, counting support units attached to these brigades, 22,000 American troops sit on the edge of the battlefield, available to be in this war as soon as the order comes down.

What is the U.S. interest in Ukraine? In the immediate sense, the U.S. is continuing a policy it has had ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It has been dividing up the various republics that once made up the only country strong enough to counter U.S. influence in the world. It swept up countries of Eastern Europe into NATO’s fold, offering them arms and trade at “a very good price.” It brought in some of the old Soviet Republics. It worked systematically to isolate Russia, the strongest part of the old Soviet Union. Through NATO, it approached Ukraine, the one republic to which Russia was the most linked.

Putin responded in a monstrous way to U.S. imperialism’s invitation to Ukraine. He launched missiles and tanks into Ukraine.

But U.S. imperialism had been preparing for this confrontation for a long time. U.S. leaders knew they were playing a deadly game—but they were gambling with the lives of Ukrainians who would soon be plunged into war, and with the lives of Russian soldiers who would be sent into Ukraine.

U.S. imperialism’s immediate aim in this war is to keep it going so as to weaken Russia.

But behind the immediate U.S. objective lies a deeper one—that is, to prepare for the much wider war that the military and government heads of the big powers know is coming.

In Ukraine, the U.S. Pentagon is testing its armored vehicles, its cannons, its command structure, communications network, intelligence systems—in order to upgrade everything. It used the war to get rid of old weapons and ammunition, placing enormous orders with its war industry not only to replace weapons sent to Ukraine, but to build a bigger military, at the population’s expense.

The Ukrainian war has allowed the U.S. and major European governments to transform their economies into “war economies.” And, in carrying out propaganda for Ukraine in this war, they are working to enlist the support of their own populations for the wars that are to come.

The root cause of this war—and of the wars to come after it—does not lie with Russia or Ukraine. It lies with the ongoing economic crisis of the world capitalist system. The economy stumbles along from bank failure to severe recession to sudden outbreak of inflation, to corporate and city bankruptcies. The ruling circles of the capitalist world try to patch it up, but they can’t put it right.

The only thing they found to save their economy from immediate collapse is an enormous—and ever increasing—amount of military spending. In only a few years, military spending doubled. The only force that has the capacity to stop this drive to a wider war, to a new world war, is the working class. Today, most working people are not conscious of what their class can do, and they are not organized as a class even to defend themselves on the issues right in front of them.

But those of us who want to see an end to constant war, and all the ills of capitalist society, have only one road we can take. We must work to develop the organization of the working class.