Ukraine: Crossing the Rubicon - Necropolitics & the Journey of No Return
Almost everywhere the law of blood, the law of the talion, and the duty to one's race--the two supplements of atavistic nationalism--are resurfacing. Nearly everywhere the political order is reconstituting itself as a form of organization for death. Little by little, a terror that is molecular in essence and allegedly defensive is seeking legitimation by blurring the relations between violence, murder, and the law, faith, commandment, and obedience, the norm and the exception, and even freedom, tracking, and security."
For the ruling elites of international capital, Russia's invasion of Ukraine imposes novel if not insurmountable difficulties in rebalancing the planets attenuated geo-strategic equilibrium. Europe has been dislodged from its axis. The profound sense of dread and historical memory hovering over the continent emanates from an uneasy consensus that this conflict has crossed the Rubicon.
The unfolding 'great-power' genocide at the center of Europe appears to offer no possible return to the status quo ante. Nor is it clear where this crisis is going or how it arrives at its terminus. Thus, the crisis has set the whole of Europe in motion to reassess its security arrangements.
Since Westphalian principles were adopted in 1648 to end the Thirty Years War, its mantra of sovereignty over one's territory and domestic affairs free from external interference have been severely tested and repeatedly found wanting. In this regard, European history has taught us two critical lessons.
First, that Europe continues to be obsessed with authoritarian and fascist public spaces. The confluence of declining American Empire, Russian irredentism, China's global assertiveness, and Arab Spring refugee's flooding across Global North, enticed several European countries to embrace authoritarian exception and nostalgia for atavistic white ethno-nationalism. This retrograde ideological stream was largely sanctioned by a reevaluation of Medieval Christian, pagan Nordic and Celtic religious beliefs. The revival of the white nationalist contagion served as an invaluable fifth column for Putin in Western Europe and Trump's Cathedral movement in the U.S.
Second, and more importantly: European nation-states cannot flourish or survive on their own without becoming empires or advancing their national interests by joining larger empires. The phenomenon of the sovereign nation-state in Europe is largely a myth.
It comes as no surprise then, that since winning independence in 1992, as a result of the Soviet Union's dissolution, Ukraine emerged as a contested space between the US/EU bloc and Russia. While the U.S. and E.U. states pretend their participation in "democratic" international institutions of economic and political integration no longer makes them members of empire, it is a specious claim whose base alloy is hypocrisy.
Putin viewed the USSR's breakup as the greatest catastrophe to befall Russia. The resurrection the Soviet Empire under the banner of 'Eurasianism,' remains his legacy issue. Putin described his place in Russian history in 2012, as lord-redeemer of the Medieval "Keivan Rus" federation, created by Grand Prince "Volodymyr.' It was Volodymyr's conversion to Christianity in 988, that united Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia into a ruling power from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea.
Simply stated, Putin's position on Ukraine holds that Russia with a subordinate Ukraine is an empire: Russia without Ukraine is merely a country. A NATO/US presence on the Russian/Ukraine border therefore constitutes a grave if not existential threat Putin will resist by all means necessary.
Accordingly, after Putin's 2014 invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea and seizing Eastern Ukraine's Donbas and Luhansk regions, a second invasion was inevitable. It was simply a matter of time, opportunity, and ultimately the green light from Chinese ruler Xi Jinping.
Equally unsettling as the mounting war crimes visited on Ukraine, is Putin's justification that "Russians and Ukrainians are one people – a single whole," and that "Ukraine has never had its own authentic statehood."
European countries denying the existence of ethnic groups, cultures, nations, empires and whole civilizations is a recurring theme that accompanied the prosecution of two cataclysmic world wars of predation, extermination, and colonial expansion in the 1940s.
For the Black Commons, the erasure of one's culture, nationality, and humanity is a trope we are all too familiar with that justified slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and decades of coerced provisional citizenship. Wherever these vile dehumanizing tropes are propounded, violence, death, and subjugation are sure to follow.
To that end New Black Nationalists found Western mythologists' assertions that Putin's pogrom has united the U.S. and NATO as never before, simply laughable. Western European countries opened up their defense budgets and weapons pipelines because they know if Putin runs the table in Ukraine, they are next in line to incur his rath. Norway and Sweden scrambling at the last minute to take cover under NATO'S umbrella is more of the same. Still others, like India, are hedging their bets and weighing the strategic implications of China greenlighting its junior partner's genocidal project.
Like the global commons, New Black Nationalist see the abject failure of Western democracies to stop Putin from obliterating Eastern Ukraine by hubris and raw force.
We see the Biden's administration and EU leaders prattling on about the legalities and limits of defending a non-NATO Ukraine, while Russia indiscriminately bombs population centers and critical infrastructure.
We see Ukraine begging for MIG jets and anti-aircraft systems only to receive second-grade field munitions. We see the U.S. selectively spoon-feeding Ukraine's army to control the intensity and levels of military engagement in the battlespace to secure a bloody stalemate, rather than Putin's total defeat.
We see American Empire and the European Union using Ukraine's military struggle for self-determination as fodder to degrade Russia's military capabilities, economic resources, and Vladimir Putin's political legitimacy.
Like Putin, American Empire's elites assumed Russian forces would overrun Ukraine and occupy the capital city of Kiev in a matter of days. Former military generals and pentagon experts predicted "the lightweight" President Zelensky's government would collapse and be forced into exile to preside over a long guerilla war.
But Zelinski's rejection of Biden's travel plans hit a snag. Zelinsky dawned his green combat fatigues and said, "I don't need a ride, I need ammunition." Zelinsky summoned Ukrainians to head to the barricades, called for a volunteer army to fabricate Molotov cocktails, receive rifle training and prepare to fight to the death. They did.
What the U.S. has feared most since Zelensky's defiant moment turned the tide against Russia's invasion is Ukraine's resistance winning a decisive victory over Russia's military. The Biden administration fears a humiliated and desperate Putin backed into a corner and considering the deployment of chemical or nuclear weapons as the last resort to save face.
Worse still, the last thing Biden and the Pentagon want is a defeated Russian military retreating back across its borders in disarray. A defeated and disintegrating Russian military, splintering and possibly backing competing power-centers against each other or Putin amid widespread social chaos and violent succession battles is a nightmare scenario. It conjures visions of Boris Yeltsin ascension to power on a tank turret in 1991 while hundreds of unsecured nuclear weapons floated in the balance.
Over the coming weeks, the U.S. will step up its delivery of anti-aircraft systems and artillery weapons. Ukraine is about to settle into positional siege warfare. Russia's military will rely on long range artillery fire and air power to pummel cities in Eastern Ukraine into submission and take control of Mariupol to consolidate its land bridge with Crimea. Putin's army cannot overrun Ukraine and its capital city of Kiev. Unable to possess the whole of Ukraine, Putin will try to break Ukraine by bombing as much of the country into the stone age as possible. Ukraine's army must find a way to accelerate counterattack to push Russian forces back across the border and commit to holding Mariupol, even if it is temporarily lost.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 23, 2022, New Black Nationalists in America's settler state have unconditionally supported the Ukrainian people to rise, resist, and defeat Russia's armed invasion and blood-soaked occupation. As we stated then "Russia’s imperial death march on Ukraine will mark the beginning of the end of Putin’s criminal regime."
We continue to hold that position now. Unlike the majority of the U.S. left and Black Social Democrats, New Black Nationalists condemn Russia's invasion as a barbarous act of aggression of an imperialist power. Further, we uphold the right of Ukraine to genuine self-determination--a position too many on the left and among Black progressives oppose or are reluctant to take.
From Donald Trump's attempts to blackmail and shake down President Zelensky, to the Biden administration's slow-walking military aid to Ukraine to create a stalemate and broker a cold peace with Putin, we condemn American Empire's manipulation of Ukraine for its imperial designs.