The War in Ukraine Was Provoked—and Why That Matters to Achieve Peace
Friday May 26, 2023
George Orwell wrote in 1984 that "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." Governments work relentlessly to distort public perceptions of the past. Regarding the Ukraine War, the Biden administration has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the Ukraine War started with an unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In fact, the war was provoked by the US in ways that leading US diplomats anticipated for decades in the lead-up to the war, meaning that the war could have been avoided and should now be stopped through negotiations.
Recognizing that the war was provoked helps us to understand how to stop it. It doesn’t justify Russia’s invasion. A far better approach for Russia might have been to step up diplomacy with Europe and with the non-Western world to explain and oppose US militarism and unilateralism. In fact, the relentless US push to expand NATO is widely opposed throughout the world, so Russian diplomacy rather than war would likely have been effective.
The Biden team uses the word “unprovoked” incessantly, most recently in Biden’s major speech on the first-year anniversary of the war, in a recent NATO statement, and in the most recent G7 statement. Mainstream media friendly to Biden simply parrot the White House. The New York Times is the lead culprit, describing the invasion as “unprovoked” no fewer than 26 times, in five editorials, 14 opinion columns by NYT writers, and seven guest op-eds!