Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Sir Ron Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US and the OAS, has emerged as one of the most strident Caribbean voices in favour of US/NATO warmongering in eastern Europe. He is widely considered to have played a pivotal role in dragging CARICOM countries into their shameful support for the one sided United States/NATO resolution in the United Nations General Assembly on 1 March which pinned all the blame for the war in Ukraine on Russia and painted the US and its NATO followers as completely blameless.
The resolution failed to condemn the US for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by overthrowing the elected government in a 2014 coup, turning that country into a base from which to threaten Russia, mobilising, organising and integrating neo-Nazis into the Ukraine’s military and police apparatus as enforcers of the US policy and disregarding warnings from their own diplomats that such a policy would very likely trigger a Russian military attack on Ukraine.
To its eternal shame, while CARICOM was hitching itself to the US/NATO war chariot and declaring its support for the US puppet government in Ukraine, that same government was exposing its racist character to the whole world by literally preventing Black people from escaping the war zone by barring them from boarding buses and trains because they were Black.
Since that shameful episode, when every CARICOM country voted with the US/NATO block, a number of Caribbean governments appear to be trying to disconnect themselves from the US/NATO anti-Russia frenzy and arrive at a more balanced and objective assessment of the war in Ukraine. Therefore, at the vote in the UN Human Rights Council on 7 April to expel Russia from that organisation, CARICOM votes were equally split, with 7 members abstaining (Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago) and 7 voting in favour for the expulsion (Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica and St Lucia). The Dominican Republic also voted in favour of the expulsion while Cuba voted against it.
It may well be that these developments prompted Sanders to redouble his efforts to tie the Caribbean to the US/NATO war chariot because on 10 April, he published an opinion piece in Barbados Today in support of the US/NATO warmongering effort to vilify and isolate Russia. Although his article was titled, “Who damages global order must be accountable”, on reading the article it soon becomes clear that for Sanders this accountability only applies to Russia and not to the US/NATO military bloc who have never stopped damaging the global order by destroying countries all over the world from Afghanistan to Libya and have never been held accountable for their crimes. Peddling the discredited idea that the UN Security Council has some role in “maintaining international peace and security” and protecting the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of militarily powerless states, Sanders declares that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated the weakness of this mechanism and approvingly quotes Zelensky’s question to the UN “Where is the security that the Security Council must guarantee?”
But this state of affairs has been obvious for years and it is well understood that the big powers in the UN Security Council attack countries at will when it serves their interests and do so with impunity. This is one of the main reasons why there is no international peace and security and why the UN Security Council is not and has never been a defender of the UN Charter, let alone the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its member states, particularly those which are militarily weak. This is something that must be known to Sanders who is a very experienced diplomat. Therefore for him to argue that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is some unique challenge to international peace and security or a departure from business as usual is extremely dishonest.
Wrapping himself up in the US/NATO cancel Russia hysteria, Sanders declares that there is, “evidence of atrocities in Ukraine by the Russian military, including the slaughter of civilians who were shot in their heads while their hands were tied behind their backs; the rape and murder of women; and the cutting off of limbs and tongues”. Although Sanders repeats these lurid allegations which no doubt have their origins in the activities of the US/NATO information warfare units, he provides no evidence to support them. Confronted with the denials from the Russian government that its troops have never been involved in committing such crimes in Ukraine, Sanders response is, “Russia’s claim that the images from Ukraine are fake caused UN Human Rights Offices to explain that its investigators “followed painstaking forensic procedures to ensure the veracity of any video or photographing emerging from scenes of possible war crimes”.
Therefore for Sanders, the evidence of Russia’s guilt is a statement from the UN Human Rights Offices. It’s impossible that Sanders could be so naïve about such statements or that he could be unfamiliar with the recent case in Douma in Syria. In April 2018, there was a reported use of chemical weapons in that Syrian city, which the western powers immediately blamed on the Syrian government and used as a pretext to launch a bombing attack on that country in open violation of the of the United Nations Charter.
Following the Western attack, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has the international responsibility for overseeing the elimination of chemical weapons, was tasked with investigating the incident. The official report from this organisation supported the claim from the Western powers that the chemical weapons had been used by the Syrian government until the whole conspiracy was exploded by the whistle blowing members of the technical team who had actually visited Douma and carried out the investigation. They went public on the fact that the political leadership of the OPCW had doctored their technical report and changed their conclusion that the incident was most likely staged by the NATO backed forces and not carried out by the Syrian government. Sanders should understand that allegations of war crimes are serious and need to be backed up by solid evidence. Statements from officials from the corrupt labyrinths of the UN are not evidence.
Expressing his frustration that many countries are refusing to attach themselves to the war chariot of US/NATO and are approaching the war in Ukraine from a balanced position and drawing conclusions based on evidence, Sanders denounced some of those countries that voted against the move to expel Russia from the UNHRC as “like-minded tyrannical regimes. These include North Korea, Iran, Syria, Belarus, and the Central African Republic.” This statement demonstrates that Sanders is not only a supporter of US/NATO warmongering but is a follower of the racist and Eurocentric ideas that the Europeans and their colonial descendants are the ones who define for the whole of humanity what is and is not an acceptable form of government.
Any country which deviates from what they have declared as acceptable is denounced as a “tyrannical, dictatorial and authoritarian regime” and the people in the country become legitimate “collateral damage” for the Western governments to attack and kill as they seek to destroy the government that is not to their liking. Rather interestingly, Sanders omitted China from his list of “like-minded tyrannical regimes” that opposed Russia’s expulsion from the UNHRC. Maybe this is because, Antigua and Barbuda have very good diplomatic relationships with China and he was cutting his principles to avoid creating a diplomatic incident with that country.
The war in Ukraine reflects the big power struggle between the US, which is desperately trying to safeguard its position as the global dictator that rules over the world economy and its enormous wealth, and China and Russia who are trying to break the US unipolar domination. In its efforts to destroy its Russian competitor, the US has intensified its campaign of vilification, isolation and threats against that country. This approach which has been ramped up since at least 2014 is, in fact, a key cause of the current war.
The US is currently prepared to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian and is doing all it can to weaken Russia by isolating it internationally. Such a course of action may serve the interests of the US oligarchs and their politicians but it does not serve the interests of the people of Ukraine, the cause of peace in the world nor the principles of the UN Charter.
The conflict needs to be solved by addressing the root causes and finding a diplomatic solution to these. There is an urgent need for the world’s people to demand the demilitarisation of the world. In this regard, the disbanding of NATO, the closing down of all foreign military bases and the outlawing of placing military infrastructure and troops in foreign countries is desperately needed.
Sander’s warmongering on behalf of the US/NATO does not serve the interest of the people of Ukraine nor of the Caribbean and it should be firmly rejected by the people of our region.