Time to check in on the Tankies.
For those who don’t know, or don’t remember, the Tankies are people who believe imperialism is bad, and only the United States can be imperialist. As one notorious Tankie put it:
That means that Russia is blameless for its ruthless and murderous assault on Ukraine. It’s actually America’s fault for pushing NATO’s boundaries to Russia’s border, giving Russia no choice but to retaliate. They share images like this to drive home the idea:
The reality, of course, is that those countries begged for NATO membership precisely because of Russia’s historic and ongoing claims of empire. Indeed, Putin literally sat next to the dictator of Kazakhstan and said, “what is the Soviet Union? This is historical Russia.” Putin has literally compared himself to the imperialist Peter the Great. You know who was once in the Soviet Union, against their wishes? The three Baltic countries which luckily have NATO protection, and Ukraine and Georgia, which wish they did.
Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, none too pleased at the not-so-subtle threat, retaliated by saying his country refused to recognize Russia’s hegemony over the two Donbas “republics,” as well as this, undermining Russia’s efforts to destabilize Europe:
But to the Tankies, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and other Soviet-satellite states don’t have agency. They are merely puppets who rightfully belong to mighty Russia, and the United States is imperialistically swallowing them up. America is always the aggressor. Russia is always a victim of that “imperialism.”
So obviously, the answer to imperialism is imperialism that is anti- the other kind of imperialism!
The Tankie ire extends to Sweden and Finland for joining NATO. This article, case in point, harangues the two Nordic countries for using Russia’s expansionist aggression as “confected panic” and “hollowed-out discourse of solidarity” to justify abandoning their historical neutrality. You see, solidarity has worth only if its lockstep with Putin’s Russia, or China’s Xi Jinping. Or, in this case, “neutrality” that divorces the Nordics from the very security net that has kept Russian troops (so far) out of its former Soviet colonies.
Meanwhile, back home, we’re getting …. whatever the hell this is:
That’s quite the, uh, rogue’s gallery of shit.
Many Tankies find common cause with Russia on social issues, the reason the Marjorie Taylor Greenes love Putin so much.
When they wade into domestic policies, things get really …. weird.
They are just as unbelievably brain dead when talking about abortion as they are when talking about foreign policy. Or gay rights.
He’s not happy about that, to be clear.
Let’s check in on the World Socialist Web Site, attacking Ashley Smith, a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), for—gasp!—standing up to Ukraine (after DSA shamelessly demanded “the US ... withdraw from NATO” in response to Russia’s invasion).
Smith makes no attempt to explain how Ukraine’s attempt to join NATO, a military network run by the world’s largest imperialist powers, constitutes a step toward “self-determination,” nor can he explain why pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk cannot assert the same “right” to leave Ukraine.
Anyone know why making a choice is “self-determination?” Such a tough one!
Is joining the World Socialist whatever they are not individual self-determination? Indeed, NATO is even more self-determination than many organizations. Joining the International Committee of the Fourth International, the group publishing the World Socialist Web Site, wouldn’t give me veto power over the decisions of the organization, but every single NATO member has veto power over many of the alliance’s biggest decisions. That’s why Turkey has been such a pain in the ass with Finland’s and Sweden’s bids.
Gilbert Achcar, writing in the Nation, naively thinks global disarmament and the end of military alliances is the path to World Peace—a notion that beggars belief.
It is urgent to rebuild a global peace movement opposed to all military alliances, demanding their dissolution, a movement opposed as well to the ongoing massive increases in military budgets. It is high time to return to global disarmament under the aegis of the UN, as foreseen in the UN Charter.
Would it be better if nations spent less on implements of death? Hell yeah! Is that realistic in a world where large powers circle hungrily against weaker nations? Um, no.
It’s easy to stand against imperialism, and support the right of nations to determine their own destinies. It should also be easy to apply those principles to all great powers. American imperialism is bad as is Russian imperialism as is Chinese imperialism (as it the subjugation of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities in those and other nations).
Really shouldn’t be hard.
Comments are closed on this story.