Imperialism 2022: Why is the Russia-Ukraine War Important for Palestinians

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R) with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: The Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Roger Van Zwanenberg

How is best to understand the war in Ukraine?  Why is this war so important for the Palestinian struggle? How to make sense of everything by examining the big picture?

On the surface the Ukrainian war seems to have very little to do with  the Palestinian people and their struggle over the last 75 years.  I hope to persuade you that the interests of Palestine are tied up with this violent and unexpected war.

For the last 78 years, since the 1944 Agreement at Bretton Woods in the USA, the USA has bestridden the world as the number one global power. So, when the USA decided that one of their major global priorities was to support the existence of Israel with large annual financial and technical support, the Palestinian people had not just Israel but the USA standing on their identity, taking their land. If and when the USA withdraws from this position, the Israeli government ‘s position will be inalienably altered with consequences for Palestine that at this point are difficult to conceptualise.

Should Russia prevail and the Chinese Russian alliance develop, partners of Russia and China will have a new range of choices as I will illustrate. The world will be structurally altered and the Israeli-USA alliance severely weakened.   This war is therefore of importance for the Palestinian struggle.

In order to understand the above, let’s start by examining the Ukrainian war in terms of the struggle for Global supremacy. The American Primacy has been deeply threatened by the China/Russian alliance. To explain this I use Zbigniew Brzezinski’s notion of US Geostrategic imperatives; primarily the need to control Eurasia.  From the USA perspective, the war is the means through which Russia will be defeated and then broken up into a number of smaller manageable….,  States. I explain why Eurasia is so vital to the USA,  and how Ukraine is a pivotal State in this mix.

Russia on the other side is well aware of US intentions. That is her future existence is threatened; The USA’s goal is to finalize the defeat of the Soviet Union; to complete the break up into smaller mini States when the Soviet Union failed in 1989/90.

The struggle for Ukraine is therefore at the very heart of the global system of power; for Russia it is a struggle for survival first and foremost and to remain politically and economically Independent.

The other side of the coin of American Primacy, the imperial struggle to maintain control the US $ exchange rate system. American global ascendancy has been and remains dependent on commanding control of the dollar system of international exchange.

The China/Russia accord and willingness to trade globally in Yuan and Roubles threaten the heart of American world power. The sanctions imposed from the outset of the war were intended to weaken and destroy the Russian economy. Now it is clear this, the policy has not worked and may rebound in Europe and the USA as global prices of oil and gas skyrocket.

The stakes in this war cannot be overemphasized. Neither side can afford to lose. 

How best to understand the war in Ukraine? This is the starting phase of a new struggle for world supremacy.

Geo-Politics and the Ukrainian War in 2022

The Ukrainian war is important for everybody on this planet.  For America and Russia, it is an existential war, neither can afford to lose or even negotiate Peace. I hope to illustrate why. For Ukrainians, it is a matter of life and death, quite obviously.  For Europe and especially Germany it may be the end of economic growth at least for some years and the outcome may be even worse, especially for the poorest peoples.

For large parts of the South, which includes large parts of Asia, the countries of the Middle East, and perhaps wider the consequences of the war, could be bankrupt the Nation States or worse as is already the case in Shri Lanka. Or for some, like China and India it could lead to rapid development. And in China’s case to further conflict with the USA and their vassal States. Nobody on this planet will be unaffected by this war. This article will illustrate these issues in more depth.

Zbigniew Brzezinski is perhaps the most influential Geo strategist advising the US Government of recent years. In his excellent work The Grand Chess Board American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperative [1], the author is clearly one of the great and influential American analysts of our era who was able to see the broad picture of world politics with a view of American global domination. [2]

I have been influenced by articles from a number of contemporary writers and organizations,  who see a part of the picture unfolding every day.  These include work from the Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe, regarding Decolonizing Russia, Casey Michel, Marco D’Eramo on Germany, Noam Chomsky the veteran analyst, Richard Falk, and a range of other writers with important insights not available from the daily media. I have also relied on my own work Wealth and Power: Global Transformation and Destruction:  1492 to 2020 which has given me a global view of history and Development in our own world today.

The American goal is that Russia is defeated, or its economy collapses, and the Russian continent is then broken up into a number smaller controllable States, not unlike Ukraine herself as happened to Africa, the Ottoman and Austro Hungarian empires and nearly to China in 1900. The American empire’s present desire to break up Russia into smaller controllable entities will be legitimized by similar nationalistic and linguistic criteria.

Eurasia, Ukraine and the Rise of China: Why the USA Cannot Afford to Lose the War in Ukraine?

The rise and rise of China as a  competing world power against the USA has crept up on the USA year on year for the last 40 years. Now with China’s alliance with Russia, the USA’s dominance globally is vitally threatened. Brzezinski was very clear about this danger.

Brzezinski’s Grand Chess Board starts off with Harold  Mackinder’s 1905 thesis, “who commands the heartland will rule the world.”

Mackinder’s concept of the Heartland was what he terms Eurasia the part of the world between German in the West to China in the East of Asia. Brzezinski updated the Mackinder theory to illustrate why this theory was still correct, why what Mackinder termed Eurasia was so vital to control by the world’s leading power, the USA “….Eurasia … a potential revival to American might” (page 39).

“If Moscow retains control over Ukraine with its 52 million people and major resources … Russia automatically retains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state spanning Europe and Asia. Ukraine’s loss of independence would have immediate consequences for Central Europe, transforming Poland into the geopolitical pivot on the Eastern frontier of a united Europe.” (Page 46).

Russian Humiliation

In 1991, veterans of the Chicago school of true believers of free market capitalism were drawn into Moscow. This rapidly led to harrowing tales of hunger and poverty, in the new Russia,  GDP dropped by 66%.

Russian status as the number two world power is well over with the rise of China.  Russia was hugely impoverished by the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the rapid decline of the economy.  Out of that decline, a new world order arose through the creation of new relatively small, and weak national states to the West and south.   Many now thirty years later have a close rapprochement with NATO and the European Union. (See Nezavisimaya Gazete, June 1996 quoted by Brzezinski. Page 51).

Brzezinski conclusion was “The Most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia and perhaps Iran” Page 55. Exactly what has happened. It is now clear that it has been concluded in Washington that American primacy can only be obtained by the defeat of Russia and its breakup of Russia into many smaller National entities. In other words, the continuation of the processes that began in 1990, but was not fully completed.

Ukraine, Gold, and the Dollar Standard [3].

The US $ has been the currency of world trade since 1944. It is an understanding of this system that is a major component that determines the present conundrum with Ukraine.

Today every country in the world needs dollars to trade outside of their borders. The USA has had almost infinite money to lend unlike all the other countries of the world, the USA has no need to create a trading surplus. This point cannot be overstressed. This is the rationale behind the Americans going to almost any lengths to preserve and maintain the global financial status quo. Control of the worlds trading financial currency is the very essence of being the world’s leading power. Any country or organization that sought to avoid using US dollars in world trade deals has been severely punished.

Now the Chinese along with Russia and Iran are consciously preparing new payment systems.  The Cross Border Interbank Payment system of China sidesteps the US $ system of exchange, the USA, SWIFT payments program. The new Russian System the Transfer Message of Financial Messages is their Rouble system of exchange.

Those financial systems of trade, which have stopped using US dollars, are the red rag to the bull. The USA responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by stealing the Russian $300 billion dollars in their SWIFT system, held in American banks. So far, the many Nations of the South, have gone along with these new Russian and Chinese systems of trade and money exchange.  What the textbooks don’t tell you is that many Nations and the people who use USB $s find the system oppressive.  The ability to borrow in other currencies and to trade free of the International Monetary Funds is so far proving attractive.

The Ukrainian war is now a key part of the American Struggle to Maintain the Role of the Worlds Financial Power. Should the Americans fail to win and divide up Russia, the new payments system outside the US dollar system of exchange stands a good chance of success. If that happens, American power in the world will severely diminish and Israel’s security will be heavily threatened. This scenario will offer major new opportunities for Palestinians as a whole and for their politicians, in particular.

– Dr. Roger Van Zwanenberg is the founder and chairman of the Pluto Educational Trust; a registered charity in the UK. He is also the Managing Director of Pluto Journals, a small company publishing 21 international scholarly journals. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.


[1] Basic Books 1997

[2] Brzezinski was a Democrat, advisor to Jimmy Carter 1988, he was the leader that entrapped the Soviets in Afghanistan by supporting the Mujahideen invasion with US weapons with the support of Pakistan Secret Service. Brzezinski influence on US foreign policy was immense; he advised Barack Obama support Madeline Albright, Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken

[3] A small number of scholars from within the USA have been writing critically about the US dollar system of world trade, the worlds international currency.  Michael Hudson is perhaps the earliest writers with his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of the American Empire , 1972. Hudson has continually updated his theory ever since.  I have used a recent article, of his American Diplomacy as Tragic Drama. There are now a number of authors following Hudson’s’ lead that include Medea Benjamin, and Nicolas Davies, ATO and A War Foretold  and Eve Ottenberg  The West Can’t Stop Pillaging Other Countries Bank Accounts  29.07.2022. 

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1 Comment

  1. So no agency for the Ukrainians here? who are facing a genocidal invasion, from a brutal dictatorship?
    Russia is engaged in murder, rape, looting, transportation of children, and the destruction of cities on an enormous scale, and you brush this aside because of your hatred of the USA?
    If this is the position that the Palestinian cause takes when others are in dire situations, then your cause is hollow, worthless and hypocritical.

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