With the Threat of Nuclear War Heightened by the Invasion of Ukraine, Now is the Time to Stand Up for Peace

By Joseph Essertier, World BEYOND War, March 16, 2022


The worst possible outcome of the war in Ukraine would probably be nuclear war. People’s desire for revenge as a result of this war is getting stronger by the day. Whirling around in the hearts of many is a desire for revenge. This desire blinds and prevents them from recognizing that they are on a path that leads to nuclear war. That is why we must hurry. It may be impossible to stop this war, but it is unethical to stand by and not do our best to stop it.

All empires will eventually collapse. Someday, maybe soon, the U.S. empire will collapse as well. That empire has been the dominant world power for the last 100 years. Some have called this phenomenon the “American Century.” Others say it has been a “unipolar” world in which both the economy and politics have revolved around the U.S. government.

Since World War II, the United States has enjoyed unprecedented security and power. While the powerful nations of Eurasia were almost in ruins after World War II, the War had greatly increased the productive capacity of the United States. The U.S. controlled both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and had only two docile, non-expansionist states on its borders, Canada and Mexico.

Having gained global hegemony, the U.S. government and U.S. corporations made plans to maintain and expand this power. Many American elites gained great international prestige, and many wealthy and powerful people became greedy for power. NATO was planned as a means of maintaining their wealth and power. The U.S. did indeed provide economic aid to European countries through the Marshall Plan and other programs, but, of course, this aid was not free, and the system was designed to ensure that the money flowed to the U.S. In short, NATO was born as a result of U.S. power.

What is NATO? Noam Chomsky calls it “an intervention force run by the U.S.” NATO was originally established as a collective defense system by member nations to protect the rich nations of Europe from the former Soviet Union. Later, with the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia no longer had a fighting chance by all accounts, and NATO’s role seemed to come to an end, but in fact, the countries that were allied under the powerful U.S. military umbrella known as NATO gradually increased in number and continued to exert military pressure on Russia.

During the Cold War, the U.S. military-industrial complex grew to enormous proportions, and many wealthy Americans flocked to the Pentagon’s “easy money.” The U.S. government, addicted to acquiring wealth through war, developed a new plan to control the world’s energy system, including gas pipelines. This plan was an official position (or excuse [tatemae in Japanese] that enabled them) to keep NATO going. The “gangster group” NATO, which wielded the mighty military power of the U.S. and had smaller countries under its wing, should have disbanded around 1991, but it continued and, in fact, expanded into Central and Eastern Europe, to the borders of Russia. How was this possible? One factor enabling this NATO expansion was prejudice against Russians. There have always been “stereotypes” of Russians in European and American art, literature, and film. The German Nazis of long ago—for example, Joseph Goebbels of [Germany’s] Propaganda Ministry—said that Russians were stubborn beasts. Under Nazi Germany’s propaganda, Russians were called “Asiatic” (meaning “primitive”), and the Red Army “Asiatic Hordes.” Europeans and Americans have discriminatory attitudes toward Russians, just as they do toward Asians.

Most of the Japanese mass media is controlled by one company, Dentsu. Dentsu profits from U.S. companies and is pro-U.S. just like the Japanese government. Thus, of course, our news reports are biased and we do not hear about both sides of this war. We hear the news told only from the perspective of the US, NATO, and the Ukrainian governments. There is hardly any difference between the news reports of the U.S. mass media and that of the Japanese mass media, and we receive very little news and analysis from Russian journalists or independent journalists (i.e., journalists who do not belong to the U.S., NATO, or Ukrainian side on the one hand, or to the Russian side on the other). In other words, inconvenient truths are hidden.

As I mentioned in my speech in Sakae, Nagoya City the other day, the media tell us that only Russia is wrong and evil, despite the fact that heavy military pressure exerted by the US and the NATO countries of Europe led to the start of the war. Furthermore, the fact that the Ukrainian government is defending neo-Nazi forces and that the U.S. is cooperating with them is not reported.

I am reminded of the words of my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was a man from a working-class background with a freckled face, auburn hair, and pale blue eyes who killed German soldiers one after another on the battlefield during World War II. The German soldiers my grandfather killed were often boys and men who looked like him. Most of his buddies from his battalion were killed in action. And when he returned home after the war, most of his friends had died. My grandfather was lucky to have survived the war, but his life afterwards was plagued by PTSD. He often woke up in the middle of the night with nightmares. In his dreams, it was as if enemy German soldiers were in his bedroom. His movements would wake my grandmother from her sleep, as he suddenly got up and shot the gun he thought he held in his hands. He often disturbed her sleep in this way. He always avoided talking about the war and was never proud of what he did though, despite the various awards he had received. When I asked him about it, he simply said with a serious face, “War is hell.” I still remember his words and the serious look on his face.

If war is hell, then what kind of hell is nuclear war? No one knows the answer. Except for the destruction of two cities, there has never been a full-scale nuclear war. No one can say with certainty. A “nuclear winter” is a possibility. Only the people of two cities in history have been attacked with nuclear weapons during a war. Only the survivors of those two attacks and those who went to those cities to help the victims immediately after the bombs were dropped actually saw the results of the bombings with their own eyes.

The reality of this world is created by our collective consciousness. If many people around the world lose interest in this looming disaster, this most dangerous war in Ukraine will surely continue. However, the world can change if many people in rich countries like Japan take action, seek the truth, stand up and speak out, and sincerely strive for peace. Studies have shown that major political changes, like stopping a war, are possible with the opposition of only 3.5% of the population. Thousands of Russians are standing up for peace, without hesitating to contemplate the risk of being imprisoned. Can people in the U.S., Japan, and rich Western countries who have supported NATO say that we bear no responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine? (The Ukrainians were deceived by NATO and are clearly victims. And some Ukrainians were also deceived by neo-Nazis.)

Those of us who live in rich countries, richer than Ukraine and Russia, must recognize NATO’s responsibility and do something to stop the violence before this proxy war leads to a clash between the world’s first and second largest nuclear powers and to nuclear war. Whether by non-violent direct action, by petition, or by dialogue with your neighbors and colleagues, you too, can and should demand a ceasefire or truce in Ukraine in a non-violent way.

(This is the English version of an essay that I wrote in both Japanese and English for Labornet Japan.)

Joseph Essertier
Coordinator of Japan for a World BEYOND War
Aichi Rentai Union member


The Japanese version follows:

投稿者 : ジョセフ・エサティエ




すべての帝国はいずれ崩壊する。いつか、もしかしたら近いうちに、アメリカ帝国も崩壊する。その帝国は、この100年間、世界の覇権を握ってきた。その現象を 「アメリカの世紀」と呼ぶ人もいる。経済も政治もアメリカ政府を中心に回る「一極集中」世界だったと言う人もいる。




冷戦の間にアメリカの軍産複合体は巨大化し、アメリカの多くの富裕層はペンタゴンの「イージー・マネー」に群がった。戦争によって富を得ることに中毒化したアメリカ政府は、NATOを継続する建前として世界のエネルギーシステムであるガスパイプラインなどをコントロールするという新たな計画を立案した。 アメリカという強大な軍事力を振りかざし、小国を従えた「ギャンググループ」NATOは、1991年頃に解散するはずだったが、それは続き、実際、中央ヨーロッパや東ヨーロッパというロシアの国境にまで拡大したのである。なぜこのようなことが可能だったのか。このNATO拡大の一因は、ロシア人に対する偏見である。欧米の美術、文学、映画には、昔からロシア人に対する「ステレオタイプ」がある。昔のドイツのナチス、たとえば宣伝省のヨーゼフ・ゲッペルスは、ロシア人は頑固な獣だと言った。ナチス・ドイツのプロパガンダでは、ロシア人を “Asiatic”(アジアチック=「原始人」)、赤軍を “Asiatic Hordes”(「アジアチックな大群」)と呼んでいた。欧米人は、アジア人に対する差別意識と同じように、ロシア人に対する差別意識を持っている。



私は母方の祖父が言った言葉を思い出す。彼はそばかすだらけの顔、赤褐色の髪、淡いブルーの目をした労働者階級出身で、第二次世界大戦中は戦場でドイツ兵を次々と殺害した。祖父が殺したドイツ人兵は、自分によく似た少年・男たちであった。彼の大隊の仲間は、ほとんどが戦死した。そして、彼が戦後帰国したとき、友人のほとんどが亡くなっていた。祖父が戦争で生き残ったのは幸運であったが、その後の彼の人生はPTSDに苦しまされた。よく夜中にうなされて目覚めた。彼はベッドルームにドイツの敵兵がいるような行動をし、祖母を起こし、突然立って撃っているような行動をした。その度に祖母は寝ている時に何度も起こされた。彼はいつも戦争についての話しを避け、様々な賞をもらったのに、自分がしたことに誇りを持っていなかった。私が聞いても、彼は真剣な顔で “戦争は地獄だ”と言うだけであった。私は彼の言葉と真剣な顔が今も忘れられない。




愛知連帯ユニオン メンバー

One Response

  1. What a terrific article! Here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, we have the same Orwellian syndrome of calculated and malign propagandistic media in full war cry!

    We need to urgently build up a strong international peace and anti-nuclear movement. WBW is certainly charting the way forward. Please keep up the great work!

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