On Wednesday, a US military aircraft flew Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington to meet with US President Joe Biden and address a joint session of Congress, where he called for “absolute victory” against Russia.
The prime time speech, broadcast on all the major networks, was a massive exercise in war propaganda. Biden invited Zelensky to Washington as part of an effort to condition American public opinion to accept the White House’s escalation of the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine.
Zelensky gave a proxy speech, scripted by the White House, for a proxy war. The speech aimed to tug at the heartstrings of the American public, even evoking the Revolutionary War battle of Saratoga—about which the former Ukrainian comedian certainly had never heard before reading the address that had been written for him by a Biden administration speechwriter.
Such appeals were accompanied by racist incitement against the Russian population, the likes of which were never heard in Washington even during the Cold War. In remarks at a press conference with Biden earlier in the day, Zelensky, using Nazi-like language, referred to the Russian people as “inhumans.” Before Congress, he declared that they were “poisoned by the Kremlin” and proclaimed Russia a “terrorist state.”
This language was greeted with effusive cheers and multiple standing ovations by the vast majority of members of both parties.
The entire speech was cynically staged to evoke UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s December 1941 address to Congress, with Russian President Putin cast as Adolf Hitler and Zelensky playing the role of the British prime minister.
The US media played along with and promoted this degrading and reactionary spectacle. In the extensive commentary before and after the address, none of the media pundits mentioned the fact that “absolute victory” over Russia can only be achieved through a full-scale war by the United States against nuclear-armed Russia.
The purpose of this spectacle was to market the US-NATO war against Russia as a redux of World War II, a new “good war.”
Not a single question was asked about the dangers of relentless escalation, or even the financial and social impact within the United States of the massive sums being spent.
Nor did anyone ask why members of Congress shouted “Slava Ukraini,” or “Glory to Ukraine,” a slogan used by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukraine Insurgent Army (UPA), which were aligned with Nazi Germany during World War II and participated in the Holocaust and anti-Jewish pogroms.
For all the invocation of Churchill, the British prime minister never got the level of unconditional support that is being handed to the Ukrainian government.
In his press conference with Zelensky earlier in the day, Biden pledged that the United States would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Zelensky’s trip was accompanied by an announcement that the Biden administration will be sending a Patriot missile system to Ukraine, the most advanced weapon deployed to the conflict to date.
Zelensky’s speech was also part of a campaign to justify a massive $45 billion infusion of weaponry to the country, currently waiting final passage by the US House and Senate.
Despite “partisan gridlock,” when it comes to handing out virtually unlimited sums for war, the entire Congress snaps to attention, with the Democratic Party in the lead.
The US is drawing ever deeper and more inexorably into war. By deploying Patriot missiles to Ukraine, Washington is giving Ukraine the ability to strike aircraft deep in Russian territory.
Just last year, Biden declared that in withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan he was ending the “forever war.” But the administration is now plunging the population of Europe, the United States and the entire world into a new “forever war,” with potentially catastrophic consequences.
In the midst of this day-long propaganda barrage in Washington, Biden admitted that some of his European allies are concerned that the actions being carried out by the US could lead to a full-scale nuclear exchange.
Asked by a reporter why the US did not simply provide all of the weapons requested by Zelensky, Biden replied, “The idea that we would give Ukraine material that is fundamentally different than is already going there would have a prospect of breaking up NATO.”
Biden said of the US’s NATO allies, “They’re not looking to go to war with Russia. They’re not looking for a third World War.” Biden’s choice of pronouns is significant. He used “they,” not “we.”
Given that the Kremlin has declared that US Patriot launchers are a “legitimate target,” what will happen if these weapons are attacked on the territory of a NATO country? Or what will happen if, during an attack on weapons shipments inside Ukraine, a group of US soldiers overseeing the weapons deployment is killed?
Responding to the latest US weapons shipments, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a planned 50 percent increase in the size of Russia’s military and the deployment of hypersonic nuclear missiles on Russian warships.
The rapid escalation of the war underscores the warnings made by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality in its online rally, “For a Mass Movement of Youth and Students to Stop the War in Ukraine!”
In his concluding remarks, WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North explained: “The outcome of this process, unless stopped by the working class, will be a global cataclysm on a scale that dwarfs the violence of the past. Since the outbreak of the war, the potential use of nuclear weapons has been normalized in political discourse.”
The escalating US-NATO war against Russia, North stated, “is, in fact, only one manifestation of the fatal incompatibility of capitalist private ownership of the means of production and the division of the world into hostile nation states with the progressive development, and even survival, of mankind.”
Just 10 days after this meeting was held, these warnings have been confirmed. The rapid escalation of the war makes clear the urgent necessity of building an anti-war movement of workers, students and young people on the basis of a socialist program.