At Earth Future Action, we absolutely condemn the actions of Vladimir Putin. It is critical now to take action to stop this crisis and to support the Ukrainian people. This is a personal issue for us since we have a number of Ukrainian friends.

And what is important now is understanding the events that led up to the crisis.

There is a solution to the Ukraine crisis.  It's known as democracy.  A key problem here has been the refusal of the American government to accept democracy in the Ukraine.  This refusal to accept democracy has created a New Cold War with Russia that could become a nuclear war.

In 2014 the US government cheered on a violent coup that overthrew a legally elected Ukrainian government.  The government that came to power contained extreme nationalist elements, violently hostile to Russian speaking elements of the Ukrainian population.  As a result a number of provinces voted to leave Ukraine.  Crimea voted to join Russia.  The Donbass area voted for independence.   If free elections had been allowed, more Russian provinces probably would have left.

There is also the issue that Sevastopol is a naval base vital to Russian national security.

Unfortunately, after helping to overthrow the legal democratic government America has refused to accept the will of the people of Crimea and Donbass and has imposed a state of Cold War with Russia by starting an economic war using severe sanctions.

Currrent political problems are driven by grim historical events.  The Imperial Russian province of Ukraine was expanded to include Russian areas by the German occupation in World War I and later by the Soviet government in 1922.  In 1954 Crimea was added.

Since the end of the Soviet Union this has been a big problem and the nation has been deeply divided between its Ukrainian speaking areas and Russian speaking areas.

In the 1930s, Stalin introduced agricultural policies in a reign of terror that murdered millions of the Ukrainian people. So the Ukrainian people have some very important and very well justified long-term reasons to distrust Russia.

Now bad relations between Ukrainians and Russians were compounded by the fact that when the Germans invaded in 1941, a lot of the Ukrainian people hated the Russians so much that they sided with the Germans. On the other side, the Russians lost 20 million people in World War II at the hands of the Germans. So the Russians also have some tremendously deep emotions about World War II.

The maps below tell the story.  Voting follows ethnic lines.

Since the coup of 2014 things have been a total mess.  Violent extreme right wing militias have terrorized the Russian population.    Political freedoms have been crushed.  The leaders of the largest opposition party have been put in jail.

What to do?   America needs to reverse the disastrous decisions made in 2014.  It needs to respect the will of the Ukrainian people.  This is a process known as democracy.  It is not working very well in the US.   Two of the last four US Presidents actually lost the popular vote.  The citizens of America's capital are not allowed to vote in national elections.   However, it is the only solution that will work in the Ukraine.

Since the end of the Cold War America violated its promise to Russia not to expand NATO.  It is not helpful that one of the main architects of America's disastrous 2014 Ukraine policy, Victoria Nuland is back at the State Department.

Beyond Ukraine there needs to be a new system of European security that includes Russia.    The last thing the world needs is the kind of New Cold War promoted by people like Nuland.  We need to shift to deal with global problems like climate change and COVID.  America needs to provide health care for its own people.   The US likes to lecture others about rules.  In all other modern states it is a rule that health care is a right.   Hundreds of thousands of the recent COVID deaths could have been prevented if America had national health insurance.   These people were not killed by Putin.  They were killed by wrong national priorities fueled by the kind of runaway war spending cheered on by people like Nuland.

America has just spent $8 trillion on failed foreign wars that have killed millions overseas and created millions of refugees.   We need to go in a different direction.

Supporting democracy in Ukraine would be a start.