More than a few observers, while unequivocally condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have nonetheless noted that the US and NATO seem intent on fighting the war “until the last Ukrainian.” Whatever the rationale underlying the drive to sustain, and indeed escalate, the war, here are six solid reasons social workers should call for diplomacy and negotiations to end the war:
- The profession is ethically committed to peace and non-violence, recognizing that there is no such thing as a “good” war for the people who suffer its immediate and long-term traumatic consequences.
- There are only two ways any war can end – one side can totally destroy the other, or there is some form of negotiated settlement reached. Russia is too large and powerful to be destroyed (short of nuclear war; see next point), so without negotiation it is the Ukraine that will be devastated.
- There is a growing risk of nuclear war, and with it the risk of ending the human experiment altogether. Despite the glib chatter of neocon hawks on major media outlets, there can be no “limited” exchange of nuclear weapons between/among heavily armed nuclear powers. Count on whichever side is losing to rapidly escalate the weapons exchange. World War III is the end of humanity and most if not all other forms of planetary life.
- The longer the war goes on, the greater the gains for militarism and the arms manufacturers, whose drive for profits, no matter the risk, knows no bounds.
- Money shoveled with both (“bipartisan”) US hands into the Ukrainian war – nearly $14 billion so far – is money NOT spent on desperate domestic social welfare needs. (Recall that “Build Back Better” has been stymied in large part because “we can’t afford it”; we can’t afford early childhood education, can’t afford free college, can’t afford decent health care for everyone, can’t afford to lift children out of poverty, can’t afford to address homelessness, etc. etc., but we CAN afford unlimited war.)
- Every other issue of significance – most notably the rapidly escalating climate crisis – is pushed out of view. It’s nearly 24/7 coverage of the war in Ukraine from major media. (At once, independent and alternative news sources are censored, literally “disappeared” from social media platforms, on the duplicitous grounds that the independents are parroting “Russian propaganda.” So much for free speech in the home of the brave.)