Ukraine: Our new report, online learning hub, policy recommendations

J. W. Associate Antiwar, Blog, JWE news, Nuclear weapons, U.S. policy, Ukraine

Last month, Just World Educational released copies of its new 32-page Report, Ukraine: Stop the Carnage, Build the Peace! building on the records of the eight webinars we held on the Ukraine Crisis back in March, in which JWE Board member Richard Falk and President Helena Cobban held probing conversations on different aspects of the Ukraine Crisis with 17 thoughtful and well-informed invited guests.

CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin and JWE’s Helena Cobban

The report also included a list of eight Policy Recommendations that, in the judgment of the JWE board, seemed to flow from the content of our online conversations. As of today, a total of seven antiwar organizations here in the United States have endorsed these recommendations. They are: 

Would you or an organization that you work with also like to endorse JWE’s list of Policy Recommendations? If so, please use this little Google Form to tell us about this.

Click HERE to download a PDF of the full Report (1.2 MB), that you can read online or print at home. (Alternatively, you can buy copies of the printed report from Amazon for $5 each, HERE.)

On April 19, Just World Ed’s Helena Cobban and Richard Falk launched the report with a great group of other panelists and endorsers. During the webinar (which can be viewed here) we had a good discussion of some of the report’s recommendations. One point we touched on was #2: an embargo on arms shipments into Ukraine by all countries. I realize this feels pretty controversial for many Americans right now. But at around 20 minutes into our event I explained how that recommendation hung together with #4– namely, that the arms embargo and the ceasefire we were calling for would be monitored by the United Nations and the OSCE, “both of which are fairly close to the West at this point.”

Also of note: the big effort that Washington and other Western capitals are currently making to send into Ukraine ever larger shipments of arms, of ever greater lethality and increasingly offensive capability. This brings all of humankind ever closer to a confrontation between the world’s two nuclear-armed super-powers, Russia and the United States.

This arms-shipment madness has to stop!

In our webinars, Richard FalkAnatol Lieven, and a number of other participants warned against the urge of many in the United States to “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.”

Lieven is a long-time expert on post-Soviet Russia’s decision making, and its wars. His 1999 book Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry is a classic. In the webinar he participated in, he judged that (1) Ukraine has already won something of great value in the current war, by having displayed a robust sense of national unity; (2) the outline of an sustainable settlement of the long-fought contest between Ukraine and Russia is already pretty clear; and (3) that the terms of this settlement will not be changed or improved even if the war should continue another five or ten years– but the destruction of Ukraine and of its people’s lives would be proportionately greater, the longer the fighting continues.

You can read the whole digest of that conversation in our report.

Nuclear risks

Regarding the nuclear risks stemming from the conflict, these risks did seem to have been stepped up with some of Pres. Putin’s pronouncements about Russia’s possession of “special capabilities” that he would be prepared to use if necessary. (That language was very reminiscent of repeated pronouncements made by U.S. presidents over recent years, with regard to Iran or North Korea, that “all options are on the table”…)

In Session 8 of our March webinar series we presented a gripping discussion of the nuclear-risk dimension of the Ukraine crisis that involved two great specialists, Drs. Cynthia Lazaroff and David Barash. Please do check that one out!

Another great learning resource is this excellent discussion of the nuclear issue that Dr. Lyle Goldstein hosted at Brown University’s Watson Institute on April 20. Lyle’s guests there were the veteran nuclear-affairs expert Dr. Michael Klare, and Dr. Ira Helfand, an ER physician who is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

The whole of that 90-minute discussion is well worth watching. Michael Klare’s talk was mainly a presentation of the sobering article, “Ukraine’s Nuclear Flashpoints”, that he had in The Nation on April 20 (though I think he said a lot more in the Watson Institute presentation than he wrote there.) As for Ira Helfand’s presentation, if you can only watch ten minutes of this webinar, you should go to the terrifying description he gave between minutes 35 and 45, of the effects of a nuclear war today on New York City and any number of other major cities.

As for us here at Just World Ed, I want to remind you that we are wholly reliant for our work on the donations that that you, concerned members of the global public, are able to give us.

We’ve been very moved by the numbers of people who have given to us over the past couple of months, in response to the work we’ve been doing on the Ukraine Crisis– and especially by the numbers of folks who have started to make recurring monthly donations in this period. However, this has also been a very busy period for us. Here are the numbers: In March and April, we received $2,860 in donations, and our expenses in this period came to $7,360.

I imagine that for many of you in the non-profit sector, these figures look pathetically small? Indeed, they are. They are possible at all only because Richard Falk, other board members, and I all donate our services to the organization completely pro-bono. But still, as I look at the numbers, I’m seeing a horrible operating deficit in March and April, and our reserves are speedily heading toward, or pretty far below, zero.

Please help as generously as you can!

Michael Klare has recently described the era we’re now in as a “New Nuclear Age”. Of course, we might say that the world as a whole never left the “old” nuclear age… that though nuclear arsenals were reduced in size (by mutual agreement) during the 1990s and early 2000s, still, the United States and Russia remained as “rogue states”, for whom the making of veiled threats of nuclear annihilation continued to be viewed as “just another” tool of statecraft. But what feels definitely “new” about the era we were thrust into on February 24 is the sudden realization by a whole new generation of citizens of the Western nations that nuclear annihilation remains a live possibility… and that it is something that all of us, the under-45s and the over-45s, suddenly need to understand a whole lot more deeply.

This is an arena in which Just World Educational has a distinctive role to play. We have a strong record of producing and disseminating innovative educational programing. We have– or have good access to– a lot of very relevant substantive expertise. We have proven we can make a distinctive contribution to educating the concerned public on a range of thorny international issues. (Check out the range of programs we’ve offered on our Resources page, here.) What we really need at this point, is a whole lot more funding.

Can you help?

And please, stay well, stay safe, and stay sane as we work to “Stop the Carnage, Build the Peace!” For the sake of the people of Ukraine… and for all the rest of us, too–