An exchange between two Jacobin writers on the question of military aid to Ukraine.
Gilbert Achcar is professor of development studies and international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of many books, including The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising, a new edition of which is due out this year.
Not even 1 percent of NATO military hardware will actually be used to help Ukraine. But the Russian invasion has provided a pretext for massively increased arms spending — and it’s great news for weapons manufacturers’ profits.
The current Ukraine-Russia standoff is the most dangerous European war crisis in decades. Rhetorical grandstanding and the buildup of weaponry risk setting off a devastating explosion. Progressive movements must urgently organize for peace and de-escalation.
War hawks constantly cite women’s liberation in support of the US occupation of Afghanistan. That’s transparent hypocrisy: during the Cold War, the US supported patriarchal fundamentalists against a party dedicated to advancing the cause of Afghan women.
The United States suffered grave losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as it did in Vietnam. But we shouldn’t mistake revisions of US military strategy after calamitous failures for a turn away from US imperialist ambitions.
The Sudanese Revolution has won major victories. But it still needs to wrestle control from the military to popular forces.
The recent uprisings in Sudan and Algeria show that the conditions that gave rise to the Arab Spring are not going away. But movements against authoritarianism and exploitation still face existential threats.
On why the rise of fundamentalism in Muslim-majority countries owes much to the failings of the secular left.
The Sudanese people just toppled their longtime autocratic leader, Omar al-Bashir. It’s a confirmation that the revolutionary ferment of the Arab Spring didn’t die out in 2011.
Through butchery and sectarianism, the autocracies of the Arab world have survived this round. But in the long run, any order dependent on murder and bloodshed is doomed to collapse.
Today’s reactionaries don’t seem to be interested in a new world war, but in a clash between North and South, rich and poor.
Both the Syrian regime and the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen aim to bury the aspirations of the Arab Spring.
It’s been five years since the start of the Tunisian uprising. What was won — and what remains — in the Arab Spring?
The discourse of war is already upon us. But it must be resisted.