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U.S.-Russia tensions: What workers need to know

New tensions between the United States and Russia emerged this week, revealing deepening U.S. hostility. In an interview that aired March 17, President Biden responded to a recently released report authored by several U.S. spy agencies that alleges Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election. In the interview, Biden called Russian president Vladimir Putin a “killer,” and went so far as to threaten Russia and their president, saying that Putin would “pay a price” for the purported interference. 

The Russian government responded to Biden’s comments by issuing a statement denouncing the characterization of Putin, and temporarily withdrawing the Russian ambassador to the United States. In addition, Putin himself has responded personally to Biden’s comments by suggesting that Biden’s description is actually a more accurate depiction of the U.S. President, stating that “When we evaluate other[s]… We always see ourselves.”

So what do these developments and escalating tensions mean for the working class? Workers have nothing to gain from this conflict. Biden’s intended sanctions in response to the spy agencies’ allegations are going to target not just Russia, but also China and Iran. These sanctions will inevitably harm, and even cause the deaths of, working-class people in those countries. 

A “new Cold War” environment where the United States is locked in conflict with Russia and China will also negatively impact workers by pulling money away from programs designed to help the people, pouring it instead into the already massively bloated military budget. If the conflict were to escalate to the level of armed combat, it would be poor and working-class people who would be sent to kill and die. In the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis, the last thing we need is escalating international conflicts. Engaging in “great power competition” promises nothing but devastation for the working class in the United States, Russia and elsewhere in the world.

Even if we were to take at face value the intelligence report claims purporting to show Russian interference in the 2020 elections, an escalation of tensions between Russia and the United States could be disastrous for workers around the globe. But we also have to consider that there is no evidence or support for these claims, which supposedly exists but is classified. The CIA and other notorious spy agencies have presented this “intelligence” and expects us to take them at their word — ignoring their rich history of providing misinformation and lies in order to further the imperialist agenda of the ruling class. 

Just as they have always done, these agencies are charged with propagandizing the people of the United States in order to gain support for wars of aggression and other forms of intervention into the affairs of other countries. It would be foolish to unquestioningly trust information they provide, particularly when it is so clearly used to justify increased aggression toward a country near the top of the Pentagon’s hit list. 

We are desperately in need of a system that prioritizes the health, well-being, and needs of the people — rather than one which requires endless war and conflict to satisfy the greed of a few.

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