From Renmin Ribao (人民网, People’s Daily Online), March 30, 2022, Complete text:)

After experiencing profound changes and a pandemic unprecedented in a century, the globe today is confronted with another major issue – the Ukraine crisis. Solving existing and future challenges and pursuing a ceasefire is a common aspiration of all peace-loving nations and peoples.

Major countries should particularly play a constructive role in this. However, the US, which has inescapable responsibilities for the crisis, is failing to take actions to resolve it.

The country is on the one hand portraying itself as a so-called “guardian of peace” and a “protector of rule-based international order,” while on the other hand fabricating political stories of democracy combating authoritativeness and justice fighting the evil. It is trying to foment camp confrontations and instigate ideological conflicts, in an attempt to shift responsibilities, make contradictions and contain the development of other countries.

The Ukraine crisis further exposed the essence of American hegemony and the pernicious consequences of Cold War mentality.

The eastern expansion of the US-led NATO is the root cause of the crisis, and the US is the initiator of the crisis. As an international expert pointed out, it’s possible to stop the war only when the background of the war is known to all.

Ukraine’s intricate historical backdrop is the consequence of the interaction of several causes. However, when it comes to the causes and development, as well as the rights and wrongs of the issue, the eastern expansion of the NATO is an inevitable topic.

According to an article recently published by Spanish media organization Rebelion, the insatiable desires of the NATO are the root cause and cancer cells of all these conflicts. It highlighted that the NATO would continue to upgrade among “Western countries” to send the orders of the fake “free world” to farther places, and wage wars against all the countries that oppose its plans.

The NATO is a Cold War hangover. As the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War ended in the 1990s, there was no reason left to retain the NATO. However, the alliance, led by the US, has been constantly expanding its sphere of influence. Under the disguise of consolidating democracy, ensuring stability and promoting common values, it has again and again broken its promise and expanded eastward five times, pushing its borders eastward by more than 1,000 kilometers. It has deployed massive advanced strategic offensive weapons and promised Ukraine and other countries NATO membership, stabbing the NATO knife to the border of Russia.

American geo-strategic theorist even claimed that an expanding and democratic Europe has to be an open-ended historical process, not subject to politically arbitrary geographic limits. However, rational American academics have long recognized the danger of NATO’s eastern expansion, with one stating that “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”

NATO, as a military alliance, has long been used by the White House to further expand American hegemony. The US-led alliance instigated “color revolutions” and has been causing havoc near Russia by repeatedly opening Pandora’s boxes.

The NATO bombed Belgrade without the approval of the UN Security Council, destroyed Serbia, and launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. All of these contributed to Russia’s feeling of being surrounded, said Academician Andrei Makine of the Institut de France. The West, especially the US shall be responsible for the Ukraine crisis, noted professor John Mearsheimer at the University of Chicago.

From a historical and global point of view, the Ukraine crisis is another world security upheaval directed by the US Since the end of World War II, the US has always been guiding its diplomacy with geopolitics, perceiving the world as a chess board on which a looting game is played.

Incited by such a Cold War mentality, the US remotely staged the Arab Spring in Sub-Saharan Africa, the color revolutions in Europe, the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America, as well as coups and assassinations in a number of countries, wreaking havoc on the international order and jeopardizing world peace.

Alice Weidel, joint leader of the Alternative for Germany party, noted that adhering to the outdated Cold War mentality and arrogantly denying Russia’s major country status, the West has made a promise to Ukraine that’ll never be fulfilled. She called it a catastrophic historical mistake. What’s needed by all parties is a realistic and clear view of geopolitics, and to make utmost efforts to establish a security mechanism for Europe that transcends the West-East camps mentality.

“Why, with all the hopeful possibilities engendered by the end of the cold war, should East-West relations become centered on the question of who would be allied with whom and, by implication, against whom in some fanciful, totally unforeseeable and most improbable future military conflict?” This question raised by former US Ambassador to Soviet Union George Kennan in 1997 is still waiting for an answer from the US government.

As the starter and the biggest driving force of the Ukraine crisis, the US should have some moments of introspection on its dishonorable roles, completely abandon the Cold War mentality and hegemonic practices, and make some meaningful contributions to maintaining global and regional peacekeeping.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)

(Editors: Hongyu and Liang Jun)