One of the men of the 20th century that I admire is President Franklin Roosevelt, who, among other things, was elected four times to the highest office of his country and transformed the U.S. from a state of deep poverty known as the Great Depression into the richest and most powerful nation on the planet at the end of World War II. Certainly, such a transformation was not total in that it could not and did not even try to eliminate pervasive racism or the exploitation of Central America and the Caribbean. In particular, I think it is important to remember that, at the beginning of World War II, Roosevelt and his country were reluctant to get involved in the war, but were forced to do so after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Like many Americans, Roosevelt was a man who abhored violence and imperialism, something that was fully reflectedin his role forming the United Nations and his commitment that, at the end of that war, all European nations would liberate their colonies in Africa and Asia (see the Yalta Conference, February 1945), with the objective that they would become independent nations, as their citizens would decide. Unfortunately, his death two months after that conference allowed other Americans with contrary ideas to seize power and try to physically dominate Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran and the Congo, and to economically dominate Europe, Japan and South Korea; a subjugation that in many cases has lasted until today. The creation of NATO in 1949, on the initiative of the United States itself after the end of the Korean War,* constituted the antithesis of the U.N. insofar as its objective was to confront the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies (Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria). This gave rise to the Cold War, which lasted until 1990, the year in which the Soviet Union collapsed bringing Russia’s loss of power by Russia, perhaps as a result of its failure to invade and dominate Afghanistan.
During those years, successive U.S. administrations have kept up the pretense of being the capital of a planetary empire, directed not by the government but by the American arms industry, for which wars have been big business after the enormous profits they reaped in World War II — and later in Vietnam, where the United States did not do well at all, but the arms companies did. This explains why, after the demise of the Soviet Union, the Americans conjured up enemies in Arab countries such as Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and sold large quantities of weapons to African nations, thus becoming the natural enemy of peace. In this context, we cannot forget the big business that some of these companies did in our country, selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels and, at the same time, the army — thus promoting an absurd war, killing more than a quarter of a million people, for which Felipe Calderón was mainly responsible, and triggering a conflict that is still far from over.
As president, Donald Trump dedicated himself to finding someone to confront throughout his term in office (including Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, North Korea, China and even Mexico); he ended dividing his own country. Joe Biden’s rise to office in January 2021 meant a more intelligent approach, although he stayed equally aligned with the objectives of the arms producers in his country who have seen new business opportunities in the Russia-Ukraine war, using Ukraine and offering it supplies and economic resources in exchange for America’s support for Ukraine to join NATO, membership which would mean Ukraine could receive and install weapons and accept money that could be used against Russia.
The situation, however, differs from that overseen by Trump in two totally different ways. The first is that the confrontation is taking place with a nation that has nuclear weapons as powerful as those of the United States, something that puts the whole of humanity at risk. The second seems to be in Biden’s own family, as recent events indicate that one of his sons is involved in the arms industry and has interests in Ukraine. In this context, Biden’s repeated personal insults to the president of Russia seem intended to aggravate the problem and could lead to a critical situation for the entire planet, and is something that indicates how Biden and Roosevelt’s vision are totally different.
Mexico’s clarification in this regard, indicating that it is not involved in espionage and that it is neutral in the Ukraine-Russia war, is the wisest thing we could expect from our government and, in particular, from the person who directs Mexican diplomatic relations.
The author is Director of the Latin American Institute of Educational Communication.
*Editor’s Note: The Korean War began in 1950 and reached a stalemate in 1953.