By Mary Hladky

Nicolas J.S. Davies, co-author of the new book War in Ukraine – Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, was in Kansas City, MO, Dec. 4-6 to provide historical context for the war in Ukraine. Davies outlined events which unfolded over many years that helped trigger this disastrous war, and he discussed the escalating dangers of this war for the people of Ukraine and Russia as well as the world.

Davies’ Missouri book tour took him to All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in KC MO, Willa’s Books and Vinyl in KC, the Community of Christ’s Peace Pavilion in Independence, and sites in Columbia and Saint Louis. Davies clearly stated that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a crime of aggression, illegal, neither an act of self-defense nor authorized by the United Nations.

The book’s coauthors—Davies and CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin—hope to foster respectful dialogue, acknowledging that others may disagree with their analysis. But they also hope all can agree this war must end soon. The costs of this war are brutal, and it is a threat to the whole world. An estimated 100,000 are dead, troops on both sides and civilians. This war has created a worldwide economic crisis, a severe food shortage, soaring energy prices, and inflation. With a focus on war, the world is ignoring the climate crisis and the basic needs of its people. The longer this war persists, it creates an ever-increasing possibility of nuclear war. Immediate negotiations are needed.

Davies addressed NATO expansion as being a factor in this war. This expansion began back in the 1990s with President Bill Clinton. Fifty foreign policy experts warned, in an open letter to President Clinton, that allowing entry of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO would “be a policy error of historic proportions that would unsettle European stability.” Davies detailed several other direct warnings from government diplomats and experts over the years that NATO expansion toward Russia would end badly.

Even Henry Kissinger chimed in: “We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to.”

It seems we never learn.

But we can learn more by reading this important book and viewing Davies’ talk cosponsored Dec. 5 in KC by local groups such as PeaceWorks, Veterans for Peace, and CODEPINK, here. This video (thanks to All Souls), a bit longer than 1 hour, has a few minutes of audio only, then a very informative video presentation by Medea Benjamin. You can see Davies answer during the Q&A that starts some 24 minutes into the video.

Davies is a lifelong peace activist, independent journalist, and a researcher for CODEPINK. He is also author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He has written extensively for Huffington Post, Alternet, Consortium News, Common Dreams, Salon, The Progressive and Foreign Policy in Focus.

—Mary Hladky is co-chair of PeaceWorks Kansas City and an activist in United for Peace and Justice.