After Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Europe’s initial reaction was to throng to the US-led NATO alliance to give support to Ukraine in repelling Russia. Public opinion throughout western Europe swung heavily against Russia, fracturing existing Left formations. These effects led as far as Finland successfully applying for NATO membership and Sweden attempting to complete a parallel bid for membership. NATO itself, meanwhile, further extended its purview beyond the North Atlantic – now all the way to the Asia-Pacific. The war also drove a large increase in defense spending. Military outlays in Europe grew by 13 percent in 2022, with Central and West European countries spending a record $345 billion.[1] 

Yet, nearly from the beginning, cracks appeared in the veneer of European unity, and these have widened as the war has persisted. Turkey – not an EU member but a very important member of NATO – hosted negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to end the war in March 2022, only to see them quashed by the intervention of then UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Turkey also continued to hold up Sweden’s NATO membership, not only demanding a more forceful crackdown against the Kurdish Workers Party but also that the US sell it F-16 fighter jets.[2] Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, joined Turkey in opposing Sweden’s NATO bid; his pro-Russian views are well-known. The victor of Slovakia’s election, Robert Fico, has called for an end to military support for Ukraine.[3]  Poland, whose hostility to Russia is historically engraved, was initially perhaps the greatest war-hawk in Europe; but its attitude toward Ukraine itself has grown antagonistic owing to a grain dispute and, at least for the moment, Polish military shipments to Ukraine have been halted.[4] 

The US recognized the vulnerability of the European front from the war’s start.

Between the early 2000s and 2021 Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, tied itself closely to Russia by becoming ever more heavily reliant on Russian natural gas imports.[5] Months after the war began, the US blew up the Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which were to carry still greater quantities of gas from Russia to Germany. This action resulted, according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, “from fears in the White House…that Germany and then NATO, for economic reasons, would fall under the sway of Russia and its extensive and inexpensive natural resources. And thus followed the ultimate fear: that America would lose its long-standing primacy in Western Europe.”[6] 

With this act of sabotage against its allies, the US sought, with considerable success, to bring Germany back within the fold. To cope with skyrocketing gas and electricity costs caused mostly by the collapse in Russian gas supplies, Germany announced a “defensive shield” worth 200 billion Euros, to place a brake on consumer gas prices,[7] while the country signed a second 20-year deal with US company Venture Global to import from the US additional liquefied natural gas (LNG).[8]                                                                                                         

Yet, German Chancellor Olof Schulz still remains cautious in adopting US/NATO priorities. He has tied the delivery of German Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine – which some chancellery officials worry could end up moving Berlin “closer to a direct confrontation with Russia”[9] on the grounds that they will require German technicians to operate – to the US’s own delivery of (ATACMS) long-range missiles. Moreover, French President Macron’s policies on Ukraine have been inconsistent.[10]  

With considerable trepidation, US foreign policy organs are openly discussing the question of whether Europe and the US will abandon long-term support for Ukraine.[11] The EU is set to approve $53 billion to assist Ukraine; however, the European zone faces an economic slow-down. Germany’s economy, Europe’s largest, is expected to shrink this year,[12] and the country has already announced (in July 2023) cuts to social services and most other parts of its government budget.[13] Considering Europe’s increasingly delicate political and economic condition, continuing aid to Ukraine is not guaranteed. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden voices his unwavering support for Ukraine; however, a growing number of Republicans, though historically hawkish in supporting US global militarism, oppose providing aid to Ukraine because they are driven by a nationalist ideology of “America first”[14]: last week, they managed to force the omission of additional Ukraine military aid from a measure the keep the US Government running. If the US permanently reduces military support or other funding for the war effort, it is unlikely that the EU will cover the additional expenses.

The EU’s activities and initiatives in the digital sphere exhibit a somewhat less fraught and complicated dynamic. In this critical realm of the political economy, however, the EU is pursuing a genuinely independent policy.[15] 


For the past few weeks, the mainstream media have been plastered with news about ChatGPT – a chatbot developed by the Silicon Valley company OpenAI which recently received a $10 billion investment from Microsoft. Will Microsoft revolutionize its Bing search with ChatGPT? How did Google lose $100 million with its mishap on its new AI chatbot? Will ChatGPT change education? Will ChatGPT affect the future of work? We’re sure that an AI chatbot is worthy of the corporate media’s close probing, but amidst plenty of media coverage on technology, there is a deprivation of critical analysis on the tech industry’s involvement in the current war between Ukraine and Russia resulting in the killing of thousands of people on both sides NOW – not in some version of the future. We insist this requires a series of probing questions and elaboration.

A few months after the war broke out, the US and its allies imposed economic sanctions against Russia.[1] Company after company loudly publicized that they were withdrawing their businesses from Russia; though after a year of the war, hundreds of the US and European companies, including Pfizer, BP, and Renault, are still doing business in Russia according to a recent NY Times report.[2]

By March 2022, the major tech companies were also joining this drive. Apple stopped selling new products and paused its Apple payment services; Amazon suspended shipments of its retail products and new clients for its cloud services in Russia and Belarus. Google’s Russian subsidiary filed for bankruptcy in Russia and suspended ads in Russia on Google’s internet properties including YouTube. Microsoft announced that the company was also suspending new sales in Russia.

Despite their public declarations, it is not clear to what extent the US tech industry has actually pulled their businesses from Russia; however, one still wonders what has driven this unusually prompt rhetoric of withdrawal? According to the tech companies, they were responding to an unlawful invasion and a humanitarian disaster. This line of reasoning is inconsistent with the tech companies’ previous behavior, as they are doing or have done plenty of business in countries with repressive regimes around the globe and have ignored other humanitarian disasters.[3]

The tech companies’ exit from Russia came as a result of governmental edicts. The question then is, what has moved these companies to comply with the US state’s current geopolitical ambitions? What is the basis of the interlock? The complete answers to these questions are multi-faceted because we need to consider the tech giants’ long relationship with the Democratic party; their interests in domestic and governmental markets; their involvements in US foreign policy; and their leaders’ class interests – all of which are intricately intertwined.  Further explication of these questions will occupy multiple posts. However, for this piece, we’re calling attention to one of the apparent reasons for the tech companies’ swift withdrawal announcements from Russia.


In upcoming posts, we shall have things to say about informational aspects of the current world disorder. Likely the most urgent of these pertain to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Why do US leaders deem it worthwhile to undertake the nuclear gamble they are making in Ukraine?  One reason has been publicly asserted: as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated in April , 2022, the US is trying to weaken and destabilize Russia.[1] This goal has been more difficult to accomplish than the US projected; moreover, even partly realized, it has rendered Russia more dependent on America’s adversary, China – Russia’s largest trading partner.[2] Russia brings to its Chinese ally substantial assets: military technology; newly opened Arctic sea lanes for inter-Asian shipping; river passages from northern Russia to the Black Sea[3]; abundant endowments of oil, gas, water, and prospectively arable land; and a land corridor from the Baltic to the Pacific sporting a 2600 mile border with China itself.  In sum, it’s not clear that weakening Russia constitutes a rational objective for any but the obsessive neocons who dominate Washington’s foreign policy.  These cadres, Victoria Nuland, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and the like, are intent on completing the project of extending The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Russia’s doorstep – a project that Paul Wolfowitz and other forbears initiated during the 1990s.

A second reason for US support for the Ukraine war has, however, gone mostly unmentioned. US policy is motivated by an overarching concern to resubordinate Europe, by “cutting Russia off totally from Germany and the EU, cementing permanent U.S. control of Western Europe.”[4] So far the US has been very effective in actualizing this objective – although it also seems likely to strengthen the far right in European politics as living standards deteriorate.[5] German reliance on Russian energy has been reduced by the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline and related decisions by the German government, removing much of Germany’s ability to waffle on its commitment to the war[6]; and NATO is being enlarged again, to include Finland and – almost certainly – Sweden – even if Europe’s military expenditures have not yet reached the level desired by US leaders. The European Left has meanwhile been fractured, so that a coherent mass peace movement has not arisen to challenge the war.   

The Ukrainian political economy is shot through with graft and corruption. Arms shipments are not exempt from these disabling practices; nor are they necessarily providing equipment most likely to be effective in repelling the Russians.[7] Within this wider matrix, however, the Ukrainians’ fighting strength has been augmented by their reliance on US communications and information technology. 

US targeting information was used by Ukraine less than four months after the start of Russia’s invasion to sink the Russian Navy’s Black Sea missile cruiser, the Moskva.[8] Satellite imagery, NATO aircraft overflight intelligence, and intercepts of Russian military communications were by then flowing to Ukraine’s military in “real time,” according to a Ukrainian official, becoming a “key enabler of the Ukrainian campaign.”[9]

US corporate enterprise also stepped forward to assist. Elon Musk’s privately owned SpaceX satellites have provided broadband communications for a variety of purposes to Ukraine’s military.  In February 2023, SpaceX’s president announced that the company had taken unnamed measures to prevent Ukraine from using its Starlink service to operate offensive drones in the region.[10]  How reliable this announcement was, and whether it came after the fact, are not known. 

The Ukrainians’ reliance on Lockheed-Martin’s HIMARS computer-guided rocket artillery also binds them to a larger information network that is under US control.[11]

In these three instances, US organizations are undeniably parties to the Ukraine war.  Yet it seems unthinkable that the mainstream media, let alone the US Congress – which alone possesses the power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the US Constitution – should demand to hold a formal debate over US participation in this grave and escalating conflict.

[1] Natasha Bertrand, Kylie Atwood, Keven Liptak and Alex Marquardt, “Austin’s assertion that US wants to ‘weaken’ Russia underlines Biden strategy shift,” CNN, April 26, 2022.

[2] Perhaps this is a reason why, by early in 2023, there began to be at least some quasi-official discussion of how to limit the length of the war.  Samuel Charap, Miranda Priebe, “Avoiding a Long War: U.S. Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict,” RAND National Security Research Division, PE-A2510-1, 2023. 

[3] Alastair Crooke, “The Most Egregious Mistake,” Strategic Culture Foundation January 23, 2023.

[4] Diana Johnstone, “Demonstrate Together,” Consortium News, February 14, 2023.

[5] Wolfgang Streeck, “Getting Closer,” Sidecar, November 7, 2022.

[6] Alexander Zevin and Seymour Hersh, “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” Sidecar, February 15, 2023 ; Seymour Hersh, “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline,” Substack, February 8, 2023.

[7] Andrew Cockburn, “More Magic Weapons for Ukraine!,” Spolis of War, January 25, 2023.

[8] Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes, “U.S. Intelligence Helped Ukraine Strike Russian Flagship, Officials Say,” New York Time, May 5, 2022.

[9] Shane Harris, Paul Sonne, Dan Lamothe and Michael Birnbaum, “U.S. provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink Russian warship,” Washington Post, May 5, 2022.

[10] Joey Roulette, “SpaceX curbed Ukraine’s use of Starlink internet for drones – company president,” Reuters February 9, 2023.

[11] Christopher Caldwell, “Russia and Ukraine Have Incentives to Negotiate.  The U.S. Has Other Plans,” New York Times, February 7, 2023; HIMARS: Protecting our soldiers with combat proven reliability, Lockheed Martin.