The Hill: You can’t push Ukraine towards a peace treaty with Russia, this is the path to even more war

NATO will soon include 32 countries, including three nuclear states, as well as half the world economy and a billion people. Then add to that the rest of the West. You get 43 countries if you count the participants meeting in Ramstein, which took place on April 26. The states that imposed sanctions on Russia account for 64.9% of global GDP.

Russia itself has half the population of the United States, and its economy is equal to the market capitalization of one American company – Apple. Each year, NATO spends $1.2 trillion on defense, while Russia spends $66 billion.

Despite this astounding imbalance, for a generation we were unable to contain and then stop Russia’s international bloodthirstiness. Now we should not dare to push Ukraine towards a “settlement agreement” with Russia. The very assumption is already heretical. At home, we are hypnotized by “signing deals”, seeing agreements as a real solution to problems. We approach international relations in a similar way, worshiping international treaties as if they were at home: as if they were the solution to problems and not their cause, as if they were the solution to conflicts and not their catalyst, as if they were the way forward and not the highway back.“, – writes in an article for The Hill international law expert and senior adviser to the Discover Ukraine Foundation, senior adviser to the East European Democracy Center in Toronto Viktor Rad.

He adds that “managing” relationships for the sake of “stability and predictability” is in American DNA. That was the American haec verba, the mantra at the Geneva summit last year. How did it end? For Russia, Kalashnikovs are like Tide capsules for America. The Russian imperialist DNA is openly aggressive, seeks instability and despises compromise. Deals exist to stymie what they were signed for, to achieve the opposite, or to buy time and gain an advantage for the next attack.

Read also: U.S. will only negotiate with Russia over Ukraine when it thinks it will be beneficial – Blinken

American statements of restraint, sanity, and bargaining are damned. The search for a “diplomatic solution” in Ukraine will end in a group hug around illusions, the only thing that can be foreseen is that the agreements will be violated. The catalog of deals thwarted by Moscow “would be bigger than this article,” the author writes. He gives three examples. In 1933, in order to gain recognition from Washington at a time when Moscow was starving all of Ukraine, the Kremlin agreed to “refrain from any action, overt or covert, that in any way disturbs the peace, prosperity, order, or security of the United States as a whole or any part thereof.” in particular due to agitation or propaganda”. What else is there to say?

In the 1990s, we forced Ukraine to hand over to Russia, of all countries, the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, more than China, France, and England combined at the time. It was not a question of a nuclear potential in the future, as in the case of Iran, but the collapse of an already existing powerful nuclear industry. It included a plant for the production of the largest intercontinental missiles in the USSR, which manufactured exactly the missiles that Moscow deployed in Cuba.“, the article says.

Russia promised to behave well. But a few years later, Vladimir Putin, in an article for the New York Times, scoffed:If you cannot rely on international law, you need to look for other ways to guarantee your own security. Hence the growing number of countries looking for a way to build weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have a bomb, no one will touch you“.

On Monday, Russia allowed ship with Ukrainian grain to leave the port of Odessa after the signing of an agreement supported by the UN. But the day before Moscow killed Alexei Vadatursky, one of the main agricultural entrepreneurs in Ukraine. The businessman and his wife were killed when a Russian missile hit their home. To believe that Russia will change and fulfill any “agreement” is an anesthetic naivete.

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What then to negotiate? Ukraine is less than 3% the size of Russia. The Russian Federation is the largest country on Earth, it does not need additional territory, except for the necessary territorial gains that will help destroy Ukrainian statehood. Russia is waging an open genocidal war against Ukraine, and the Russian Orthodox Church is handing out cards to soldiers with the inscription: “Your task is to wipe the Ukrainian people off the face of the Earth.”

“What then can be a compromise? How to “get along” with a war criminal who seeks your destruction? This is not only about an existential problem for Ukraine, for which any settlement agreement and any territorial concession will doom millions of souls to sheer horror. The destruction of Ukraine is part of the Russian doctrine of a full-scale war against us. Russia frankly declares: “We are at war with the entire West.” And “this operation is the beginning of a radical American-style destruction of the world order”“, the article says.

For generations, the United States preached an international order based on rules, but ingloriously renounced it by supporting the Minsk agreements after the first Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014. They imposed on the victim those restrictions of sovereignty and punishment that international law provides for the aggressor, for Russia. There was a capitulation to Putin’s distorted reality. And redemption for that is paramount.

I wonder if Chinese leader Xi Jinping remembered the Minsk agreements during two-hour telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden on last week. Taiwan is not a member of the UN. And with the exception of a number of microstates such as Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu, no one recognizes Taiwanese sovereignty or territorial integrity. America withdrew diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in 1979. Ukraine, on the contrary, is a founding country of the UN and is recognized by the whole world. Unlike Taiwan, this is a state with meaning and consequences.

If we advance a compromise on the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine, what then will be the credibility of our deterrence on the issue of Taiwan, which is not recognized by the international order based on the rules? This will undermine our containment of China and other tyrannies. No wonder Putin’s sociopath Dmitry Peskov expressed solidarity with Xi Jinping“, the article says.

And how to implement any “diplomatic decision”? House arrangements work because law enforcement institutions exist to prevent or punish violations. And since there is no effective enforcement mechanism for the most important international treaties relating to national sovereignty, global pressure on the aggressor is the only default option.

Read also: China begins to “strangle” Taiwan because of Pelosi – sand exports stopped: what are the consequences

The author emphasizes that the United States and its allies are now taking part in just such “law enforcement activities” in the issue of compliance with a number of international agreements (here, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Accords, and much more). Seeking another deal would be a hypocritical renunciation.

And, finally, any “peace through negotiations” will mean that responsibility for the crime of aggression, for genocide, war crimes and atrocities will be removed from the agenda. Russian predatory behavior will intensify internationally, energy and food will become weapons of mass destruction, and domestic terror, economic and political upheaval will flare up in the West. And all the floodgates will open for Beijing, Pyongyang and Tehran.

Agreements do not end wars. They document the reality of the end of the war on the ground. This reality will be determined either by NATO’s unwavering support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders, or by the surrender to Russia of the Ukraine “which you and I knew within borders that once were, but now do not exist and will never exist again” .

“Pushing Ukraine towards a peace deal will throw the international order, born after the horrors of World War II, into the graves of Bucha and Mariupol. Remember that “conflict”? This will make China’s confident and dismissive threat ahead of the House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan a prequel to the next one.‘, writes Rad.

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