End the War Now

The Russians claim they would not have gone to war if Ukraine had followed through on the Minsk agreements. The Minsk agreements were a series of failed agreements signed during September of 2014 and February of 2015 designed to end the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. 

The agreements followed the Ukrainian Maidan protests,  otherwise referred to as the Euromaidan Revolution, and the subsequent Russian annexation of Crimea. Among other things, the agreements called for a constitutional grant of greater autonomy for the largely Russian speaking self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics within the Donbas region.  A member of the then President Petro Poroshenko’s political party stated the Ukrainians agreed to the Minsk agreements only  in order to buy time for Ukraine to build up its military in order to take-on the Russians at a later date. Press accounts state that violations of the Minsk agreements with regard to military arrangements were committed by both sides to the conflict.

President  Poroshenko, after a brief interim president, succeeded  the overthrown Russian supported democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych during the likely  western supported Euromaidan revolt. The months-long revolt, which ran from late 2013 through early 2014, at various times featured guest appearances by former U.S. Senator John McCain and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Gloria Nuland.  John McCain cheered-on the protesting crowds while Nuland was filmed offering food to protesters. In her defense, Nuland claims she also offered food to Ukrainian security forces. Nuland pushed for closer relations between Ukraine and the European Union (EU). She is noteworthy for having been caught on tape with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine  discussing preferred candidates to replace the overthrown Yanukovych, during which she stated “f*** the EU”, due to divergent views between the U.S. and the European Union over the path forward in Ukraine.

The Maidan (pronounced My-dan) revolt and the consequent overthrow of the Russian supported Ukrainian president  is the event which triggered the Russian takeover of Crimea and support for the rebellion in the Donbas region. Crimea, the mostly Russian speaking peninsula, gifted by Russia to Ukraine during 1954, contains the strategically important Sevastopol naval base which houses the bulk of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

The military fatigue wearing Ukrainian President Zelensky, the so-called “great leader”, could have actually demonstrated great leadership  had he negotiated a position which leveraged investment from both the West and the East, without war, as many other nations in the vicinity have accomplished. Zelensky now states that Ukraine will not stop battling the Russians until all of its territory, including Crimea–is returned. Good luck with that strategy. It is unimaginable that the Russians will cede Crimea. 

Do Ukrainians really want to keep sacrificing  fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters for tracts of land, particularly Crimea, where the populace might likely favor Russian rule? Maybe they do. But does the rest of the world need to suffer the severe consequences of this war because Ukraine, and the NATO nations, overstepped reasonable boundaries in their quest for a world of ideological purity and free flowing  capital. The NATO nations need to step back and think about where the current actions are taking us. Many of us do not want to go there.

Meanwhile, we sit-by spectating and wondering how it will all end. High energy and food prices, along with food shortages, due to the war, are creating higher inflation and wreaking havoc in developing nations where populations  are taking to the streets en masse. Nations are backtracking on commitments to reduce fossil fuel consumption in order to increase energy supplies. Due to the loss of a substantial portion of Russian gas imports, there is talk of industry shutdowns and homes without heat this winter in Europe. World central banks, following the Federal Reserve’s lead, are hiking interest rates, in order to fight inflation, much of which is due to the war.  All of this will lead to developing world debt defaults and will lead to lower wages and employment throughout the globe.  Rate hikes might not even fix the supply-shortage induced inflation; but if the money tightening is strong enough, it likely will reduce inflation, but only after much damage has been done. Further, the war is dividing the world into divergent and increasingly isolated trading blocks which portends greater global instability and  increased chances of future global war. This will eventually undermine the value of the U.S. dollar which will lower U.S. living standards. Worst of all,  the threat  of nuclear war hangs in the air.

Much of this could be avoided with a negotiated end to the war, and not on current Ukrainian terms. There is plenty of culpability in  the West for the provocation of Russian actions due to NATO’s expansion to the Russian borders and several U.S.-NATO wars in Russian territories of interest–so compromise is in order. Let me be clear, the latter statement is not intended to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all war must be condemned. The statement is a mere recognition of the facts on the ground.

The Minsk agreements are an appropriate and approximate solution for ending the war.  Although at this point the  Russians might demand more than what was agreed upon during the original agreements. Russian demands will at a minimum likely include the following: Ukrainian recognition that Crimea is now part of Russia; constitutionally guaranteed greater autonomy for the Donbas region, if not outright recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states; a Ukrainian commitment to neutrality along with the promise to never become part of NATO or any other non Russian military alliance. 

Ukraine’s  President Zelensky can only push as far as Western support enables him. The West could end this war now through withdrawal of support for Ukraine. Withdrawal of western support should be coupled with a negotiated solution with the Russians. In other words, it is western leadership which should take the lead role in a negotiated solution to end the war. Western leadership has the power to determine the path forward.

Given the broad and harsh consequences of this war on the global state of affairs, one wonders why the West has not seriously moved towards this position–Germany and France had earlier tried. The failure of western leadership to negotiate an end to the war, when one considers the vast global  consequences of the war, leads one to conclude the West might entertain ambitions which extend beyond the current conflict in Ukraine, or, the political rhetoric from the West has gotten the best of them and they are unable escape the bravado of the crafted narrative.

#Christiansagainstwar #peoplesagainstwar