Does Ukraine need a relationship with barbaric Russia?

18 March 2022, 11:19 PM

New global security arrangements will have to be made without Moscow.

On Feb. 24, the familiar security structure of the last 80 years essentially ceased to exist. It ceased to exist because, as it’s becoming clear to everyone, global security that relies on a country like Russia, simply cannot be maintained.

Existing institutions, such as the UN or OSCE, have proven themselves to be utterly impotent and worthless; we can no longer rely on them. Who needs a UN Security Council when one of its permanent members flagrantly breaches the core tenets of the very same organization?

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By now, nobody doubts that global security will have to be redesigned from the ground up. The question is – by and with whom, and how. Recent reports that Ukraine and Russia might sign some sort of an agreement suggest that Russia will one again be legitimized as a part of world’s security structure.

Would that be in Ukraine’s interests? I would argue that no, it wouldn’t be. We need to re-found international security without Russia, come what may, since over the past 80 years, it has demonstrated a clear disregard of any kind of norms, principles, agreements, and obligations. Russia is a barbaric aggressor country, one that has be expunged from the political map of the worlds.

President Zelensky’s suggestion of a new alliance – United for Peace – is obviously sound, but it all depends on how it would be implemented. Reported “progress” in Ukraine-Russia peace talks indicate that Ukrainians are yet to grasp how it would be best for us to arrange our future security.

I worry that under the guise of the noble goal to cease the bloodshed, we will be saddled with and coerced into concessions we won’t ever be able to walk back.

That’s why the talks should proceed in a completely different format. Ukraine must be joined by Western leaders vis-à-vis Moscow; we must not proceed talking to Russia by ourselves. We won’t be able to get any security guarantees from the West if we don’t include our partners in our current peace talks with the Kremlin. Any illusions we might have about such guarantees will be shattered as soon as we sign something: we will simply postpone the war by a couple years. That’s the worst-case scenario we should be thinking about today.

We also shouldn’t expect the West to be more eager to fight Russia than we ourselves are. Sanctions against Russia take a toll on the countries imposing them as well. It’s difficult for them to say goodbye to revenues from trading with Moscow that they’ve grown accustomed to. Once we sign a “peace” deal with Russia, we won’t have any counterarguments to restoring normal with the invaders: how could we demand persisting and devastating sanctions against a country we’re at peace with?

Besides, with whom Zelensky is going to sign a peace deal? With Putin – a man, branded as a war criminal by the United States, accused of crimes against humanity? Surely, that’s unacceptable. It will harm our standing with Americans, for starters. As one hand requests anti-air defenses and weapons from Washington, while the other signs a deal with a war criminal. Fine, perhaps we can’t call Putin a war criminal until the courts make their rulings, but the prosecutors of the International Criminal Court are already working in Ukraine, gathering abundant evidence of Russian war crimes. We are acutely aware of how much blood Putin has on his hands, and he has to face a most severe punishment.

The UN International Court ordering Russia to put an end to its invasion of Ukraine will have no effect. Russia will ignore this ruling, just as it ignored recent rulings by, say, the European Court of Human Rights. In aggregate with all the evidence, with all relevant resolutions by the UN General Assembly, the court’s ruling could eventually lead to Putin becoming an internationally wanted person, something that would have drastic political consequences.

I think we’ll live to see this happen pretty soon, and it will be a sight to behold. Besides Putin, all his Kremlin Kronies, who vigorously support his fascist regime, will also become wanted criminals. This will change everything, since it will signify that the current regime has its days numbered, spurring action by those in Russia who wouldn’t want to share this bleak perspective.

One more thing. On the subject of the prospects of China providing Russia with economic, financial, and military support, we should look to the recent lengthy U.S.-China meeting in Rome, where China was made aware of the consequences of such support.

The United States and the EU are Beijing’s largest consumer markets, yielding China hundreds of billions of dollars from trade. I assume that the Chinese representatives were told what would happen to all these revenues, should they decide to come to Moscow’s rescue.

Given the Chinese ambitions to reclaim territories it lost to the Russian Empire in the 19th denture, is Beijing really interested in a strong Russia? Is Russia going to be a valuable ally, after its economy is cratered by the ever-ramping, strangulating sanctions, with no end in sight? I have a feeling that the Chinese, given their tendency to think strategically, as opposed to tactically, will thing very carefully before getting embroiled in this whole ordeal.

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