Russia a No-Show at ‘Swiss Peace Conference’

News & Politics

The “meat grinder” that is killing and maiming tens of thousands of young Russians and Ukrainians continues with no end in sight. Now that Russia is slowly gaining a decisive advantage on the field of battle, there’s no reason for Moscow to stop fighting and start talking.

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The price tag for supplying Ukraine with the weapons to fight is now approaching $100 billion. But whenever Ukraine decides to sue for peace, the cost of rebuilding the shattered nation is approaching half a trillion dollars. And it’s going up every day.

At the moment, the United States is standing four-square behind Kyiv. But that may change by this time next year. Vice President Kamala Harris ignored that possibility, pledging America’s full support in its efforts to achieve a “just and lasting peace.”

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is more than an attack“on the lives and the freedom of the people of Ukraine,” Harris told leaders from 100 nations and global organizations participating in the summit. “It is not only an attack on global food security and energy supplies. Russia’s aggression is also an attack on international rules and norms and the principles embodied in the U.N. Charter,” Harris said. 

Those rules, norms, and principles are only as good as the power behind them. And that means the United States needs to enforce those rules, norms, and principles or they’re just words on a piece of paper.

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Who else is going to do it? France?

Vladimir Putin has set “conditions” for beginning talks with Ukraine. In fact, they’re little better than surrender terms. Ukraine must withdraw its troops from Russia-occupied provinces, including Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, after which peace negotiations can begin.

This, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cannot do. He has pledged to regain “every inch” of Ukrainian soil including Crimea. 

And many in the West see no other way than continuing the war against Russia.

Bloomberg:

“Forget about Ukraine,” said Harvard University professor Serhii Plokhy, one of two prominent historians sought out for a wider perspective. “It’s not about Ukraine, it’s about you, it’s about us.”

We need always to remember this is the biggest war in Europe, and by some measures the world, since 1945. Size matters, because very large wars are breaking points whose outcomes define how nations will live for generations. This one will be no different. And judging by the maximalist demands President Vladimir Putin made on Friday for even a temporary cease-fire and the start of peace talks — including Ukraine’s withdrawal from swathes of territory and major cities Russia has so far failed to capture — the conflict will continue for some time yet.

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Donald Trump doesn’t believe that the “world order” is worth fighting for. Many others in the U.S. agree. It is certainly not worth blowing up the world over. At this point, it is brutally clear that the only way Ukraine can achieve its war aims is to entice the United States to fight for its reconstitution and its sovereignty.

I don’t think Biden is dumb enough to start a war with Russia over Ukraine. There are other battles far more vital to U.S. security. If the Europeans want to defend Ukraine, they are more than welcome to. 

Besides, the prospect of going to war with a nuclear power should give everyone pause. 

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