Arming Ukraine is the way to peace

When the United States and other NATO countries sent weapons to Ukraine to fend off Russian invaders, some left-wing critics condemned the effort as an escalation of tensions.

For example, linguistics professor and activist Noam Chomsky has described US policy as “praise yourself for heroism” while “fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian”. I blame no one for lamenting the devastation and hoping for peace, but that assessment misunderstands this war and America’s role in it.

The decision on when to stop fighting for Ukraine is up to the Ukrainians. Helping them, while balancing other risks, is the best path to peace.

However, Chomsky argues that the US should push Ukraine to accept Russia’s demands: “You can sympathize with [Ukrainian President Zelensky’s] positions. But you can also pay attention to the realities of the world.” That fact, he said, is “the nullification of Ukraine, a kind of accommodation for the Donbas region,” and takes Crimea’s position off the negotiating table. He compared Russia to a hurricane and argued that concessions were “an alternative to devastation Ukraine and nuclear war.”

The linguist professor and longtime anti-war activist has been criticized for rejecting both Ukrainian and Russian authority, and sounding like an apologist for Putin, but he also has his defenders. Here’s how Ben Burgis explained it in a Monster Daily column last week:

“Chomsky’s analysis is that the options are, on the one hand, to push Russia, Ukraine, the United States and other great powers to sit down and come up with a negotiated agreement to end the fighting or, on the other hand, continue to escalate without At most, countless other Ukrainian lives will be lost. At worst, the regional war could escalate into a broader conflict that could lead to World War III.”

It was a wrong choice. The options are not serious diplomacy to end hostilities or military escalation. Ukraine is the main actor here, and their choice is to accept Russian domination — with the cities surrendered, the Zelensky government abdicating, and a pro-Russian leader installed (as the initial attempt was. Russia’s head for Kyiv) —or resistance. Ukraine’s elected leaders, and a large portion of its population, chose against.

On that point, it’s not diplomacy or war. Its and.

As political scientist James Fearon explains, war is a process of negotiation. The two sides have incompatible demands, so they can’t come to an agreement, but they really don’t know what they can force the other to accept. Thus, skirmishes reveal information, showing what an army can accomplish (or can’t), and this continues until at least one side changes its demands enough to be able to orchestrate a battle. arrange.

The Ukrainian and Russian delegations met a few days after the invasion began, but failed to reach an agreement. As recently as April 19, Russia rejected ceasefire proposals from both Ukraine and the United Nations to allow the evacuation of civilians. The main reason the war is not over is not that the US is trying to “fight to the last Ukrainian”, but that Russia is demanding more than what Ukraine is willing to offer.

In a broader sense, the United States was supposed to bear some responsibility by welcoming former Soviet republics – such as Poland and Estonia – to NATO after the Cold War, and leaving the door open to becoming a member of the Soviet Union. member of Ukraine. It is reasonable to assume that NATO’s expansion exposes Russia to a geopolitical challenge that it must deal with. But it is also plausible that post-Soviet Russia wanted to reassert itself abroad almost defiantly. As International Relations professor Daniel Nexon argues, there are many factors involved and many possible alternative histories. We don’t know, we can’t know, and while some hypotheses seem more plausible than others, we cannot change the past.

Even so, the massacre of Ukrainian civilians is not a rational response to geopolitical concerns about NATO expansion.

“The Ukraine war will end with a negotiated settlement, as with most wars, but the details will be shaped by the military outcome still uncertain.”

Attributing current violence to American ambitions and Ukrainians’ willingness to make sacrifices requires a lot of unknown outcomes. It requires the firm assumption that – when Russian forces in January were massed on the Ukrainian border – the US simply said, “Ukraine will never be part of NATO and everyone should consider it within range. under Russian influence,” which pleased the Kremlin.

Consider Russia’s maximalism claims, and the low mention of NATO by Putin and his spokesmen in public justifications – focusing instead on claims that Ukraine is not a real nation and unchanged lies about a genocide against Russian-speaking Ukrainians, hidden WMD programs, and a government with a Jewish president secretly run by Nazis practice — that’s not particularly logical.

America is the key player in this situation, but not the main character. Russia has chosen to demand that the Ukrainian government abdicate and demilitarize the country. Ukraine, which has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region for eight years, has chosen independence rather than abdication. Russia then chose to launch an all-out invasion. Acknowledging the Russian and Ukrainian agency means accepting that the US is not the main cause of this war and probably cannot prevent it.

The Ukraine war will end with a negotiated settlement, as with most wars, but the details will be shaped by the military outcome still uncertain. Ukraine has achieved greater success than many expected, thwarting Russia’s attempt to capture Kyiv and other major cities. Far from a futile resistance to the end, Ukraine’s war effort, aided by Western weapons, secured its independence.

What Chomsky calls “the reality of the world” is not a fantasy. Russia is not a mindless force of nature, like a hurricane, but a nation of finite resources, led by people with finite will. They were forced to change their regime and pursue the less ambitious goal of controlling the Donbas and southern Ukraine.

Ukraine is fighting back, and if it wins the battle of Donbas (like it won the battle of Kyiv), it could improve its negotiating position, and possibly even last long enough to exhaust the Russian offensive. . Maybe they can get something like the status quo before the invasion, or better.

Or maybe not. But since Ukrainians want to give it a try, it is not surprising that they are offended by outsiders’ willingness to trade Ukraine’s territory and ability to choose their own international relations, especially because they worried that abdication now could mean Russia turning a profit, rebuilding its forces, and coming back in a few years to get the job done. Witness Russian forces rape, torture, steal and murder across their countryvery few Ukrainians, Zelensky and below, show any desire to give Russia what they don’t need, even as they certainly realize that continuing to fight means more deaths.

That means America’s choice is not between diplomacy and war, but between honoring Ukraine’s request for help and telling them they’re on their own.

With NATO openly supporting Ukraine’s war effort, there is a high risk of a serious escalation that could spiral out of control and lead to a nuclear exchange. But Biden’s management policy suggests a sane assessment of that risk. The president did not and will not send American troops, rejected calls for a no-fly zone, intercepted the transfer of fighter planes from Poland to Ukraine and avoided responding to Russian missile tests and other activities. other nuclear provocations. The US is taking a cautious path, helping Ukraine as much as it can while minimizing the risk of a wider war.

Whether to settle with Russia, and under what terms, is up to Ukraine to decide. If they like a deal, the US should support it, even if it means removing the economic pressure that Putin’s critics have advocated for years.

But as long as the Ukrainians choose to fight, the path to peace is the success of the Ukrainian army. That improves Ukraine’s negotiating position and discourages future international aggression – not just by Russia, but also by China – by showing that the costs outweigh the benefits.

A settlement is possible when Russia accepts Ukraine’s independence, but not before. Arming Ukraine is the way to peace


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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