Donald trump has scared Eastern Europe with its hints of a major transaction, which he soon plans to sign with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Poland, the Baltic countries, Ukraine fear that will be deceived in this game, big players.
But so far the game is one of the most influential people of Ukraine — the steel Baron Viktor Pinchuk, a person with interests in Russia and America. In an article for the Wall Street Journal, he has described his own vision “a Great deal”. In brief it is as follows — firstly, Ukraine in the near future should stay away from NATO and the EU. Secondly, you need to accept the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Third, you need to go to Moscow’s demands to hold elections in Russian-occupied industrial region of the Donbass, even if they will never be free and fair only I’m sealing the Russian domination. Fourth, sanctions against Russia should be lifted. Because of the war “we have to make this compromise in order to save thousands of lives,” says Pinchuk.
The proposals fit into the mainstream of the time. They enjoyed not only by the entrepreneur Trump, but also the European movement, which stretches from German social democracy to marine Le Pen. But are they reasonable? Yet they deny the underlying issue. With the approval of the occupation of the Ukrainian territories of the Russian invasion, which was done contrary to the norms of international law, will be sanctioned retroactively. The policy of violence will receive international approval.
You might argue that such thinking although can take place, but the war in Eastern Ukraine has claimed the lives of 10 thousand people, and pragmatic world should not collapse because of the principles that no one can realize.
This objection can have force only if the preconditions in order to “pragmatism” could really lead to a solution. But it is possible to doubt, and doubt associated with two reasons — the Russian commitment to the treaties and the Russian plans.
Commitment to treaties — Russia during the Ukrainian war, has constantly violated the agreement. Since the establishment of the first ceasefire line in 2014, she captured thousands of square kilometers. Contracts she arrogantly ignored.
But what is known about the intentions of Russia, gives little hope. The plan compromise, which now finds more and more support, works only when the purpose of Putin is really limited only in order to protect the Pro-Russian population in the Ukrainian regions of Donbas and Crimea from Ukrainian “nationalism”, which supposedly fighting for their rights, and to limit the expansion of NATO and the EU. If so, we can hope that the world will be, as soon as Putin will achieve these goals.
But there are signs that Russia’s plans go much further that the main aim of Moscow is to return the whole Ukraine, the cradle of Slavic Orthodoxy into its hegemonic system. Talking about this Putin’s statements about the so-called new Russia, which as a historical term covers all of southern Ukraine, it is unfortunate about the “catastrophe” — the collapse of the Soviet Union. Plus the Russian definition of “near abroad”, which refers to the former Soviet republics, as well as the interests of authoritarian Putinism. It is because of cultural proximity to its neighbouring Eastern Slavic people of Russia could never tolerate the fact that Ukraine stabiliziruemost functioning, open democracy. Such a success would put into question Moscow’s authoritarianism.
Quick concessions when such alignment of interests would be the opposite of pragmatic investment in the world. They would lead to more violence. Mistake of Neville Chamberlain would be repeated — as in Munich 1938, the result would not “peace for our time, “the war on our continent”.
That is, the compromise is not wrong in General, but because there is no reason to bet on the loyalty and faith of Russia, the advances are reasonable only when Russia has reasons to after receiving advance do to keep the peace. The West could contribute to this, following the Maxim which was formulated by the American President Theodore Roosevelt: “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” One who goes for the deal, must take care to observe it. First, we need to strengthen Ukraine in military and political terms, its territory was not easy prey for the Russian military. Secondly, the international (i.e. American) guarantees for Ukraine. There are hopes that trump will understand this. Entrepreneurs know that trade partners with a bad reputation only work with those who are ready to implement them.
Without this readiness any concession will only encourage Russia to ensure that instead of the proposed piece to grab from the whole cake — the Ukraine, or even more, so why not the Baltic States. 1945 returns, when America (and Britain) in Yalta gave Moscow the whole of Eastern Central Europe ostensibly in the name of pragmatism.
Why not, cynically speaking? Would not be peace then at least Germany, protected by a new iron curtain on the Eastern border of NATO? This calculation does not converge, because the important part there does not even appear — the Ukrainian society. The country after nearly three years of war, stuffed arms, the mood is militant. Perhaps the Ukrainians will not just sell. Maybe they will fight if Russia will go on. Perhaps there will be millions of refugees on the way to the West.
It is this — along with all the wonderful principles — pragmatic reason why the West cannot abandon Ukraine in future Russian attacks. The consequence could become a new war, new challenges. Can Europe is, only God knows.