IS there a path to peace in Ukraine? That’s the title of an article published on The American Conservative website two weeks ago that has only just crossed my desk.
Douglas MacGregor, a retired US Army colonel, a senior fellow with The American Conservative, and former adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, asked the question. In the two weeks since then, matters in Ukraine have only become more desperate and the need to find a path to peace ever more urgent.
Casualties are in the thousands, while millions have fled the country seeking refuge abroad. At the time of writing, the deadline given by Russia’s Ministry of Defence for the embattled city of Mariupol to surrender had been rejected, with Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk saying there can be ‘no question’ of capitulation.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to be pressing for a negotiated end to Russia’s invasion while at the same time ramping up the rhetoric by drawing links between Putin’s ‘final solution’ for Ukraine and the Nazi extermination of the Jews. This last he voiced in his challenge Israel over its failure to impose sanctions on Russia.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of a US initiative to help negotiate a ceasefire – which is the path to peace that in his article MacGregor says Joe Biden should follow, although the president’s words and actions thus far ‘have rendered this practically impossible’.
Fomenting violence in Ukraine against Russia – which is pretty much how MacGregor describes current US policy – is not the way to go, he believes. It is he says, and as we can already see, dangerous to Europe and to the larger world.
He says both realism and restraint are lacking. Even if on a tactical level the performance of Russian forces has been uneven, that perceived failure has had ‘no discernible impact on the operational level of war, where they continue to pursue, encircle, isolate and destroy Ukrainian ground forces’, MacGregor asserts.
The end of this tragedy, he writes, is not in doubt. Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine will be annihilated or captured.
His words have fallen on stony ground. On Sunday, Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations warned that there was little immediate hope of a negotiated end to the war.
Ahead of a crucial Nato summit in Europe this Thursday that his President is due to attend, his words confirm MacGregor’s view that ‘the Washington elite remains committed to any course of action that promises to prolong the conflict and kill more Ukrainians’.
He says: ‘No one inside the Biden Administration or in the Senate seems remotely interested in crafting a ceasefire, let alone developing the basis for a potential solution that will save lives and halt the destruction.’
Yet, this is not without historic precedent, as per the several examples of US negotiated peace deals he sets out in his article – which you can read in full here.
Without a properly negotiated ceasefire of the order MacGregor advocates, food supply chains in Ukraine risk final collapse and a ‘wave of collateral hunger’ around the world as a result of the carnage in Ukraine is predicted.
This warning comes from the World Food Programme – whose concern is not limited to besieged cities such as Mariupol, where food and water supplies are running out and relief convoys are unable to enter the city.
The WFP, which buys nearly half its wheat supplies from Ukraine, cites the worrying impact of the crisis on food security globally ‘especially on hunger hotspots.’
Whether Thursday’s Nato summit has included this aspect of the crisis on its agenda, I do not know. However, it has been reported that the gathering will be used ‘to look at strengthening the bloc’s own deterrence and defence, immediately and in the long term, to deal with the now openly confrontational Russian president Vladimir Putin’.
According to Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the summit is intended not just to show support for Ukraine, but also ‘our readiness to protect and defend all Nato allies’. By sending that message, he says, ‘we are preventing an escalation of the conflict to a full-fledged war between Nato and Russia’.
This does not sound much like a path to a negotiated peace.
In response to some of the comments below I would like to reiterate that nowhere have I or any other TCW writer supported, endorsed or in any way approved Putin’s invasion of Ukraine or justified his military actions. We have published varied expert opinions on the war that have focused on Putin’s miscalculation and ultimate failure. Exploring and reporting on alternative theories as to the background and reasons for this appalling war and to its solution does not make you a quisling or a Putin apologist.
In this article I report the expert opinion of a former Trump defence adviser writing on The American Conservative who is not anti-US (nor am I, as should be obvious to any longer-term reader of my article) but most certainly anti-Democrat and dismayed by Joe Biden’s weakness and ineptitude.
My personal concern is the further huge human suffering that the continuation of this conflict will lead to, both in Ukraine and in the world, specifically regarding food shortages. Also that the winners of this war will be the globalists and China if current policy continues.
One of the purposes of TCW has always been to look at arguments and opinions that the MSM studiously ignores, in pursuit of the truth. In the case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine it became apparent to me from early on that the mainstream press was offering one official (binary) narrative only: Ukraine heroic/Putin monster. Uncomfortable though it is, it is more complex than that and there are counter-narratives that it is intellectually dishonest to ignore.
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