“Peace needs not to be impractical and war needs not to be inevitable”

“Our experience has taught us that with goodwill a negotiated solution can be found for even the most profound problems.”– Nelson Mandela

“Peace needs not be impractical and war needs not be inevitable” – John F Kennedy

What Ronald Reagan Can Teach Us About Dealing with Contemporary Russia |  RAND
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signing Nuclear Forces Treaty (Wiki)


Just a few words on the current Ukraine crisis in Europe, following the latest news that President Biden considers deploying thousands of troops, aircraft’s and warships to Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.

A conflict of dramatic proportions could be imminent and the stability of the world would be more in danger, in such scenario.

I think, America needs a different idea than increasing optional NATO expansion for Ukraine to keep the peace in Europe. It’s a matter of goodwill. 

Since the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991, 16 new NATO members have been added towards the borders with Russia, – whilst there was no threat anymore from the former Soviet Union.

Russia has been perceiving this expansion as unnecessary and potentially threatening. They drew the line with Ukraine and that line should not be crossed, in Russia’s perspective.

Russia does not allow Ukraine to become a member of NATO due to the potential of having new NATO nuclear missiles getting stationed on the border with Russia, directed at Moscow. 

They would allow Ukraine to be independent, provided it does not become a member of NATO. This seems to be the crux of the problem. 

No party seems to be able to agree on this issue and even NATO -Europe, wants to keep the way open to expand NATO with an additional member State on the border with Russia, whilst a simple reassurance on this matter (NOT to do this),would be enough. It’s a matter of goodwill.

The tension on this conflict is increasing with a potential risk Russia invading Ukraine (for this reason & to prevent NATO expansion) and the NATO alliance would retaliate with the hardest possible sanctions.

Ukraine would be in that case the big loser because it would be largely destroyed, potentially.

However, such a conflict could spread easily over the border’s, in the direction of both Russia and NATO/Europe.

The last would be a potential and profound failure of diplomacy, including a possible catastrophe for Europe through misguided US leadership at the wrong time and at the wrong place.

It seems the final decision will be made only between the sole leaders of the US and Russia. Two leaders who can make or break the peace. Those 2 leaders are perhaps more connected with inflated dogmas on power and the expansion of influence at the moment, not willing to approach matters from a different and more realistic perspective.. They need more goodwill.

What is or might be required?

Let’s rethink for a moment the potential NATO status for Ukraine in favor of a (preferred) “strict neutrality status” for Ukraine.

This could be a fair deal for all parties involved (which might be a win-win situation) and may prevent a totally pointless war with many unnecessary implications for the future.

This could indeed prevent the prospect of a scenario which could potentially become the “killing fields of Ukraine”, with -perhaps – parts of Europe being involved. The sentiments run very deep in Ukraine.

Think of Ukraine as “a neutral State” ( like e.g., Switzerland), keeping as such its independence , – however at the same time Ukraine neither being a NATO State at the disadvantage of Russia, – nor being a “Russian dictated buffer State” at the disadvantage of Ukraine itself. Ukraine will keep that way its independence and can be a prosperous nation.

If America seriously addresses Russia’s security concerns and disallow any intention of bringing Ukraine into NATO – a peaceful resolution is “entirely possible,” says former US State Department adviser James Carden.

NATO has never been intended or established to provoke a war, but with the fall of Gorbachev (and the empire of the Soviet Union), they provoked Russia with an ongoing expansion of NATO near the Russian borders and this was certainly not required for Europe’s security. 

The drums of potential war carries on and far-reaching preparations are in progress.

Keeping peace in Europe can’t be achieved without the willingness to engage in perfectly reasonable agreements.

Not willing to engage in an agreement on this, with Russia, shows poor foreign policy of the US & NATO and not a reflection of wise leadership to engage in a peaceful resolution. Certainly, Russia should not invade Ukraine but authorities mentioned already there, that they have no intentions to do so. Having said this, one can’t be sure. 

It’s all about finding a “breakthrough “now,  a long-term solution for a long time lingering conflict.

It’s a matter of goodwill, a matter of goodwill to avoid major and devastating war in Ukraine and beyond its borders.

In the words of John F Kennedy: “Peace needs not be impractical and war needs not be inevitable”


Paul Wolf.

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