Sunday, 11 December 2022 — The van says…
There are no half-measures with a choice such as this. It is either measured words or immeasurable suffering.
Russia’s Special Military Operation has now been ongoing since February, yet there are still an immense number of people still saying that the situation should have been solved through diplomatic rather than bellicose means. With news this week regarding Merkel’s revelations concerning the Minsk Agreements, this article shall examine whether peace ever was an option and how the war is a result not only of political excess, but also an absence of common sense and good intentions on the part of Germany as well as others.
War as an Option
Before looking at the situation any further, we must first examine where war sits vis-à-vis diplomacy, and how a lack of one may lead to the other.
Diplomacy is fortunately how the vast majority of international affairs are settled, governments spending vast sums to ensure that the right people get the right results for their countries. The work carried out by diplomats around the globe can be long and tenuous, sometimes taking years, yet circumstances may prevent administrations from seeing eye to eye. In some cases, nations may simply agree to disagree, yet when more is at stake and diplomacy reaches the end of its path, conflict can occur.
The author is not for one minute advocating for hostilities, yet when all other avenues have been explored and possibilities exhausted, it may be the case that war is the only option. For some, war under any circumstances is unthinkable, yet the realities of politics demonstrate that even though it is the last option, war is never out of the question.
It was Russian author Tolstoy who wrote ‘War and Peace’, yet as we will see, Western political maneuvers over the last decade saw Moscow presented with the choice of ‘War or Peace.’ With that said, we now need to examine how a failure of diplomacy led to current hostilities.
After the Maidan coup of 2014, the country that once was the Ukraine began a precipitous descent into disorder, former corrupt leaders replaced by equally corrupt puppets installed by Washington. From the outset, this meant that not only was it near-impossible to broker any deal between Kiev and the Donbass Republics, but anything that was agreed upon would likely be ignored at the first opportunity. The Normandy Format was initiated, this leading to the Minsk Agreement which was drafted by the trilateral group of Russia, the Ukraine and the OSCE. It was signed by the three partners as well as the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics, coming into force during September 2014.
Agreements are only as good as the intentions of those who sign them.
With Kiev largely disregarding what it had pledged and the conflict still raging, a second Minsk Agreement was prepared, this coming into force during February 2015. This stipulated, among other conditions, that heavy weapons had to be withdrawn a certain distance from the now-static frontline, along with an exchange of prisoners as well as constitutional reforms in the Ukraine.
The next six years saw Ukrainian forces violating the terms of both agreements on a daily basis at the same time that no attempt whatsoever was made regarding any reform of the Ukrainian constitution. Violations were reported daily by the Donbass Republics to the OSCE who were headquartered in the region, yet as was seen later, the organization was as much a part of the problem as the Ukrainian attacks themselves. This period not only saw the exponential growth of fascism as part of the Ukrainian political and military scenery, but also the training and equipping of the armed forces by a number of Western nations. In a nutshell, the Donbass Republics as well as Russia were tied to an agreement which Kiev and the West used to buy enough time to reinforce against a potential Russian attack.
Yet More Options
Actions speak louder that words, and if the West refuses to listen, then feelings will take over.
As 2021 drew to a close, Ukrainian attacks became ever more frequent, and with Western nations shipping arms into the country with as much enthusiasm as NATO was attempting to make itself relevant to the situation, Moscow finally proposed its security guarantees in January 2022. This was a last roll of the diplomatic dice, yet still full of its own importance and overconfidence, a collective West led by Washington refused to even consider any of Moscow’s concerns, and with that, the die for war was set.
Strife After Statecraft
The fact that words gave way to war needs no mention, yet even after nearly ten months of war, Western powers still ostensibly go to great troubles in their efforts to bring Moscow and Kiev to the negotiating table. The fact that the US spent eight years engineering this conflict appears to be of little consequence to European leaders, they still telling Russia that peace is in the best interests of everyone, and that European powers would be the ideal brokers to bring the conflict to an end. These platitudes would have continued ad nauseam were it not for an interview given to Die Zeit newspaper on Wednesday.
Angela the Anchor
Before examining Merkel’s words and the impact they have had, we first have to look at her role in Europe at the time. After gaining Germany’s top job, Angela Merkel became a symbol of both German and European stability. She presided over her country for sixteen years, only leaving office last December. During her tenure, the most powerful nation in Europe was the economic prime mover of the region, a reunited country effectively leading a union that wanted to not only gain global prominence, but also compete against and beat the US. Merkel as German Chancellor was the de facto leader of this European effort, and although she may not now tread the corridors of power in Berlin, her words still carry a lot of weight.
She may no longer be the German top dog, yet her fleabitten actions regarding the Ukraine will bite Germany’s reputation hard.
Politicians both past and present are wont to give interviews if for no other reason than to remain in the spotlight, yet the revelations made by Merkel may have far-reaching effects for both her country as well as for Europe on the world stage. In the interview, she is quoted as saying:
‘The 2014 Minsk Agreement was an attempt to buy time for Ukraine. Ukraine used this time to become stronger, as you can see today. Ukraine in 2014-2015 and Ukraine today are not the same.’
She then went on to state that:
‘it was clear for everyone’ that the conflict was suspended and the problem was not resolved, ‘but it was exactly what gave Ukraine the priceless time.’
She also said that at the time, she doubted that NATO member states could provide the same amount of assistance to Kiev as they do today.
In simple terms, all the apparent peacebrokering and hopes for a lasting truce in the region were never the intentions of either the Ukraine, France or Germany.
The fact that the German leader acted as she did comes as no surprise when considered with the benefit of hindsight, yet the fact that Merkel is now publicly admitting that Germany was making every effort to stymie Russia through a bogus peace deal demonstrates the disdain that not only Berlin, but every Western capital has for both human life and for Russia.
The fact that someone of her prominence and power acted in such a treacherous manner defies all diplomatic logic. That this was done in the company of the French premier of the era François Hollande as well as Petro Poroshenko means that virtually all of Europe was pressuring Moscow into a bargain that none other than the Kremlin had any intention of upholding. That this has now come into the open rather than being an open secret as it had been before gives even the most blinkered of viewers an insight into the underhanded manner in which Western governments handle diplomatic affairs.
Putin says he is ‘disappointed’, yet his actions in Eastern Europe say far more than his words.
Moscow was quick to respond to Merkel’s revelations, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stating:
‘A lot is being said today about the legal assessment of the situation around Ukraine, about some tribunals and all kinds of that thing,’ – ‘This, however, is a solid bid for a tribunal. The things that Merkel said in her interview – this is a testimony of a person, who stated it directly that everything that was done in 2014 and 2015 had only one goal: to divert the global community’s attention from the real problems, to buy some time, to pump the Kiev regime with weapons and to lead the situation to a large-scale conflict.’
Russian president Putin said that he was ‘disappointed’ and that:
‘To be honest, it was totally unexpected for me. It’s disappointing. Frankly, I did not expect to hear that from a Federal Chancellor.’
He added that Petro Poroshenko, ‘was not going to abide by’ the Minsk agreements despite being a signatory to the treaty. After all the efforts made by Moscow to resolve the Ukrainian issue in cooperation with European leaders, it is hardly surprising that he said that:
‘Maybe we should have started all this earlier,‘ The fact that Putin said this as bluntly as he did means that whilst the Ukrainians need to find a reverse gear and fast, Russia is not even considering any diplomatic solution regarding its Special Military Operation.
After making such a landmark statement such as this, we can only expect that the rift between the East and West will become wider than it was in the Cold War. For eight years, Europe used its leaders, political weight and reputation to string the Kremlin along; the fact that lies, malfeasance and treachery were Western intentions from the outset means that Western leaders will face an uphill struggle in the future. Not only Russia, but any nation outside of Europe will now doubt Western diplomatic advances, they now aware of the depths to which its politicians will descend in order to fulfill their transatlantic plans.
In spite of the double-dealing from Berlin, one must not forget that Merkel was doing Washington’s business at the same time as rumors were circulating that the NSA in Washington had hacked her phone. The fact that a European leader of her stature was DC’s slave whilst suspecting her master of foul play speaks volumes about who wears the trousers on the Eastern Atlantic seaboard. Looking to the Ukraine, it is now a proven fact that the OSCE was only in place to aid Kiev whilst making every attempt to harm both the Donbass Republics as well as Russia.
One must not forget that Merkel was the epitome of political stability; nobody in either Germany or Europe had her prestige and power, yet her confession means all of that was for naught. The German Chancellor headed Europe as they pressured Russia and the Donbass, yet none in the West ever had any intention of following their own rules.
With that, we have to now decide whether war is an option. Despite the horrors of armed conflict, the people of the Donbass have suffered immeasurably during the time that the Western ‘peace agreement’ was apparently in force. This was absolutely due to an absence of altruism and an abundance of artifice, the West using Russian good intentions in order to aid bad politicians in their Drang nach Osten.
Simply put, Moscow did everything within its power during the early stages of the conflict to bring matters to a reasonable end. After the Minsk Agreement was in place, it became increasingly obvious that not only had diplomacy become a tool for Western objectives, but that voices from the East were not being heard, this coming to a head when Russia submitted its security guarantees in January this year.
The West closed every door, every avenue, every opportunity. Many may whine that war was not the way, yet against the stone wall that Western brinkmanship had become, there was no choice. It was not that war was an option, a decade of transatlantic double-dealing made war the ONLY option.
Merkel may have been the rock of post-millennium stability for Europe, yet that rock attempted to sink the East in the stormy seas of America’s push eastwards. The fact that the consequences are now leaving Europe as a wreck stand as a testament to the importance of diplomacy; had honest words been an option for Merkel, war would not have been the only option left for Russia…
One thought on “War as an Option”
It is becoming very apparent that real diplomacy in the west is dead. We don’t negotiate – we demand, threaten and coerce. Force isn’t the last option anymore, it is moving rapidly up towards the top of the list.
These statements by Merkel only confirm what many had suspected, but do more to kill any chance of diplomacy than anything else. She confirmed the west’s deceit and dishonesty, and told Russia that the west wasn’t to be trusted anymore.
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