Each act of apeasement dishonors those who fought for, and in many cases died for, the freedoms which we now enjoy.
For late news and opinion, see
(1) Julia Smirnova (Moskau), “Bei Moskaus schlauem Planspiel verliert Kiew Den ganzen Tag herrscht Verwirrung, dann tritt der Kreml-Chef vor die Kameras und präsentiert einen Friedensplan, der wie die große Lösung aussehen soll. Doch es handelt sich um einen schlechten Deal,” Die Welt, 3. September, 2014 (19:03 Uhr).
(2) “Papier im Wortlaut: Putins Sieben-Punkte-Plan,” Der Spiegel, 3. September 2014 (20:53 Uhr).
(3) Neil MacFarquhar, “Putin Outlines 7-Point Plan for Ukraine Cease-Fire,” New York Times, September 3, 2014.
(4) Jörg Eigendorf (Kommentar), “Putins “Friedensplan” ist sein Papier nicht wert,” Die Welt, 3. September 2014.
The gullibility of the pacifists and appeasers who lead the West knows no end, and Russian President Vladimir Putin knows very well how to take advantage of it.
He and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov showed how adept they are at this game, backing ceasefires and U.N. monitors in Syria, and Kofi Annan’s six point peace plan, the Geneva I “peace conference” in June 2012, and then the follow-on Geneva II conference in January 2014, all of which came to nothing as Bashar al-Assad’s guns kept blazing with full Russian support.
Why would anyone negotiate with Vladimir Putin, a known and blatant liar who has kept none of the promises he has made regarding the Ukraine? Does anyone remember the April 17 Geneva four-party agreement by which the separatists were to lay down their arms?
How can the Europeans allow themselves to be diverted, once again, from their task of adopting the harshest possible sanctions against Russia, whose tanks and artillery and air-defense systems are today in the Ukraine firing on Ukrainian troops, and whose puppet “separatists” have been conducting a reign of terror in the regions of the Donbass, including Donetsk and Luhansk, which are under their control?
How, above all, can you even think of negotiating with the leader of Russia who denies he has invaded the Ukraine and that thousands of Russian troops are today fighting in that country?
Any deal with Putin would not be worth the lies it was founded on, the perfidious promises it consisted of, or the paper it was written on.
The “ceasefire” of which Putin speaks is a ceasefire that would constitute a huge victory for Russia, “freezing” the conflict in the Ukraine so as to guarantee that the country cannot join the EU or eventually NATO.
In Russia, it would be hailed as a great victory for Putin, and further fan the flames of the xenophobic nationalism that drives irredentist policies of military aggression.
In other words, Putin is magnanimously offering a “ceasefire” so that the Ukraine, the EU, and the West can surrender on his terms, while Russia avoids the hard bite of further sectoral sanctions.
It would be a great deal for him. But it would signify for the West the collapse of the present international legal and political order based on the United Nations Charter and the prohibition of the threat or use of force.
During this week of critical decisions by the EU and NATO, the best advice is to ignore everything Putin or Russia says with words, and watch carefully what they say with actions.
NATO should immediately abrogate its 1997 Partnership Agreement with Russia, which the latter has ripped into pieces by its invasions of the Ukraine, and immediately deploy very large numbers of NATO troops to the eastern NATO countries bordering Russia.
The EU should adopt crippling sanctions against Moscow this week, including a ban on financial transactions, and a ban on Russian access to the SWIFT system for international funds transfers.
The whole idea of a piecemeal approach to sanctions has been a failure, utterly failing to stop Putin’s military advances. Now, nothing should be kept in reserve to order to try to deter Putin from further aggression, such as his well-calibrated threat to “take Kiev in two weeks”.
Harsh sanctions should be adopted now.
The strategic goal of the West in dealing with Putin should be to contain, and if possible to deflate, the xenophobic nationalism which Putin has fanned in Russia through his campaign of war propaganda and aggression.
Any negotiations of a ceasefire with Putin should follow the adoption of further sanctions by the EU and the taking of firm steps by NATO as outlined above.
Any ceasefire should come after, not before, these measures are taken.
Like Hitler before him, Putin will not be stopped until he meets a powerful opposing force that can halt his advances. For now, that force should consist of powerful EU sanctions, the supply of military weapons and training to the Ukrainian military, the abrogation of the NATO-Russia Partnership agreement, and decisions for prompt forward-bssing of large numbers of NATO troops in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
If these measures do not work, NATO must be prepared to use military force to defend its members, and the postwar legal and political order based on the United Nations Charter.
The Trenchant Observer