June 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Ever since Russia’s surprise assault and illegal de facto annexation of Crimea the Western response has been to contain the ”conflict” and attempt to accommodate absurd Russian demands that violate and question Ukraine’s sovereignty.
This is a defensive, de-escalatory, and self-defeating stance that ignores the fact that Russia’s ambition does not end at the current line of demarcation. By slumping into a mindset that accepts Russia’s criminal behaviour and simply waits and hopes for Russia to come to its senses (tip: not going to happen with the current regime), Russia is granted initiative and freedom of manouevre. This is clearly unacceptable.
It would be presumptuous of me to suggest that current general strategic thinking is dysfunctional, however, I see a marked lack of willingness to introduce a different, loftier, objective.
Instead of anticipating a renewed Russian offensive we should anticipate a Russian retreat and set that as a goal. We should not act merely to halt Russia but act to throw her back, peacefully, behind her own border.
This is akin to the image of a karate expert lined up before a brick. He can only cleave it if he directs his ch’i, his concentrated energy, at a point well below the brick. He who wavers or aims solely at the surface of the brick will surely fail, defeated by his own lack of ambition.
Hence, when pundits, think-tanks, media, observers and even statesmen direct their energies toward fear of further Russian aggression – punching out maps of anticipated Russian assault vectors and projected conquest as if, literally, there was no tomorrow – Russia is allowed to bask in a wholly misdirected, aye, disinformative and disruptive, limelight.
We – that is, the free and democratic, law-abiding world – are better served by discussing and setting a new, righteous goal: that of ensuring that Russia retreats behind her border and relinquishes her criminal hold over our future.
Instead of fretting over red lines and broken ”cease-fires”, or worse yet, elaborate on the merits/demerits of a an odiously interminable “frozen conflict”, we should discuss what means and measures are required to induce a Russian retreat.
This is not an argument for expansion of armed conflict or a call to start a World War III – one that Russia has already initiated – but a call to focus on a peaceful, defensive, chiefly non-military strategy whose goal is to reinstate international rule of law, to reinstate decency, to reinstate trust in our governments and media.
The only solution to the ”conflict” between Russia and Ukraine, one that Russia hardly acknowledges, is for Russia to retreat, unconditionally. No one will oppose her peaceful exit from Ukraine. It will not shed one life, nor cost a single bullet if only Russia is held accountable to her words.