Sunday 9 July 2023

My modest proposal to end the war in Ukraine

I think Henry Kissinger was right that inviting Ukraine to join Nato provoked Putin to invade. Who can doubt it?

He might well also be right that now Ukraine should join Nato.

My suggestion for the basis for a durable peace now is this. A ceasefire that lasts forever (this is how the war will almost certainly end). Russia holds what she occupies. Ukraine and world do not recognise her right to do so. Ukraine joins Nato, which will deter another attack by Russia.

It is not ideal, it is not just, but peace is better than justice, as a Romanian monk recently told Rod Dreher.

However, a great many people do not know that the North Atlantic Treaty does not oblige signatories to go to war if an ally is invaded. Not at all. Not even close.

Peter Hitchens makes this point today.

"As for Nato, it is like Tinkerbell. It exists only if people believe in it. We are ceaselessly told of its noble and selfless Article 5, in which 'an armed attack [against one or more Nato members in Europe or North America] shall be considered an attack against them all'. Few read on to find just how weak that pledge really is. 

"The US Senate in 1949 would never have ratified an open-ended commitment to go to war. So it says that each signatory 'will assist the party or parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force'.

"This is waffle. The member state remains free to choose whether to 'deem' force 'necessary', or to use force at all. Action not including force is clearly implied as a possible response."


  1. There should be no firm commitments made until the war is ended by final agreement, not cease fire or other pause. This is the same limitation that should be applied to the Republic of Moldova. It makes no sense to tie yourself to monumentally challenged state. It would be like knowingly marrying someone carrying a multi-million dollar debt who is also under federal indictment.

  2. Perhaps Crimea could stay in Russian hands provided it demilitarises?

  3. "inviting Ukraine to join Nato provoked Putin to invade. Who can doubt it?"

    Since the invitation to join NATO was extended back in April of 2008 -- fourteen years before the actual invasion -- I for one can doubt it.

    1. William Burns, former US ambassador to Moscow and current Director of the CIA, warned in 2008 that attempting to expand NATO to Ukraine could 1) cause a civil war, and 2) a Russian invasion (which "Russia does not want")

  4. Again: NATO extended an invitation to Ukraine in *2008*.

    It was a very conditional invitation, requiring Ukraine to reach NATO standards in a bunch of different areas. So, nobody expected Ukraine would actually join for literally decades to come. It was a bit like Turkey's status as a candidate to join the EU: Turkey has been a "candidate" since 1966, but they're not joining any time soon.

    That said, the idea that Russia invaded because Ukraine was a NATO candidate is nonsense on stilts. I understand why you want to believe it -- wicked America! Provoking the poor Russians! -- but it is simply a non-fact statement.


    2. "The tragic truth is that had the United States not pursued the goal of Nato expansion Crimea would still be Ukrainian."

      Professor John Mearsheimer, the analyst who understands geopolitics. He reminds me of AJP Taylor, who understood the tragic causes of the 1939-45 war.


  5. Simon Taylor:
    Yes Kissinger is right as many of us are regarding Ukraine. I am not a Communist nor am I waiting at Heathrow for a flight to Moscow but I know right from absolute bullshit and the Americans and NATO have pushed Russia into a corner. What they would like is regime change. I’d sooner Putin stayed thank you very much.