January 25, 2023
At no time since the Cuban missile crisis has our world has been so close to disaster. As the war in Ukraine approaches its first anniversary, it is being increasingly transformed by the Biden administration and the “collective West” into a war between NATO and Russia. The danger of turning into a nuclear confrontation is imminent.
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a wake-up call in the midst of Cold War, warning just how close a nuclear World War III could be. Unlike today, both sides sought accommodation. They understood that a retreat from war was in their mutual interest. The Anti-Ballistic Missile and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaties, now scrapped, were negotiated.
Back then, an international peace movement with a robust US contingent amplified the demand for a peaceful world. Such voices are much diminished now. Unlike in the past, not a single Democrat in Congress spoke out for peace, leaving the ideological terrain for war virtually uncontested. Particularly unfortunate are the voices, including some in the U.S. “Left,” who continue to beat the drums of war by calling for the continuation of war until the victory of Ukraine. That would only mean the victory of NATO in an all-out war with Russia.
Negotiated peace agreements are not based so much on trust as on the mutual understanding that the alternative is in neither side’s interest. Arguing as some on the “left” do that “Putin’s Russia cannot be trusted,” disregards the fact that no negotiation between warring parties has ever been based on trust.
The undeniable reality facing us should make us all aware of the urgency for negotiations and a diplomatic solution to this war.
The war in and around Ukraine must end. There should be no dispute about that. All wars end either with negotiations or with the victory of one side or the other. Given that this war is not merely between Russia and Ukraine but is between Russia and a Western-backed Ukraine, the first option — for victory — is impossible. Neither Russia (a major nuclear power) nor the Western powers (many of them being major nuclear powers) will tolerate anything near a defeat.
If a military victory is not possible, then the only way forward is for negotiations. War is not an answer. Escalating this war should not be promoted by those who believe in international cooperation and genuine peace. Those who fail to call for negotiations in the midst of this contentious period — with the war ongoing and its impact intensifying a cost-of-living crisis around the world — fail to understand the dangerous predicament that faces the planet.