Is peace in Ukraine even possible?

Peace does not require two individuals or two nations to like or trust each other. Peace requires that two sides decide the price of war is greater than the price of peace.

Defense analysts in Washington, D.C., are talking with relish about the possibility of Russia being drawn into a self-destructive quagmire war in Ukraine, like the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

I’m sure Vladimir Putin and Volodomor Zelensky are aware of these discussions. I don’t imagine that Putin wants Russia to be bled dry, or that Zelensky wants his country to be offered up as a sacrifice to U.S. geopolitical strategy.

Now maybe one side or the other thinks it can win a quick and decisive victory.  But, as things stand now, the USA is willing to provide Ukraine with modern weapons as long as it continues fighting, and China is committed to preventing Russia from going under.  So a quick end seems unlikely.

The alternative is some sort of compromise peace, in which neither side suffers complete defeat but each side gives up some of what it wants. In the previous post, I speculated on the possible elements of such a peace.

The odds are against such an agreement anytime soon. Both sides are in too deep, and have shed too much blood. But that is no reason to stop talking about it.

Remember that Zelensky, a political unknown, won a landslide victory in 2019 as a peace candidate.  He was the George McGovern of Ukraine.  Right now he is not a free agent.  He is trapped between his U.S. paymasters and the fanatical Banderite faction.  But even so, he has said he is open to negotiation.

Remember that Vladimir Putin spent 20 years trying to get the Western powers to accept Russia as an equal partner before he turned to war.

The Russian leaders believe they are fighting an existential threat of which Ukraine is only a part. It also includes missile launchers in Poland and Rumania, which could be used to launch hypersonic missiles against Russia.

A comprehensive agreement would have to include not only the dismantling of those missile sites, but the restoration of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to remove Russia’s existential threat to Poland, Rumania and other non-nuclear European nations.

The U.S. government has a perceived interest in keeping the fight going. The goal of the U.S. national security establishment is to maintain its nuclear dominance and its economic dominance, so that the U.S. government has the power to threaten any opponent with nuclear war and economic war.

The question is whether we the American people are willing to pay the price of maintaining this dominance. We already see rising prices of gasoline, heating oil and food. The longer the war in Ukraine and the global old war continue, the worse this will get. So we, too, have an interest in peace.

There’s a story Russians tell, about how an angel appeared to Yuri, a Russian peasant, and offered him anything he wished, only on condition that Ivan, his neighbor, get twice as much.  “Hmm,” said Yuri.  “Put out one of my eyes.”

This is the principle of U.S. economic warfare.  Our government is asking us Americans to sacrifice our economic well-being in the hope that we can inflict even greater damage on Russia and China, our perceived enemies.  Where does this end?


The history of East Central Europe shows why nations such as Finland, the Baltic states, Poland and so on would want to join an anti-Russian alliance.  All their peoples suffered at the hands of the Soviet Union and the old Russian Empire.  The reason for the encirclement of Russia by hostile states is no mystery.

The history of Russia shows why its people take the possibility of invasion so seriously.  The Soviet Union lost tens of millions of lives fighting the Nazi invaders during World War Two.

But the armies of Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler have not been the only invaders of Russia.   It has been invaded by Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, the Teutonic Knights, and the Mongol Hordes.  British forces landed in Archangel during the Russian Civil War following the Bolshevik Revolution, and the USA, Japan and other nations were part of an Allied Expeditionary Force that landed in Siberia during the same period.

For the USA, war during the past two centuries has been something you send your armies across water to fight.  For Russians, war has been something you fight on your homeland for survival.  Putin’s fears of a NATO military threat are not something he conjured up out of nothing.

But why should the USA take sides in age-old conflicts between Russia and its neighbors?  If our government is involved at all, it should have been as an impartial peacemaker and arbiter.  The USA would be respected rather than hated, and would be more rather than less powerful.  It is wrong to assume things had to be the way they are.

The power of war propaganda is great.  But it is only irresistible if people are prevented from hearing a different view.  


Who Wins and Who Loses Because of the Ukraine War? by Ian Welsh.

If the U.S. Wanted Peace in Ukraine by Caitlin Johnstone.

What Might a Ukraine Peace Agreement Look Like? by Craig Murray.

To End the Horror in Ukraine, Go Big and Go Broad by Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action.

If Ukraine Is Winning, Why Is the US Requesting a Ceasefire? by Bernhard for Moon of Alabama.

Zelensky Spells Out Key Conditions for Peace Talks With Putin by William Brennan for Newsweek.

It is foolish for Finland and Sweden to join NATO and ignore both the real causes and consequences by Jan Oberg for the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.

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3 Responses to “Is peace in Ukraine even possible?”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    The US is still the big dog on the block. Europe is a second power in a multi-polar world and just happens to be in philosophical and economic alignment with the US. A US-EU alliance is in both our interests.

    Russia is in decline, militarily, economically, and demographically. That’s why Putin attacked now, while it was still capable. In a few years it will not be capable. Once outside of the Soviet Union, Russia ceased to be a military superpower – except for nukes – and all of Putin’s efforts have yielded poor results. You have to have a powerful economy to build a powerful modern military. Russia is still coasting on its Cold War era buildup. It also suffers from the curse of natural resources and has coasted on that as well rather than properly industrializing. .

    If France and Germany could learn to coexist, Russia can as well. Putin shows no interest.

    China is a rising power trying to catch up before running into its own demographic road block. India has dreams of competing with China.

    I’m becoming more convinced that all this war is inevitable. The Russian leadership is still reliving 1941 and that is a problem the US can’t solve. However, I don’t see appeasement as a valid US response,


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