The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just issued its 2023 Doomsday Clock statement, calling this “a time of unprecedented danger.” It has advanced the hands of the clock to 90 seconds to midnight, meaning that the world is closer to global catastrophe than ever before, mainly because the conflict in Ukraine has gravely increased the risk of nuclear war. This scientific assessment should wake up the world’s leaders to the urgent necessity of bringing the parties involved in the Ukraine war to the peace table.
So far, the debate about peace talks to resolve the conflict has revolved mostly around what Ukraine and Russia should be prepared to bring to the table in order to end the war and restore peace. However, given that this war is not just between Russia and Ukraine but is part of a “New Cold War” between Russia and the US, it is not just Russia and Ukraine that must consider what they can bring to the table to end it. The US must also consider what steps it can take to resolve its underlying conflict with Russia that led to this war in the first place.
The US Broke Promises Not to Expand NATO
The geopolitical crisis that set the stage for the war in Ukraine began with NATO’s broken promises not to expand into Eastern Europe, and was exacerbated by its declaration in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually join this primarily anti-Russian military alliance.
Can NATO and the Pentagon Find a Diplomatic Off-Ramp From the Ukraine War?
Then, in 2014, a US-backed coup against Ukraine’s elected government caused the disintegration of Ukraine. Only 51% of Ukrainians surveyed told a Gallup poll that they recognized the legitimacy of the post-coup government, and large majorities in Crimea and in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces voted to secede from Ukraine. Crimea rejoined Russia, and the new Ukrainian government launched a civil war against the self-declared “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The civil war killed an estimated 14,000 people, but the Minsk II accord in 2015 established a ceasefire and a buffer zone along the line of control, with 1,300 international OSCE ceasefire monitors and staff. The ceasefire line largely held for seven years, and casualties declined substantially from year to year. But the Ukrainian government never resolved the underlying political crisis by granting Donetsk and Luhansk the autonomous status it promised them in the Minsk II agreement.
Now former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have admitted that Western leaders only agreed to the Minsk II accord to buy time, so that they could build up Ukraine’s armed forces to eventually recover Donetsk and Luhansk by force.
In March 2022, the month after the Russian invasion, ceasefire negotiations were held in Turkey. Russia and Ukraine drew up a 15-point “neutrality agreement,” which President Zelenskyy publicly presented and explained to his people in a national TV broadcast on March 27th. Russia agreed to withdraw from the territories it had occupied since the invasion in February in exchange for a Ukrainian commitment not to join NATO or host foreign military bases. That framework also included proposals for resolving the future of Crimea and Donbas.
But in April, Ukraine’s Western allies, the US and UK in particular, refused to support the neutrality agreement and persuaded Ukraine to abandon its negotiations with Russia. US and British officials said at the time that they saw a chance to “press” and “weaken” Russia, and that they wanted to make the most of that opportunity.
The US and British governments’ unfortunate decision to torpedo Ukraine’s neutrality agreement in the second month of the war has led to a prolonged and devastating conflict with hundreds of thousands of casualties. Neither side can decisively defeat the other, and every new escalation increases the danger of “a major war between NATO and Russia,” as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently warned.
Peace Talks, Not More War
US and NATO leaders now claim to support a return to the negotiating table they upended in April, with the same goal of achieving a Russian withdrawal from territory it has occupied since February. They implicitly recognize that nine more months of unnecessary and bloody war have failed to greatly improve Ukraine’s negotiating position.
Instead of just sending more weapons to fuel a war that cannot be won on the battlefield, Western leaders have a grave responsibility to help restart negotiations and ensure that they succeed this time. Another diplomatic fiasco like the one they engineered in April would be a catastrophe for Ukraine and the world.
So what can the US bring to the table to help move towards peace in Ukraine and to de-escalate its disastrous Cold War with Russia?
Like the Cuban Missile Crisis during the original Cold War, this crisis could serve as a catalyst for serious diplomacy to resolve the breakdown in US-Russian relations. Instead of risking nuclear annihilation in a bid to “weaken” Russia, the US could instead use this crisis to open up a new era of nuclear arms control, disarmament treaties and diplomatic engagement.
Making Sense of Vladimir Putin’s Long Game
For years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has complained about the large US military footprint in Eastern and Central Europe. But in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US has actually beefed up its European military presence. It has increased the total deployments of American troops in Europe from 80,000 before February 2022 to roughly 100,000. It has sent warships to Spain, fighter jet squadrons to the UK, troops to Romania and the Baltics, and air defense systems to Germany and Italy.
Even before the Russian invasion, the US began expanding its presence at a missile base in Romania that Russia has objected to ever since it went into operation in 2016. The US military has also built what The New York Times called “a highly sensitive US military installation” in Poland, just 100 miles from Russian territory. The bases in Poland and Romania have sophisticated radars to track hostile missiles and interceptor missiles to shoot them down.
The Russians worry that these installations can be repurposed to fire offensive or even nuclear missiles, and they are exactly what the 1972 ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty between the US and the Soviet Union prohibited, until President Bush withdrew from it in 2002.
While the Pentagon describes the two sites as defensive and pretends they are not directed at Russia, Putin has insisted that the bases are evidence of the threat posed by NATO’s eastward expansion.
Fair is Foul: In Ukraine Fairer Can Also Be Fouler
Here are five steps the US could consider putting on the table to start de-escalating these ever-rising tensions and improve the chances for a lasting ceasefire and peace agreement in Ukraine:
- The US and other Western countries could support Ukrainian neutrality by agreeing to participate in the kind of security guarantees Ukraine and Russia agreed to in March, but which the US and U.K. rejected.
- The US and its NATO allies could let the Russians know at an early stage in negotiations that they are prepared to lift sanctions against Russia as part of a comprehensive peace agreement.
- The US could agree to a significant reduction in the 100,000 troops it now has in Europe, and to removing its missiles from Romania and Poland and handing over those bases to their respective nations.
- The US could commit to working with Russia on an agreement to resume mutual reductions in their nuclear arsenals, and to suspend both nations’ current plans to build even more dangerous weapons. They could also restore the Treaty on Open Skies, from which the US withdrew in 2020, so that both sides can verify that the other is removing and dismantling the weapons they agree to eliminate.
- The US could open a discussion on the removal of its nuclear weapons from the five European countries where they are presently deployed: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey.
The Ukraine Crisis Is a Classic “Security Dilemma”
If the US is willing to put these policy changes on the table in negotiations with Russia, it will make it easier for Russia and Ukraine to reach a mutually acceptable ceasefire agreement, and help to ensure that the peace they negotiate will be stable and lasting.
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De-escalating the Cold War with Russia would give Russia a tangible gain to show its citizens as it retreats from Ukraine. It would also allow the US to reduce its military spending and enable European countries to take charge of their own security, as most of their people want.
US-Russia negotiations will not be easy, but a genuine commitment to resolve differences will create a new context in which each step can be taken with greater confidence as the peacemaking process builds its own momentum.
Most of the people of the world would breathe a sigh of relief to see progress towards ending the war in Ukraine, and to see the US and Russia working together to reduce the existential dangers of their militarism and hostility. This should lead to improved international cooperation on other serious crises facing the world in this century–and may even start to turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock by making the world a safer place for us all.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
- 💵 Donate.
- ⛑️ Send Humanitarian Supplies.
- ✊ Join a protest in your city.
- 🏠 Host Ukrainians.
- 💼 Hire Ukrainians.
- 🤝 Volunteer or help professionally.
The Shortest Path to Peace. Supporting and arming Ukraine, and accelerating the collapse of the Russian military, is the most realistic way to end the conflict. Flawed judgments about military history helped fuel bad policy in the run-up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and through the conflict's early phases.How to cope with Ukraine invasion? ›
- Limit your news intake. Staying informed is important during these times. ...
- Reconnect with the moment. ...
- Recognise what you can and can't control. ...
- Take time out for wellbeing. ...
- Talk to someone.
Global public opinion about the conflict has not changed much since the country's invasion. For example, about 66% of respondents agree that Russia should be excluded from international sports events although only 45% are in favor of "most stringent economic sanctions against Russia".Why is it so important for us to help Ukraine? ›
The United States must maintain its course on Ukraine because it is essential to America's national security interests and democratic values. A Ukraine defeat would create a more dangerous and unstable world.How do you say help in Ukraine? ›
Asking For Help In Ukrainian. 76. Вам допомогти? (vam do-po-moh-tY) — Do you need help?What does talk peace mean? ›
(piːs tɔːks ) plural noun. negotiating talks (between countries, governments, etc) to end conflict or come to peace.How do I stop being scared of war? ›
- Limit your media exposure. Emotionally gripping news sells, and news that affects you negatively is more likely to be addictive. ...
- Reach out to others. Channeling anxiety into meaningful connection may lower your sense of helplessness. ...
- Cultivate compassion. ...
- Change your routine.
- Mute triggering content. Avoid certain topics, words, or phrases that can trigger anxiety or stress. ...
- Limit time spent on consuming news on war. ...
- Be intentional with social media use. ...
- Accept uncertainty. ...
- Take care of yourself.
The response of the United States to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in 2022 has been in favor of Ukraine. President Biden condemned the invasion, providing humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, and sanctioning Russia and Belarus, the countries heavily involved in invading Ukraine.
The war – while not being the key factor explaining the slower-than-anticipated economic growth in 2022 and downgraded forecasts for 2023 – weighed negatively on global economic activity, adding to inflationary pressures worldwide and impeding the post-pandemic recovery.What does Putin want? ›
First, he wants to subjugate Ukraine, tearing down its statehood. Secondly, he hopes, by strangling Ukraine, to force the West to accept his ultimatum — rebuilding in Europe a Yalta-esque order with spheres of influence and securing a Western pledge to not interfere in Russia's geopolitical backyard.What would happen if Russia and the US went to war? ›
A full-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would see global food systems obliterated and over 5 billion people die of hunger.How do you say glory to Ukraine? ›
The phrase "Slava Ukraini!" (Glory to Ukraine!) had its origins during the Ukrainian War of Independence (from 1917 to 1921). It was commonly used by Ukrainian nationalists in the 1920s and 1930s.What is hello Ukraine? ›
The most popular phrase is “pryvit” – which is the equivalent of “hi” or “hello” in Ukrainian. This form is commonly used for informal communication, for instance, with friends and family members.What are the 4 keys to peace? ›
The four keys are: maitri (friendliness or loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (delight), and upeksha (disregard or equanimity).What are the 5 levels of peace? ›
Additionally, these concepts illuminate at least five interrelated and interdependent spheres of peace and right relationships that need to be nurtured toward the full development of the peacebuilder: the personal, the social, the political, the institutional, and the ecological.What are the three types of peace? ›
- Peace with God. This is spiritual peace — and it's the most important. It affects everything else. ...
- Peace within. The Bible has a word for this: emotional peace. ...
- Peace with others. Then the Lord offers relational peace.
» Fear changes. Untried soldiers were more afraid of "being a coward" (36%) than of being crippled and disfigured (25%). But veterans dreaded crippling (39%) nore than showing their fears (8%). Basic fear of dying fell equally green troops (25%) and veterans (24%).How do you stop warfare? ›
- De-escalate the concept of enemy. ...
- Treat the other side with respect. ...
- Recognize that there is the perception of injustice on both sides. ...
- Be prepared to forgive and ask for forgiveness. ...
- Refrain from belligerence.
- Put a rosary in your car. ...
- Wear this kind of shades at all times. ...
- Drink anointing oil every morning before you go out. ...
- Smile when you see them. ...
- Show them what has happened to your past enemies. ...
- Look the part. ...
- Stay indoors for seven days. ...
- Join Next Level Prayers by 6:30 am everyday.
The best charities for supporting Ukraine are United24, Razom for Ukraine, and the Prytula Foundation. These charities work on the frontlines in Ukraine, delivering life-saving services to people affected by the ongoing conflict.What is the food aid for Ukraine? ›
WFP delivers monthly food kits and ready-to-eat food rations, primarily in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine where supply chains and markets are no longer functional. To date, WFP has transferred over $400 million dollars to Ukrainians in need.How do you push through extreme anxiety? ›
Acknowledge your anxious feelings. Share how you're feeling with a trustworthy friend, partner, or relative. Talk to your doctor. Go to an online support group and talk with others about what you're going through.How do soldiers become fearless? ›
SEALs rid fear from their minds by practicing an upcoming mission until they feel naturally confident about it—until that unknown becomes, well, a little more known. They don't lie to themselves about the risks, they simply put themselves in the best position to handle them, which inspires confidence.What do Ukrainians think of the US? ›
Ukrainians have generally viewed the U.S. positively, with 80% expressing a favorable view in 2002, and 60% in 2011. According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 33% of Ukrainians approve of U.S. leadership, with 26% disapproving and 41% uncertain.What is the United States doing to assist Ukraine? ›
In its leadership role in international financial institutions, the United States has also worked closely with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support Ukraine — including to strengthen energy security, food security, and support for ...What is the US perspective on Russia and Ukraine war? ›
The United States, member states of NATO and the European Union (EU), and other partners regard Russia's war against Ukraine as “unprovoked and unjustified.” The United States, the EU, and the United Kingdom (UK), among others, have coordinated efforts to impose a series of increasingly more severe sanctions on Russia.How does the Russia Ukraine crisis affect the United States? ›
Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have an important impact on the US economic and political outlook this year. The conflict will drive up global commodity prices, fuelling inflation and weighing on US economic growth. As a result, we have lowered our forecast for real GDP growth this year, from 3.4% to 3%.How does war affect economy? ›
Putting aside the very real human cost, war has also serious economic costs – damage to infrastructure, a decline in the working population, inflation, shortages, uncertainty, a rise in debt and disruption to normal economic activity.
Producing weapons and munitions is counted positively, while killing people and destroying things is not counted at all. On the one hand, war can increase GDP per capita by reducing unemployment and by shifting people from family formation and other nonmarket activities into wartime production.Does Putin want to stop the war? ›
"Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war," Putin said. "We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course."Why does Russia not want Ukraine to join NATO? ›
Currently, the organization has a total of 30 countries. In this way, Russia feels a threat from NATO's expansion to the east and, above all, fears that Ukraine, a country in which it can exert influence, will end up joining NATO, something that has not yet happened.What are two things Vladimir Putin did to help Russia? ›
He turned Russia from a nascent democratic state into an autocratic one, expanded Russia's influence in the Middle East, strengthened Russian relations with China, and displayed a willingness to use force to achieve his goals, as in his annexation of Crimea in 2014 and his large-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.Can I volunteer to help in Ukraine? ›
Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to enter Ukraine. Most volunteers enter the country on a short-term tourist visa. However, long-term volunteering may require a different visa type. Be sure to consult the Ukrainian embassy or consulate in your home country for specific requirements.Who has donated the most to Ukraine? ›
The United States has given the most in grants, valued at 25 billion euros ($26.5 billion).What charities give the highest percentage to their cause? ›
- International children's fund.
- CIS Development Foundation.
- Matthew 25: ministries.
- Kids in Need Foundation.
- Brother's brother foundation.
- Direct relief.
- Integrate Health Inc.:
- Family Aid Boston.
Each volunteer would receive a salary of roughly $3,000 a month, the same as a soldier, said Yaroslav, a Ukrainian military officer and head organizer of the International Legion in western Ukraine who declined to give his last name for security reasons. There are already concerns about the international legion.Is it illegal to volunteer to fight for Ukraine? ›
Warnings to Stay Home
While volunteering to fight for Ukraine is legal, the U.S. Defense Department is discouraging Americans from doing it.
- Overnight Nonprofit Shelter and Support Center. A Moldovan nonprofit created to support children and the elderly with a dynamic team assisted by volunteers from different countries. ...
- Refugee Day Support Center. ...
- Refugee and Asylum Seeker Center. ...
- Government-run Refugee Shelter.