• Українська
  • Русский
  • English
Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Lessons of Bosnia conflict and destiny of Donbas..

Hryhorii PEREPELYTSIA: We can see the West pursue an appeasement policy toward Putin, as it did toward Hitler before World War Two
26 June, 2014 - 11:07

The West does not seem to see a way other than supplication. The proof of this is a recent telephone con­ver­sa­tion between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Pu­tin, in which the former called on the current occupant of the Kremlin to pres­sure eastern Ukraine separatists into observing the ceasefire declared by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. News agency Reuters quotes the White House spokesman Josh Earnest as saying that “the president spoke to President Putin and once again urged him to support peace instead of allowing the provision of arms and materiel across the border and continuing support for militants and separatists who are further destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.”

Besides, as the White House statement says, Obama “emphasized that words must be accompanied by actions and that the United States remains prepared to impose additional sanctions should circumstances warrant, in coordination with our allies and partners.”

Shortly before, the European Union had also threatened Moscow with new sanctions if it took no steps to disconti­nue the face-off in Ukraine. In a joint state­ment, EU foreign ministers urged Mos­cow to stem the tide of militants and wea­pons across the Russian-Ukrainian border and use its influence to force separatists to stop violence and lay down arms. In addition, the EU demands that Russia withdraw its troops from the border with Ukraine.

The Day has requested Doctor of Poli­tical Sciences Hryhorii PEREPELYTSIA, a professor of conflict resolution studies at the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, to comment on the latest statements of Western leaders and forecast the outcome of the war Russia is waging against Ukraine.

“PUTIN TEACHES THE WESTERN COMMUNITY THAT WAR IS A NORMAL STATE OF RELATIONS”

“This can be called the 100th Chinese warning. I do not think these calls will produce any tangible effect. Putin has already got accustomed to this kind of rhetoric and is sure that it will not be followed by any actions to the detriment of Russia. And the more statements they make, the less impression this will make on Putin and Russia as such. Rus­sian society is laughing at these threats and sanctions because the Russians feel no ne­ga­tive impact. In reality, the West never imposed any sanctions that affect the economy and, hence, the social life of Russia.”

Incidentally, would you comment on the fact that Putin is today going to be on a visit to Austria and explain his position on the Ukraine crisis?

“This means there is no isolation of Rus­sia in response to its military aggression. So Putin is just teaching the Western community that war is a normal state of affairs. They are in fact getting used to this situation because the war rages not in their countries but elsewhere. Therefore, it is not Putin who begins to be afraid of threats but it is the West that begins to be afraid of Russia as such. And so we can see the West pursue an appeasement policy toward Putin, as it did toward Hitler before World War Two.”

“KUCHMA IS AS MUCH A ‘GASKET’ FOR POROSHENKO IN THE TALKS AS MEDVEDCHUK IS FOR PUTIN”

What is your attitude to Kuchma being Poroshenko’s representative in the trilateral diplomatic group of Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE, which is trying to settle the si­tuation in the Donbas, as well as to the pre­sence of Putin’s bosom friend Medvedchuk at the negotiations with terrorists?

“Medvedchuk represents Putin’s inte­rests in Ukraine. And the inclusion of Med­vedchuk, a certain provider and unofficial diplomatic representative of the separatists’ interests, which are in fact interests of Russia, is also part of the diplomatic war that accompanies Russia’s military intervention in the Donbas. Through Medvedchuk, Putin is taking a timeout to allow terrorists to voice their demands and press the Ukrainian side for certain compromises. The objective is that the Ukrainian government will gradually concede its positions and interests, which will mean a victory of separatists in eastern Ukraine and mark a new stage in the Rus­­sian military intervention against Ukraine.”

And what benefit will Poroshenko reap from the participation of Kuchma in this trilateral group?

“This is of no benefit for Poroshenko. This only makes it possible to show the West that Ukraine and its president are interested in reaching peace in the Donbas (which is true) and are open to negotiations. But, undoubtedly, the president will never hold any direct talks with the terrorists. In this sense, Kuchma is as much a ‘gasket’ for Poroshenko in the talks as Medvedchuk is for Putin. In other words, it is an unofficial channel of negotiations represented by Medvedchuk on behalf of Putin and by Kuchma on behalf of Poroshenko.”

“AS LONG AS THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY HAVE NO SUPERIORITY OVER THE SEPARATISTS, THE LATTER WILL MAKE NO CONCESSIONS”

But we can see that the contact group has produced no results so far. Although a ceasefire was declared, the terrorists go on shooting at the Ukrainian army positions.

“Indeed, there is no result. We saw this in many conflicts, including those in the Balkans. In particular, there was also a contact group in the Bosnian conflict, where the interests of separatists were represented by Milosevic and, no matter how many decisions the contact group was making, they were not accepted until NATO used military force and in fact destroyed the bulk of the military potential of Bosnian Serbs who lost half the territory they controlled. This radically changed the ratio of military forces from a full superiority of the Bosnian Serbs to a military parity between the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims. Only then did the contact group begin to produce effect, which after all resulted in the Dayton Accords.”

What conclusions should we draw from the Bosnian conflict?

“We must be aware of an ongoing war with Russia. It is a classical 21st-century war – the so-called hybrid war. Like in any war, the ultimate goal is a military victory or at least a military superiority. As long as the Ukrainian army and the National Guard have no military superiority over the separatists, the latter will make no conces­sions and there will be no question of peace agreements or truces.”

European experts also told me that negotiations can only be held from the position of strength…

“Absolutely so. It is an objective law of war.”

Can we expect the Ukrainian armed forces to begin to fight in earnest to defeat the separatists after June 27, when the ceasefire declared by Poroshenko expires?

“It may be too late. No one knows what Putin will decide before June 27. Will he dare launch a wide-scale intervention in the Donbas before that date, all the more so that reconnaissance in force has already been carried out? We saw several columns of tanks and multiple rocket launchers cross the border later last week. This can be called a test of the Ukrainian armed forces’ ability to offer resistance to this kind of intervention. Judging by the fact that these columns covered 200 km without any resistance, this assures Putin that not only columns of a few tanks, but also full-strength armored divisions can move in equally easily without encountering any resistance. This showed that we have no covering forces over there and Putin can easily bring in several divisions absolutely without any losses. This inspires him and can, unfortunately, provoke this very scenario. As we can see, Putin has in fact opted for war because Ukraine is determined to sign the Association Agreement.”

“IF WE SIGN THE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT, THE LIKELIHOOD OF A WIDE-SCALE AGGRESSION WILL BE DIMINISHING”

So should we consider all this as his intention to disrupt the signing of this agreement?

“I think this may be one of the intentions because Russia looks very decisive. We remember the relentless pressure it exerted on us in 2013. What is more, Russia went to war not over Ukraine’s intention to join NATO but over its intention to integrate into Europe. It is clear now that Ukraine’s integration into the EU represents a far greater danger than NATO membership for Putin personally and his regime.”

Why?

“Because Ukraine’s integration into Europe and implementation of the Association Agreement will mean abandoning the so-called ‘Russian world’ and entering European civilization. Russia’s current war against us on the territory of Ukraine is, above all, a war of civilizations. It is a war between European values and a Eurasian regime, a Eurasian mentality. So, in this sense, Putin will lose the inter-ci­vilization war if Ukraine begins to implement the Association Agreement. He is very well aware of this, and the impos­sibility of bringing about this ‘Rus­sian world’ in the shape of a new great Russia will in fact kill the idea of restoring Russia as a world power.”

The West will have to intervene if the Russian army really invades the territory of Ukraine…

“The West will not intervene even in this situation. We are not a NATO member. The West has no juridical commitments to us.”

But what about defending the civilizational values and the spheres of security and wellbeing on their borders, which Europe continuously emphasizes?

“The West is not prepared to come into conflict with Russia over this. But they will thus lose in their inter-civilization war – without even going to this war. I do not mean that this is bound to happen, but this is quite a likely scenario because formidable preconditions are being formed for Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. If we sign the Association Agreement, the likelihood of such a wide-scale aggression will be diminishing.”

By Mykola SIRUK, The Day
Rubric: 
2014-07-11 11:43:48
This type of analysis is unhelpful to those who actually want to resolve the conflict. Ask a military expert how to solve a conflict, and of course the answer will be based on the assumption that the conflict will be solved militarily. Sadly, that scenario, given the history of violence and nationalistic insanity, is more than likely, and I suppose its a good thing to have clever people thinking about such things. If you want to compare the current power struggle, consider the independence of India. Rule by an empire with a vastly superior military was ended not militarily, but by a series of non violent protests and actions. Comparing what is happening in Ukraine with what happened to the former Yugoslavia may be instructive militarily, but it is hardly a source to which you would turn if looking for a road map to end the conflict. The price paid for peace there too high, and it is possible to calm things down in your country without such an extreme scenario. While the fog of military action endures, the media on both sides will have their fun making up increasingly shocking stories of the atrocities of the other side, and tales of heroism of the soldiers and citizens on whatever side they are backing. The only sane resolution of this conflict is through kindness and solidarity with other people who do not want their lives, and the lives of their loved ones on either side of the political lines, disrupted by senseless violence. Of course the crazy people who are inciting violence and hatred must be stopped. Their actions cannot be permitted in any civil society. Bombing cities is not the way to do it though. Surround the cities, and send the message to all inhabitants that they will be treated with kindness and fairness if they leave the crazies behind. And then be kind, and make your kindness known, but not exploited. When only the crazies are left behind, use your intelligence and creativity to catch them and stop them from harming others with as little violence as possible. This may sound impossible but I have faith in the ingenuity and creativity of the Ukrainian and Russian people to find a sane, clean, and kind end to this mess. And for the love of peace, do not invite your own crazies to your protests. When supporters show up to protests with weapons, surround them with peaceful protesters and escort them to somewhere they can't hurt anybody. Stamp out nationalist fervor wherever it raises its ugly head, especially when it appears friendly. Fervent nationalistic surges never have happy endings. The lessons from history are countless, almost to the point of boredom ... if you don't take into account the millions of lives that have been shattered or ended prematurely because people focus on division rather than connection. I have a different message. Please, no matter how difficult it is to start the conversation, reconnect with your friends and relatives in Ukraine, in Russia, wherever they may be. Avoid discussion of what you have seen in the media. Assume most of it is lies and you will be close to the truth. Talk only about things you have seen, places and people of mutual interest. If you have friends and family in a conflict area, invite them to stay in relative peace. This is a time where the power of kindness and compassion is power to end the madness. Use the social media, your telephone, postcards, whatever communication channels you have available, to send messages, not of conflict, but of kindness and mutual connections. If you do not have the means to provide living space for friends or family then ask your neighbours to help. All of our societies are broken. To solve the immediate problems of our time, we have to act at a level that is most real to us. That is why direct communication is so important. I think the solutions have to start in all of our extended families. Thank you for your attention. John Hollinrake Calgary, Canada
Новини партнерів