The esteemed journalist and thinker Robert Wright had a sensible op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday headed “Biden can help Zelensky, and Ukraine, by pushing for peace.” The damage Russia has inflicted on Ukraine has been beyond catastrophic. It will continue, together with increasing risk of escalation and expansion of the war, unless it’s stopped. President Zelensky and his compatriots have been magnificent, but a solution to ending the horror must be sought. From the standpoint of the Russian people, the toll on their country has been brutal. Putin has ample incentive for ending the war.
Talks may not be successful, and they are certain to be long-drawn-out, but it would be best to begin them soon. Wright didn’t speculate about what peace terms might eventually be acceptable to both to Russia and to Ukraine. I have felt for a long time that cessation of eastern provinces of Ukraine should be negotiable, but that the remaining territorial integrity and the longterm security of Ukraine as a sovereign nation should not be negotiable, and that any peace treaty must provide that, although Ukraine would agree not to join NATO, Russia would understand that if it invaded or attacked Ukraine again, NATO would defend Ukraine as if it were a member of NATO, including with troops on the ground and planes and drones in the air, and that venues on Russian soil from which attacks are launched would not be off limits. Whether a peace treaty is made or not, it’s critically important that NATO countries maintain conspicuous military superiority to Russia and work tirelessly to end dependence on Russian oil and gas.