Nothing is more dangerous than a flawed peace treaty.
Russia will determine the terms of any "treaty" arrangement as this US-NATO-UK Ukrainian Proxy War to weaken Russia enters its terminal phase - The Winter Offensive. It is lost - to Russia.
Much is made in the Western mainstream of "losing territory".
It is not WWI and territory counts for little during this conflict.
Here, what counts is dead Ukrainian Armed Forces - their complete destruction along with the smaller presence of US-NATO-UK forces and those wide eyed misguided volunteers, read Western State sanctioned mercenaries.
In this conflict, God Favours Russia . . . https://les7eb.substack.com/p/ukraine-long-proxy-war-vi-god-favours
There is one set of exceptions to the generalization that, from the Liberal perspective, wars are abnormal events. Liberalism is a teleological worldview and, as such, views events that advance the world to the "next" stage as necessary or desirable. Admittedly, these views were influenced by contemporary sentiments that were as Romantic as Liberal, but wars like the First Italian War of "Independence," American Civil War, and even Britain's colonial conflicts to "end slavery" in West Africa (and, for that matter, many of the colonial wars to "spread civilization" during the 18th century), and, for that matter, framing of the First World War by Wilson all drew support from the "Liberals" of the time. So it's not so much that the "Liberals" can't comprehend that deal making for averting wars is impossible under some conditions, but rather, they are inclined to believe, at least in some conditions, the obscurantist "other" on the wrong side of history are so irrational that they would not make the otherwise inevitable deals, whether they are the Habsburgs, the American Southerners, the sultans of Sokoto, or, as per time after time, the leaders of Russia and China. Of course, this brings us back to the crusading mentality of the "post Christians" per your essay some weeks back.
This, I think, leads to and is predicated on a peculiar paradox: Liberalism, again as a teleological ideology, looks askance on "backwards" societies and does not care to deal with them as equals, in good faith. So mutually satisfactory deals with them are impossible unless the "other" also embraces Liberalism--and so the inscrutable Russians, Chinese, or, for that matter, Rednecks are really forever beyond deals for the Liberals as they refuse to embrace Liberalism for some reason or another This, of course, is the formula for constant recourse to holy wars.
I'm new to your writings and still making my way through your previous posts. I will be reading all of them and currently around half-way through. I just wanted to say as a younger reader, I'm taking so many life lessons away from these essays that it has blown my mind. Each one has at least 2/3 revelation moments that are influencing me in similar ways philosophy has (but with a better dose of reality from you). It feels like you're teaching me many realities of life that sneak beneath the surface and I am looking forward to each future post.
In a sense, the current Ukraine war has its roots in the US imposing the Ukraine SSR's administrative boundary on Russia as international boundary in the early 1990s.
At the time, Russian officials saw Donbass as an issue and losing Crimea as unacceptable. Crimea held a referendum that voted to restore its autonomy as an autonomous republic within Ukraine, then attempted (back in 1991!) to hold a referendum on Crimean independence from Ukraine, but Ukraine threated to withhold their energy and water, so that referendum was never held.
As it emerged from the USSR, Yeltsin's Russia was too dependent on US aid to force the issue at the time. (Also, a treaty giving Russian rights to the naval base at Sevastopol, Crimea eliminated the issue that Russia would not have been able to accept.)
Another great piece!
I think the trickiest part here is that beneath the very noisy drumbeat for war until total victory in both the economic and shooting war, the various power factions in the US are not, I believe, in broad agreement, let alone the EU level crowd, EU/NATO member countries, and, of course, the Kiev regime itself.
Even given the best will in the world, how does or could the RF negotiate with this congeries of factions, nations, and supranational bodies? I am possessed of a vivid imagination, but try as I might I can't sketch a plausible negotiated ending to this to my own satisfaction.
So, I think this one ends (or, mostly, sputters out) without negotiations, especially as the collective west has spent so long demonizing the RF that it seems like negotiations will not, in any case, be politically possible.
The shooting aspects of this conflict, I think, will run down as weapons for Ukraine do, and the Kiev regime is steadily ground into pieces. Unless, of course, it flares up into WWIII (unlikely, but not impossible). What remains at the end? No idea - a rational world would see the corpse of Ukraine carved up by the survivors, but that would involve negotiating, which seems like anathema.
The economic side formally resolves into the collective west and "the other guys" with the rest of the world ultimately forced, by secondary sanctions from the collective west if nothing else, into one side or the other.
It's a bleak prospect, however you slice it, but I can't envision any rational-ish resolution emerging from this mess.
Americans/English out, French/Germans down, and Russians sort of in....we would be returning to 1815, it seems.
Not so sure if Germany will be "(still) down". According to Wikipedia, Germany's economy by PPP is slightly larger than Russia's. If the US was out of the equation, then Germany and Russia would no real problems and have complementary resources to trade. However, it remains to be seen if Germany has the courage to ditch the US umbrella and throw its lot in with Russia and the forthcoming super-BRICS +++ / SCO which seem to be growing prospective members like bunches of grapes. If Turkey decides to join the SCO and later BRICS, then it would have to leave NATO. If it leaves NATO then that could give Germany a powerful impetus to follow. One or both of these would be a terminal blow to NATO.
Time will tell.
There are some historical precedents where "letting things play out" among the locals rather than imposing or mediating an unsatisfying peace resulted in an arguably worse outcome, though I'm in general agreement with your thesis.
The example of Flamininus' "liberation of the Greeks" after Rome's Second Macedonian War comes to mind. Flamininus was such a Hellenophile that following King Philip of Macedon's defeat and reduction, his policy was to remove Roman garrisons (an insanity) and permit the Greeks a startling degree of political freedom, which of course led immediately to various wars and crises between the Greek leagues (Achaeans vs. the Spartans, etc.) and other states (Macedonia vs. Pergamon, especially following the war with Antiochus).
This instability was a curse to the Romans, their Senate perpetually haunted by bickering Hellenic envoys that provoked exasperation and contempt. In the end Rome was again forced into war with Macedonia, and after defeating King Perseus, totally repudiated Flamininus' policy and imposed a humiliating peace the locals despised but that lasted, with some minor interruptions, a century until Mithridates.
This example and others like it suggest to me that the world is a holistic thing and that it's as much a mistake to over-emphasize local realities as it is distant perceptions. Local grudges will not be allowed to run their course if doing so would be too vexatious to the power players.
We could see an absolutely hated peace win the day in Ukraine if, for instance, the Russians start losing the Indians and the Chinese. The result would be probably something like the Korean situation, which has proved mighty durable indeed, though from what I gather the Korean nationalist intellectuals hate it and pine for reunification.
Concur, "Americans out, Russians in and Germans (still) down would be enough."
Put another way: Western Europe is the western peninsula of Eurasia soon to integrate with the Heartland.
The most consequential changes I anticipate will be at the Vatican. 1054 schism will be denounced, Vatican claim to embody both civil and ecclesial authority will be renounced.
Religion is upstream of culture and far more so of politics.
Heraclitus: War [conflict] is the father of all things. Without conflict -- aka activity, movement -- nothing is.
> All this suggests that there is little real point in trying to negotiate some all-embracing political settlement for Ukraine, with a large and elaborate set of structures for implementation
It feels ironic that of all the nations today Americans should be first to understand it (maybe they do, but choose to work against it?).
There is a Nebula winning books series, "Enemy Mine" and the book#3 is exactly about it.
About how an external force could stop the conflict.
1. Wait until total majority of population grow genuinely sick of the permanent war.
2. Became the killer of extremes from both sides and the hate spongebob for every, so moderate factions could start negotiating without being labeled traitors, nor letting extreme factions wag the dog. "They would resolve nothing. Their only role would be to keep shouting not shooting".
3. Just keep doing just that for generations, until new generation grows up who never knew pre-war situation and is not anchored in it. "Those would be them who finally finish the war".
Of course, just a work of fiction, but today it seems fiction sounds more plausible than real politicians...