A proposal to Putin, Trump and Ukraine's Zelensky
At a time of one of the greatest political upheavals in American history that could spill over into foreign affairs, especially U.S.-Russian relations with unpredictable and devastating results, I thought
A rebuilt NATO or a new organization, IATO — International Anti-Terrorist Organization — specifically targeting global jihad, would have a future with new partners including Russia, for which terrorism represents a major security threat. Georgia and Ukraine could join IATO as well, thus taking the first step toward reconciliation with Russia that NATO’s insatiable expansion drive helped destroy.
French President Emmanuel Macron is the first Western leader who agrees with this point of view and is not afraid to say that "NATO’s brain is dead.” However, the U.S. president must take the lead to move past legacy NATO.
Dear Mr. Zelensky, I believe that you sincerely want to end the war in your country. It is not an easy job since you face a strong and vocal radical nationalistic opposition with strong neo-Nazi overtones that declares that any compromise on your side will be met with the violent resistance and another "Maidan revolution” that may lead to your overthrow. The leader of this opposition is former President Petro Poroshenko, whom Washington supported all these years and who was given a rare privilege to speak at a joint session of Congress, where members greeted him with numerous standing ovations. At the same time, Ukrainian people hated him so much that they decided to replace him with a Jewish comic actor with no political experience.
Mr. Zelensky, I wonder if you have read the book "Shooting Stars” by Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, which describes some important episodes in which fate gave an individual a chance at a historical turning point. Zweig says fate usually chooses for this purpose a strong personality, but sometimes it falls to mediocrities who fail miserably.
You are in a position to decide which you will be, and the pass to historical Olympus is obvious.
After a Western-backed coup overthrew the legitimate Ukrainian president in February 2014, it brought to power a government largely picked by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. People in the Donbass region did not accept the new government and made two conditions for remaining a part of Ukraine: special autonomy status and two state languages. This is exactly what Canada provides for its large French-speaking minority.
Those with even rudimentary knowledge of Ukrainian history and its huge ethnic Russian population would agree that these demands are not unreasonable, but the post-coup government called the separatist forces terrorists, sent aviation and tanks, and started a civil war that has been raging for five years.
Washington, which was in total control of the Ukrainian political class, could have resolved this crisis easily by telling the new government to accept these modest conditions. Instead, the U.S. supported Kyiv with money, weapons, military training and political support.
Mr. Zelensky, nowadays you and your country are used as pawns in the attempts to impeach Mr. Trump, but your prime responsibility is before Ukrainian people who dismissed the party of war and placed the fate of your country and its people in your hands. They expect you to make the right decision by choosing the road to peace.
While waiting for these miracles to materialize, I wish all a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and peace on earth in 2020.
Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. He is the author of the book "Operation Elbe”, which describes joint US – Russia anti-terrorist efforts.