To avoid a nuclear conflict, we must try to keep the conflict limited, by supporting the Ukrainians as much as possible and by letting the threads of diplomacy be tightened.
Jacques Simon Eggly
This post is signed by a blogger from the “Les Blogs” platform in collaboration with “Tribune de Genève”. It does not oblige the Editors.
Heroic and martyred Ukraine. Its leaders would love for NATO and Europe to do more. Helping and receiving refugees is good. It is good to support humanitarian organizations on the ground. It is good to insist on safe corridors for people fleeing the bombings. Sending as many weapons as possible to strengthen the defense of the Ukrainian army is still a good thing. So more? This will include military security of an air corridor. Or even more, send NATO troops to Ukraine. Imagine…
It’s obviously heartbreaking to see these people on television being threatened by bombing, exhausted, at risk of running out of vital necessities. Although – we must be honest and not show attitudes – this tragedy for the most part does not prevent us from living our usual lives. But it is true when we hear the Ukrainian president tell us that they are also fighting for us and our values; or a Ukrainian woman who looks us straight in the eye through the screen and tells us that it is already our war that Putin will not stop if we do not stop him, we are inevitably quite shaken. For a while, imagining to be twenty years old thinking of these Swiss who once engaged in struggles for their ideal, we would almost see ourselves going to fight there for our values of sovereignty, freedom, democracy.
Yes but here it is. The heart has its reasons, which reason can not fully embrace. Indeed, if France and England had stopped Hitler in 1938, there might not have been this terrible world war, nor later, as a consequence, the Stalinist grip on Eastern Europe. The reflection on history, however, consists in noting analogies, but also in maintaining the differences. In 1939, Poland was bound by a military agreement with France, England and Russia. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Russia, which has slipped into the paranoia of an allegedly threatened country – even though NATO countries have their share of responsibility for the development of this feeling – is a nuclear power. An extension of the war could cause Putin in a corner to embark on the adventures of the worst: for his country, but also for ours. Our rulers, both American and European, cannot play with this apocalyptic risk. We must therefore cope with this limited conflict, by supporting the Ukrainians as much as possible and by letting the threads of diplomacy be tightened.
Moreover, it is not without effect. The Russian army continues its advance, but has not destroyed the resistance. In the Kremlin, we may begin to realize that it would be very difficult to control the whole country and that a stalemate has been programmed; determined in a ruined country. And then there is this unexpected European unity from Moscow. Three leaders of EU countries in Kiev, it is nothing like a political signal. A result in the form of a compromise is therefore not impossible; with in particular a Ukraine that is not a member of NATO, or even declared neutral as Sweden or Austria, but a close partner to the EU. And then compromise with certain regions like the Donbass? Hope.
This price to pay, we owe Ukraine
When we return to the pressure, there are the financial sanctions. They aim to undermine the Putin regime, but they hit and will hit the Russian people. And they have effects at home. Here again, it’s a matter of being ready. What is relatively easy for the United States is very difficult for countries like Finland, Bulgaria or Germany. These countries are very, if not very, dependent on Russian gas. We can not force them to stop importing it from one day to the next. But the Kremlin’s miscalculation is that a timetable is needed to become less and less dependent on this dangerous Russia. The Russian economy will plunge, but our countries will suffer the consequences and so will consumers. These consequences, without complaining too much, we will have to accept them. This price to pay, collectively and individually, we owe Ukraine. At least we can.
Some regret that Switzerland has proclaimed its alignment with the EU with a view to sanctions. The image of its neutrality, its opportunities for good offices would suffer. She should have made decisions by showing her autonomy in this matter. We can discuss it. This is not our opinion. Here it was a question for all the European countries together to mark their attachment to common values and their common disapproval of what tramples them underfoot. Switzerland had to include itself in this general reaction. She is not in the EU, but she is from Europe. At present and in this precise situation, a single rider would have been misunderstood. The policy of neutrality is what we want it to be. It is not written in stone. And then Switzerland does not send weapons. Eventually, its availability as a center of negotiation will reappear. International Geneva is not in the process of moving to Turkey. The European division is also Swiss.
Here is. It’s left to welcome our Ukrainian brothers. One cannot compare with the flows of illegal economic migrants coming from, for example, Africa. Rather, it is a matter of establishing new economic divisions that encourage them to stay at home. Many Ukrainians who have sought refuge in a disaster only want it: to return home to their country to be rebuilt; what it will be necessary to help them thoroughly. Oh yes, the heart and the mind do not advance in the same gallop. But reason does not suffocate the heart.
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