Ukraine: negotiate or persevere? | The Journal of Montreal

The sad truth is that people get used to anything, even horror.

We are on the 113th day of the war in Ukraine.

Let’s admit that it has taken root in our lives, that we have become accustomed to it, especially since it does not seem to be the end and we are not personally affected.

Similar horrible battles have been raging elsewhere in the world for a long time without our sleep being disturbed too much.


However, the war in Ukraine has shaken our cynicism.

First, because of the extraordinary bravery of Ukrainians.

Then, because many of us, let’s be honest, no longer believed such a determined and cohesive response to Russian aggression against a West we felt to be limp and lacking in moral strength.

Aside from troop shipments, Western efforts to provide arms and financial support to an attacked country are probably unprecedented.

And it showed results: the Russian army, further hampered by its negligence, abandoned its intention to conquer the whole country and concentrated its forces on the south and east.

However, this positive result leads to a dilemma.

The longer the conflict drags on, the more deaths inevitably pile up and the more astronomical the cost of reconstruction becomes.

Some therefore say: if we don’t want things to get worse and deadlocked, we have to allow Putin to save face and give him some territorial gains.

The longer the conflict lasts, the more Western solidarity will crumble, which will isolate Ukraine.

It is therefore better to compromise now, no matter how morally unsatisfactory it may be.

Henry Kissinger, for example, argues that trying not to negotiate now is tantamount to going from defending Ukraine to declaring war on Russia.


But we can see the situation very differently, as the review eloquently argues The economist.

Negotiating now would mean conceding a semi-victory to Putin, which would allow him to consolidate his gains and make them irreversible, as was the case with the violent seizure of Crimea in 2014.

Negotiating now would position him to attempt a third attack on Ukraine, or he would be tempted to attack other smaller neighbors such as the Baltic States, Moldova or Georgia.

Negotiating now would tempt other dictators to follow Putin’s playbook: attack your neighbor, hold out long, wreak enough destruction, wait until fatigue whets an appetite for compromise, and you will make territorial gains, especially if these areas are not considered strategic.

Ultimately, the review argues, no solution should be forced on Ukrainians without their consent. After all, they are the abused.

In other words, we will negotiate when they want and we will support them as long as they ask.

It seems to me the most honorable and prudent position.

Leave a Comment