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The Switzerland Summit: Peace Through Delusion

by | Jun 19, 2024

The Switzerland Summit: Peace Through Delusion

by | Jun 19, 2024

peace dove concept for war between russia and ukraine with natio

Ukraine has been at war for over ten years, and even the political establishment wipeout in the European elections has not managed to shock the Western ruling class back into coherence. Nothing could provide a clearer example of their clownish nature than the recent “Peace Conference” in Switzerland where Russia was not invited, China did not attend, and meaningful negotiation with Russia was taken off the table before it began.

Ukraine’s now-illegitimate President Volodymyr Zelensky continues in his maximalist war aims of insisting that Ukraine return to its 1991 borders even though that no one believes Russia will give up Crimea under any circumstances, or for that matter that any substantial portion of Crimea’s population wants to be part of Ukraine. Shortly before the Summit, Putin offered a straightforward peace proposal: concede the four territories which Russia has claimed, pledge to not join NATO, and ban Nazi activities within the country. In a feat of particular absurdity, Netherlands’ leader Mark Rutte said that this “silly” offer where Putin demands Ukraine concede all dispute territories is a sign of “panic.” In Rutte’s fever dream it is somehow a sign of panic to offer peace in return for all the land that is being fought over. Meanwhile, Zelensky continues to says that peace talks can “start tomorrow if Russia leaves Ukraine” and thus there would be nothing to negotiate but reparations and how long Putin will stay in the Hague. If the war continues on its trajectory Russia will most likely capture the disputed territories, while on Ukraine’s side we are dealing with “leaders” who believe in a policy that can only be called “Peace Through Delusion.”

There has been much discourse about this absurd conference, however it is best to see what the endangered species known as “newspaper readers” would be told of this august event. Indeed, one Associated Press article from June 16 titled, “78 countries at Swiss conference agree Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be basis of any peace” provides an unintentionally humorous look at this unserious and pointless meeting. The article notes in the first paragraph that “the way forward for diplomacy remains unclear,” but touts the “joint communique” which some participants signed. Looking over that document, which was the only result of this conference, one finds boilerplate language about territorial integrity and then three more items about the security of nuclear power plants, freedom of navigation as it relates to grain exports, and condemnation of Russia’s decision to care for children it has found unattended in the war zone. Just how little they accomplished, combined with the fact that Russia was not at all involved in the peace negotiation, makes it laughable that what are supposedly the world’s most powerful governments sent their top leaders to this farce.

The AP informs the reader that this event included presidents or prime ministers from France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Poland, Argentina, Ecuador, Kenya, and Somalia, as well as a representative from the Holy See and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (Joe Biden was too busy heading to a Hollywood fundraiser to give our money to Ukraine, but Kamala pledged another modest $1.5 billion). One can see that the importance of these countries drops off quite rapidly after the first four “world leaders” listed. It should be noted that the Prime Ministers of France, Germany, Britain, and Japan have an average approval rating below the U.S. drinking age, and are thus not in a great position to pledge anything from their countries. The article goes on to note that India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates sent foreign ministers or lower level envoys, and did not sign this document restating the original position of the “International Community.” Brazil did not even send an empowered envoy but only an “observer,” while Turkey, a genuinely important country which has promoted real diplomacy, did sign. The “nearly 80” countries signing represent at most about a quarter of the global population.

The article notes that the document’s final demand for restoring “territorial integrity and sovereignty” as the basis of a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine” has been a “nonstarter” for Putin. That reality notwithstanding, Viola Amherd, the Swiss President, said that the “great majority” of participants signing the document “shows what diplomacy can achieve” which apparently is not intended to be bitterly ironic, given that this accomplished nothing besides enriching the vendors they employed to provide champagne and caviar. Still, the Swiss Foreign Minister said they would “reach out” to Putin, which presumably means send him the “communique” that anyone can read on the internet.

Zelensky hailed this conference as “the first steps towards peace,” which makes one wonder what the endless meetings and UN resolutions where the same people have stated the same positions have been. In the lead up to the conference Zelensky went around telling people that “China, backed by Russia” was trying to undermine the Swiss conference. Of course, one of the two main belligerents in a conflict not being invited undermines any “peace” conference, while China is not “backed” by Russia but simply not taking part in this farce as having such a conference without Russia makes no sense. One Volodymyr Dubovyk, a “Ukraine expert” at the “Center for European Policy Analysis,” which is funded by multiple parts of the U.S. government and much of the military-industrial complex, said of the countries which didn’t sign their pointless document, “they are playing ‘let’s have peace based on concessions game, and usually mean concessions by Ukraine…They also like this ‘neutrality’ positioning.” Note that quotations around the word “neutrality” in the article, because of course they are of the attitude that to be neutral is to support Russia. He accuses the countries wanting to stay on good terms with Russia for their unwillingness to sign, forgetting that perhaps countries don’t want to set the precedent of not being allowed to intervene in civil wars on your border where one side is funded by your enemy and targeting your ethnic group.

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Union’s executive commission, said that peace can’t be achieved in a single step and claimed that “Putin isn’t serious about ending the war. He is insisting on capitulation. He is insisting on ceding Ukrainian territory—even territory that today is not occupied by him…He is insisting on disarming Ukraine, leaving it vulnerable to future aggression. No country would ever accept these outrageous terms.” In reality, plenty of countries which are horribly losing a war with no prospect of turning things around would, in fact, accept the peace they can get. Presumably a lot of Ukrainians would too, or else the Kiev regime would be willing to hold elections. Russia is winning the war, but they struggle to understand the relevance of that fact to negotiations.

We are left in a situation where both sides continue to express maximalist aims, as showcased by this fake peace summit. That any of these people are triumphant after this event just shows their refusal to live in the real world. There is a great irony here, though, that the Ukraine supporters continue to insist that Russia wants to end Ukraine as a sovereign state, yet it is “maximalist” for Putin’s peace offer to demand the disputed territories while leaving Ukraine a sovereign state with the majority of its pre-war territory. Meanwhile, Poland’s deranged leader Andrzej Duda called for “breaking up Russia into 200 states,” a goal derided as a “conspiracy theory” quite recently.

The reality of the situation is that without a massive “Boots on the ground” Western intervention it seems impossible that Ukraine can ever turn things around. The progression of this war is that Russia will take the territories it currently claims one way or another, at an enormous human and financial cost—it is now being claimed Ukraine might need $800 billion to win this war, which surely isn’t happening and anyhow is unlikely to work because what Ukraine needs are well-trained and enthusiastic men. The clowns ruling the West have forgotten how peace is made, and will continue to pursue a policy of peace through delusion while fields go unplanted, buildings are destroyed, and men die.

Brad Pearce

Brad Pearce

Brad Pearce writes The Wayward Rabbler on Substack. He lives in eastern Washington with his wife and daughter. Brad's main interest is the way government and media narratives shape the public's understanding of the world and generate support for insane and destructive policies.

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