Is it a fight to the death (of everyone) in Ukraine?
Canada’s government ministers leading our engagement in the Russia-Ukraine war frequently say they are supporting Ukraine to defeat Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
Indeed, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her April 2022 Budget speech, “Putin’s assault has been so vicious that we all now understand that the world’s democracies — including our own — can be safe only once the Russian tyrant and his armies are entirely vanquished.”
With statements so unequivocal as that, it’s difficult to see how a peace settlement of this terrible war in Ukraine can be reached – and just as importantly – how a global nuclear war can be avoided.
Even hawkish commentators have expressed surprise. Rob Huebert of the University of Calgary reacted incredulously to Minister Freedland’s comment.
“We need to put this in context,” he wrote in the National Post. “This is the second-most powerful person in the Canadian government very publicly calling for the vanquishing of Russian President Vladimir Putin a.k.a. ‘the Russian tyrant.’ The speech is clear — she is not saying that the tyrant needs to be vanquished only in Ukraine or his armies defeated there. In that one sentence she has explicatively linked the security of all the world’s democracies to eliminating/vanquishing him directly.”
This week, our favourite CBC podcast, Front Burner, explores, “The case for a ‘good enough’ peace in Ukraine.”
In this program Gerard Toal — a political geographer and a professor of government and international affairs at Virginia Tech — makes the case for an imperfect peace deal with Russia. It’s a welcomed clear-eyed view on the situation we rarely hear from other experts on the CBC, or anywhere, really.
He looks at the potential for a peace deal – which Russia has been seeking but Ukraine has refused to discuss – and breaks it down into several different scenarios:
- Full victory of the Ukrainian military on all Ukraine’s territory including Crimea and the Donbas regions, with Putin being overthrown and dragged before the International Criminal Court, and Russia paying war reparations.
- A victory where Ukraine gets back all of its lands but Putin remains in the Kremlin.
- A victory where Ukraine gets back all of its lands except Crimea or the Donbas regions – essentially freezing on the conflict right now.
For some, likely Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, only the full victory may be acceptable. But this could be the road to disaster, says Toal.
“Ever since the nuclear age – the world has been sentenced to the need for restraint on war where nuclear weapons are involved. You have to negotiate – even with your worst enemy.”
- Listen to “The case for a ‘good enough’ peace in Ukraine,” on CBC Front Burner, aired on October 18, 2022
(Cover image: Kyiv, Ukraine; February 24 2022: Putin attacks, there is war in Ukraine, Explosions in Kiev, missiles on other cities. The land invasion has begun. Via Shutterstock)
2 replies added
I sent the following note to the Winnipeg Free Press recently:
The last page of Dr. Seuss’s Butter Battle Book shows a Yook and a Zook face to face on the narrow wall which separates their native lands. As they face each other, each of them is threatening to drop the nuclear bomb he holds in his hand and blast the other to ‘small smithereens.’ The thinking reader will understand immediately that it makes no difference who drops it — they’ll both be eliminated along with the countries they are trying to protect.
Approximately three years ago, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump (and about 200 other presidents, sheikhs, kings, prime ministers, etc.) received, directly or through their embassies, a new, signed copy of The Butter Battle Book addressed to them personally, with the request that they read the personal letter inserted in the back cover. This letter assured them that though the gift was small, it was theirs to keep — unless they wished to respond by inserting and signing their own comments on peace within the covers of the book and returning it to the Winnipeg address provided. Any returned copies would be collected and offered to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights as a sign of encouragement to visitors that these leaders, at least, believed that war was not the best response to violent enemies.
Only the leader of Austria returned a signed Butter Battle Book.
I am really amazed at the strength, love and concern of the people of Ukraine by Volodymr Zelenskyy. Even in the midst of all the loss of life and devastation of their beautiful country they continue to try to reclaim their country and put all their effort into it. Vladimir Putin on the other hand is only on a path of destruction and lack of caring for his own people by sending young untrained soldiers into the Ukraine to regain what he had conquered and later lost. He feels that he is backed into a corner and doesn’t know what his next step will be which adds to the tension of him choosing the wrong choice in this awful war. If a nuclear war happens Putin, his country and other surrounding innocent countries will probably no longer be either. The whole world will be affected by this violent action. Prayer and positive effort and action to prevent this from happening is essential. Together we can do it!
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