Ukraine: better dishonor or war?

(To David Rossi)

The solution to the Ukrainian problem, which has now been reached, is, in my opinion, only the prelude to a broader solution in which all of Europe can find peace. This morning I had another conversation with Russian President Putin and here is the agreement that bears his name next to mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: "... We consider the agreement signed last night and the Euro-Russian trade and energy agreement as symbolic of our peoples' desire not to enter never again at war with each other. My dear friends, for the first time in our history, the European Union has made it possible to bring peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time. Now, go at home and have a good, peaceful sleep.

Paraphrasing the famous speeches of Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, in the aftermath of the Munich conference on September 30, 1938, we can say that any Western European leader would like to deliver this speech, perhaps except Prime Minister Johnson, mindful of the exceptional misjudgment made by his predecessor.

Yet, in many places we read and hear about "Peaceful, diplomatic and negotiating solution" to the war in Ukraine unleashed by the unjustifiable invasion by Russian troops.

The question that a down-to-earth citizen who "keeps a family", even before a geopolitical analyst, is this: but who insists on this point has ever thought how it felt to wake up from that "quiet sleep" suggested by poor Chamberlain? In a few months, Herr Hitler, as he and his foreign minister Lord Halifax called him, took his word back over and over again and proved that totalitarian regimes are ferocious and bulimic beasts, that the more they get and the more they want, the less threatened and the more aggressive they are.

Unfortunately, Winston Churchill, who became Chamberlain's successor in 1940, was right when he said, again in the aftermath of the Munich conference: "They could choose between dishonor and war. They have chosen dishonor and will have war ".

Let's face it: the essential elements for an agreement or for any solution that is not entrusted to arms are missing.

Manca a credible counterpart, as Putin lied repeatedly before and during the war about Russia's intentions, allowed and endorsed appalling human rights violations (indiscriminate bombing of civilians, deportations of hundreds of thousands of civilians, mass murder, ethnic cleansing) and threatened the use of nuclear weapons against conventional forces. Do we really believe that his signature alongside that of one of our democratically elected representatives is credible and acceptable?

Manca a counterpart that cannot repeat the aggression, as Russia has its forces present on just over a tenth of the Ukrainian territory, is implementing a naval blockade, has deployed its forces in a potentially aggressive attitude not only around Ukraine , but also within Transnistria and Belarus, on the borders with Finland etc. Any deal would be just a pause that would allow Russia to put some order into the chaos and unruly of its troops.

Manca certainty for the security of Ukraine, given that either Western countries and NATO will give Ukraine ample guarantees about its protection and military intervention in the event of a repeat of a Russian aggression or Kiev will be in a few weeks or months point and head, with Russian troops and missiles hammering its territory and wreaking havoc on its population.

Manca any ethical and political justification for the legitimate cession of any part of the Ukrainian sovereign territory, including Crimea, to the Russian Federation. Let's not fool ourselves: even if Zelensky decides on any transaction, this - by constitution - should be endorsed by a national referendum. The United States and the United Kingdom first, committed to standing up to the holy alliance of autocracies around the world (China, Iran, North Korea, etc.), will never recognize the dismemberment of Ukraine by force.

Manca a true and stable negotiating force of the Russians, ferocious with the civilians and bullies at the negotiating table, but on the ground committed to cover themselves with shame as one of the great powers had never seen do in the last three hundred years of history. The recent appearance on the Ukrainian fields of the T-62 tank, out of production since 1975, speaks volumes about the progress of the war and the fact that with each passing day Russia is getting weaker.

Manca the link between a serious nuclear threat and, as many foolishly argue, the fact that we must speed up the search for a diplomatic solution. Given the fact that it is not clear why we should sacrifice Ukraine to save them and us from an attack that is possible but has never happened yet, the problem is actually all on Moscow's side. If we reread the interview with General Ben Hodges (, we find that one thing is evident: the response of the United States - and its allies, for that matter - to the use of tactical nuclear weapons will be inevitable. So, it's up to Moscow to take this into account - and it certainly does - and to take steps back, not to us: but why do we always have to think about the fastest way to drop our pants ?! Can't we think of anything better than a new Munich or a new September 8th ?! Meanwhile, Finland, an evolved and peaceful nation, moves its troops and demonstrates to Russia that "si vis pacem, para bellum": evidently, they have learned the lesson of our noble ancestors, while we prefer "dishonor to war". They will get peace, we will get war.

In short, let's stop deluding ourselves: the diplomatic solution is only an illusion, useful to move the war forward for some time. What happened to the proponents of serious global disarmament? Let them bring autarchies to the table - if they want to come - and you will see that Western countries are more than willing to discuss a new Helsinki, with the necessary multilateral guarantees in terms of reduction and control of weapons and conventional and nuclear weapon systems.

Until then, better sleep with one eye open and one closed: after the mistakes of the Munich conference, no one can sleep peacefully anymore ...