War in Ukraine: A Possible Compromise?

The Saker has this post about sanctions: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.se/2014/08/you-wanna-be-uncle-sams-bitch-pay-price.html. The Russian sanctions are a response to EU sanctions against Russia.

A Handelsblatt article has done the rounds in the blogs, entitled The West is on the Wrong Path. But some caution is called for. http://www.handelsblatt.com/meinung/kommentare/essay-in-englisch-the-west-on-the-wrong-path/10308406.html suggest the start of a German rethink of their Ukraine strategy. His first name is Hungarian, Gábor. This is the Wikipedia entry for him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabor_Steingart.

The EU Oligarchy would need to meet to discuss this, and even in the unlikely event they do a total U-turn and cancel the Drang nach Osten, the EU sanctions against Russia may be quietly forgotten, precisely because, as the Saker writes, they harm the EU more than Russia. It at least should give food for thought as to the direction the war is taking. Russia has not “invaded” Ukraine despite considerable provocation. But the demonisation of Putin, built up over several years now, continues unabated.

Dagens Nyheter 8 Aug 2014 Editorial presents it in terms of the need to hold together: “a united front against Putin” nor the EU and USA: http://www.dn.se/ledare/huvudledare/enad-front-mot-putin/. I read this with growing disbelief. It took the demonisation of Putin further than I can remember in all the years since the EU tried to get Ukraine to join. And it was all about holding the EU and the USA together to meet the economic threat of Russian sanctions.

But there is a sting in the tail of Dagens Nyheter Editorial, which ends with the need for military solidarity, by Sweden joining NATO. I translate from the Swedish: “The same day as Russia answered with its own sanctions, Finland’s Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, asked the EU for compensation ( because of Russian economic sanctions). Stubb as soon as his recent Election was over announced he would seek to take Finland into NATO. The Editorial  continues: “A revisionist Russia, besotted by the dream of retaking control of earlier Soviet and Tsarist regions (sic) is not just a threat to those immediately affected, but a problem for the whole EU.” It concluded by arguing that in contrast to the overwhelming majority of EU countries we remain outside NATO.

Swedish neutrality clearly irritates the Bourgeois Alliance – Centre, Christian Democrat and Liberal Parties, and the Moderates. All that keeps Sweden from abandoning its 200 years of armed neutrality are the Social Democrats.

In the light of this, the Handelsblatt article’s conclusions sound almost friendly to Russia. It concludes:

“Of course, we who came later can continue to proclaim our outrage against the ruthless Putin and appeal to international law against him, but the way things are this outrage should come with a slight blush of embarrassment. Or to use the words of Willy Brandt: “Claims to absolutes threaten man.“

In the end, even the men who had succumbed to war fever in 1914 had to realize this. After the end of the war, the penitent issued a second call, this time to understanding between nations: “The civilized world became a war camp and battle field. It is time that a great tide of love replaces the devastating wave of hatred.“

We should try to avoid the detour via the battle fields in the 21st century. History does  not have to repeat itself. Maybe we can find a shortcut.”

“Try to avoid the detour via the battle fields…” But a short-cut to what, exactly? An EU which is entirely in NATO? It certainly does not argue for a peaceful Drang nach Osten, which now cannot be cancelled. The US aggressive support for the EU in Ukraine makes that impossible.

In the light of this, Russian sanctions against the US and the EU are carefully formed. In the neoliberal age which elevates money to counting for all, that is clearly a powerful argument.

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