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The wisdom of European diplomacy is the key to the crisis management now

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Paul Wang

Over the past weeks, the entire world has watched the tensions between Russia and Ukraine as the media and governmental statements in the transatlantic bloc have alleged the prospect of two East Slavic countries’ armed conflict over Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. For sure, Russia is the leading power in the region, Europe and the world because it is much stronger than Ukraine in light of its military power and diplomatic resources. However, very little if none of news exposes the Russian security concerns and its legitimate claims for security “indivisibility”.

It is fair to say that the sudden disintegration of the former Soviet Union during the early 1990s has convinced the West and the United States to approach international affairs unilaterally instead of multilaterally such as following the resolutions of the United Nations. As a result, the Anglo-Saxon powers axis have become more outrageous in pushing forward the supremacy of America in the world by launching a series of wars, color revolutions or assassinations everywhere. As always over the past decades, the Anglo-Saxon axis has claimed their geostrategic moves for the purposes of defending the rules-based and valued-bonded global order. Yet, where are the legitimate rights of other countries, which are not the Anglo-Saxon allies or partners?

Regarding the crises over Taiwan and the increasing tension over Ukraine, it is crystal clear that the United States in line with Britain have been trying to pull China and Russia into an armed conflicts over the disputed issues in both areas as some scholars have argued, even though China and Russia have reiterated their preparation to engage in more diplomacy. Taking the latest Ukraine crisis as a case, although President Putin has insisted that NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe directly threatens regional equilibrium and peace, the Biden administration and its NATO allies have intentionally ignored the fundamental Russian security concerns and core interests as a great power. Under such circumstances, it is imperative for all Europe to follow the wisdom of diplomacy which champions negotiation, persuasion, compromise and use of force only as the last resort. As the cradle of modern diplomacy, Europe is expected to act in line with the reasons and wisdom of the time-honored statecraft rather than following the U.S.-led Cold War mentality.

Yet, the U.S. and its allies have talked about the need for de-escalation as they have accused Russia of assembling heavy troops near the Ukrainian border with a possible intention of “invasion.” In fact, first and foremost, the U.S. and its NATO allies are whipping up tensions and rhetoric and provoking escalation despite the fact that no threat of a planned invasion into Ukraine from the lips of any Russian politician or public figure over all of this period. However, the media report that the U.S.-led allies have urged Russia to pursue a diplomatic path toward resolving the ongoing crisis. Due to the exaggerated story prevailing in the world, Chinese ambassador to the UN questioned the allegation of the West and the U.S. particularly on February 1.

First of all, China called for sincere talks instead of empty rhetoric against Russia as an aggressor. Actually one week ago, China sent a letter to the president of the Security Council of the United Nations, it said that China can’t agree with the claim made by the United States that Russia’s deployment of troops on the border with Ukraine posed a threat to international peace and security. In light of what China has investigated the root reasons of the tensions over the issue of Ukraine, it is obviously exaggerated that Russia has prepared to launch a military action against Ukraine as claimed by the U.S. and its dependent allies. Rather, there is no a looming war in Ukraine. More ridiculous is that what is the basis for the U.S. and some NATO member states to insist that there would be a war while Moscow has no plans to launch war and Kiev has admitted that it does not need a war.

Second, given all the sides—the U.S., Ukraine, the EU and NATO—have varying forms of diplomatic contacts with Russia, it is urgent for them to persist in seeking to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiations. This is the consensus reached by many members of the UNSC, which have also made numerous efforts toward this end. China has claimed that at a time when diplomacy is underway and concrete progress has yet to be made, it is irresponsible and unconducive for the U.S. to take actions to exaggerate the tensions over Ukraine instead of defusing it.

As classical diplomacy defines, all parties concerned should not undermine negotiations or hype up the crisis, rather they need to properly resolve their differences through consultations on an equal footing on the basis of mutual respect and fully taking into account each other’s legitimate security concerns. Accordingly, there is a need to return to the original point of implementing the new Minsk Agreement because this agreement, endorsed by the Security Council in its Resolution 2202, is a binding foundational political document recognized by all parties and should be effectively implemented. Any great powers including the United States should act in line with the direction and spirit of this agreement.

Geopolitically speaking, NATO is the product of the Cold War, and the expansion epitomizes bloc politics since the security of one country should not be achieved at the expense of the security of other countries. Still less should regional security rely on strengthening or even expanding military blocs. Today in the 21st century, Europe should completely abandon the Cold War mentality as it was under the nuclear threats due to the superpowers rivalries. Now a new Europe in the name of EU has come up with a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through endured negotiations, with Russia’s legitimate security concerns being taken seriously and addressed in a constructive and transparent way.

It concludes that since the U.S. has not considered adequately Russia’s three key demands regarding (NATO’s) expansion, the renunciation of the deployment of strike weapons systems near Russian borders, and the return of the (NATO) bloc’s military infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997, Russia has every legitimate security concerns to be properly addressed if peace and stability return to Europe.