( Seventeen minute read)

I don’t have to tell you that wars expose the barbarity in all of us.

They say that its impossible to deal with Mr Putin. Call him what you like there have been many like him that have come and gone that did almost anything to survive in power.

Most probably during the next week we will observe the intensification of the Russian military aggression in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as the rest of Ukraine.

A Russian tank enters a region controlled by Moscow-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. (Nanna Heitmann—Magnum Photos)

War by its nature is unpredictable.

Whether a larger war happens will depend partly on President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions, partly on the West’s military response, and partly on plain luck.

Aside from the risk of an unintended or unexpected incident, like a missile that goes astray along Ukraine’s western border, fired by either Russia or the Ukraine or a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (which demands more action) the war could be catapult into a disaster beyond belief.

The question everyone has to ask—if this is going to be a large-scale war, if there is Ukrainian resistance and the conflict is prolonged over years—is whether the fighting can be contained to Ukraine or whether it will spill over into the rest of Europe.

You don’t have to be a  military general, or strategists to know that the more fuel you put on a fire the hotter it gets and the more likely it will spread.

Weapons might have changed, but wars have not, they run their course till there is no one left to kill, or to be killed, or the combating get sick of the killing and opt for peace.

What past wars tell us about how to Save Ukraine?Photo: SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty Images

Most conflict since the end of the Second World War tends to involve counterinsurgency campaigns and proxy wars, making large-scale invasions—like what is currently happening in Ukraine—rare events.

Wars that end within a month last on average eight days, and 44 percent end in a ceasefire or peace agreement.

When interstate wars last longer than a year, they extend to over a decade on average, resulting in sporadic clashes.


Because the longer a war lasts with absent concessions by both parties, the more likely it is to escalate into a protracted conflict, despite the bravery of the Ukrainian people in the face of Russian aggression, that is a dangerous prospect.

The refugee crisis will grow. More civilians will die. Russia will become even more paranoid and irrational.

Mr Putin could declare Western arms supplies to Ukrainian forces are an act of aggression that warrant retaliation. He could threaten to send troops into the Baltic states – which are members of NATO – such as Lithuania, to establish a land corridor with the Russian coastal exclave of Kaliningrad.

This would be hugely dangerous and risk war with NATO. (Under Article 5 of the military alliance’s charter, an attack on one member is an attack on all.) But Mr Putin might take the risk if he felt it was the only way of saving his leadership. If he was, perhaps, facing defeat in Ukraine, he might be tempted to escalate further.

What is needed is a viable diplomatic offramp that addresses the concerns of all parties.

The time for crisis diplomacy is now.

How this might be achieved?

This is about Russia wanting to restore a sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space, and particularly about Putin wanting Russia to reabsorb Ukraine. Russia doesn’t just want a neutral Ukraine. It’s also demanding that Ukraine formally give up Crimea and parts of the Donbas.

Amid the fog of war, it can be hard to see the way forward or potential outcomes. Most are bleak.

The sense of outrage and injustice on the part of Ukraine will be difficult to overcome.

Moscow demands recognition of the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, the “states” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region recognised by Russia at the outset of the conflict. Their supposed independence was cynically used by Russia to argue a right of self-defence of these purportedly sovereign states.

Perhaps if the Ukraine we to offer a form of “asymmetrical federation,” would see overall claims of statehood abandoned, but areas – or Oblasts – within the Donbas that have ethnic or linguistic majorities be given greatly enhanced local self-governance.

A settlement that keeps them as Ukrainian provinces but in an environment of self-government – almost virtual statehood, offering plenty of autonomy to both districts yet keeping them within Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

This could be balanced by internationally guaranteed rights to genuine local elections and safeguards for the right of minority populations – whether Russian speaking or Ukrainian.” with cross-border links to the Russian Federation to placate separatist groups.

However, Ukraine must not suffer de-facto division forever more as a consequence of turning the invasion into a frozen conflict. The Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people who must have their sovereignty, their independence and their territorial integrity. It is vital the Ukrainian government is not pressured into accepting outcomes that reward a war of aggression.

So after an agreed period of lets say twenty years the asymmetrical federation decides by Referendum to stay as such, or join Russia or Ukraine.

During these twenty years providing Russians return to negotiations on limitations of intermediate-range nuclear weapons (and providing there is no further conflict ) NATO agrees to stop its enlargement, as part of “confidence-building”

Till than nuclear arms controlled by the United States remain in Europe.

NATO is a defensive alliance.

NATO’s world view is simple. The world is divided between two kinds of states. Those that defend something called a “rules-based international order,” called democracies, and those who don’t know what on earth they’re talking about, called authoritarians. The remedy for this unfortunate condition is of course, always more NATO.

(NATO holds its expansion to be a sacred right. It has spread across 14 countries of the former Eastern bloc to the borders of Russia. It has brought war to Europe by encircling a country that suffered about 27 million deaths the last time panzers rolled from the West.)

Ukraine is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but it borders four nations that are—Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Biden and other NATO allies have pledged to protect their eastern and central European members under the NATO treaty’s mutual defence commitments.

For Ukraine to give up its ambitions to join NATO, since that has long been a Russian red line.

I think what we’ll ultimately arrive at is something that satisfies no one, but at least is better than a hot war.

When Putin first came to power, his forces levelled the Chechen capital, Grozny, in order to recapture it. And more recently, Russian forces helped the Syrian government besiege cities and towns, a strategy now playing out in Ukraine. The war has sparked some protests inside of Russia, but don’t expect a popular uprising in a country that is imposing an Iron Curtain. You would have had a hard time convincing  Russians them that there country has actually invading Ukraine.

We that is the west are not going to invade Russia to effect an regime change, its not a realistic policy goal.


Because changing the regime in Russia and doing our utmost to weaken the Russian state, you cannot do that and claim that you are actually acting in the interest of the Ukrainian people because you’re not.

You are condemning them to an endless war for U.S. geopolitical purposes. There is nothing moral about that – nothing.

Where are we with the war.?

No matter how this conflict plays out, the world has changed.

It will not return to the status quo ante. Russia’s relationship with the outside world will be different. European attitudes to security will be transformed. And the liberal, international rules-based order might just have rediscovered what it was for in the first place.

This is now a proxy war “to weaken Russia” is destroying Ukraine, impoverishing Europe, and escalating, without an off-ramp, it has all the hall marks of spreading into an all-out war that threatens all of humanity with nuclear annihilation.

The bloc politics of NATO is, from the perspective of those who recall the tender mercies of its European and Japanese practitioners, nothing but the politics of imperialism in a world it no longer comprehends.

Putin will not deliberately extend an offensive beyond Ukraine unless he believed Biden would be unwilling to go to war to defend NATO allies, however he will retaliate in the cyber world, broadening the conflict quickly and dangerously.

A Russian takeover of Ukraine would deliver a blow to European order like none since World War II.

After the most recent wars with American involvement the United States will not get drawn into it unless it is dragged by NATO.


In all ages war has been an important topic of analysis.

In the latter part of the 20th century, in the aftermath of two World Wars and in the shadow of nuclear, biological, and chemical holocaust, more was written on the subject than ever before. Endeavours to understand the nature of war, to formulate some theory of its causes, conduct, and prevention, are of great importance, for theory shapes human expectations and determines human behaviour.

Utilizing psychological approaches emphasize the significance of psychological maladjustments or complexes and of false, stereotyped images held by decision makers of other countries and their leaders.

This is insufficient because man behaves differently in different social contexts and nearly all wars are wage against the wishes of peacefully inclined people.

The ideal of the nation-state is never fully achieved. In no historical case does one find all members of a particular nation gathered within one state’s boundaries.

There is no rational basis for deciding on the extent to which the self-determination principle should be applied in allowing national minorities to break away.

As a rule, the majority group violently opposes the breakaway movement with violent conflicts ensue and, through foreign involvement, turn into international wars.

Nationalism not only induces wars but, through the severity of its influence, makes compromise and acceptance of defeat more difficult.

Although industrialists in all the technologically advanced systems are undoubtedly influential in determining such factors as the level of armaments to be maintained, it is difficult to assume that their influence is or could be decisive when actual questions concerning war or peace are being decided by politicians.

Improving the rationality of the decision making of individual states through a better understanding of the international environment, through eliminating misperceptions and irrational fears, and through making clear the full possible costs of engaging in war and the full destructiveness of an all-out war, possible in our age.

War can only be abolished by a full-scale world government.

Of course the likelihood of this happing is zero. 

The complex phenomenon of war represents a potential calamity of such a magnitude that all theorists must endeavour to understand it and to apply their understanding to the prevention and mitigation of war with all the means at their disposal.

Yes, as many as 200 million people may have died in wars throughout the 1900s, but roughly 10 billion lives were lived during that period. One may argue that this has merely been a matter of food production outpacing the production of assault rifles, so that violence has not so much been suppressed as overwhelmed by science.

Keep in mind, though, that these optimistic scenarios and others may, among other things, be products of their times. For we still live in the relatively benign aftermath of World War II, in which the greatest interstate war in history has led to 70 years without interstate war between the great powers.

We have a world full of beauty, with inherent call to protect that which is true, good, and beautiful.

Humanity after millennia of war may reach a culmination point, in which the number of humans killed by other humans continues to drop dramatically.

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.

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