Time to De-Escalate
Western leaders scarcely push for diplomatic efforts to end the Ukraine war
Among global leaders, only the Pope has repeatedly called for de-escalation in Ukraine. A quick scan of the front pages of major American news websites — Fox News, CNN, MSNBC — today shows almost no mention at all of the ongoing conflict (only CNN has a link to “live updates” on the war) and certainly no stories of world leaders demanding more vigorous diplomatic efforts. My recollection from reading news every day is that American politicians and the media who serve them have hammered on only one point regarding the war: that Putin is the bad guy and Ukrainians are the good guys who deserve plenty of American money and weapons.
The Quincy Institute’s excellent Responsible Statecraft website offers more intelligent and reasoned analysis. A recent article titled “It’s time for a US push to end the war in Ukraine” by Mark Hannah (July 18) supports de-escalation via diplomacy. A link to the full article is below, but first some highlights:
- The recent G7 and NATO summits, and the G20 foreign ministers meetings last week, Hannah writes, “were colossal missed opportunities to restart the peace process.”
- Western leaders talk of “starving” Russia of oil money and “weakening” the Russian military but do not mention diplomacy or the fact that Asian nations are happy to buy up Russian oil and natural gas.
- “In Germany, leaders have declared a ‘gas crisis’ and may look to rationing as Russia cuts exports to western Europe. This problem will only become more pronounced as winter approaches.”
- An international survey on “Views of America” finds a majority of respondents care most about avoiding a U.S.-Russia war and preventing Ukrainians’ suffering, and care least about “defending democratic countries from the threat of autocratic ones” and “weakening Russia” — the two strategies most commonly pushed in the West.
- “Analysts are skeptical of Ukraine’s ability to reconquer territory” already lost; a long proxy war won’t help.
- Before Russia’s late February invasion, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman indicated support “for an approach in which Ukraine would pledge military neutrality and give up its bid for NATO membership.” Why is that approach off the table?