Greens should support Ukraine, not act as apologists for Putin | Unpublished

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mihaychuk's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

 I am interested in sustainability, civic engagement and democratic renewal. You might meet me at the soccer pitch, at the Farmers Market, or walking or biking on local trails.
I'm a high-tech veteran and have lived in Ottawa since 2000. Before moving to the private sector, I earned my Ph.D. in laser & semiconductor physics at the University of Toronto.

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Greens should support Ukraine, not act as apologists for Putin

June 18, 2022

Former GPC leadership candidate Dmitri Lascaris wrote what I feel is a very pro-Putin slant advocating for Ukraine to capitulate to Putin's Russia in exchange for so-called peace. Dmitri raises some worthwhile points about questionable media coverage of the expanded war in Ukraine, before pivoting to a classic false narrative that capitulation to a violent aggressor will somehow stop the suffering. 

Dmitri's article can be found here:

Dmitri, thanks for sharing your perspective in written form. Many of us share various misgivings about the kind of media coverage that editors use to get clicks, both regarding Russia's war against Ukraine and on many other topics.

However, I continue to be disappointed to see you playing the role of apologist for Vladimir Putin, an authoritarian aggressor in a bloody war. While I share your concerns over Western militarism and triumphalism, your attempt at dressing up what amounts to a pro-war and pro-capitulation message as Green pacifism is ludicrous.

Let's also continue to question the role of foreign fighters. As we do so, let's acknowledge that there are many foreigners fighting in Ukraine on both sides. We should also acknowledge that Ukraine at least claims to have taken the necessary steps to integrate foreign fighters into specific units of its military to comply with the laws of war. Foreign involvement is not unique to soldiers from the West, and is unlikely to cease any time soon. Such foreign military involvement is, unfortunately, a continuation of the historical pattern in these lands in many conflicts spanning many centuries.

As for the lack of air power on the side of Ukraine, let's acknowledge that NATO has rightly chosen not to escalate the war to horrific new levels by not attempting to "close the sky" over Ukraine. Whether or not many Greens agree with the treaty, the West is upholding the North Atlantic Treaty by not directly participating in the war, given that Ukraine is not a signatory.

While many Greens question the role of NATO, let's also question expansionist Russia and its allies Belarus, India, and Syria. As we do so, we should also pay close attention to the populist authoritarian leadership of these countries. These leaders allied to Russia are known to have engaged in suppression of democratic movements and/or in scapegoating of religious and ethnic minorities.

Most importantly, your proposal for Ukraine to capitulate in exchange for likely Russian hegemony dressed up as something that you simplistically equate with peace uses an obvious false choice narrative. You argue that a victim of aggression should capitulate once they perceive that major harm is inevitable as if this attempt at appeasement of the aggressor will somehow reduce the harm. In fact, capitulation only confirms to a violent aggressor that they can and should use violence to achieve power over their would-be victims.

In the case of Ukraine, as the atrocities and the victims multiply, so too may the wars and the number of nations attacked. What started in Crimea, then expanded to Luhansk and Donetsk, has the potential to extend to Odesa, and ultimately could involve Moldova, specifically Transnistria.

Whatever regions are to be attacked next, the aggressor in this unlawful invasion is Russia, which is making war on Ukraine in violation of the 1995 Budapest Memorandum signed with Ukraine. Russia has also threatened NATO with the use of tactical nuclear weapons should NATO intervene. Under their three separate Budapest Memoranda, the nations of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan surrendered all of their Soviet-era nuclear weapons and in return were guaranteed security within their borders by the Russian Federation, the UK, and the USA. As Greens, we should support binding agreements that ensure peace and security in the region, respecting the internationally recognized borders of these nations, free of the threat of the use of nuclear weapons.

For there to be a lasting negotiated peace, there first will need to be partners in peace working within a mutually agreed legal framework. For that to happen, I think that the onus will be on Russia to end all hostilities, to enter negotiations, and to contribute to war reparations. Taxpayers in the West are already being committed to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Citizens of Russia will likely be made to pay as well, and for many years to come, with lasting consequences for the future of their country and the region.

Lastly and significantly, let's acknowledge how little we as Canadians, as Greens may have to add to such conversations. If anyone is to lead a discussion about the future of Ukraine, let's look to the elected leadership of Ukraine first and foremost. Our starting point should always be to listen and to support the people of Ukraine and their leaders.