It is not entirely clear what is the purpose of NATOthat is to say, from Washington, whether to put an end to an illegal war that is materially destroying a country or to try to finish off the aggressor, Vladimir Putin.

Those who defend the latter continually warn us that if Putin is allowed to get away with it this time, as was done with the annexation of Crimea, the next victim will be all of Europe, since there will be no one to stop the Russian autocrat.

It is an argument whose logic is not fully understood. How was Putin, as crazy as he is, going to try to occupy any NATO country if he has had to withdraw with his tail between his legs even from western Ukraine?

As the nonagenarian American linguist and activist explains Noam Chomsky“As monstrous as it is, I don’t think Putin is interested in a direct war with NATO, which would amount to mutually assured destruction”.

It is, however, the argument that the Finns and Swedes now seem to have in mind when they speak of giving up their neutrality from the years of the cold war to place themselves under the protective shield of the Atlantic Alliance.

Do they think that Putin was going to commit the madness of occupying their countries militarily? Russia has, yes, weapons capable of totally destroying Finland or Sweden, which is not the same as occupying them.

The underlying problem is whether it is about putting Putin on the ropes without us knowing what his reaction might be or whether we are interested in ending this war as soon as possible that is bleeding a people dry and economically weakening all of Europe.

And ending this war, given the difference in human and military potential between the occupier and the occupied country, no matter how much NATO continues to arm the latter without getting directly involved, necessarily means reaching painful compromises.

The question is whether we think that Putin is a criminal capable of anything, so we have to kill him, even “every last Ukrainian”, or whether we are interested above all in preserving the lives of millions of citizens of that country.

The harsh sanctions have been of no use so far decided by the West against Russia nor the attempts to drive a wedge between Russia and China.

The Asian giant can only win from this conflict since the weakness of the Russian economy assures it significant advantages in the purchase of food and raw materials from the neighboring country.

Russia can continue to finance the war with Ukraine with the oil it sells to Europe, and some people therefore propose deducting at least 20% of the bill paid by Europeans to the state company Gazprom to dedicate it to a compensation fund for Ukraine.

Neither Putin nor his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, they may appear to their peoples as losers. Wouldn’t the time have come in any case to return to the minsk agreements?

But was Washington going to allow it without further ado, which always viewed with suspicion those agreements patiently negotiated in their day by kyiv and Moscow with the governments of Paris and Berlin?

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Isn’t it worth it ukrainian neutrality that Russia has always demanded, with guarantees that this country will never attack its neighbor again and a special status of autonomy for the Russophone regions within the framework of a federal state, even leaving Crimea out for the time being?

But even if kyiv finally agreed to it, which seems difficult given Washington’s opposition, would a Putin who seems determined to militarily occupy all of eastern Ukraine and cause the country to divide would accept it now? Bad times for diplomacy!

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