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NATO should push talks, not weapons: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-30 20:22

France and Germany said on Tuesday that Ukraine should be allowed to use their weapons against targets inside Russia.

In a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine would be permitted to use weapons supplied by France against military bases inside Russia from which Ukraine is being attacked.

His comments were echoed by the German leader, who said that Ukraine was allowed to defend itself so long as it complied with international law.

Which may sound well and good. But in fact it indicates that these countries and others want to use Ukraine to fight Russia so they don't have to bear the direct consequences themselves. That means that they are not seeking a negotiated end to the conflict.

This paints an alarmingly gloomier picture for the Ukraine conflict as instead of there being any signs of the conflict abating after dragging on for more than two years, the war at the heart of Europe now presents the formidable prospect that NATO is getting itself directly involved. That doesn't bode well for anybody.

Admittedly, Ukraine has become Europe's number one headache, putting it in a Catch-22 situation: despite the unprecedented Western unity and support behind the European country, Kyiv has made little progress on the battlefield.

Now, with many Europeans struggling with the cost of living crisis triggered by the conflict, European leaders are finding it ever more difficult to gain public support for the continued support of Kyiv, which is being increasingly viewed as an entreaty to nationalism to divert attention from their failures to deal with the problems at home.

But the bid for more visible Ukrainian progress in the conflict risks the direct involvement of NATO countries. Since they act on an all-for-one principle, that is a recipe for World War III given how far removed the United States is from the fight zone and how gung-ho inclined its leadership of the organization is.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already warned of a global conflict if Kyiv is allowed to use weapons supplied by Western countries to strike inside Russia. The prospect of a direct conflict between NATO and Russia would be catastrophic, with unfathomable consequences for the world.

It has been clear from the start, that the US has sought to use Ukraine to drag Russia into a debilitating war of attrition. The war has not only consolidated unity of purpose within NATO but also strengthened the US grip on the organization that would otherwise have diminished to its demise.

It is no exaggeration to say that the US is the real maker and instigator of the Ukraine crisis, and the lighter of the fuse. With its endless pursuit of selfish interests, the US-led NATO has pushed rounds of eastward expansion, eroding the buffer zone between Russia and a resurgently belligerent NATO, harming Russia's security interests.

To consolidate the US' hegemony, Washington has every intention of prolonging the conflict as it calculates that serves several purposes, including weakening Russia and forcing Europe to further rely on it on security matters. Not to mention that US arms manufacturers and the broader US economy — and thus the vote-seekers in Washington — have benefited hugely from the Ukraine conflict. Each time the US Congress passes a bill to provide staggering amounts of military aid to Kyiv it is a cold-blooded lives-for-power exchange.

It is now evident to all that until Russia is exhausted by the conflict, the US will have no appetite to end the crisis, or stop taking advantage of it. This explains why the US has never showed an iota of interest in joining efforts to get Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table.

The other NATO members must not get trapped on the same wavelength as Washington lest it lead them by the nose. In which case, they would only find themselves embroiled in a worse mess than the one they are in now.

A negotiated end to the conflict and a new security architecture for Europe are what are needed, not an escalation of the crisis.

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