The West reading different script on Ukraine crisis

Thursday, February 17th, 2022 00:23 | By
Putin claims Russia is not to blame for its war in Ukraine
Russian President Vladmir Putin. Photo/PD/File

The unfolding events on the Russia-Ukraine border have raised the geopolitical temperatures in recent weeks. The spirited shuttle and telephone diplomatic efforts with Russia, Ukraine and other players around the tension are yet to bring a semblance of conciliation on the matter.

What is emerging, however, is the fact that there is a hidden ideological and political dichotomy in the approach on the matter pitting the United States (US) on one hand, and Europe on the other.

Experts who have analysed the current scenario so far hold the view that Europe has toned down its rhetoric as expressed through French President Emmanuel Macron’s body language, while the US has retained its belligerence as President Joe Biden continues beating the drums of war.  It is instructive that the US is also inciting other countries to ship their citizens out of Ukraine, even as President Volodymyr Zelensky recently stated that a Russian invasion is unlikely. 

Macron pleaded for the revisiting of the France and Germany brokered Minsk agreements, which seek to end the war in eastern Ukraine, as the blueprint to peace between the two neighbors.

Macron felt a personal obligation to follow through the treaties, seeing that Germany has been taken hostage by the US in its usual divisive strategy. Sadly, at the same time Macron was talking compromise while meeting Putin and Zelensky, Biden was threatening to cut off Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which runs between Russia and Germany.

This was preposterous and condescending towards the top US ally in Europe. But Germany finds it tough to contradict the US even though it likely has the feeling that the latter is misrepresenting its interests for selfish objectives.  The meeting between Putin and Macron shows that the former does not have an entrenched position and is ready to dialogue with reasonable and respectful parties. Having struck a rapport with Putin, the West needs to seize this opportunity and their dialogue.

Macron has read Putin’s mind and understands Russia’s need for reassurance concerning the risk of an encroaching North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

While Macron has expressed optimism that an amiable solution to the conflict is possible, on Sunday Biden warned that the US will react “decisively and impose swift and severe costs” in case Russia goes ahead with the invasion. This is the kind of toxic language and negative attitude that could actually stoke the fire. This attitude is characteristic of Biden’s ideological high horse.

Now, although Macron’s diplomatic overtures are yet to meet Putin’s irreducible minimums, they validate Russia’s concerns and express a willingness to have flexibility on the issue. But the French president is also concerned about the future of Europe, as evidenced by his change from the Socialist Party to campaign under La République En Marche!, a centrist and pro-European political movement he founded in April 2016.

The age difference between Macron and Biden also shows their outlook to the future. As the youngest president ever, the French leader looks at a great future ahead for Europe but which can only be possible through peace and mutual understanding between nations. Conversely, as the oldest U.S. president ever to be elected, Biden is aware that time is of the essence, particularly since a second term is not assured. He sees his mission as one of entrenching America’s hegemony by all means necessary.

In contradiction of the U.S.’s hype, Kyiv has said that it does not find any imminent threat of invasion from Russia. This is the standpoint on which Macron is operating from in his apparent optimism in resolving the crisis. The US has crowded out the role of the EU, leaving the latter in a quandary whether to use the Macron level headed approach or leave the superpower to use its arm twisting and abrasive scare tactics.

— The writer comments on international affairs

More on Features