President Vladimir Putin is invading Ukraine. This is a violation of the UN Charter and a “crime against peace” according to the London Charter (1945). Putin’s actions are not compatible with the basic principles of the international community: territorial integrity and the right to self-determination of all nations. Russia too has signed up to these principles several times.
Putin is not only aiming to unilaterally rewrite the rules of the international system that have been in place since World War II — that no nation can just devour the nation next door — he is also out to alter that balance of power that he feels was imposed on Russia after the Cold War.
You might say that has been the history of Ukraine going back to the time of Peter the Great. It is certainly the way Tsar Vladimir wants Ukraine’s latest bid for independence to end. If he succeeds, the responsibility will lie heavily on those western leaders who forgot their Clausewitz.
Despite months of western warnings about his plans for a brazen assault, Putin framed the invasion as a defensive operation — even going so far as to cite the relevant UN charter article — and claimed that Russia had “been left no chance to act otherwise”.
In Russia, power is a pyramid. This pyramid was built by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century – an ambitious, brutal tsar overrun by paranoia and a great many other vices … Paradoxically, the principle of Russian power hasn’t even remotely changed in the last five centuries.
We Are All Living in Vladimir Putin’s World Now (27.2.2022) Ivan Krăstev
The New York Times
We should all have that clarity today. Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine is one of those moments that impels us to reinterpret our own era: what we called the 30-year peace that followed the Cold War … has now ended.
We further recommend Ivan Krăstev’s book The Light that Failed (2020).
To settle the Urkaine crisis, start at the end (5.3.2014) Henry Kissinger
The Washington Post
Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.