Tim Louis: Time is of the essence—peace now in Ukraine!

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      I am outraged as so many are by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is never justifiable for one nation to invade another.

      What the world must do now is immediately come up with a peace plan that will bring an end to the suffering, destruction, and loss of life that will only get worse as the invasion continues.

      In order to develop a viable peace plan, we must take a look in our rear-view mirror to see the events that were behind the Russian invasion.

      Approximately 30 years ago when Mikhail Gorbachev was president of what was then the Soviet Union (USSR), he saw the writing of the wall with regards to the USSR’s defensive Warsaw Pact. He knew it was only a matter of time before all of the nations that made up this Soviet defensive alliance would leave it.

      He proposed to then United States president George Bush Sr. that the Soviet Union would willingly let these nations leave if Bush agreed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a western European-based alliance, would not admit them. The Warsaw Pact had been originally formed by the Soviet Union as a counterbalance to NATO. Bush agreed to Gorbachev’s proposal and Gorbachev permitted the Warsaw Pact to dissolve.

      However as soon as Gorbachev left office, NATO, with its nuclear weapons, gradually began creeping closer and closer to the Soviet Union by absorbing former Warsaw Pact nations one at a time. This caused alarm bells to go off in Moscow.

      The straw that broke the camel’s back was Ukraine’s increasing ties with Europe and its stated intention to apply for NATO membership. Ukraine’s admission would potentially place NATO’s nuclear armaments right on the western border of Russia. This would be analogous to Mexico or Cuba requesting Russian nuclear weapons.

      After years of tensions between the two countries, in late 2021 Russian president Vladimir Putin began amassing tens of thousands of troops along the Ukraine border, while at the same time urging the West to negotiate an agreement that would ensure that Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO. In return, Russia would agree not to invade Ukraine.

      Make no mistake, I have absolutely no love for Putin. He is a dangerous dictator.

      However, his proposal was evidently reasonable. The West rebuffed it over and over again, refusing to permanently block Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

      With the above in mind, here is my humble proposal for a peace plan:

      1. Russia immediately withdraws all its troops from Ukraine.
      2. NATO promises to never permit Ukraine to become a member.

      The above would appear to give Putin what he needs—certainty that nuclear weapons would not be placed right on the edge of Russia’s border. It would give Ukraine not only what it wants but what it deserves—the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops.

      Recent news reports indicate that peace talks are, in fact, underway. Time is of the essence. Let’s hope that the parties can immediately cut to the chase and bring an end to this terrible war.

      Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]

      Latest daily total (Mar. 2, 2022): 419.03ppm

      One year ago (Mar. 2, 2021): 417.98 ppm

      Tim Louis is a Vancouver lawyer and former city councillor and park commissioner. This article first appeared on his blogThe Georgia Straight publishes opinions like this from the community to encourage constructive debate on important issues.