A Short Proposal for Two ‘Impossible’ Peace Projects

As Theodorakis points out in the piece linked to below, once again The Guardian spins a story instead of reporting the news accurately.  This time it’s spinning a remarkably sensible report issued by the House of Lords on the EU’s part in setting off the Ukrainian Crisis in 2013, on its provocations and its enablement of a course of action which eventually led to the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, first, and then to the current, genocidal proxy war in Donbass, too.

The report itself gently minimizes the full weight of responsibility the EU must bear for the events of the past 12 months.  It does so by omitting any mention or explanation of how the November 2013 ultimatum the EU delivered to the Yanukovich government violated the 1994 Budapest Memo (article 3 thereof).

Such an ultimatum – as well as the use of economic threats to exert political influence on Ukraine — was expressly and explicitly forbidden under the terms of the Budapest Memo.  As the House of Lords’ report forthrightly reminds us, it was the EU (not Russia) that refused in 2013 to allow Ukraine the option of retaining good relations with all of its neighbours.

That the EU’s 2013 rejection of the Russia-proposed trilateral approach and trilateral discussions of matters pertaining to Ukraine’s right to choose with whom and on what terms it might want to conduct trade relations violated the Budapest Memo is significant for this reason alone.  The Memorandum of Agreement signed in Budapest in 1994 was the international document whose terms and whose signatories guaranteed the territorial integrity and security of Ukraine.  Any party that knowingly and deliberately violated the Budapest Memo – as the EU did in November 2013 – thus directly and knowingly acted to undermine the territorial integrity and security of Ukraine.

If we had a reliable and enforceable system of international law, the European politicians responsible for those decisions and for the November 2013 ultimatum itself would by now have been charged with undermining peace in Europe and would have been arrested and held answerable for their deliberate violation of the Budapest Memo in a proper international court of law.

Since we don’t have such a system and such a court at the Hague, I propose that the international civil society and those interested in preserving and indeed re-establishing and buttressing peace in Europe (and elsewhere) get down to serious work on the following:

1. The creation of an international peace movement that would link not only Europe and North America but be fully global in scope as the threats to peace we are witnessing these days concern China and Russia, India and Iran, Pakistan and Iraq, Australia and New Zealand (always eventually embroiled in what wars the Empire thinks it fit to start) no less than Israel and the rest of the Middle East as well as large parts of Africa and parts of South America, too.

2. The concomitant setting up of a people’s Russel’s Tribunal for Post-Imperial and Post-Colonial Relations, a tribunal which would gather the best available historical evidence on which the peoples of the world could finally air their legitimate grievances, sort out fact from fiction, and truth from historical myth, agree on what reparations and repayments and boundary re-adjustments would now be fair, and draw a historical line from which to move into the future finally unencumbered by the many unfinished businesses we’ve been carrying since about the Early Modern Period.

Both of these projects are enormously ambitious in scope – and import.  They are, however, doable.

For those who doubt the very possibility of either of them, here’s a visual reminder of what our Chinese friends know so much better than most of us in other parts of the world like to acknowledge, viz. that, in the words of Nelson Mandela,

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Doing the "impossible"
Doing the “impossible”

Occasioned by Theodorakis’s “Guardian Lords: Let Our Sins be on Putin’s Head”


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