What started as an invasion by Russia has turned into a proxy war by the West, with major decisions taken out of Ukrainian hands
Now we know who calls the shots in Ukraine. No sooner did China propose a 12-point peace plan, it was shot down like the alleged spy balloon. The Americans and Germans said most of the points made were pointless. This was despite the Western powers having criticised Beijing for not lifting a finger on the peace front in the past year. Well, neither did India but you don’t hear the same loud complaints against a potential security partner in Asia.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Beijing should have ended it after the first point, which called for “respecting the sovereignty of all countries”. That’s funny, considering it was coming from a country that has invaded, interfered with and/or carried out military operations in practically every nation and political territory on Earth in the past two centuries.
Still, what Uncle Sam says goes. And what Germany says carries weight in the European Union. Since Washington, Berlin and Nato have said no, it’s immaterial what Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky think. Both leaders have in fact offered Beijing the benefit of the doubt and are willing to accept it as a potential mediator. It’s worth considering the Ukrainians in their own words. It should also be remembered that China had excellent relations with both Ukraine and Russia before the war.
Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires in Beijing called the peace plan a “good sign”. “We hope they also urge Russia to stop the war and withdraw its troops,” he added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who met foreign affairs chief Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference last week, said Kyiv intended to “carefully study it and draw conclusions”.
Zelensky himself said it was not a bad start. “China has shown its thoughts,” he said. “I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad. But the question is what follows the words. The question is in the steps and where they will lead to.”
While Kyiv is taking an extremely cautious approach with China, it is clearly willing to consider a peace role for it.
China has zero interest in seeing the war prolonged, unlike some other great powers. The idea that Beijing would come up with a proposal that would satisfy the US and the EU is absurd. Both sides have their own interests and motivations. If they are serious about peace, all the sides involved will present their own ideas, push for compromise and have it presented to Kyiv and Moscow as a basis for negotiations.
The fact that Washington has rejected the Chinese plan immediately means it didn’t even bother to ask what the Ukrainians thought about it first. The reality is that it is happy to supply all the weapons for Ukraine to fight the Russians to the last man, so long as the Ukrainians are willing to serve as cannon fodder. They are happy to tell them where, when and who to shoot, and with what weapons to shoot. But the war aim itself, the very nature and purpose of the war, is no longer decided in Kyiv, but is being dictated in Washington and Brussels. What started as an invasion by one side has turned into a proxy war by the other side.
The pace, direction and spread of the war, and how far to prosecute it – these are decisions taken out of Ukrainians’ hands. They may be consulted, but they are no longer “the deciders”. So long as Ukraine’s leaders are willing to go rah-rah-rah over the war, they are to be treated as heroes. But they no longer have the independence they had at the start of the conflict.
Nor should you expect otherwise. In the final analysis, the costly and overwhelming Western support is not about democracy vs autocracy or good vs evil, but European security and US control of the continent. Such agendas are too important to be left to the Ukrainians themselves [end]
The original article
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