French President Emmanuel Macron is at it again vis-à-vis Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine would eventually have to hold peace talks with Russia, while Ukrainian troops fought hard to hold back the Russian invasion force in the country’s east.
“At some point, when we will have helped Ukraine as much as possible to resist, when I hope Ukraine will have won and fighting will have stopped, we will have to negotiate,” Mr Macron told reporters while visiting French troops in Romania.
Whose definition of victory, though? Whose definition of what’s possible? Whose definition of fighting will have stopped?
Will the fighting have stopped because the Ukrainians have run out of weapons and ammunition because wobbly (to use a Margaret Thatcher term) nations like France have decided for Ukraine that it’s enough and stopped supporting Ukraine materially and materiel-ly?
Will Macron decide for Ukraine that fighting—or supplying Ukraine—is no longer possible? Will Macron decide for Ukraine when “victory” had been achieved?
Ukraine is in a war for its very existence as a polity and as a society, and it’s fighting a barbarian bent on destroying that polity and society. Macron apparently has forgotten his own nation’s struggles for existence in two wars in the last century, the first of which threatened its existence but for the unalloyed aid of other nations, and the second of which did erase France from the map except for one part that was a satrap of another nation and the other part that was a rump country wholly subsidiary to that other nation, an erasure undone only by the unalloyed aid of other nations.
The only victory possible for Ukraine has already been articulated by Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That victory consists of the Russian barbarian (my term) gone entirely from Ukrainian territory.
I suggest that the only negotiation with the barbarian that is possible once he’s driven from Ukrainian territory is how far back into Russia from the Ukrainian border all roads and railroads must be torn up and plowed over.
“We, Europeans, we share a continent, and geography is stubborn: it turns out that at the end of it, Russia is still there,” [Macron] said.
Macron’s cheap snark, despite itself, puts a premium on victory on Ukrainian terms and on subsequent negotiation on my term. We do, indeed share a continent under stubborn geography. However, France is still there, as I noted above, only because other nations came, without hesitation or reservation, to its aid.
So it must be for Ukraine. France above all owes this debt to Ukraine, owes this debt to Europe.