Forum: Learn from history to avoid a victory without peace in Ukraine war

I have been following the development of the Russia-Ukraine war closely over the past two months.

It looks like Ukraine is gaining the upper hand slowly but steadily with help from Western nations.

This is a good sign as Russian President Vladimir Putin will hopefully be under pressure to end the war and sign a peace agreement.

During Mr Putin's speech on Russia's Victory Day on Monday, he surprisingly did not mention the word Ukraine once, despite speculation beforehand. It appears Mr Putin is not happy about the progress and status of the war, and it seems he may not have an idea on how to exit the war as yet.

So how do we want the war to end? The main goal would be to help Ukraine defend its territory and expel Russian aggression.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin also declared recently: "We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine."

Though I do not disagree with Mr Austin, such statements could weaken Russia's willingness to withdraw its forces, and reinforce Moscow's narrative that Nato is waging a proxy war in Ukraine aimed at weakening Russia.

After World War I ended, the victorious allies including the big powers Britain, France and the United States met in France in January 1919, known as the Paris Peace Conference.

The main result was the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty placed the whole guilt for World War I on Germany. That provision proved humiliating for Germany and set the stage for expensive war compensation. This led to hidden trouble for the victorious allies and to an even bigger war. They had won a victory without peace.

World political leaders need wisdom to think about what they need and how to get there in the Russia-Ukraine war: a peace without victory, or a victory without peace.

Xiao Feng

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