Firmness vis-à-vis Putin

vladimir putin

We know what is happening on the ground and the intentions expressed by the leaders of the various countries directly involved in the conflict. But the real key now lies in the real objectives of the Russian invaders, led by Putin, and how they will deal with the harsh effects of the sanctions; in the real willingness of the United States and NATO allies to keep up the momentum in Ukraine with the help of urgently needed weapons; in the capacity of Europeans to make sacrifices in the face of the cut-off of Russian gas supplies and the repercussions of the sanctions; and in the contacts that may be taking place between the main actors in the conflict and possible intermediaries. In worst-case scenarios there is always a secret channel of contact that has sometimes worked.

In any case, we are at a transcendent moment in the Russian invasion after the failure of its planning, execution and own casualties. It has also had the effect of almost unanimous unity within an organisation such as NATO, which according to French President Macron was brain-dead just a few months ago.

However, one of the geopolitical and geostrategic consequences of the situation is the fervent and hasty desire of two historically neutral countries, Finland and Sweden, to join immediately. Moscow's reaction has been to threaten these countries and consider it a hostile act. This opens up a strategic debate on whether or not to show the utmost firmness vis-à-vis Putin. Certainly, the Russian point of view has to be considered, with a propaganda of feeling aggrieved that makes 80% of the population, according to polls, support the action of its army in Ukraine.

What can happen if we opt for appeasement to avoid Putin's nuclear fury is that we will find ourselves at the mercy of his greater ambitions and delusions of grandeur. Of course, the intention to use nuclear weapons must be ruled out with all possible resources. The destruction would be incalculable and of disastrous consequences for all. Let us remember that deterrence in the Cold War was imposed by the doctrine of mutually assured destruction because if one side launches its nuclear missiles, the other has time to launch its own, and both would be wiped out. That risk may be real but it cannot prevent us from defending our principles and values at all costs. Freedom, respect, dialogue, democracy, rule of law, international legality, coexistence, etc... We cannot give up our system of civilised, free and democratic society, even if the cost is very high. We are talking about sovereignty, not zones of influence.