Open LEtter for
peace in ukraine
This letter is addressed to the UK Government and intended for use by all UK and European citizens who share common security concerns to lobby their representatives for renewed diplomatic efforts and an agenda for peace in Ukraine to be identified and pursued immediately and with utmost urgency.
As the doomsday clock sits closer to midnight than at any point since its inception after WW2, we, the undersigned, ask you, our government representatives, to undertake the following policy reversal immediately and with the urgency that any increased likelihood of nuclear war should command. That increase is a failure of international leadership; Russian, Ukrainian, European and American. General Mark Milley, Chair of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimates 240,000 people have died in a year. There is no end of war in sight or even a means to pursue its end beyond war itself. We do not accept this ‘weapons for peace’ approach as valid or constructive.
Russia and Ukraine’s leaders clearly cannot agree on peace terms alone. Kyiv Institute of Sociology says that 52% Russians favour peace talks and 82% of Ukrainians (remaining in Ukraine) favour no concessions of any lands, even if it prolongs the war: Without pressure and external incentives, there can only be continuing war without compromise. Weakened tax bases, spiralling costs across Europe, ecological disaster, deadly impasse and the obscene ongoing cost of up to a quarter of a million lives lost yearly is the only plausible outcome. To speak about achieving ‘justice’ whilst supplying weapons and prolonging these circumstances is a hypocrisy which must end now.
The main reasons given by those who are prolonging war with military support and munitions are that to not do so will ‘risk the spread of authoritarianism’ and 'weaken their bargaining position' but the biggest cause of authoritarianism is war itself and the lack of political process. Ukraine has banned rival political parties whilst on a war footing. Losing hundreds of thousands of lives is also invidious to democracy. The primary bargaining points involve international trade and security arrangements and these must be resolved regardless of any position on the battlefield. The main reasons given for prolonging a war with no benefits to future peace and reconstruction are therefore erroneous.
The real interests of security and trade for the EU lie in establishing peace by putting pressure on BOTH governments. It is not possible both to make peace and to take sides. The real interests of peace for Ukrainian, Russian and European people is in re-establishing political, trade and cultural relations. In the face of such high human costs we should be looking to put options on the table rather than 'being strong' or removing options, thus guaranteeing war.
All that is left to address regarding our rationale for war is the possibility of an ‘outright win’. This is a demonstrably fictitious scenario. There can only be losses on all sides and an outright victory is not what prevents further hostilities. Only trade, cooperation and inter-reliance will do that. Russia and Ukraine must continue as geographical neighbours and no one should countenance anything else. Military victory is simply not a possibility for either side - unless by ‘victory’, we mean peace. Whilst Russia’s aggression should be addressed, ignoring the concerns it expressed in Minsk 1 and 2 simply negates any possibility of the necessary peace to do so. Our collective failure in this regard before the invasion should be acknowledged - just as war crimes should also be found out, acknowledged and punished.
The only way for Europeans to ‘stand with Ukranian people’ and enable them to return to their country where they, and no one else, can resume the project of running a free Ukraine is to instruct our representatives to draw up a peace plan issuing from the last negotiated settlement. The UN is the organisation with designation and authority to keep the peace using troops delegated from the region and international delegations - rather than self selecting interests. It is also vital that this process is set in motion openly and can be scrutinized democratically, by all free European people as well. Advocating for war without having first exhausted all efforts for peace leaves us potentially culpable in the ongoing destruction.
Finally, it is politely noted that European people cannot petition American representatives and so the American role in Ukraine falls outside of the scope of this letter. We only advocate that European representatives petition for American foreign policy to support a European peace process as the highest priority for Europeans.
Yours in good faith,
Liam Murphy, CultureBanked