Whether it is tomorrow, next year, in 5 years or in 10 years, there will be a post-war period. It will have to be prepared and built.
The global problem will be the same and can be imagined and anticipated as of now. It is not European practice to think beyond the short and medium term, but we should build on the short, medium and long term.
In the very short term, each belligerent contributes to the escalation and hopes to settle the problem militarily. Russia still hopes to crush Ukraine, starting with the Donbass, and Ukraine is looking for such military assistance that it could at least stabilize the situation in the short or medium term, or even win the war. We might as well say that the post-war period will not begin any time soon, but the post-war period could dynamite a large part of the existing organizations in Europe as well as the traditional economic flows which may not be re-established for a very long time.
The aim here is to identify the various important points of this post-war period:
- Europe-Russia partnership
In 2022, talking about a Europe-Russia partnership may make people smile or possibly feel indignant. What kind of partnership can we be talking about if the other party does not respect any commitment and any previous treaty? The Budapest agreements, which ensured the independence of Ukraine by Russia, have not been respected. The spirit of the Minsk agreements which recognized the whole territory (except Crimea) including that of the separatists, as part of Ukraine is not respected. What to think of a partner who unilaterally changes the terms of a contract and the currency of payment? Is Russia looking for vassals who bow to its mood? This is how Russia is perceived today. Such a partnership is not realistic today. The vast majority of the Russian population lives in the European part of Russia. Turning to Asia, as Russia is doing now, seems to be a reaction of denial, of spite and of the will to power.
This point of a partnership will be important.
- European security
The OSCE came into being because some European countries wanted to avoid a war in Europe with the USSR and the socialist bloc. It must be recognized that the OSCE does not fulfill the main mission for which it was built. In order not to lose face, the OSCE is multiplying side activities, but this does not prevent it from being useless today in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war. Even worse, its inability to control a cease-fire and to bring about any solution has probably been a factor favoring the new war of 2022. It will be necessary to rebuild an European security organization as the post-war period of the Second World War rebuilt the UN on the ruins of the League of Nations.
This is another face of European security , as a compensation for the inability to have an European organization that ensures the security of everyone. Has Russia noticed the opposite effect of what it wanted to achieve? Russia wanted to keep countries away from NATO: several countries are rushing to join. Russia has just given NATO a new lease on life with a clear objective: to defend every country against Russia. A moribund alliance resurrected thanks to Russia: bravo Mr Putin!
- A new world order
The Security Council is not functioning and is unable to play a role in facilitating the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine war. Something will have to be done, if only to reform the functioning of the Security Council. A new world order is not just about replacing one imperialism with another, equally or even more arbitrary one. Of course a new order is needed, but one built on rules common to all and capable of being respected without being changed unilaterally by one or more countries that confuse order with dictatorship.
And of course a Russia-Ukraine settlement. In April 2022, the Russia-Ukraine negotiation is an attempt by Russia to obtain by diplomacy what it intends to obtain by force. It will probably take a while for Russia to appear to be somewhat serious in the negotiations. We will find ourselves in a situation similar to that of the Minsk 1 or 2 agreements that will have to be renegotiated. The territory occupied by the separatists and Russia will be different, but it will be necessary to start from a new reality to rebuild something that could be “the Ksnim agreements”, or how to look for one’s future by looking at it from the past in what seem a reverse order.
It will then be necessary:
- Find a way out or scenarios,
- Establish a cease-fire,
- Establish a system for supervising the cease-fire,
- Enforce the cease-fire,
- Rebuild what has been destroyed,
- and let many years pass before a true reconciliation between the two countries is achieved.
It would be nice if we did not make the same mistakes that were made and if, for once, we could enforce a cease-fire that would hold.
Updated on April 27, 2022