There is no doubt whatsoever that the larger cause being fought over in Ukraine is the relationship between NATO and Russia. This isn't just a Russian narrative. And it is in that larger context that a settlement must be sought. Right now is actually a propitious moment, as Putin must realize that his military aims are now out of reach. And yet he cannot yield on Ukraine itself. Escalation will continue relentlessly on both sides, to the detriment of both--unless an accommodation is reached on the broader issue of the relationship of NATO and Russia, one that diminishes the criticality of the Ukraine-specific issues. Such an accommodation is in the mutual interest of the NATO countries and of Russia. That is of course precisely why such an agreement is likely to have staying power.

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The progressives laid out the proper course for us in Ukraine: "... we urge you to make vigorous diplomatic efforts in support of a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, engage in direct talks with Russia, explore prospects for a new European security arrangement acceptable to all parties.”

The Ukraine issue cannot be settled as an isolated matter. It can only be settled in the context of a broader agreement on security arrangements in the European theater.

With regard to Ukraine, everyone would remain in narrow focus on the specific issues and negotiations would inevitably bog down. In a grand settlement, on the other hand, everyone would gain from a military de-escalation in Europe, and Putin could legitimately claim to have acted in the interest of Russia. Here we have the win-win situation that is not available to us within Ukraine proper.

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We can get essentially everything that Zelensky is asking for provided we embed that in a larger agreement on the adversarial relationship between NATO and Russia. This is the most propitious moment for such a comprehensive agreement. Putin could use a distraction from Ukraine, and he would be seen as a hero for 'containing NATO threats against Russia.' For our part, such an agreement with the Russian government would simplify our military burdens considerably.

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Siegfried Othmer

Siegfried Othmer

183 Followers

Chief Scientist at the EEG Institute in Los Angeles, engaged in the development of neurofeedback for the recovery and enhancement of brain function.