Neutralizing Ukraine

Though no one imagines that a ceasefire in Gaza will produce a substantive breakthrough in the Israel-Palestine conflict, concerned governments are working tirelessly to achieve one. Yet, when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, the US, the EU, and Russia are refusing to pursue a solution that is there for the taking.

LONDON – Though no one imagines that a lasting cease-fire in Gaza will, in itself, produce a substantive breakthrough in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the United States and other concerned governments continue to work tirelessly to halt the fighting. Yet, when it comes to the escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine, the relevant external powers – that is, the US, the European Union, and Russia – are not only failing to achieve a cease-fire; they are refusing to pursue a solution that, unlike in the case of Israel and Palestine, is there for the taking.

All that is needed is to introduce into the Ukrainian constitution a provision that significantly impedes membership in any military alliance, whether NATO or the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization of the Commonwealth of Independent States. For example, the decision to join such an alliance – or even to implement an agreement that allows a foreign country to base its troops on Ukrainian soil – could require the approval of a qualified majority of, say, two-thirds of voters or regional legislatures.

Introducing such a requirement would amount to granting veto power to Ukraine’s two camps – that is, the country’s more Russia-aligned east and its NATO-leaning west. The practical result – Ukraine remaining unaligned in military and security terms – would reflect the will of the Ukrainian population as a whole.

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