Ruling Out Peace Talks with Russia Could Be a Mistake
BY JOHN STURROCK
Mediator John Sturrock reflects on a statement saying that one cannot negotiate a lasting peace with Putin. He says: “There are countless examples from history where negotiation has taken place with those who were sworn enemies: the IRA, the apartheid regime, the Taliban.” So when should you negotiate?
Stewart McDonald MP’s Thunderer (“Ukrainians can be sure all UK parties are behind them”, September 16) describes the horrors experienced in Ukraine and articulates well the concerns felt there about any change in the West’s position, prompted by “extreme voices from the left and the right across Europe”. He writes that “one cannot negotiate a lasting peace with Putin”. While it is not clear whether this extends to Russia generally, McDonald is clear that Russia must not be allowed to win the war.
If one accepts the latter proposition, is it necessarily the case that negotiation can never occur? Let’s accept that no concessions should be made that reward Russia’s actions or are inconsistent with what Ukrainians wish. Where does that leave the West? Expecting surrender? Encouraging total victory? How likely is that to happen? What would be the consequences of trying to achieve it?