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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Zelensky’s gambit to China’s peace formula

“Now that countless lives have been lost and blood spilled, it would be very difficult for Ukraine and China to agree on some kind of concessions without suspecting such would amount to a sell-out.”

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Zelensky makes a gambit to China’s offer for peace in Ukraine.

Note that Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky’s planned visit to Beijing came a week after he accepted China’s 12-point proposal. His acceptance was immediately preceded by an announcement that he would be visiting Beijing.

The announcement did not disclose if he accepted any of the 12-point peace plan.

Some suspect, the announcement was intended to follow up the US warning to China not to supply Russia with lethal weapons.

Besides, it is also possible that Zelensky has his own formula but fearful not to disclose nor antagonize the contributors who today stand as the greatest contributors to the war-machine that saw the bloodiest war in Europe since the Second World War.

The position taken by Zelensky did not demand the absolute withdrawal of Russian troops to the 1991 level nor said he would unconditionally accept the 12-point peace-plan suggested by China.

Some could sense the formula was meant to hinder China’s suggestion.

In fact, Ukraine’s offer was without substance like a suggestion that, as precondition for peace, Ukraine would unilaterally demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territories it occupied last February 24, 2021.

Had Ukraine included this, which incidentally was not included in the 12-point formula by China, that would have put Zelensky in an awkward position.

He would not dare ask China for an official visit to secretly convey his condition to Russia.

It became clear Zelensky’s purpose was to make sure the US will keep open the financial pipeline open to carry on the war against Russia.

A demand from the US or from Ukraine would be drowned out once Zelensky start demanding arms from the collective west —arms and financial contribution without qualification and limitation including the supply of cluster bombs prohibited by international law.

Surprisingly, the decision of the Philippines to shift our foreign policy began when it voted against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Philippines, with the rest of the 142 UN members, voted to condemn Russia.

It seems the Philippines embarked itself on a totally different policy initiated by Marcos Sr. in the 70s.

We voted to condemn Russia on October 12, 2021 for violating the sovereignty of an independent state, unmindful that the country’s principal sponsor in the Security Council had a string of record of bullying and attacking countries like Iraq, Serbia, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and assassinating leaders in Iran.

We did not even take into account that our vote would have a far-flung effect on our energy requirements like our need for natural gas or consider our claim in the South China Sea, and of the pressing issue of joint oil exploration with China in the Reed Bank and Recto Bank.

All these were affected because China stood in defense of Russia, it having a strategic alliance with that country.

As one would put it, the Philippines has been engaged in some kind of wishy-washy diplomacy.

For instance, when Marcos Sr. first opened diplomatic ties with the then Soviet Union in 1974, it was his recognition that the country stood as leader of the Cold War.

(Editor’s Note: As part of Marcos’ foreign policy, the Philippines sent missions to the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, East Germany and Bulgaria. Formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on June 2, 1976.)

When First Lady Imelda Marcos brought with her two statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Moscow as gesture for peace and friendship, that marked a new era in Manila-Moscow relations.

The Russians are far more civil and diplomatic to accept the gift despite the fact that the Soviet Union was a professed atheistic country because of its ideology.

Some say it was a face-saving move made by Zelensky.

He is so desperate to save his troops from being trapped in what Russia would term as cauldron building up in Bakhmut.

NATO could not even upgrade the arms to supply the alliance to save it from inevitable downfall and he comes acting as emissary for the US and NATO.

On the other hand, China exhibited a high level of diplomacy by not mentioning it could have outrightly derailed Zelensky’s proposal.

Zelensky failed to take the cue that China purposely did not include his 12-point proposal of Russian withdrawal from Crimea, Lugansk and Donetsk regions which means China impliedly recognize the realities in these territories now occupied by Russia.

Ukraine cannot just demand that Russia withdraw from these territories.

Probably that demand could have been raised before concessionary proposals were agreed to by Russia in the Minsk agreement as pointed out by military analyst Colonel MacGregor.

But as it is, the Minsk agreement is now water under the bridge after the NATO leaders admitted it was a mere ruse to allow Ukraine to buy time to rebuild its forces.

Now that countless lives have been lost and blood spilled, it would be very difficult for Ukraine and China to agree on some kind of concessions without suspecting such would amount to a sell-out.

Any party that may attempt to pick up this line taken by Zelensky is likely to fail much that one party could equivocally be interpreted as having achieved some kind of victory over the other.

(rpkapunan@gmail.com)

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