According to Ukraine’s defense ministry, some 400 Russian soldiers are killed every day. And there will probably be no less deaths on the defending side, the Ukrainian, now leading the fight. A horror. It has no other name.
Faced with this situation, Putin, the Russian dictator, has decided to flee forward by increasing the bet: recruitment of more soldiers, nuclear threat… The human drama is terrible and the threat of escalation is frightening. Up to here there are no doubts.
But they do appear about the response: Is it convenient to look for Putin’s defeat or to help him find a way, making it easy for him to keep in power?
Appeasement, ostpolitik, peace through trade, multilateralism… the strategies of collaboration with aggressive powers making concessions in the hope of minimizing damage have been called by many names throughout history.
And they are always defended by people with at least an apparent desire for peace, even by altruists. The last one, Elon Musk on twitter.
That’s why I think it’s important to understand something basic: appeasement doesn’t work, it never does. Diplomacy has sense, but appeasement diplomacy does not.
The Second World War was the consequence of not confronting the USSR first and later Hitler, two clearly totalitarian, aggressive and expansive regimes.
During the Cold War, USSR’s violence was kept under control because the US confronted it, not because of collaboration. And the fall of the USSR was not due to trade and friendship with Germany as some pretend, but to pressure from Reagan. Russia just couldn’t keep the track (as the German journalist Thomas Urban said: «It was military buildup by Reagan and the flooding of the market with cheap oil that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union»)
The good-natured message that the solutions always come from seeking collaboration and peace is simply false. Seeking collaboration with those who don’t want to respect others but rather dominate and take advantage of them serves nothing more than to give them strength. Since it blocks the necessary reaction against them.
A question would then remain to be answered: how is it possible that we fall into this appeasement trap so many times?
The answer is simple but harsh because of its perverseness: there are always people interested in promoting appeasement theories for their own benefit. And there are always people wishing to believe them to avoid problems instead of facing them realistically.
Appeasement is an attractive theory that always has a seller and a buyer. That is why we should always be suspicious of those who sell it. Of those who tell us that we must collaborate with Putin, with Iran, with Cuba… And that, sadly, in recent times, has been the sign of France and Germany in Europe and of the Democratic Party in the US.
P.S.1 (29 Oct 2022) a good video about German corruption and appeasement excuses influence un Russian invasion of Ukraine.