How to make peace even if it does not happen – Joop

22-05-2022

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In Rotterdam Merwehaven is a passenger ship with hundreds of Princesses Leia on board. My tram passes by. A good acquaintance has already hired three to keep his restaurant running. They have been driven from the fire and home by Darth Vader, against whom their brothers, wives and fathers wage a titanic battle, sometimes with the most modern weapons, sometimes with primitive means from the past. They’re all Han Solo. Luke Skywalker fires them up and we can follow fragments of it daily through the media. Both Darth Vader and the Jedi, the forces of light, speak a language most of us cannot understand without a caption. It’s a shame, but Darth Vader’s body language says it all. His gloomy figure is, as it were, always present in our world of thought. This representative of evil is great and mighty, but we know that in spite of all appearances he is not invulnerable. For the Jedi will ultimately be the victory. We do not know how many chapters there will be.

It was already clear which side we were going to be on. This choice is only underlined by the presence of so many princesses Leia with their young children. We will do anything to support the Jedi except with our own lives. Not even with our own blood. There is no demand for plasma from the EU from the battlefields, but what is not can come.

That is pretty much how we Europeans are at the moment. We are following the greatest war on our continent since 1945 as affected spectators.

That’s a good thing, because the Ukrainians are the attacked party with the right on their side. On the other hand, it does not bring peace closer. For this – as President Zelensky rightly says – negotiations are needed. Darth Vader is given. He can only be overthrown by betrayal among his own believers, not by external actions. On the battlefield, the Russians are like Italians: they do not know how to win, but you know about losing. Napoleon and Hitler both experienced this.

The current situation is more absurd than George Lucas could have imagined. The European Union is a co-financier on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides. We are making a valiant effort to break free from Putin’s oil and gas, but at best it’s a matter of years. In that way, we are contributing to an unprecedented massacre and an old-fashioned war that should be obsolete. The Russians are fighting for annexations and better exits to the sea. They want to control as much coastline as possible. It is a wish from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Despite global warming, the Russian Federation still has relatively little access to the Arctic Ocean. As far as always ice-free ports are concerned, it is still highly dependent on the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, where enemy forces can also close things in a curse and a sigh.

This kind of reasoning fits into the power politics and military technology of the past. They are from the time of the ancient Maxim machine guns that were taken from the museum by the Ukrainians. Power today is based on very different things.

It is therefore important to keep in mind the following, even if in the current mood it is completely unreal, naive and impossible. It can be a dot on the horizon or – in other words – an ideal that you may be able to realize parts of if the negotiations really start.

Officially, all over the world, we take on people’s right to self-determination. Ideally, citizens in disputed areas should be allowed to decide for themselves which country they want to belong to. From this point of view, the war between Russia and Ukraine can only end in one way: an immediate ceasefire is concluded. Subsequently, the UN organizes referendums in all disputed areas. And by administrative district. You can take oblasts or rayons for it. Eligible voters must check which state they want to belong to, Ukraine or the Russian Federation. The result determines the border between the two countries, even if it is very twisted or contains enclaves. That should not be a problem in our time.

Citizens of the formerly disputed areas can move to their preferred country with financial support if they feel they have ended up on the wrong side of the border. Both the Russian Federation and Ukraine guarantee all cultural and linguistic rights of minorities in their territories. Both countries receive security guarantees from the EU and NATO. Everyone is silent about compensation from Russia because we know we ultimately owe them World War II. And indeed: it’s going to be an expensive joke. After all, there has been an incredible destruction of capital. And for that anrette at least a trillion or so of that damage must be spent now.

That’s not how it will go. This is how it should go. Therefore, it remains important to reserve a small wall for this idealism in the context of our world of thought, where Darth Vader and the Jedi lead their struggle to the death. A healthy brain provides space for imagination, utopia and reality at the same time.

Incidentally, I am of the opinion that the subsidy scandal should not disappear from the attention of the public, and neither should the natural gas case in Groningen.

Listen to The Memory Palace, the podcast by Han van der Horst and John Knieriem on politics and history.

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