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Biden Should Prioritise Ukraine Diplomacy

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

President Biden's recent speech at the UN General Assembly in New York highlighted the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and accused Russia of undermining arms control agreements and international law. While it is crucial to address Russia's criminal actions in Ukraine, it is equally important to acknowledge the need to prioritize diplomacy over confrontation.

In his speech, President Biden criticized Russia for suspending its participation in the New START treaty, portraying it as a violation of arms control agreements. However, it is essential to consider the US's own track record on arms control. The US withdrew from several arms control treaties in the years leading up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty. This raises questions about the consistency of US arms control commitments and the need for all nations to prioritize arms control for global security.

President Biden referred to the war in Ukraine as "an illegal war of conquest" initiated by Russia without provocation. However, the situation in Ukraine is more nuanced than his characterization suggests. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that Putin's actions were driven by concerns about Ukraine's potential NATO membership.

The refusal to provide Ukraine with a membership guarantee and the expansion of NATO were contributing factors to the conflict. However, that does in no way mean Russia’s territorial claims over Ukraine were also legitimate and condemnable. By invading and occupying parts of Ukraine, Russia clearly violated the fundamental norms of international law and UN Charter. Any excuses of pretexts here are irrelevant.

Historically, the US discouraged peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in the early stages of the war, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin openly expressed the goal of weakening Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected the idea of a ceasefire in Ukraine. These actions question the US commitment to a peaceful resolution.

In his speech, President Biden called for continued support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, asserting that an aggressor cannot be appeased. While supporting Ukraine's sovereignty is essential, it is equally important to explore diplomatic avenues for a peaceful resolution. The US stance against territorial border changes in Ukraine is not in contrast to international law and UN Charter.

President Biden's UN General Assembly speech rightfully highlighted the need to address Russia's actions in Ukraine, urging the world to stand with Ukraine and reminding them that Russia alone is to blame for the war. It also exposed the Kremlin’s inconsistencies in adhering to international agreements and promoting diplomacy over confrontation.

To end the Ukraine war, it is essential for all parties involved to engage in meaningful talks and work towards a peaceful resolution. The lessons from history should guide us towards a more diplomatic and constructive approach to resolving conflicts and upholding international stability.


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