If Olaf Scholz travels to Kyiv in June, possibly this Thursday and probably accompanied by Emanuel Macron and Mario Draghi, to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy there, then that could mean something good for Ukraine. Or not.
Because whoever travels here to Ukraine, this is the old west. None of the representatives of the old west have yet come up with the idea of taking someone with them from the new west. From Europe’s point of view, the new west is the old east: the three Baltic states and Poland in particular.
The new west is doing things differently in Ukraine and Russia than the old west. The Old West was geared towards Russia, the largest country on earth, to whose natural resources it owes part of its prosperity. Not least because of this experience, the old West does not want to “humiliate” Russia today (Macron).
The new West, on the other hand, wants to humiliate Russia, also from experience: after all, it was once part of the empire that Putin is now claiming again as “Russian soil”. That is why the new West also assumes that by attacking Ukraine, Putin means this old East at the same time, which is what he actually said when he invoked Peter the Great.
The new west got to know Russia differently than the old west. What the Russian trade and détente policy partner was for the old West, the Soviet repressive apparatus was for the old East. A few years earlier, this apparatus of repression was also an apparatus of murder. The Soviet Empire meant – in the Hitler-Stalin pact – the end of Poland. A year later, the Russian Red Army robbed the Baltic of its statehood.
That’s why the trip of the three most important representatives of the old west for Ukraine does not have to mean only good news. Because this old West, contrary to all other statements, has a hard time (unlike the Americans, who have always had an unsentimental view of Russia) helping Ukraine with weapons or shouting a cheerful “Welcome to the European club” to the war victims .
For this hesitant purpose, Macron has devised a new Europe, one that precedes the actual European Union. Only upstream. Macron has glamorously sold this alternative to EU membership, as is his way, but in fact it would be a second-choice path for Ukraine – a demotion.
The CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen speaks of “abandoned aid” from Germany to the Ukraine. The “Spiegel” therefore calls the federal government “shirkers”. And the leading European Union politician, CSU member Manfred Weber, says that should Ukraine lose, Germany will be held responsible.
Ukraine is currently putting pressure on Scholz to bring tanks with him when he comes to Kyiv. They are now obviously ready to go at Rheinmetall too. In the war of attrition that is looming, Ukraine urgently needs this support on the artillery front. Russia is clearly superior here, says Zelensky.
But one scenario has to worry Ukraine in particular: what if “Minsk” repeats itself? So what if Putin’s Russians, out of breath, offer a truce after conquering the Donbass? And what if Ukraine then wants to continue fighting to take back these conquests, which is only possible if the West supplies weapons? Will the West then deliver – with the prospect of “peace”?
Green leader Omid Nouripour said a few days ago at Lanz: If Ukraine wants to keep fighting, we will stand by her. If Ukraine wants to negotiate, it wants to stand by it. For real? At this point it helps – once again – to look at the war aims.
Fighting on to take back what Putin grabbed means that Ukraine must win. But Scholz doesn’t say that. And Macron doesn’t say it either. And neither does Draghi. The three upcoming travelers are not saying Ukraine must win. The reason is obvious: they prefer negotiations.
Others, such as the US Secretary of Defense, say that Ukraine must “win”. Or the heads of government of the Baltic States. Or the Poles. In Germany, someone says that too: namely the leading representatives of a Jamaican coalition. Only one does not say it: the head of the traffic light coalition.
Just because it is now so often said that only negotiations can end this war: that is not true. A war ends when there is a victor and a vanquished. As a rule, a war is not over when one has not won and one has not lost. In history, the Scholz scenario is the exception.
World War I ended when Germany and Austria-Hungary lost it. Otherwise the dictated peace of Versailles would not have been possible.
The Second World War ended with the German surrender, which was logical after the complete defeat of Hitler’s troops.
The Vietnam War ended with the defeat of the Americans.
The first Afghan war ended with the defeat of the Russians, the second with the defeat of the West.
The alternative to a victory for Ukraine is a victory for Russia. It’s not that unlikely that the scenario of diplomatic doyen Henry Kissinger will come true, in other words: what does a few kilometers of Ukrainian land mean compared to peace? A victory for Putin would be a prerequisite for Kissinger’s “peace”.
That’s the core question that Scholz, Macron and Draghi have to clarify when they go to Zelensky: Do they share his war goal? Or do they consider peace with Putin to be possible, even urgent, given the looming war fatigue in their countries?
One more thing: the Greens say that Nouripour, the West, Germany, has recently severed its economic ties with Russia for years, if not forever. Die Welt reports that around half of the companies that withdrew from Russia under political pressure had return contracts.