Publié par Dreuz Info le 17 avril 2022

I am not a Marine Le Pen supporter, but I do want to end the violence in Ukraine. A vote for Le Pen in the upcoming election is a vote for peace.

Emmanuel Macron has been instrumental is shaping the NATO policy of arming Ukraine with lethal weapons and imposing unprecedented economic sanctions, attempting to make the costs of war so high that President Putin yields. But it also might just prolong the conflict, extending the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people for years, as such proxy wars have done elsewhere. Take Syria as an example, Russian-backed pro-government forces have battled U.S.-supported opposition militias for over a decade – resulting in an estimated 115,000 civilian deaths.

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Le Pen offers a different path where France can shape a compromise on NATO membership invitations. Noted Oxford historian Robert Service was interviewed recently and pointed to an agreement between the U.S. and Ukraine in November 2021 as the catalyst for the current crisis. In the Charter on Strategic Partnership, Dr. Service explained that the U.S. formally asserted support for Ukrainian NATO membership. Just one month later, in a letter to the U.S. and its allies, Russia demanded that they unwind that agreement and guarantee in writing that Ukraine be barred from joining NATO.

Russia’s response insisted that any further eastward encroachment of NATO towards Russia would disrupt the detente that has existed in Europe since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the Warsaw Pact alliance (of U.S.S.R. and Eastern European nations) soon crumbled and the rough parity that had existed between them and NATO suddenly vanished, leaving NATO standing alone. Putin’s grievances derive from a fundamental asymmetry between NATO and Russia and future expansions of NATO further eastward would certainly exacerbate that imbalance.

The U.S.’s written response to Russia’s letter was leaked and lays out a detailed response to the Russian demand. The letter asserts that “all states respecting the right of other states to choose or change security arrangements, and to decide their own future and foreign policy free from outside interference. In this light, we reaffirm our commitment to NATO’s Open Door Policy under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty ». In a perfect world, all states ought to have the right to make those decisions but in choosing between the current tragedy in Ukraine and the right to “change security arrangements” I find that argument unconvincing.

Additionally, the reference to Article 10 of NATO’s original 1949 treaty misses the mark. Article 10 provides that NATO members, may “by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State” to become a member of the alliance. The treaty offers no right-to-apply for Ukraine or any other European country. The U.S. letter to Russia referred to an Open Door policy to NATO membership, but that in itself is a flawed interpretation of Article 10 and is partially responsible for the swirl of factors contributing to today’s war.

A victory for Le Pen would give her the authority to write a letter to Putin that explicitly guarantees that NATO would not invite Ukraine to join the alliance. Such a move in no way violates either the spirit or the intent of Article 10. In fact, the wording of Article 10 hands a new membership veto power to all 30 NATO members – any one of them could write such a letter and end the war today.

Today’s commentators express concern for another Cold War. However terrifying that period was, the fact that each side was matched rather equally meant that neither was willing to face the prospects for war and the ensuing mutually assured destruction. Today we face an uneven scenario where NATO is substantially stronger than Russia and its continued growth and expansion can be seen as a threat. While its public stance is to promote peace, NATO member countries’ military presence in Europe is enormous, with a large cache of nuclear weapons pointed east. Putin’s response when cornered is hard to estimate and could end in a broader war.

France can address NATO’s threat to Russia and the ongoing war fighting in Ukraine today through de-escalation, instead of the economic and proxy war that Macron and others threaten. Electing Le Pen means hope for reaching a compromise with Russia and restricting the ability of Ukraine to join NATO would end today’s violence and prevent us all from sinking into a larger, avoidable conflict.

Justin B. Hollander

Justin B. Hollander is a professor at Tufts University where he teaches public policy and planning. Twitter @JustinHollander.

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