Right now, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine underway, we are not interested in talking about the causes of the conflict (its historical, political, geopolitical roots, etc.). We’ll have time to settle those questions when the bombs stop. What is necessary at this time is to identify what we can do best to stop the war (short-term solution) and what type of geopolitical architecture we can propose as Spaniards and Europeans to build peace (medium-term solution). Unequivocally we have to condemn the Russian aggression, we cannot support Putin simply because he opposes US designs in the world, those who say that Hitler did too are right and not for that reason the left and the progressives should have supported him . But we also have to evaluate the answers that are being given in Spain and in the West to this question, because it is not clear that they encourage the reestablishment of peace.
Our most belligerent academics have already found a new monster to blame for everything. In recent years they have been served by Saddam Hussein, Mahmud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-un, and now they have Vladimir Putin. He can be easily assimilated with Hitler through historical comparisons on expansionism, it can be stated that he is “brutal and calculating” – abounding in the stereotype of the Russian – or, in general, affirmed that he is a bloodthirsty dictator. . None of these narratives offers a single way or measure to stop the war, and, furthermore, analyzing the kind of warmongering intellectuals is not the objective of this comment.
We already know the hegemonic response that is being given in Western countries to the two questions. It is easy to summarize: Ukraine must be armed to the teeth (in the very short term), which does not rule out the participation of “volunteer” troops if this strategy does not work (in the short term), and NATO must be strengthened (in the medium term). as an instrument of global domination against the threats of the challenging Others: Russia, China and ISIS or Syria or the Houthis of Yemen, which in the end does not matter (does it not remind you of the Huntingtonian litany of the clash with orthodox civilizations, Sinic and Islamic?).
This is a militaristic solution (like the one Putin previously opted for in Russia), both in the short and medium term, because a militarist is not someone who worships the armed forces, but someone who believes that the best solutions to conflicts are military ones. . In the short term, weren’t sanctions working? Wasn’t Russia financially ruined and the prospect of not being able to compete in the World Cup in Qatar depressed the whole country? Without thinking that these types of measures are immediately effective, it seems very little time to rule them out, even more so when the invader and the invaded have sat down at a negotiating table. Or do we want to bust the table? Sending “lethal” weapons (which ones are not?) to one of the parties is fueling the war campaign. And the hordes of volunteers are already apparently preparing in Poland to join the Ukrainian resistance, along with some —until now anecdotal— proclamations in Spain (the mayor of a small Galician town, Agolada, has already offered to go along with his Deputy mayor).
The militarist solution has broad support in Spain, in partisan terms ranging from Vox to government sectors. The legitimacy of sending weapons is very varied: it is an unjust war that must be opposed with arms; It is no longer time for utopian pacifism; only the “paleocommunists” oppose NATO.
War as an expression of militaristic and patriarchal politics
The politics of Western countries (and also of Russia) is not only militaristic, but also patriarchal, as Eliane Brum reminded us in a recent article in The country. The “exacerbated” masculinity of Vladimir Putin is counterpointed by the militaristic masculinities of Western leaders. It is true, as Brum said, that “this is another war of white men clinging to the past while the future of the planet’s human generations —and nationalities matter little— is doomed a little more every day”. And it is so, because militarism and patriarchalism go hand in hand. Feminist political scientist Cynthia Enloe shows it perfectly in her book Globalization and militarism (whose translation is forthcoming in Spain) by contrasting the conceptions of a militarized national security, in the hands of mostly male elites, against other interpretations of “security”, which would grant a much greater role to local groups of women who fight for feeling safe in their homes and neighborhoods.
The policy of strengthening NATO in the medium term, decisively turning it into a global player, is in the spirit of the alliance. Pending approval of the 2022 strategic concept at the next meeting in Madrid, we can already guess what its guidelines will be based on the Brussels Declaration last year after the Summit of Heads of State and Government, which stated that there were growing challenges to the security of member countries, which came from “all strategic directions”, in particular Russia and China were pointed out, although the danger and instability could come from all continents. The logical consequence is the strengthening of the alliance and its expansion, which can only lead to a more confrontational world.
In the short term we have to reinforce humanitarian aid to Ukraine (we must applaud the opening of the European space to Ukrainian refugees, what a pity that we pay Turkey to prevent the arrival of Syrian refugees and the few who arrive have to be crowded into Greek camps, is it because of the color of their skin and their hair?) to persevere with the sanctions against Russia, to support the dialogue mechanisms with all their might and to force actors of international relevance and with the capacity to dialogue with the two parties, such as China, to play a mediating role. In short, we must support those attacked, but also look for solutions that appease (yes, that appease, that now cursed word) and that do not fester the conflict, because as Nicolás Pascual, former Spanish ambassador to NATO, recently reminded us: “We in the West would do well to help [a Putin] to de-escalate his rhetoric and get him out of the alley he has put us all in”, because the alternative is not only dangerous but also threatens to make us all extinct.
In the medium term, feeding the NATO monster will only serve to return us to the starting point again and again, as in Afghanistan. Only the implementation of an architecture of shared security in Europe, such as the one formulated by Olof Pame to overcome the bloc confrontation (see the article by Manuel de la Rocha, Francisca Sauquillo, Federico Mayor Zaragoza and other authors in eldiario.es), and which came to light immediately after the end of the Cold War, could guarantee a future freer from the clouds of war. This would be one of the few ways to resist the construction and development of a new binary geography of “friends-enemies” and overcome the mechanisms of collective security, which inevitably operate in terms of blocks that are often in conflict.
Towards a shared security architecture
The security strategy in the EU is based on the existence of the Atlantic Alliance, based on the principle of military security and in the doctrine of collective security against outside threatwhile the Russian Government defends the validity of the theory of limited sovereignty of Eastern European countries (Brezhnev Doctrine) applied to current circumstances.
Faced with this reality, the commitment to a shared security architecture supposes that the predominant concept of military security is diluted in the notion of relaxationwhose last most important precedent is found in the letter from paris, signed by the European states in 1990.
Organized by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the Charter of Paris was signed by the States of Europe including Russia (at that time the USSR), the United States and Canada, which ended the Cold War on the continent.
The principle of shared security understands that detente is not a category alien to the conflict, but the expression of the conflict itself, a notion that advocates a new geopolitical architecture that replaces the principle of containment and confrontation for the of deterrence and mutual recognitionand that of “collective security” against the adversary by that of “shared security” between States, establishing two guiding criteria for this:
First of all, the shared security accepts that the central element of the security of European countries lies in the inalienability of détente, understanding that there is no valid alternative, since war – hot or cold – is not an alternative. From this recognition arises the second of the criteria, whose function is important insofar as legitimizing detente is precisely elevating the legitimacy of its inalienability to a legal category, a principle of law.
The notion of shared security is the starting point for a new type of intra-European relations, an attempt to contribute to peace in the midst of war and growing warmongering that leads us to a world that is more insecure and dangerous for the survival of the human species. .