It is a very sad situation that we have at hand in the world as is the case in the Russia Ukraine War that is ongoing portends. We are more saddened by the number of civilians that died, including women and children, as well as the number of refugees
who fled Ukraine through the borders of the neighboring countries like Poland, Romania, and Hungary. This narrative is what is summarized in the title above in relation to choice-making, where it sounds illogical and unimaginable to make running into fire one’s best option.
The saying is derived from an adage which is a dictum in its own respect —that what pursues a rat and makes it run into fire must be deadlier than fire. The action of the Russian leader Putin is condemnable and deserves the strongest condemnation, for it is an assault not only on the sovereignty on a nation like Ukraine but also on the charters of the United Nations, which forbid using the use of force or military action against a sovereign nation.
In addition to the many condemnations of Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, sanctions that have been imposed are strong enough to cripple the economy and the social life of the Russians, and effects are already being felt. However, one thing that caught the attention of thoughtful leaders with regard to the above title, especially the part of it that talks about fire, would be the enormity of the price of the choice made in relation to the need that justifies the action. Little or no importance is attached to the root cause, which is the origin of the incident or accident as the case may be. Do we call the picture painted an incident or an accident?
Depending on how we perceive the war going on in the Ukraine, whether as man-made or nature-made, it still remains a painful reality. Could this be prevented? The answer is yes. Why was it not prevented? One could say that most accidents are unforeseen and therefore not preventable, and one could also say that the war being man-made and an incident should have been prevented, for it did not just begin on the day Ukraine was invaded by Russia. There is a long history of the remote causes, which culminated in what you have going on today. History does not die, even when it is distorted. It turns out to be the truth, which no matter how long the distance covered by lies. Truth will one day overtake it.
The Russia Ukraine War has as its origin the distrust expressed by the Russian leader against the United States of America with his Munich Speech of 2007, which many regard as the turning point in the history of Russia. This also was to serve as an influencer and molder of how Russian international politics would look like going forward. The Munich speech of Vladimir Putin was given by the Russian president in Germany on 10 February 2007 at the Munich Security Conference. The speech expressed significant points of future politics of Russia driven by Putin. In the speech, the Russian leader seemed to be saying that Russia has trusted America too much and that America has in return taken advantage of Russia too badly, and “now to your tents, oh Israel.” Nothing negative in international politics can be brought as a charge against Vladimir Putin before 2007 and his Munich speech.
Has the Russian president committed an atrocity by the invasion of Ukraine? Yes. Can he be forgiven? Yes and no. Yes, if he chooses the path of peace by withdrawing the Russian army from Ukraine. What about the sanctions that have been imposed? They are good for the moment as punishment and as deterrents to others, and to others who may want to toe the line of Putin in the future. Can these sanctions be lifted in the future? Yes, for the sake of peace in the world.
One very important observation is that the west, especially America, seems to have closed her eyes against the fact that Russia is very rich in nuclear weapons, and dealing with a man like Putin brings to fore the saying that two wrongs cannot make a right. Going forward, the war in Ukraine, which needs to come to an end at all costs, is also a pointer to the failure on the part of the relevant peace-keeping organizations with regard to preventive diplomacy.
On a final note, there shouldn’t be closed doors to diplomacy. It does not matter how long or far the ongoing war escalates, diplomacy can do the magic, if allowed. Our prayer for the world is that peace reigns supreme, and the appreciation of the fact that there can be no peace without justice becomes not just a common knowledge but an acceptable way of life, not for one but for all.
Samuel ‘Tunji Adeyanju