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No Peace at Any Price

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On March 16, 2022, Olga Tokariuk, an independent journalist and non-resident fellow at CEPA, wrote of the reaction of some to Russia’s war against Ukraine, “Some in the West hope for an end to hostilities, whatever the terms.” She then proceeded to explain why Ukraine cannot surrender and why it will not surrender.

In other words, ‘peace at any price’ is not acceptable to Ukrainians nor should it be. To be acceptable, peace needs to be based on justice. Otherwise, it is little more than capitulation by those who accept its terms and Appeasement by those who advocate such an arrangement. Theodore Roosevelt, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his brokering an end to the Russo-Japanese War, provided perhaps as clear an explanation as possible on that topic.

In his Nobel lecture, Roosevelt told his audience, “Peace is generally good in itself, but it is never the highest good unless it comes as the handmaid of righteousness; and it becomes a very evil thing if it serves merely as a mask for cowardice and sloth, or as an instrument to further the ends of despotism or anarchy.” Today, a dishonorable peace would only further the imperialist and inhuman goals of Vladimir Putin.

Following a dishonorable peace, Ukraine would become just another milestone on Putin’s journey aimed at expanding the Russian empire deeper into Europe. The danger posed by Russia would increase. The probability of Russia‚Äôs ultimate encroachment on a NATO country and attendant risks associated with a NATO-Russia war would increase.

Therefore, the West must not flag in its support for Ukraine and Ukraine’s people. It must not seek expedient “short cuts” in the form of dishonorable peace terms. Otherwise, it will be underwriting future chapters of Putin’s imperial pursuits while laying a path that leads to catastrophe. Those chapters will bring only more war, suffering, and misery. There will be no lasting security on which freedom and prosperity rest.