Putin may be planning to pull a peace rabbit from his hat to “solve” the Russia-Ukraine problem without war. There’s an obvious deal that could accomplish this goal and make Putin, Biden, and Ukraine look good in the process.”
Such a deal would entail:
• Ukraine voluntarily agreeing not to seek to join NATO
• NATO offering security guarantees to non-member Ukraine
• Russia pledging to respect Ukrainian territorial integrity (just as it did in the 1994 Budapest Memo).
• The U.S. promising not to station troops or missiles in Ukraine
• Leaving Ukraine free to join the European Union, integrating its economy with the West.’
In fact, the contours of a potential deal are so apparent that one is driven to wonder if both Biden and Putin are hyping the possibility of war to make them look good when they guarantee peace.
French president Emanuel Macron has floated a deal that looks something like this during his visit to Moscow to meet with Putin. He urged that the West look at security for Ukraine outside of the framework of NATO membership.
For his part, Biden desperately needs a success and may have been stressing the chance of a war — which Ukraine president Zelensky says is over-hyped — to enhance the credit he would get if a deal can be struck.
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