Why Wouldn’t the US Negotiate With Putin? By Michael Tracey

The U.S.’s go-to stance—”take it or leave it”—isn’t really negotiation. From Michael Tracey at mtracey.substack.com:

Putin and Biden in Geneva in June 2021. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images

It’s of course possible that Vladimir Putin was always hell-bent on invading Ukraine, that his decision was taken months if not years ago, and that no diplomatic intervention would have made any difference. Yes, that is possible. But it is also the case that the only country capable of making any difference in addressing the “security” concerns Putin claimed were driving his behavior — and thus, the only relevant diplomatic player in the situation — was the US. Many have pointed out that China’s tacit support for the invasion makes them a relevant diplomatic player, and that’s certainly feasible. But in terms of the core grievances that Putin repeatedly identified as his motives for this invasion — Ukraine’s potential accession into NATO, the already-existing moves to facilitate “interoperability” between the Ukraine military and the US/NATO, and the conversion of Ukraine since 2014 into a de facto US military outpost — the only relevant diplomatic player was the US.

For the chorus of people who will fulminate for the rest of their lives that any consideration of US culpability in this fiasco is somehow an “apology” for Putin, or a denial of his agency, or any other assorted nonsense: feel free to live in your black-and-white moral universe where tales of Good versus Evil always result in the princess being rescued by the knight, or whichever other comforting myths you need to tell yourself. The US deliberately chose — across administrations of both parties — to subsidize and “train” Ukraine’s military, flood the country with weapons, and otherwise assume the role of primary foreign sponsor. That’s the indisputable reality. Last week, Putin called Ukraine a “colony” or “puppet” of the US. Why do you think everyone from Hunter Biden to Rudy Giuliani correctly ascertained that they could secure huge sums of money from shady Ukrainian financial interests for doing next to nothing, other than having prominent political connections in the US?For the chorus of people who will fulminate for the rest of their lives that any consideration of US culpability in this fiasco is somehow an “apology” for Putin, or a denial of his agency, or any other assorted nonsense: feel free to live in your black-and-white moral universe where tales of Good versus Evil always result in the princess being rescued by the knight, or whichever other comforting myths you need to tell yourself. The US deliberately chose — across administrations of both parties — to subsidize and “train” Ukraine’s military, flood the country with weapons, and otherwise assume the role of primary foreign sponsor. That’s the indisputable reality. Last week, Putin called Ukraine a “colony” or “puppet” of the US. Why do you think everyone from Hunter Biden to Rudy Giuliani correctly ascertained that they could secure huge sums of money from shady Ukrainian financial interests for doing next to nothing, other than having prominent political connections in the US?

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