LONDON, December 16. /TASS/. Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state and national security adviser, has said the world could be at a turning point in the conflict in Ukraine and called for talks to achieve peace.
He laid out his thoughts in a guest essay published by the Spectator, a UK weekly, on its website on Friday.
Kissinger wrote that winter is imposing a pause on large-scale military operations in Ukraine, likening that to the situation in August 1916 when the main Western combatants of the first world war sought US mediation to end the conflict peacefully. He said US President Woodrow Wilson then, faced with upcoming US presidential elections, missed the moment when diplomacy could stop the carnage and save millions of lives.
"Does the world today find itself at a comparable turning point in Ukraine as winter imposes a pause on large-scale military operations there? I have repeatedly expressed my support for the allied military effort to thwart Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. But the time is approaching to build on the strategic changes which have already been accomplished and to integrate them into a new structure towards achieving peace through negotiation," the veteran diplomat wrote.
According to Kissinger, "Ukraine has become a major state in Central Europe for the first time in modern history," resisting Russian forces. He also suggested that the international community - including China - is opposing Russia’s alleged threat or use of its nuclear weapons. Kissinger said he believes Ukraine’s neutrality is no longer meaningful and "a peace process should link Ukraine to NATO, however expressed."
Russia shouldn’t be weakened
The former secretary of state said the conflict’s outcome shouldn’t be a weakened Russia. He said "Russia has made decisive contributions to the global equilibrium and to the balance of power for over half a millennium."
"Its historical role should not be degraded," he wrote.
Should Russia, with its "global nuclear reach," be gripped by domestic problems, that could set off problems around the world, he said.
The former diplomat mentioned the proposal he made in May to establish a ceasefire line along the borders of the territory that was controlled by Kiev as of February 24. He said Russia could retreat from the areas that it took during the special military operation, but not from the DPR, LPR and Crimea.
"If the pre-war dividing line between Ukraine and Russia cannot be achieved by combat or by negotiation, recourse to the principle of self-determination could be explored. Internationally supervised referendums concerning self-determination could be applied to particularly divisive territories which have changed hands repeatedly over the centuries," Kissinger, 99, continued. "The goal of a peace process would be twofold: to confirm the freedom of Ukraine and to define a new international structure, especially for Central and Eastern Europe. Eventually Russia should find a place in such an order."
According to the former secretary of state, "the road of diplomacy may appear complicated and frustrating. But progress to it requires both the vision and the courage to undertake the journey."
"The quest for peace and order has two components that are sometimes treated as contradictory: the pursuit of elements of security and the requirement for acts of reconciliation," he said.