February 24 marked one year since the war between Russia and Ukraine began. During all that time, few proposals for ending the conflict have advanced. However, this not-desired anniversary comes with a ray of hope from an unexpected place: Latin America. Whether it becomes a reality or not, looking for a negotiated solution shows once again the commitment to progress and world peace by Latin America progressive forces.
According to Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, there is still no formal proposal, but they are working on previous talks to find a collective solution. So far, Brazil has sounded out at least 21 countries looking for support for the initiative, and the results have been encouraging. The biggest obstacle of course is the entrenchment of the US and NATO who continue to fan the flames of war by supplying with the Ukraine with endless military hardware. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy the US alone has sent $75 billion to the Ukraine in the last year.
Nevertheless Latin America leadership has stepped out on their own. Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil’s have all refused to send any military supplies to Ukraine which was a regional statement in and of itself that it was going to play the US – EU political game at the expense of world peace.
This collective act of wisdom and sovereignty meant essential support for Lula to move forward. The South American leader is known for his skills as a negotiator since he mediated between the United States and Iran during his first term in office. Lula has also been very transparent about his stance on the conflict. In an interview with Time Magazine, he declared that Ukrainian president Volodymir Zelenskiy, the United States, and the EU were to blame for the war. Then, he also said that the Russian invasion was a grave mistake. It all gives Brazil enough credibility to be a valid mediator in the deadly conflict.
Dead end paths to conflict resolution
The conflict and the rhetoric around it have escalated to the point that any of those directly or indirectly involved cannot assume such a role. The only such possibility was at the beginning of the war, but it fizzled out after NATO pledged full support to Ukraine and its government withdrew from the negotiations. Since then, neither side has had the will to talk about peace, something Lula made very clear to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz when he stated, “There cannot be a conflict when one side is not interested in fighting.”
On the one hand, U.S.-led NATO continues to send all kinds of military supplies to arm Ukraine’s Army since it matches their strategy to weaken Russia. In other words, they have never been interested in peace, otherwise, the conflict would never have broken out. On the other side, Russia continues to cling to its right to attack Ukraine to eliminate its government after it turned the country into a threat to its national security.
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) and its General Secretariat Antonio Guterres have sadly proven their inability to fulfill their ensuring world peace mission. The organization has taken on the NATO rhetoric and has been more interested in blaming Russia than in seeking a way out of the conflict.
China’s peace proposal
China also recently announced a 12-point proposal for peace in Ukraine. However, Western foreign ministries have criticized the Chinese proposal for not including the withdrawal of Russian troops as a precondition. This rejection has been coupled with a smear campaign to accuse the Asian country of supplying weaponry to Russia.
China has denied such claims, and none of the accusing countries have any evidence to back their accusations. This is the EU, NATO, and U.S.’s most hypocritical accusation, which once again shows their lack of interest in ending a war that has displaced 13 million people, eight of them outside their country’s borders.
Amid all this, Brazil’s proposal appears to be the only solution on the ground and has already made progress despite some actors’ ambiguity.
From Moscow, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister declared Lula’s proposal would be analyzed, which shows a possible willingness to talk. Meanwhile, from the United States, the responses have been confusing. President Joe Biden was willing, although he insisted on the traditional rhetoric condemning Russia. However, other high-ranking officials have been much more critical and continue to be engaged in their million-dollar military fundraising operation.
In Europe, the proposal was welcomed by both German Chancellor Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who also are to travel to China soon to discuss this item of their agendas and some others.
Lula will also travel to China, as he considers the Asian country’s role in the mediation indispensable. One possible solution is the creation of a “Peace Club” made up of countries not directly involved in the conflict that could perform as a neutrals for parties in conflict. Possibly including Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, India, Argentina, Colombia, and China.
February 23rd’s UN resolution passed by the UN General Assembly is another fact that shows Brazil’s first results. It advocates for a cessation of hostilities for the first time in a year, which was accepted by the Ukrainian delegation. The resolution, unlike its predecessors, focuses on the possible solution rather than on condemning Russia.
The issue’s complexity blocks any immediate solution, but thanks to Brazil’s efforts, small but significant progress has been made so far. There are still some months to go before any concrete proposals can show up, but this is undoubtedly the right path. And once again it shows the cracks in the hegemony that the US has become accustomed to since World War 2 when it could order puppet governments and military dictators to line up obediently every time the US went to war.
The other encouraging development is that the anti war movement in the US is starting to emerge as a force in the equation. On March 18, demonstrations will be held in Washington DC, San Francisco and other cities. For more information visit the Answer Coalition
- Lula Moves Forward with His Ukraine Peace Proposal by Gustavo A Maranges at resumen-english.org, 27 feb 2023