When, after Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France, fulfilling their obligations, declared war on it, Hitler contemptuously said: “This does not mean that they will fight.” And it turned out that he was right.
It is debatable whether the western democracies had the physical capacity to help Poland stop German advance. But their military-political leadership concluded that such a possibility did not exist. Poland still can not be saved, so it is not even worth trying. The so-called “strange war” started in the West. The parties exchanged slow fire along the German-French border, but did not engage in active hostilities.
And in the minds of democratic leaders it was painfully familiar: the fire of war must not be allowed to ignite and acquire these monstrous dimensions that everyone remembered from the First World War. With millions of victims. Therefore, there is no reason to lead Hitler to a corner. We must give him the opportunity to retreat by keeping his face. And, perhaps, to restore Poland, at least in a truncated form. In the context of a mutually acceptable compromise.
The next is known. Having freed his hands to the east, Hitler struck to the west a few months later. The policy of “open doors to return to dialogue” proved to be Dunkirk’s shame and horror. Only after this catastrophe did England mobilize and start a serious war. And the millions of victims they so desperately wanted to avoid happened anyway. Ten times the size of World War I.
Today, NATO countries are trying to build their strategy in the war against Nazi Russia on two principles:
1. Preventing the defeat and surrender of Ukraine.
2. Preventing the escalation and expansion of the war, the involvement of NATO countries in a direct military conflict with Nazi Russia.
In favor of the second point, there is a weighty and understandable argument for any modern humanitarian orientation: a direct military confrontation with NATO, in which Nazi Russia will have no chance of winning, could push the Kremlin to use nuclear weapons. The modern world cannot survive in another Hiroshima. And whether a single use of nuclear weapons will turn into a total nuclear war for complete mutual destruction, no one has controlled.
As a result, NATO countries are providing Ukraine with arms assistance with a constant eye on whether Nazi Russia considers itself to be providing this or that pretext for a direct attack on any object of a NATO country. An attack that should give the same direct response. NATO supplies are enough to ensure that the Ukrainian army stays ready for battle and continues tough resistance, ultimately slowing the advance of Russian-fascist invaders into Donbas. But they are not enough to ensure that this attack will now stop completely.
We can assume that the Western military-analytical centers have well calculated the time when the main battle-ready invading forces will be crushed in the Ukrainian “Battle of Stalingrad”. They will at least exhaust in some way the trained manpower and the supply of missiles. The invaders will not only not be able to continue the attack, but also to hold back a serious Ukrainian counterattack. And then, before the prospect of a disgraceful military catastrophe, Hitler of the Kremlin would agree to negotiations on the withdrawal of troops.
It is possible to assume something else. Western leaders are cynically waiting for Russian-fascist troops to reach the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Putin’s Nazi regime will be able to sell it inside the country to achieve all the goals of the “special operation” and offer a ceasefire on the de facto line of contact. And that will suit everyone. The bombing will stop, the people will stop dying. And all political issues will be postponed for an indefinite future. And as long as these issues are subject to tense and unpromising negotiations, it will be possible to get back to work as usual with the new Hitler. Such is the “compromise”.
Compromise for whom? For Ukraine, which will be forced to tolerate the violence and intimidation of that part of its citizens that ended up in the occupation? For the West, which, after sanctifying such an agreement, endorses the complete and final abolition of the entire international legal order that has existed since 1945? Or maybe for Putin? For Putin, this is a clear victory, albeit an intermediate one. Significantly strengthening its position to promote its main requirements. Political submission of Ukraine. Depriving her of the opportunity to defend herself. Denial of the West’s right to help it. In the end, no one canceled NATO’s demand to pack up and get out of the 97th line.
There is no doubt that, having untied his hands in Donbas, Putin, at the first opportunity, will support these demands with a new military action elsewhere. And in the absence of conventional forces, it will resort again to nuclear blackmail. Besides, it will work again.
Therefore, any discussion about the need to accept new realities, to give ground to the attacker, is treason. This is a direct route to Dunkirk. Macron’s speech that he does not humiliate Russia is a direct road to the Compiègne Forest. French President Macron is irresistibly attracted to the Compiègne forest.
The signing of the armistice in the forest of Compiegne on June 22, 1940. Photo: German Federal Archives
A compromise, and rather rotten, would be the departure of the Russian fascist troops behind the line on 23 February. But for Putin, that’s exactly the loss of face and the humiliation. Today, no compromise is possible without humiliating Putin. And Putin can make such a compromise only in the face of the imminent threat of an even more humiliating military catastrophe in Donbas, not by an organized withdrawal, but by a disorderly flight of the remnants of his troops.
Or it may not go. It can use nuclear weapons. Anyway, give it a try. And only the god of war knows if the generals will fulfill his command. Yes, you should know that. Declaring the goal of liberating the occupied Ukrainian territories, NATO risks engaging in a nuclear war with Nazi Russia. But sooner or later you have to choose: either take this risk or surrender. Dunkirk and Compiègne Forest.
Putin’s push for a nuclear strike could not supply Ukraine with one or the other type of weapon, or even some kind of local conflict with the forces of a NATO member country. The real threat of losing the occupied territories could push Putin into that. Regardless of the types of weapons supplied to Ukraine and local conflicts with NATO forces.
And if the West, not in words but in deeds, intends to seek the liberation of the occupied territories, it makes no sense to think about how to avoid escalation and not provoke Putin with this or that other supply in Ukraine. Only the determination not to back down can stop Putin. And this determination will depend on how intolerable for the modern world will be the corpse smell that spreads from Mariupol.