by Joanna Rozpedowski

When Will Peace Talks Become an Option in the Russia-Ukraine War?

Eventually, Russia’s war on Ukraine will end. The form of that end will reflect, in large part, the reality on the ground, the political realities and lines that soldiers fought for years to shape and hold. The end of the war will also reflect the willingness of the parties to the conflict, primarily political leadership in Russia and Ukraine, to decide when the slaughter has been enough, to find the terms for peace after violence.

As Dr. Joanna Rozpedowski, senior non resident fellow at CIP, writes for The Geopolitics:

One thing is certain, the world cannot sanction and bomb its way out of serious foreign policy conundrums. One day the guns will fall silent and as with wars of the past, the victors and the vanquished will marvel at a simple gesture of a pen affixing signatures to the peace treaty and wonder, after tallying its dead and wounded, why it took this long. In the nuclear age, this is what advanced societies ought to have the humility and courage to do.

Nuclear weapons form a bounding constraint on the court of the conflict. Russia’s arsenal, the largest in the world, limits in absolute terms the involvement of other nations in the conflict, and carries the menace of a catastrophically high price for any attempt by arms to dissolve the Russian government or state. While not explicitly named, the three nuclear armed members of NATO, including the United States with an arsenal at parity with Russia, constrain the ways in which Russia can conduct war beyond Ukraine, which it has already invaded.

To name these constraints is to acknowledge the reality of the war, and to make open the possibility for considering the way a negotiated settlement might resolve the conflict.

Continues Rozpedowski:

An international peace conference presents itself as a potential avenue for de-escalation. By convening key stakeholders—including Ukraine, Russia, EU, NATO, U.S., and relevant regional actors—such a forum could provide a platform for a much-overdue constructive and frank exchange of grievances and remedies. A rich diplomatic history of peace congresses exists, which not only gave rise to laws, declarations, conventions, and treaties but through dialogue laid out a foundation for a more humane international order and transcendence of the psychology of dominance among once enemy nations. In an era of boisterous punditry and vocal expertise from all sectors of society, when it comes to peace, why do we remain so afraid to talk?

Read more from Rozpedowski about the role of dialog in bringing an end to conflict.