The Ukraine crisis threatens to spiral out of control

May 4, 2016

The Ukraine crisis threatens to spiral out of control. Each peace effort fails, as Russia fears loss of control of her border lands will again result in invasion, or loss of access to one of her few seaports.

Past attacks were blunted by laying waste to her own motherland to stretch supply lines for her aggressors. Crude, but effective against Napolean and Hitler. After WWII, Stalin created a double buffer, first of the Warsaw Pact, then by the SSR's, including Ukraine and Belarus, and the Baltic States. All are now lost. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have joined NATO, though challenged by the requisite military expenditure. Their loss leaves only St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad as access to the Baltic. Ukraine stands in the way of access to her Black Sea ports at Mariupol and the Crimean Peninsula.

Ukraine's stated intent to seek membership in the Eurozone was seen as a threat both economically and militarily. Not only could they become a trade barrier, particularly for natural gas sales to Europe, but also they could be the conduit for NATO involvement on a Russian border. In Russian eyes, NATO is their worst geopolitical threat.

Given this history, I propose a Plan for Peace. I welcome any and all comment. If these points are pleasing, I would be honored if you would forward them to your respective governments. Donbas is the separatist provinces Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine on the Russian border.

Russia and NATO jointly agree to guarantee freedom from aggression for both Belarus and Ukraine.

NATO promises not to enter or arm Ukraine if Russia pulls out of Ukraine and removes weapons it has given separatists.

NATO promises to involve itself on Ukraine's behalf to a level commensurate with Russian involvement in Donbas if Russia refuses.

Western governments promise to buy rubles and drop sanctions as soon as Russia departs with her arms.

Southern Europe extends natural gas infrastructure to citizen's homes and helps them to convert existing vehicles to burn it. Thus, a new gas market is created for Russia. (This also creates new jobs for the people of the weakest links in the Eurozone. IMF and ECB should loan moneys to fund this. A 1Euro per gallon tax on diesel in those countries would pay directly to the sovereign debt)

Belarus and Ukraine become free trade conduits for Eurozone and Russia, and for the landlocked nations of Khazakistan and Uzbekistan

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia can enjoy similar guarantees of territorial integrity and free trade with both zones if they choose to depart NATO.

Ukraine allows an easement for Russian access to Black Sea ports on the Sea of Azov and Crimea, as Lithuania does for Komsomol. Rail links could operate without hindrance. Armament movement by road would require Ukrainian escort.

For Russia, peaceful and secure borders and near instantaneous return to prosperity without additional expense.

For Ukraine, a chance for an end to war, free trade throughout Ukraine and Donbas, with exports freely across both borders. Armaments may be exported, but can only be introduced with Ukrainian escort. Donbas must have representation in Parliament.

For Donbas, rebuilding similar to the Marshall Plan for Europe, funded by loans from those who profit from a more valuable ruble, and from investment, both national and international, in Donbas.

For the Eurozone, a free trade partner to the East, and a more stable supply of gas. With them holding rubles, Russia would not benefit from threats of gas cutoff. The world price of gas also would increase with higher European use, again strengthening a peaceful Russia.