Why'd The Wall Street Journal Suddenly Share The Terms Of Spring 2022's Draft Peace Treaty

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 06, 2024 - 08:30 AM

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Substack,

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) claimed to have viewed the 17-page draft Russian-Ukrainian peace treaty from spring 2022 that was sabotaged by former British Prime Minister Johnson and which President Putin waved around while speaking with African leaders last summer.

They dishonestly described the terms as “punishing” even though they can objectively be described as overly generous considering the previously unthinkable compromises that Moscow was willing to make at the time.

Ukraine would have restored its constitutional neutrality and the Russian language’s status, limited its armed forces, agreed not to use foreign arms, and recognized Russian influence in Crimea in exchange for the UNSC guaranteeing its security. Donbass’ status would be resolved via talks between their leaders, with the innuendo being that it might be reincorporated into Ukraine per the Minsk Accords, while it’s implied that Russia would have withdrawn from the rest of Ukraine’s pre-2022 borders.

Had these terms been accepted, then not only would Ukraine have averted destruction and the depopulation that came with it, but this former Soviet Republic could have then served as a bridge between China and the EU (which it would be allowed to join) exactly as Russia always envisaged. Even if Russian-NATO talks didn’t resume afterwards, their security dilemma that was exacerbated by the bloc’s clandestine expansion into Ukraine would have been much better managed to everyone’s benefit.

The reason why this never happened was because the West believed its own propaganda that Russia could be dealt a strategic defeat through economic sanctions and proxy warfare, both policies of which the New York Times admitted had failed by January 2023 and September of that year respectively. The conflict continued to drag on till today despite the failure of last summer’s counteroffensive because the West can’t admit that Russia was the one that ended up strategically defeating its opponent instead.

The opportunity cost of perpetuating this proxy war is that the West ran through all of its stockpiles, exposed the weakness of its military-industrial complex, and is now unable to adapt as flexibly as before to any major contingences in the Asia-Pacific like those that they expect might one day involve China. Clinging to false hopes of victory over Russia at all costs is also increasingly dangerous due to the chances that a potential NATO intervention in Ukraine could lead to World War III by miscalculation.

It's amidst the growing awareness of these consequences that the WSJ reported on the entirety of spring 2022’s draft Russian-Ukrainian peace treaty, albeit while dishonestly describing the terms as “punishing” instead of overly generous as they objectively are. Their angle is disadvantageous to freezing this conflict like former Republican presidential candidate Ramaswamy, former NATO Supreme Commander Admiral Stavridis, and Senator Vance earlier proposed, but the substance is an altogether different story.

These details prove that President Putin was willing to make previously unthinkable compromises in order to obtain his strategic goals of restoring Ukrainian neutrality, denazifying it (with the restoration of the Russian language’s status playing the key role here), and demilitarizing that country. Donbass would likely be reincorporated into Ukraine, prior to which its residents could obtain Russian citizenship to relocate there if they wanted, and Russia would withdraw from everywhere except for Crimea.

Those territorial compromises are no longer in the cards after Donbass, Kherson, and Zaporozhye voted to join Russia in September 2022, which is why Kremlin spokesman Peskov just described the reported details about that spring’s draft Russian-Ukrainian peace treaty as outdated. Nevertheless, it’s still possible in theory for Russia to compromise on asserting its writ over the entirety of its new regions’ borders if their regional assembles voted to change them with parliamentary and presidential approval.

The Line of Contact (LOC) could therefore become the international frontier if the Constitutional Court rules that this doesn’t violate the 2020 constitutional amendment against surrendering Russian territory on the basis that Moscow hadn’t asserted any writ over those potentially “ceded” parts of its lands. President Putin has repeatedly signaled that he’s willing to compromise on a political solution if Russia’s security interests are met, most recently during his interview with Tucker, so this scenario is possible.

The problem is that Ukraine legally forbade the resumption of peace talks with Russia, thus requiring the West to coerce it into repealing that legislation, which could happen if domestic pressure over Zelensky’s illegitimacy after his term ends on May 20 leads to him forming a “national unity government”. An expert from the powerful Atlantic Council think tank proposed this scenario in an article for Politico last winter, and it could represent a “face-saving” way to move everything forward if the political will exists.

The West knows that the only way to stop Russia from steamrolling through Ukraine in the event that it achieves a breakthrough across the LOC sometime this year is to risk World War III by miscalculation through a conventional NATO intervention aimed at drawing a red line as far east as possible. This sequence of events might be preemptively averted, however, by implementing the abovementioned proposal in order to freeze the conflict along the LOC and then turn that frontier into the new border.

To be absolutely clear so that nobody misunderstands what’s been written in this analysis, Lavrov confirmed as recently as Saturday that Russia hasn’t received any serious proposals for talks with Kiev, so it seems like the West’s ruling liberal-globalist elite isn’t yet comfortable with this end game. It’s also true that the way in which the WSJ dishonestly described the draft Russian-Ukrainian peace treaty’s overly generous terms as “punishing” could harden some policymakers’ resistance in this respect.

Even so, the actual details of those terms could convince some on-the-fence policymakers that President Putin is indeed willing to make previously unthinkable compromises, thus potentially increasing the number of them who’d support the scenario of freezing the conflict along the LOC. The WSJ’s report is therefore a double-edged sword for both camps since it works for and against each of their interests as explained, but the timing is no coincidence since it’s meant to shake up the balance between them.

It's debatable which side this outlet really supports since one can argue that dishonestly describing the details as “punishing” favors those who want another “forever war” while reporting on their overly generous substance is tacitly intended to give an edge to those who want to resume peace talks.

The impact of their report will take some time to see, but the point is that it might make a difference at this pivotal moment in the proxy war, with it remaining to be seen whether it’d be for better or for worse.