Of course the first thing we should do is rejoice, but I’m talking about what do we do with Russia if the two nations conclude a peace agreement? In particular, what about all the economic and political sanctions that we and our allies have put on Russia?
If there’s a settlement that satisfies both Zelensky and Putin, it seems to me, that doesn’t release us from the need to continue some kind of sanctions on Russia. (I”m assuming by “satisfy Zelensky”, when it’s clear the man wants a country free of Russians and Russian threats, means that that “the agreement is something Zelensky decides to do to as the best way stop the killing and devastation wrought on his land.”)
Just as a criminal has to serve time as a form of deterrence and to keep him out of society until he’s reformed, so, I think, we cannot let Russia simply go scot-free if and when a peace is concluded.
Such a peace would surely involve some Ukrainian concessions to Russia, like giving up Ukrainian land in the eastern part of the country or agreeing that Ukraine won’t join either NATO and EU. But if there are no international sanctions in place thereafter, what has Russia lost? Well, it’s a pariah among nations, and it’s lost thousands of soldiers, and perhaps you think that would be punishment enough. Nobody will trust the country again, though of course it still has allies.
On the other hand, keeping sanctions on continues to punish innocent Russians, many of whom abhor this blasted “special action,” and might be seen as uncharitable. After all, after both Germany and Japan surrendered at the end of WWII, the U.S., in contrast to continuing punishment as a deterrent helped rebuild those nations. (We had learnt that lesson from WWI.)
Sanctions will also punish the allies. For example, much of Europe, especially Germany, will be economically strapped by a continued diminution of their gas supply.
Surely the world will pitch in to rebuild Ukraine after a war ends—lif it continues to exist as a sovereign state, but what do we do about Russia? Lift all sanctions, lift no sanctions, at least for a while, or lift some sanctions, and see what happens.
I have no solution to this question save that I don’t believe that all sanctions should be lifted immediately. But please weigh in below, as I’m curious to hear readers’ thoughts.