The United States and NATO should be focusing on securing a ceasefire and permanent truce between Russia and Ukraine. It seems, however, that the U.S. and NATO have been merely stuck in a cycle of escalating sanctions, rhetoric, and grandiose speeches.
Instead, the U.S. and NATO should increase their diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.
The only leaders who seem to be involved in diplomacy are President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel (a non-NATO country), and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.
Macron has had phone calls with President Putin and President Zelenskyy.
Bennett met with Putin in Moscow and has been communicating with Zelenskyy.
Erdogan communicated Putin's latest ceasefire demands to Ukrainian representatives.
A ceasefire is in all of the parties' interests.
Ukraine wants to stop the destruction of their country, end the killing of its citizens, and secure a return of its population.
Russia would like to stop the destruction and killing of its forces, remove the sanctions which are hurting its economy, and foster the return of multinational companies which have left Russia.
The United States and NATO want to prevent Russia from attacking further into Europe, stem the tide of refugees, and have access to Russian energy.
The world at large has an interest in the trade of Ukrainian wheat and minerals.
Most, if not all countries, want to see an end to the killing and destruction.
To come to a deal to end the war, both Russia and the Ukraine will have to relinquish and gain things that they want. On March 7, Russia offered terms for a truce.
Ten days later, on March 17, Russia offered revised conditions for a truce.
Even though the Ukraine has not accepted these terms, it's a somewhat positive sign that Russia has made an offer to end the hostilities.
The issue is how to get the parties to say "yes" and sign a peace deal.
Two paths are possible, and the U.S. and NATO countries can play a role in each.
In the first (and current) path with Russia offering terms to Ukraine, Russia will likely have to decrease its demands, and the Ukraine most likely will have to determine what it will relinquish in return for peace (which probably means Ukrainian territory).
In this scenario, the United States and NATO need to be working with Russia and the Ukraine in this process.
The U.S. and NATO should mediate talks (either formally or informally) and/or suggest new terms that the parties would accept.
Since the U.S., NATO, and other countries have an interest in ending the conflict, perhaps they should offer incentives if the parties reach an agreement to end the war.
For example, they could offer Ukraine financial assistance in rebuilding and offer Russia to buy Russian energy.
The second path would be for Russia, the Ukraine, the U.S., and NATO countries to formulate a deal in which Russia does not acquire Ukrainian territory but, at the same time, Russia achieves some of its goals (such as protection from an attack from the West).
A possibility would be a United Nations peacekeeping force along the eastern part of Ukraine. This second path requires creativity and imagination to reach a compromise. A prerequisite, however, is that the United States and NATO take a more active role in diplomacy.
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.
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