'Moscow-Paris-Berlin: Back To Reason'
May 17, 2014 • 3:12PM

An excellent op-ed by columnist and senior war correspondent Renaud Girard in Le Figaro on May 13th, reflects the views of a majority of the French establishment at this point, that the West must negotiate with Vladimir Putin; that Obama, on the British Empire's kite, is behaving like an arsonist in Ukraine, egging the illegitimate government of Kiev to provoke a civil war; and that the Franco-German alliance is a small basis for hope.

"In order to save Ukraine from the disaster of civil war, there remains still a slight hope based on the Franco-German axis," says Girard, calling on those countries to use the opportunity opened by Putin's call on the pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine to postpone their referenda, to give peace a new chance. He notes, "Putin, who, among the Russians, is far from being the most nationalist, has opened a window. The opportunity must be taken to go see him. Because one must be realistic: If we don't unite with Russia, there is no chance of solving the Ukrainian question peacefully."

Girard proposes that the Foreign Ministers of France and Germany, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, go to Moscow, and stop over in Kiev in order to "calm the hotheads in the post-revolutionary government of Kiev" and urge them to deal with the crisis politically, by other means "than sending in the tanks." "Had [interim president] Turchynov decided to ignite a civil war in his country, he could not have done anything different" that what he did, Girard charges, attacking his decision to send a "national guard made up for the most part of nationalist thugs from Svoboda and the Right Sector" into eastern Ukraine. At Mariupol, he reports, these goons deployed armored personnel carriers against a police station that had been taken over by the federalists, killing 20 of them. As a result "a silent majority, hesitant until then, moved en bloc to the side of the pro-Russians."

Girard also rips into the Obama Administration, saying that Kiev can plead some extenuating circumstances due to "the blind support they received from the Americans," Vice President Joe Biden, in particular, who, "by preaching a tough stance ... threw oil on the fire." Girard argues with the Europeans, whose interests are not identical with London and Washington's: "If the civil war extends, if Ukraine breaks apart, if the refugees grow, if Russia is sanctioned, if Europe is deprived of its eastern trade, who will pay the consequences? The small Ukrainian people first, and then us. Not the Americans. Senator McCain should keep his extremist tirades to himself; or start thinking for a minute about the results of this gunboat diplomacy that he venerates in Iraq, Libya, etc."

Girard concludes that, following their proposed trip to Kiev, Fabius and Steinmeier should go to Moscow and look Putin straight in the eye, and ask, "What's your solution?" Girard continues, "If he had intended to militarily seize eastern Ukraine, he would have already done so, after the serious incident in Odessa. The only realistic solution today to the Ukrainian problem is the two F's, either Finlandization and Federalization. What risk is there in going to Moscow to talk long and seriously with Putin?"