If Ukraine gives in to Putin’s current demands, that means that an aggressive nation-state would have conquered a neighbouring country and forced it to concede to its terms – this would have been possible only because the aggressor country had nuclear weapons and no one dared stop it. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not giving in and is pressing on with membership with the European Union. The Putin apologists who claim to be left-wing are arguing that Ukraine should give in to Putin’s demands so as to avert a nuclear catastrophe.
What is at stake here is very clear and the Ukrainians know this very well. Nuclear states should do not have the right to arbitrarily dictate the choices of their neighbours. On a longer timeframe, what is at stake here is the right of sovereignty of nation-states and the geopolitical order of the world. If Russia is to have its way, China will inevitably be empowered further to pursue its imperialist ambitions. Ukraine is the current sacrificial child of contemporary imperialist interests and what happens to Ukraine will affect the geopolitical order that is being formed as I write.
China will have to take a position after assessing its imperialist ambitions and it has the power to tilt the balance in the current geopolitical order. China knows very well the risks of supporting Russia and joining it in shaping a new world order. The economic devastation on China of Western sanctions will be much more severe than that on Russia. For example, I wonder how would China be able to sell its one trillion dollars in US treasury holdings if it is sanctioned: most probably it would not unless it would sell them to Iran or Russia but even then, I wouldn’t against whom they would be able to exchange it with. I would be happy to have an answer from someone who understands the intricacies of financial plumbing.
On a much longer time frame, the reality is that those who are arguing for appeasement with Russia are figuratively opening the doors to a dystopian future where dictators with nuclear weapons will literally have unlimited power in designing the geopolitical order of the world. Zelenskyy seems to be prepared to die instead of having decisions forced upon him. I find it ironic that the uncompromising position with regards to freedom has been rekindled in the West by the Ukrainians while Europe took its time to wake up from its slumber. I think that gradually, we in the West are becoming more accepting of the fact that it would be more prudent to take risks today than accept a tomorrow where dictators with nukes will have unlimited power.