Analysis. Given that no concrete proposal for a ceasefire or peace negotiation has even been put forward, the response coming from the U.S. is none other than to shift the entire burden of these unresolved issues onto the European Union.

Faced with a stalemate, the US passes the buck

The European Council has decided to open EU accession negotiations with Ukraine, announced President Michel. “Ukraine is Europe, Europe is Ukraine,” said European Parliament President Metsola. “A historic step,” commented Ursula von der Leyen. Even though the opening of negotiations means that the actual accession will take place in a few years, it is an institutional and symbolic breakthrough.

But let’s take a step back and look at the overall picture. Just 24 hours before the announcement, Zelensky’s trip to the U.S. to get more funds to support the continuation of the war was revealing itself to be a failure at this point, due to direct Republican opposition but also to widespread and generalized war weariness among Americans, especially as intelligence sources are saying that the battlefield is essentially at a stalemate. There’s no military solution to the conflict; but nevertheless, tens of billions of dollars need to reach the Ukrainian military at all costs, whose Chief of Staff Valery Zaluzhny is in open conflict with the Ukrainian president, precisely on the issue of how to prosecute the war and the possibility of negotiations.

Putin, who is running for president of the Russian Federation again for the fifth time, warned that there would only be an end to hostilities when he has accomplished his goals. The war fatigue, the ongoing stalemate, the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive – acknowledged by Zelensky himself in an interview with the AP – and the fact that the Russian military is holding and has the upper hand on the battlefield have all made Biden say no to Ukraine’s repeated request for NATO membership, since that would mean “going to war with Russia” – as if this situation hadn’t been clear before, with the eastward enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance. Furthermore, the White House happened to recall that there were conditions that Ukraine still didn’t meet, particularly concerning “democracy” and “corruption.”

At this point, given that no concrete proposal for a ceasefire or peace negotiation has even been put forward, the response coming from the U.S., which is running out of the weapons it already agreed to send and is seeing the funds destined for Kyiv blocked at the political level, is none other than to shift the entire burden of these unresolved issues onto the European Union: everything from the financial aid package to weapons supply. After all, the EU already showed initiative in this regard, going so far as to decide that part of the funds intended for social recovery after the pandemic would be used to acquire weapons. Paradoxically, it was the sovereignist Orbán, a friend of Salvini and Meloni, who opposed the EU invitation (at least in words), unashamedly daring to declare that Ukraine “is not prepared” and does not meet the “preconditions” to start negotiations to join the EU (he would know all about that).

And, unfortunately, it’s true: Ukrainian elections are suspended, starting with the presidential election in 2024, opposition parties are outlawed, critical thought is being censored, there’s little freedom of speech, corruption is rampant, still led by the system of oligarchs at the expense of those who are forced to fight the war, and the mayor of Kyiv has accused Zelensky of authoritarian tendencies, complaining that “at some point we will no longer be any different from Russia.” Not to mention that the entry of a major agricultural country into the Union poses existential problems for the entire European agricultural sector, as evidenced by the opposition of staunch Kyiv allies Poland, Bulgaria and Romania to privileged Ukrainian grain exports. All of this is now Europe’s problem.

The EU also extended a hand towards Moldova and, further away, towards Georgia (all from the former USSR), while being particularly choosy about the Balkan countries. Of course, the EU doesn’t have an Article 5 like NATO does, which would immediately put us into conflict with Russia, but 2024 will be another year of war, which, for lack of any other option, must go on. Especially given Biden’s worsening prospects at home, all being dumped on the EU. An enormous, pointless massacre of Ukrainians and Russians – and the decision to end it will not come from Brussels, but it will arrive with the transatlantic wind that passes through London, all the way to Washington D.C. We would do better to say that there’s no distinction to be made between Europe and America.

Some people of good will could discover here a solution for an alternative to Ukraine’s entry into NATO, which is an impossibility. But if the EU’s foreign policy does not exist and is identical to that of the Atlantic Alliance, where is there any room for an alternative?

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