IT'S TIME FOR DIPLOMACY.

AuthorBennis, Phyllis

As the war in Ukraine grinds on, some things remain clear: The human cost of this war is staggering, and Ukrainian civilians, of course, are paying the highest price. Thousands of lives have been lost, thousands more have been wounded, millions have been displaced, and towns and cities have been destroyed.

What else do we know? We know that the United States and NATO have been provoking Russia for years by, among other things, expanding membership among nations close to the Russian border. We know that Russia had choices about how to respond to those provocations, and it chose to respond with aggression.

We also know that Western responses to the war in Ukraine--constant coverage of the human cost, the recognition of Ukraine's right to self-determination, and governments' support in protecting the safety and dignity of refugees--have shown us a powerful model of how to respond to all wars, and how to care for all refugees. At the same time, those Western responses, however laudatory in Ukraine, have simultaneously reflected a deep hypocrisy and enormous double standard rooted in racism and xenophobia when refugees from other countries are involved.

There's something else we know about the war in Ukraine: It is far more dangerous internationally than Washington's decades-long global "war on terror." This war has the potential to escalate to a nuclear exchange between the world's biggest nuclear powers. The risk is less a calculated decision to use nuclear weapons than the fact that wars take on lives--and deaths--of their own, meaning that an unanticipated mistake by either side could quickly spiral out of control.

The war in Ukraine has already created a massive increase in militarization throughout the West, and potentially across the globe. In the United States, a planned military budget increase to more than $847 billion next year doesn't even include the tens of billions already spent on arms and other military support to Ukraine. Across Europe, Germany is vastly increasing its military spending, while Finland and Sweden, both with a long history of neutrality, are now clamoring for NATO membership. Suddenly, Europe seems to be redefining itself in terms of militarization rather than human rights.

The war in Ukraine is already devastating whole swaths of the world--much of Central and North Africa, and parts of the Middle East and South Asia, all face the loss of huge grain imports, skyrocketing food prices, and the growing...

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