The sending to Ukraine by NATO member countries of “heavier and more modern” weapons, as announced by Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, marque, no doubt, a new escalation in the conflict currently unfolding at the gates of Europe. Until then involved behind the American leader in a “soft” cobelligerence which did not want to say its name, it is a safe bet that the appearance on the Ukrainian battlefield of English or Polish heavy tanks, and all other sophisticated war materials promised, does not significantly increase the real and objective participation of Westerners in a war that now seems set to be a long-term one.
Relying on the absence of a definition by the law of armed conflict of the notion of co-belligerency, countries that so far provide substantial material and financial assistance to Ukraine may indeed find it increasingly difficult to maintain this position. And in reality, playing on a legal vacuum which badly conceals a perfectly observable reality in the facts, this convenient attitude of the countries which have chosen to support the Zelensky regime is only holding up thanks to the goodwill of Russia and Vladimir Putin. The latter being in fact the only one who can determine when and how the red line will have been exceeded.
Of course, so far, it was in the interest of all the protagonists to play this fool's game. It allowed the objective allies of the Ukrainian president to provide the aid they deemed useful to Ukraine without declaring themselves parties to the conflict., and the Russian President, condoning these actions, avoid direct confrontation with NATO countries. Nevertheless, the quantitative and qualitative increase in the aid provided to the Ukrainians is at great risk, sooner or later, to reshuffle the cards. It is obvious that this type of “arrangement” supposes the respect of acceptable limits, allowing not to fundamentally call into question the balance of forces present. Failing that, it is indeed a shift that could take place, leading inexorably to the generalization of the conflict which, in fine, would be detrimental to all the actors concerned. What game are Westerners currently playing by outbidding ? What interests do they have in pushing Russia to its limits? ? What do they have to gain from a possible conflagration on European soil of this war, which would have serious and irreversible consequences for nearly 500 millions of people ?
If the interests, particularly economic and financial, of the United States are now on full display, those of other participants, and the European Union in particular, seem much less obvious. Not directly affected by this war, since not constrained by the game of alliances, but hard hit in their economies by the consequences and fallout of the sanctions imposed on Russia, these are already the big losers in a global confrontation between great powers that will produce, for sure, deadly effects for many, many years.
In this dark picture, France, if she wanted it – what we can doubt, after the resounding declarations of Angela Merkel and François Hollande on the real motivations of their participation in the Minsk agreements -, could have played a major role in the settlement of this conflict. Instead of that, it is a pure and hard alignment with American interests that has been chosen, until now losing all chance of regaining the minimum essential credibility, especially in the eyes of Vladimir Putin.
Nowadays, hundreds of millions of Europeans are therefore suspended from evolution, in the field, of the Ukrainian conflict. Already strongly impacted by the economic consequences which affect all the countries of the European Union, it is nevertheless impossible to know how this war can, in just a few hours, to evolve, nor even to anticipate the medium-term consequences of a warlike involvement, the consequences of which were clearly not anticipated.
However, it is not too late to say and remember that this war on the Old Continent should never have happened.. That it is contrary to the interests of peoples and nations and that as such, it is urgent to reconnect with diplomacy and negotiations. That it is absolutely necessary to put an end to this bellicose one-upmanship which cannot, if we persist, that lead us down the path of the Apocalypse.