— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) February 24, 2022
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I had tears in my eyes when I read the news on Ukraine this morning.
I am worried about the people in Ukraine. I am worried about the next moves of Russia. I am scared of how Western countries will react.
But I am also angry at those who didn’t take the right steps to prevent this escalation. I am upset with diplomats who were not able to find a peaceful solution. And, of course, I am furious about Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
What upsets me the most is the bigger picture.
For decades, hippies like me saw this coming. We begged politicians to spend more money on renewable energies. But those who make money with fossil fuels didn’t listen. They said it was too expensive to shift toward renewables.
Robert Habeck, German Secretary of Trade, spoke about this topic right after Russia invaded Ukraine. Germany finally decided to halt the North Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia. There is no doubt that this will hurt the German economy. But he is willing to pay the price.
But what are we talking about? What price are we willing to pay?
Let’s take a look at four things that are essential to understand the crisis in Ukraine:
1. The war started in 2014
Do you remember when Russia took Crimea in 2014? That’s when this war actually started. Since then, 14.000 people have died in a brutal war.
Everyone who says that this war started in February 2022 is wrong. It’s as simple as that.
2. Putin is out of control.
There is not much doubt that Putin is going all-in right now. And I am sorry to say this, but there is nothing more troubling than an authoritarian leader who is in control of nuclear weapons.
The problem with international law has always been that there is no institution able to enforce it. That’s why political scientists use the word anarchy to describe international relations.
The United Nations are based on the goal to be the institution able to enforce international law. The Security Council was installed after the Second World War to prevent another global war.
Russia is breaking international law by invading Ukraine. But unfortunately, Putin will always be able to argue that Western countries also violated international law several times. It doesn’t make him right. You can call it whataboutism, but it doesn’t help anyone.
The United Nations are simply not capable of enforcing international law, and powerful nations will keep making excuses to break the law.
3. There are no winners in World War III
If NATO decides to enter a war in Ukraine, this might lead to a World War. There are no winners in this scenario. And as someone who is living in the middle of Europe, I am slightly worried about this.
I understand the reaction of folks on social media who call for retaliation and support of Ukraine, but at what price? Maybe it’s already too late for that?
Do you remember when the United States went to war in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction? Everyone was quite worried back then, but it turned out that Iraq never had any weapons of mass destruction.
Guess who definitely has nukes in his arsenal? It’s Putin.
4. Renewables and diplomacy are the only way out of this.
Almost every war is caused by our need for fossil fuels. Our economy is based on burning fossil fuels, and as long as that’s the case, we will depend on authoritarian leaders like Putin.
How about going all-in on renewables? As mentioned earlier, this is an expensive path to take, but what’s the alternative? Shall we continue to fight wars for fossil fuels? Shall we continue to finance dictators because we need their resources?
I don’t think so. This is another wake-up call to stop cuddling with dictators because of economic interest. This is a brutal reminder that the approach of backing up “friendly dictators” has failed.
You simply cannot trust anyone who doesn’t believe in international law, human rights, and logic.
Of course, we can send more weapons to Ukraine and try to win a war against Russia. We could also think about kicking Russia out of the SWIFT banking system. We could try to win this confrontation—but at what price?
To be honest, I don’t have a strategy or plan to solve this particular conflict.
But I am asking again, “Why are we not willing to put all our efforts into renewable energies to not depend on dictators?”
The escalation in Ukraine didn’t happen overnight. This situation had been building up for years, if not decades. We could have seen that coming.
So, let’s not pretend that this could be solved with military force. Let’s not start a war to defend the status quo.
Let’s pay the price for the Green New Deal and skip the part of paying with the blood of civilians in another war that could have easily been prevented.
Call me naive, call me a traitor, call me whatever you want, but I am not buying the narrative of bombing for peace. I never did, and I never will.
I hope the leaders of the world will also rediscover their ability to negotiate. Why were they able to talk with each other during the Cold War but cancel meetings in 2022?
Please feel free to tell me why I am wrong and submit your rebuttal here.