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Negotiations needed to end war in Ukraine

Does anyone really know what is going on with Ukraine? Within six months of the disastrous and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the abandonment of our Afghan friends and $80 billion of military equipment, our leaders were ready to engage in a proxy war against Russia via Ukraine. Why?

As I near my 70th year on planet Earth, there’s four things I’m certain about war:

1. Truth is always the first casualty;

2. It takes a terrible toll in terms of human suffering and finances;

3. Things seldom (if ever) turn out as planned; and

4. It’s very easy to enter and extremely difficult to exit.

Ukraine is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe. What could possibly go wrong handling its leaders’ billion dollars and telling them no accounting is necessary? Russia and Ukraine share a common border and have a 1,000-year history. Ukraine signed an agreement with Russia in exchange for their independence in 1991. They are bound by those terms no matter how disagreeable they may appear 30 years later.

The conundrum the United States and its allies face is that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. The U.S. has no legal authority to guarantee security to Ukraine and seems to have approached this entire situation with reckless abandon instead of extreme caution.

While some think we must stop Russia now or their tanks will be soon rolling across western Europe; that’s not going to happen. Fourteen former Soviet republics are now NATO members and Putin knows he can’t attack any NATO country, as per Article 5, the military response would be swift and catastrophic for Russia.

The war is unpopular in Russia. Per media reports, any editor that used the word “invasion” in their newspaper instead of “special military operation” is given an automatic 15-year prison term. Tens of thousands of young Russian men have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the draft.

Are the billions we’re providing Ukraine worth it? The deeper the U.S. is involved, the more our federal deficit will rise. This questionable spending will only add to a stifling tax burden for our grandchildren and their children.

Currently, our involvement in Ukraine is clear as mud. The U.S. keeps pushing NATO countries to provide aid to Ukraine in this murky situation. The Ukrainian ambassador keeps tweeting how Russia is losing the war and friends of the military industrial complex are making the rounds advocating for more military aid to Ukraine. We’ve been led down this well-worn path before. This is not our war. Perhaps the Biden family can call a news conference and explain why America needs to be involved in this slugfest.

Most likely, the end of this war will begin at the negotiating table. The sooner the two sides sit down, the better. Stopping the funding will force Ukraine to the table and perhaps a country such as India can persuade Putin to negotiate. For now, there’s still a way for both countries to save face and reach a workable agreement.

Finally, Volodymyr Zelensky would do well to remember that, at one time, the U.S. considered Saddam Hussein, Muhammar Kaddafi and Osama bin Laden as its allies and look how those relationships ended. Just saying.

Jerry Gettelfinger | Harrison County, Ind.