John Mearsheimer, a renowned scholar at the University of Chicago, known for his expertise in political science, foreign relations, and Cold War dynamics, has recently vocalized an unconventional perspective about the escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict. With a career steeped in analyzing global tensions, Mearsheimer's viewpoint, although controversial to some, merits serious consideration, Ezra says on tonight's episode of the Ezra Levant Show.
Recently, in a speech delivered in Germany and later surfaced on the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok, Mearsheimer dived deep into the historical and political intricacies leading up to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis. His emphasis on the post-Cold War developments in Ukraine, particularly the country's disarmament, is thought-provoking.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, Ukraine emerged as an independent nation, complete with a formidable military force and a substantial nuclear arsenal. However, under the watchful eyes of America and the UK, Ukraine agreed to forfeit its nuclear weapons, receiving a promise of protection from the West in return.
Mearsheimer challenged this move, suggesting that it left Ukraine vulnerable to Russian aggression. Reflecting on the current state of affairs, his words ring alarmingly true.
One can't help but contemplate if Russia's audacious invasion would have transpired had Ukraine retained its nuclear weapons. No nation with nuclear capabilities has been invaded thus far – a compelling argument for the effectiveness of these weapons as a deterrent.
Mearsheimer also highlighted an oft-overlooked agreement, the Minsk II treaty of 2015, enacted following Russia's first incursion into Ukraine. The treaty proposed a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weaponry, the release of POWs, and a constitutional reform giving more power to the Donbas region.
But has this treaty been respected? Mearsheimer noted Putin's initial trust in the agreement. Yet, it appears that Western leaders may have used the treaty as a ruse to buy Ukraine more time for its militarization, a reality confirmed by the former German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president François Hollande.
Mearsheimer argues that had these peace agreements been faithfully implemented, the tension between Russia and Ukraine could have been alleviated. Russia's invasion, he believes, is not about empire-building, but a defensive move against perceived encirclement by the West.
While Mearsheimer's take on the crisis might be a novelty for many, it is clear that he is not anti-Ukraine. He has expressed his concern for Ukraine's peace and integrity, advised it against disarmament, and now speaks out against a war he views as unnecessary and dangerous.
His speech, excerpted in several clips, is a startling revelation of the realities often overlooked in the international narrative. His points about the nuclear agreement, the Minsk II treaty, and the encirclement of Russia by NATO forces bring fresh perspectives to the table.
Mearsheimer's words may challenge conventional views on the Ukraine-Russia crisis, but they open up a new dialogue. Can we condemn this war while not aligning ourselves with Putin? Have we given enough thought to the real motivations behind Russia's aggression? And ultimately, what is the true cost of this conflict for Ukraine, the West, and the world?
GUEST: Andy Lee on being our new China correspondent.