While Europe and the world face one of the most serious threats of largescale war since World War II due to the armed conflict in Ukraine, our leaders in NATO Member States and indeed the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have often used and are still using vitriolic language to incite hatred and condemnation of Russia. This does not contribute to resolve this dispute peacefully.
U.S. President Joseph Biden still refuses to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin and instead continues to hide behind the skirt of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who appears willing to allow the war to continue despite the terrible humanitarian toll it is taking on his people.
This strategy of refusing to negotiate can only prolong the war. Moreover efforts to make one side look like the villain is like throwing fuel on a fire. Such methods will fail to resolve the conflict.
What is needed is honest negotiations in which all parties show respect for each other. Everyone involved should understand that the longer violence is used to try to resolve this dispute, the longer we all will suffer.
The key to resolving disputes through dialogue is respect. Respect for the interests of all parties to the armed conflict. Respect for all people as human beings. The peaceful settlement of international disputes is the child of respect.
Instead of sending arms to Ukraine and using vitriolic language to condemn everyone and everything Russian, European leaders and their trans-Atlantic allies should ensure respectful negotiations. Only negotiations based on respect have a chance of bringing peace and ending the suffering that war imposes.
Edith Ballantyne is a Peace activist and Former Secretary General and President of the Women’s League of Peace and Freedom (www.wilpf.org)