Petříček: Czechia is next on the list after Ukraine. The peacekeeping mission is not the role of NATO

I would like to divert our debate from the NATO summit, which is being held today (Thursday) in Brussels and which will last until the end of Friday. The Polish delegation is going there with a proposal for a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. We don’t know much about the contours yet, but what chance do you think he has of success?

When I noticed the Polish proposal, two thoughts came to me at that moment. Firstly, it’s not entirely good for the Allies to be told by the media that we are talking about it on social media instead of having fun talking about it behind closed doors and telling each other the details of what the could do. Or if not NATO, then the international community as such.

The practice of launching this debate by digging into the public space will cause some allies to reject it before the debate begins, it certainly does not strengthen our position. So I would certainly be critical of how the debate went, on the other hand, we should take the proposal seriously. We should be looking for a way to increase the political and diplomatic pressure on Russia, show them that we are not playing their game, when they set the conditions, the international community is blackmailing that the war can only end on- immediately, and that anyone take any other action, so he faces retaliation from Russia. We simply must not act out of fear of Russia.

The Poles say that their proposal has some support for some countries, say the Central European countries. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reacted lukewarmly, against German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and, above all, probably Washington.

Even with the reactions of the main allies, I fear that the proposal will not be adopted (The conversation took place before Stoltenberg announced on Thursday that there would be no NATO peacekeeping mission Note ed.).

But we should be a little creative to respond more to Russian aggression. We have adopted a number of sanctions, the Russian economy is certainly suffering, it is hurting the Russian oligarchs, but so far this has not led Russia to reconsider its aggressive measures, it has not stopped fight, it did not improve the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, it did not establish humanitarian corridors to evacuate people from places like Mariupol.

On March 24, 2022, Tomáš Petříček was a guest on the Novinky.cz podcast.

Photo: Jan Handrejch, Pravo

If we accept that the state of war in Ukraine is something where we have already done our best, then we give Russia free space to intensify aggression.

I would just like to remind you that some opinion polls in Russia show that Ukraine can only be the first target of Russian aggression, that Russian imperialism will go forward and that we are next, so that war affects us directly.

You talk about engaging creativity. One of these creative proposals that I would like to put forward is the so-called Unite for Peace resolution. The standard process at the UN is for the deployment of peacekeepers to be approved by the Security Council, but given that Russia has veto power, that probably cannot be expected now. In theory, the General Assembly could, by a two-thirds majority, recommend that Member States establish a peacekeeping mission themselves. But who would give such a mission?

It’s true, we have to keep the pressure on Russia and the UN. Although he is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and has the power of veto, the UN Charter allows member states to respond to the outbreak of a war of aggression by one of the members. . It has the possibility of relying legitimately on a charter in the case of assistance to Ukraine, in the case of a mission composed not only of European states, but ideally of a broad international coalition which will be ready to respond to any escalation of Russian aggression. , at least diplomatically.

Do you think it is realistic for non-NATO countries to support such a mission?

This should be a task for our diplomacy. Try to convince even the states which have been little involved until now, which are important. In India, for example, we should probably have a debate with China about what role China wants to play in this conflict. In my opinion, China cannot benefit from a possible Russian victory, because the sovereignty of Ukraine will be undermined for a long time by the presence of Russian troops on its territory.

How would you behave if you were a member of the government at that time? Can you imagine a scenario in which you would raise your hand for Czech soldiers to participate in a peacekeeping mission? And what should the mission look like, would you like to make sure that countries other than NATO support it?

The assumption here would be that it would not just be European states. It should be a broad international coalition, as was the case with Iraq, for example. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, a very broad coalition of countries emerged and in the end our troops participated, even though we were not in NATO or the EU at the time.

This is not a NATO affair. NATO should discuss how individual member states can try to contribute to the defense of Ukraine, but it is not an organization for that. He cannot play this role, he cannot be the one who questions its importance and what it is based on, which is self-defense, the defense of member countries against aggression.

You suggest that this role should be played by the international community, the United Nations. American political scientist Francis Fukuyama recently wrote that the Security Council has once again proven itself to be a completely useless institution. Do you agree with him? Is it time to radically reform the UN?

UN reform has been a topic of debate for many years. Quite simply because the world has changed since the end of the Second World War. There are a number of important countries that deserve to be better represented in UN institutions, be it India, Brazil or other countries. The UN simply does not reflect where we are today. But at the same time, I would strongly caution against calling for the dissolution, the dissolution of the UN.

The voices that the UN is useless… Throughout the Cold War, the UN had very limited room for maneuver to do anything concrete when one of the great powers, one of the permanent members of the Council of security, got involved in a conflict, and there were few such wars. : Vietnam, Afghanistan, these are all conflicts where the Soviet Union or the United States were direct participants, and at that time the Security Council argues that they have a right of veto.

What does the former head of Czech diplomacy say about the trip of the leaders of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic to kyiv? And what is the probability of Ukraine joining the European Union now?

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