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West needs to show wisdom by giving peace a chance: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2022-03-24 20:10
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US President Joe Biden and France's President Emmanuel Macron attend a North Atlantic Council meeting during a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

The series of meetings US President Joe Biden had on Thursday in Europe should have been an opportunity for the United States and its allies to recalibrate their security stance and push for a peaceful solution to end the month-long conflict in Ukraine.

Instead, they showed how firmly caught in the grip of the Cold War mentality they are. NATO itself is not involved in the coordination or facilitation of security assistance to Ukraine. It's been individual countries, which have provided it with military equipment and weapons. But the full-house NATO meeting consolidated support for Ukraine, ratified some of the decisions taken by defense ministers of member states last week, and discussed "a longer-term game plan" for what forces and capabilities are "going to be required" in NATO's eastern flank countries.

In his subsequent summit with the other G7 leaders, intensifying the sanctions on Russia topped Biden's agenda, with an initiative rolled out to coordinate sanctions enforcement so that Russian efforts to evade the sanctions or other countries' efforts to help Russia evade the sanctions "can be dealt with effectively and in a coordinated fashion".

This came despite the fact that sanctions never worked in resolving a conflict as they only deepen enmity and acrimony, leaving less room for diplomatic mediation, and they create damaging spillover effects, as the G7 leaders themselves acknowledged with their proposed mitigation efforts.

To end the crisis in Ukraine, the US-led West needs to stop fanning the flames of the conflict and stop sanctioning Russia so as to set the stage for a less hostile environment for talks and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, which have so far made little progress due to the intransigence of their respective stances.

The spillover effects of the crisis, in terms of the civilian exodus from Ukraine and the disruptions to food and energy supplies, continue to grow. As such, what the Western bloc is doing is only exacerbating the already severe economic challenges the world faces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is clear from Biden's visit that Washington's belief in the power it commands is greater than the mental and moral capacity it has to guide its use.

In making China a major part of his talks with the European Council, in a bid to coordinate the approach of the European Union toward China with that of the US ahead of the upcoming China-EU Summit, Biden showed the extent to which his administration and US foreign policy architects are in the thrall to a long-expired Cold War perception of the world.

Allowing the Ukraine crisis to drag on and escalate does not serve the interests of that country, Europe or indeed the US, whatever it may believe to the contrary given its inability to forsake the comforting familiarity of the past.

The European leaders need to distance themselves from the hysteria-inducing disinformation campaign being waged by the US, and look at the situation objectively and rationally. The threats countries face "are rising and the cost of inaction is clear", but those threats are from the pandemic, climate change and acting reflexively on long-incubated biases.

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