Slovakia’s Leader Turns Against U.S. And EU Ukraine-Policy

On January 9th, Robert Fico, Slovakia’s Prime Minister, who is Slovakia’s longest-serving PM, and who had led his country into the Eurozone in 2009 and helped to bring it into the EU, headlined an opinion article in the Slovak newspaper Truth, “The West’s strategy in Ukraine is simply not working”, and he announced that as Slovakia’s leader, he will now separate his country from both the EU and America on their policies regarding Ukraine and Russia. He did this carefully so as to avoid impugning the intents of the EU and of America’s Government, and he provided only a practical or pragmatic statement, which steered clear of any reference to intents. In short, he alleged that the EU and America’s Government have been and will continue to be making mistakes regarding their policies regarding both Ukraine and Russia, but that, from now on, Slovakia won’t continue to join in on these mistakes. As a short-term strategy, this soft turn-around by him will soften the opposition to him both internally within Slovakia, and externally within the rest of the EU and in America. However, his article nonetheless had one sharp edge to it, by several times pointing out evil things that the U.S. Government had done, such as in Iraq, and also in “the total influence of the USA on everything that happened and is happening in Ukraine after 2014 until now” — though he likewise carefully avoided usage of any evaluative term such as “evil.” However, a disadvantage of this soft turn-around is that it will cause easier to make a reversal of this turn-around (especially if a domestic opposition Party subsequently wins control); and, so, though better as a short-term strategy, this is worse as a long-term one. That trade-off, which Fico made, was probably wise, because in most cases a long-term strategy can succeed only if it first survives its short-term challenges. This is the reason why successful politicians (such as Fico) almost invariably have preferred to make soft transitions, instead of hard ones.

Following, here, is my translation abbreviating, and in places clarifying, Google’s auto-translation from the original Slovak version of Fico’s article:

“Robert Fico: The West’s strategy in Ukraine is simply not working”

9 January 2024, Opinion by Robert Fico, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic

The convulsions that accompany today’s liberal demagoguery in defense of the West’s utterly failed strategy against Russia in Ukraine are beginning to cause wrinkles on my forehead.

robert-fico-2The protagonists of this demagoguery feed the public with such monstrosities that it is not enough to react to them with just a wave of the hand. I understand the nervousness in the camp of Slovak progressives and liberals. … But that does not entitle any of them to accuse government officials of such nonsense and the most serious crimes as, for example, that we wish for Russian occupation or for Russia to be our neighbor.

From the very beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, I rejected the black-and-white vision that is desired in Washington and Brussels. The war in Ukraine has its roots already in 2014 and, … of course, in the total influence of the USA on everything that happened and is happening in Ukraine after 2014 until now. …

Russia responded to the security situation and Ukraine’s pressure to join NATO by violating international law, using military force without an international mandate. Big countries often do that; for example, see what the US accomplished in Iraq. And the West, instead of immediately making every effort to achieve a quick ceasefire, at the beginning of 2022 without even losing a tenth to Ukraine, made a huge mistake. It incorrectly evaluated the use of Russian military force as an opportunity to bring Russia to its knees. One look at history. Russia was invaded by Hitler in June 1941, but the Western Allies did not open a second front until the summer of 1944, when the outcome of the war was clear in favor of the former USSR. …

At the very beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2022, the West did not allow the Ukrainians to conclude a ceasefire with fair terms on at least two very promising occasions. Because a painfully wrong decision has already been made, that the West will take advantage of Russia’s violation of international law, supply Ukraine with piles of weapons, billions of dollars, load Russia with massive sanctions, attack Russia’s main mineral income and expect the Ukrainian soldier, down to the last, to bring to the West the Russian bear’s head on a platter in the form of a militarily exhausted, economically ruined, internationally isolated and internally politically subverted Russia. This was and unfortunately still is the Western strategy, which I openly say at home and abroad that it does not work, that it has failed. … I am not one of the Slovak politicians who are happy that in Slovakia the Russian Federation is being made a mortal enemy, and I do not like it at all that we are labeled as an enemy country in Russia.

It is literally shocking to see how the West has repeatedly made mistakes in assessing the situation in Russia. The facts are inexorable. Russia completely controls the occupied territories militarily, and attempts to convince the international community with demagoguery that alleges the demoralization of the Russian soldiers and huge Russian troop losses, are increasingly showing themselves to have been empty demagogic wishful thinking. Ukraine is not capable of any meaningful military counter-offensive, and it has become completely dependent on financial [he doesn’t mention military] aid from the West … Neither the Russian economy nor the Russian currency collapsed, anti-Russian sanctions increase the internal self-sufficiency of this huge country, Russian energy giants report record deliveries to China and India. … With a high probability, weapons and money will continue to pour into Ukraine for some time, but to no avail. It is politically impossible for its authors to openly admit the incorrectness of the adopted strategy. In two or three years we will be where we are now. In the EU alone, perhaps 50 billion euros will be lighter, and in Ukraine, cemeteries will be fuller by thousands of dead soldiers. Unfortunately, common sense will not win, although we are all ordered to immediately declare a truce and sit down at the negotiating table. It is evident that the futile waste of human resources and money and the passage of time will not worsen Russia’s negotiating position, on the contrary, it will strengthen it, because in a few years the international community will also begin to organize a retreat when looking at the reality. …

If I wish for something, it is for the Slavs to stop fighting each other for geopolitical reasons, on both the pro-American and the pro-Russian sides. Let Ukraine follow its sovereign, not dictated, path. If it sees himself in the EU, let it get this chance, provided it meets the conditions. We will be happy to help. Russia also needs security guarantees. And I continue to believe that we should return to the prior European rhetoric of how the EU and Russia are somewhat connected vessels and how they need each other. As Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, I will not spread hostility towards any country in the world. … I will no longer be subject to stupid liberal and progressive demagoguery that offends basic human justice and that will ultimately cause enormous harm.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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