Geopolitical dialogues: David will defeat Goliath

The talk between Valeriy Chaly, Chairman of the Board of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA in 2015-2019, with Danylo Lubkivsky, Director of the Kyiv Security Forum (KSF), Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in 2014, which was held as part of Geopolitical Dialogues, began with their impressions of the KSF latest event.

According to Valeriy Chaly, the Kyiv Security Forum has been an intellectual and professional platform for discussing security issues for years, and this year it has gained special significance.

“We can’t often see at the same event representatives of the Ukrainian government and those experts who have not been seen together with the government lately. This is a unique format where ideas are generated in the triangle of two competing positions. And I’ve heard a lot of interesting things,” he admitted.

Danylo Lubkivsky spoke about the main topics of the event “Spotlight: the front and recovery.” One of them was confiscation of sovereign Russian assets.

“Today we are talking about an amount of approximately 300 billion dollars frozen in the EU and the USA accounts. It cannot compensate for the damages that Russia has caused to Ukraine, but these funds must be used in Ukraine’s interests, including as part of the plan for our country’s recovery. Western experts who took part in the KSF refute all mythologemes about the difficulties in solving this issue, and say that only political will is needed for confiscation,” added Danylo Lubkivsky.

He is convinced that by committing an act of aggression, Russia is actually deprived of immunity from persecution. This can be explained in terms of various elements of international law. Secondly, it is necessary to decide on the mechanism of how it should happen. Anyway, experts point out that an important role in this process lies with the European Union and the format of  decisions, which will be taken either by the EU or by European states.

Speaking about new trends in geopolitics, Valeriy Chaly drew attention to two tracks. One suggests that a policy of containment will prevail. This is already being observed in NATO’s position.

“Now, realizing what happened in Ukraine, how quickly crimes were committed on its territory, they have changed the concept. Russia-bordering countries are asking for maximum presence of military components of NATO countries, including bases, as a safeguard against Russian attacks. And this concept of avoidance is starting to work,” the diplomat explained.

As for the war against Ukraine, the policy of deterrence remains, and this is the second track. In short, it consists of the following: we react to what happened, try to show what the consequences will be, but we will not allow hostilities on our territory.

“The USA is acting in the same way: to prevent a direct confrontation with Russia and to help Ukraine. This concept of deterrence has been tested for decades, brought its result, but after 40 years. We don’t have so much time,” Valeriy Chaly emphasized.

For his part, Danylo Lubkivsky stressed that we are witnessing two major historical facts. Never before have our allies supported Ukraine so firmly and steadfastly. The entire West is united on specific actions, amounts, and resources. It is a fait accompli that Ukraine is part of a single Western space.

“On the other hand, we understand that each next step of this support comes as an additional portion. There is a political calculation, which is explained to us as the need for prudent actions in order to prevent the escalation of Russia’s actions. In my opinion, this approach is wrong. On the contrary, this political thinking encourages the aggressor rather than deterring him,” he noted.

According to the Director of the Kyiv Security Forum, the biggest danger for Ukraine is internal fatigue. Although it has an absolutely objective and completely understandable nature, it does not become less dangerous. It is the fatigue from a long, exhausting, terrible, cursed war, and it is a very favorable environment for sowing discord, scattering forces, maliciously creating a parallel reality. The need to preserve the internal mobilization of Ukraine, national unity, to act in such a way that there is not the slightest reason to doubt the integrity of the people in power is a huge problem, which the Ukrainian authorities and politicians must approach with due seriousness.

The Chairman of the Board of Ukraine Crisis Media Center also raised the subject of state administration in the sphere of the diplomatic service.

“Foreign policy cannot be built on the emotions of those who react to such a line,” noted Valeriy Chaly. “Emotions subside, declarations are written to implement pragmatic goals.”

He also reminded that the war is going on in people’s minds rather than on the tables of the UN Security Council. People perceive statements rather than dive into the information world. And these absurd statements are often intended to distract people from information problems.

“The authorities must understand that a new stage has begun, and one must not run, but at least have a bicycle to go forward. Only professional diplomats must be appointed as ambassadors for this period. Besides, it is necessary to introduce a joint coordination mechanism “Parliament – President – Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the diplomat suggested.

In conclusion, Valeriy Chaly asked the interlocutor to share the secrets of the book he is currently working on. In it, Danylo Lubkivsky takes the myth of the 12 labors of Hercules as the key to explaining a range of complex international problems, because any myth provides an opportunity to find an interesting analogy.

“If we take the myth of David and Goliath, I believe that the Ukrainian David will defeat this malevolent Goliath, because that is God’s will. In addition, there is determination, the strength of a young defender of the truth. This myth is not just a fiction and a fairy tale. Such is human nature. And in order to preserve this energy, strength and youth of David, we need to maintain our inner mood, and this depends both on the wisdom and integrity of the authorities and prudence of society,” Danylo Lubkivsky emphasized.