Maybe Viktor Orbán is Right
The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, doesn't want the West to send tanks to Ukraine. His assessment is that the West is 'drifting' into war with Russia.
At Orban's core, he is correct.
Let me delve back in time, back to 1954. In 1954, "the Soviet government transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR). The transfer was announced in the Soviet press in late February 1954, eight days after the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution authorizing the move."
I am telling you right here, right now, that as an amateur Nikita Khrushchev historian (1), Khrushchev never envisioned the Soviet Union breaking up, not in a million years. The reason for Crimea switching from one socialist republic to another was nothing more than an internal Soviet public relations move for Khrushchev to consolidate power within the different republics.
You cannot look at Crimea strictly from the 2023 prism. If you have 2 or 3 months, you can research the thousand years of intertwined histories of Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea. I am not being dismissive, I'm saying that what is currently going on there is incredibly complex.
Today Russia will not negotiate with Ukraine.
Ukraine will not negotiate with Russia.
Ukraine will not cede land for peace.
Russia will not cede land that they have already gained in war.
As the world teeters on the brink of World War III, there is no middle ground. And let me be clear on our position: Ukraine is Ukraine and Russia is Russia.
But Orban's point is that the world needs to figure out a way to find that middle ground to avoid a nuclear escalation. Would Hungary be willing to be a mediator between Russia and Ukraine? That's a great question.
I am going to go back to March 2nd when we at Beacon of Speech proposed this in our article Ukraine: Addition by Subtraction: "Since Putin has already recognized the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, you treat them like Luxembourg and Liechtenstein and move on. You begrudgingly renounce claims to the 2 'Republics' and Crimea."
At some point, Zelensky has to concede that Crimea is probably Khrushchev's bureaucratic error. Even if we send tanks to Ukraine, Ukraine still has no path to victory. Tanks and jets are only going to prolong casualty numbers.
Listen, I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, I'm saying that someone has to find a middle ground. The middle ground is Zelensky surrenders 3 oblasts with heavy Russian populations:
And, if I'm Zelensky, I wouldn't have an issue begrudgingly surrendering Luhansk. They don't want Ukrainian rule, they don't want Russian rule, they want freedom for the Luhanskians. There is no groundswell for that independence movement anywhere. Luhansk will continue to cause problems for Russia long after they are annexed.
Listen, my plan wouldn't make Zelensky happy and it wouldn't make Putin happy. It certainly isn't the right thing to do. But almost a year into Russia's invasion, there has to be some sort of central talking points. There has to be...
I am rooting for Ukraine. Rooting for them hard. Again, I have been very consistent in saying that there is no scenario where Ukraine wins. Only variations of drawn out losses.
Putin has shown he is willing to waste wave after wave of young Russians soldiers, sent out to die in suicide offensives. His military tactics are straight out of World War I, where you hope the enemy tires of shooting at your men....
And now there's reports of Russian Concentration Camps....
And there continues to be an influx of foreign soldiers on Russia's behalf...
And Putin decries it is your national duty to die in war, just like your Grandfather?
You want to counter about Ukraine's strategy? UKRAINE IS DEFENDING ITSELF. But the question must be asked: How much human life is worth sacrificing over 3 oblasts that are chock full of Russian nationals?
(1) When I took World History in High School (back in the 80's,) we had to do a 10 page report on a historical world leader of our choice. Half the class chose Abe Lincoln or George Washington, easily researched American leaders, I chose Nikita Khrushchev. The teacher made a crack about my Constitutional loyalties, he never had anyone choose a Russian Leader before. I have always been fascinated, in a dark way, with the leaders of Russia and the Soviet Union.