August 24, 2022
War-weary Ranju and I hosted a “Retreat 4 Peace” – “Swords into Ploughshears” on June 5th for world class diplomats – working on the front-lines of diplomacy-during-war, even as war is its raison d’être – to recapture Hope and create a pathway to stop this war and have a just Peace. That I deem this war to have been avoid-able for almost twenty years, given President Putin’s early expressed concerns and that we made security assurances in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, rendered more binding than NATO’s Article 5 due to the detrimental reliance by Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in surrendering their nuclear missiles-shield, is deeply troublesome as we are a nation founded by collateralizing our “sacred honor.” Not keeping our word is not honorable. Indeed, the green lighted “Minor Incursions” with boomerang sanctions have caused everyday Ukrainians to become brave Horatius, President Zelensky a modern day-Churchill, and Russia to get a land bridge in the Donbas.
Albania’s dear Permanent Representative, H.E. Ferit Hoxha, as president of the UN Security Council, presided over the Retreat, ably assisted by UNSC member, Mexico’s charming H.E. Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez, UN AOC’s wise H.R. Miguel Angel Moratinos, and dozens of diplomatic luminaries who helped in the collective, but necessary, de-stressing by getting back to basics and immersing in good fellowship (in alphabetical order): H.E. Yashar Aliyev, H.E. Sven Alkalaj, H.E. Tarek El Adab, H. E. Elisenda Balamana, H. E. Ion Botnaru, H.E. Vanessa Frazier, H. E. Laura E. Flores Herrera, H.E. Magzhan Ilyassov, H.E. Kaha Imnadze, H.E. Miroslav Jenca, H.E. Khaled Khiari, H.E. Darja Bavdaz Kuret, H. E. Gheorghe Leuce, H. E. Mirgul Moldoisaeva, H.E. Georgi Panayotov, H.E. Mohan Pieris,, H.E. Andrejs Pildegovics, H.E. Valentin Rybakov, H.E. Olof Skoog, H.E. Lachezara Stoeva, H.E. Sophia Tesfamariam and inter alia, H.E. Teburoro Tito.
Are we playing “Russian Roulette” to a “Mexican Standoff”?
I shared my concern at the Retreat: that we won WW II because Adolf Hitler was not armed with nuclear weapons, but that President Putin’s Russia is; and disturbingly, Ukraine gave up her 1600 (no connection to Pennsylvania Avenue) Nukes, trusting us to keep her safe and unmolested. So, an absolute victory in Ukraine is not possible, but utter nuclear annihilation is, courtesy of mutual assured destruction. Waging a war through conventional means in such a circumstance, is a bitter, painful, destructive exercise that can only result in a Mexican Standoff. So, why are we letting beautiful Ukraine get destroyed and brave Ukrainians killed? Must we not try our best to stop this war now – with the only means now available – a No Fly Zone?
There are many lessons that nations and leaders are learning from this War, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The main is: be armed to the teeth, if you wish to be free. Since no one is perfect, the burning question for our future is: how do we manage our world better – which is not homogenized as to history, systems or values – so humankind can choose to “live better” rather than keep getting our souls inspired by Thomas Babington Macaulay’s 1842 Lays of Ancient Rome:
“How Can Man Die Better Than Facing Fearful Odds”
Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods.”
“Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?”
Heroism defined by brave Horatius, is shed on the blood-soaked Alter of Greatness that every Leader who wanted a page, let alone a chapter, in history created. Leaders want war to reset history or to reargue peace, even as each is a line in the sand, as even the Pax Romana is no more.
Thus, the next question arises:
“Isn’t it time our small crowded world, already under stress by being burned out by firestorms and drowned out by rising sea levels, for humanity -a fiduciary of all other species cohabiting earth with us – to finally settle our made-up differences, and be best prepared, be it autocracies or democracies, for Darwin’s survival of the fittest as Global Warming turns on the heat?
The recent car-bomb killing of twenty nine years young Daria Dugina, a firebrand nationalist daughter of so-called Putin’s Brain, is as inflammatory in Russia, as Bucha and Mariupol is in Ukraine, even as the latter two in Ukraine suffered many, many more deaths. At the end of it all, each death is of an innocent on the bloody Alter of Greatness.
Retreat’s Discovery: H.E. Miguel Angel Moratinos Is Vitally Important
Spain’s former Foreign Minister, UN AOC’s High Representative Miguel Angel Moratinos, like UNSC president Ferit Hoxha in June, was a center-of-gravity at the Retreat, and given his inherent warmth, wisdom born out of crisis management, and his current global mandate of being the H.R. for the Alliance of Civilizations, a title unique to human behavior as civilizations have often clashed, he contributed to not only de-stressing, but discussed forward-looking pathways to peace based upon his personal predicate involvement as Spain’s then-foreign minister when the seeds of today’s War were in plain sight almost twenty years ago! The need to stop this war that currently molests Ukraine and threatens to engulf more than Europe, perhaps, as a lit fuse of WW III, is paramount. Thus, the idea was born at the Retreat for The America Times to do a dive deep into the life and times of the ever-affable Minister Moratinos – to help global leadership avoid the mistakes that they can, if we are to escape from war into peace. Rarely does a leader, involved with the thorniest issues of the day, open up his heart and soul, as if in a church Confessional, even as his hands are clean and has, and is, doing the “right thing” – in a vortex of events that were not, and are not, viewable as salutary, let alone, give confidence that the global leadership is solving issues and creating a durable, just and fair peace for all.
Deep Dive: History owes earned-Honor to Spain for her Contributions
So, on June 23, 2022 I and dear Minister Moratinos had a warm, candid, insightful and fulsome discussion that reflected on H.M. King Juan Carlos I of Spain, President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, UN S.G. Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-moon and Antonio Guterres, President George W. Bush, President Vladimir Putin, Chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel, President Yasser Arafat of Palestinian National Authority, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer of Germany, Dominique de Villepin of France, and Igor Ivanov and Sergey Lavrov of Russia.
Nations discussed included Spain, USA, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and inter alia NATO. What came out of the “deep dive” discussion can help today’s leadership – who will be participating in the High Level UNGA debate starting September 20th – do better and stop this unjust war, that never should have started: from our President Joe Biden, Churchillian President Volodymyr Zelensky, P.M. Boris Johnson, President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, P.M. Narendra Modi, P.M. Anthony Albanese and P.M. Fumio Kishida to President Putin, “senior” partner of the February 4th “No Limits” Partnership, with “No Forbidden Zones” decreed by President Xi Jinping of China, and President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran.
Hold the Presses – till the August Issue – to permit The America Times to Honor Spain, Isabella I, and Columbus
I expressed to dear Miguel, that I felt history had not given full and fair credit to Spain’s contributions, such as: Queen Isabel la Católica, agreeing on April 17, 1492 to fund the then-daredevil Christophorus Columbus, aka Christopher Columbus, to sail for the Indies westward, across a flat map of a flat earth to prove the earth round and find a quicker and more safer route than Vasco de Gama’s around the Cape of Good Hope.
Admiral of the Ocean Sea, a title at odds with itself, adorned Columbus as he left Castile in August 1492 with three ships and made landfall in the Americas on 12th October 1492. To honor brave Queen Isabella I and that singular August 1492 voyage – that puts truth, science and knowledge above dogma and heresy – I requested of dear Miguel if we could hold off publishing our June “deep dive” discussion till August so as to celebrate and honor Spain and Columbus 530 years later! Minister Moratinos graciously agreed, and so The America Times is proud to honor Spain, Queen Isabella I and Admiral Christophorus Columbus by giving an up close and personal embrace to the Honorable Miguel Angel Moratinos, as he works tirelessly to have an alliance of civilizations, even as each is competitive and embedded with multiple religions, and instead, serve humanity better by being an alliance to end wars and terror. So, please read the transcript of the discussion with deliberate attention: the Deep Dive.
Since today is August 24, 2022, I wish all Ukrainians a Happy Independence Day!