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Diplomacy isn’t dead, but sometimes you can’t reason with a bully, says Bob Rae

The Current19:29Diplomacy isn’t dead, but sometimes you can’t reason with a bully, says Bob Rae

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The world was not able to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but “the notion somehow that diplomacy is dead is not correct,” says Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae.

“What is true is that when you’re dealing with a really aggressive country — like Russia at the moment — it’s really difficult to deal with that without resisting forcefully their aggression,” Rae told The Current’s guest host Mark Kelley.

“When somebody is an aggressor, like when somebody is a bully in a schoolyard, you have to respond. You can’t just say, ‘I want to make peace with the bully, so I’m going to give in to the bully,'” he said.

“That kind of accommodation or appeasement doesn’t work.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, expecting a swift military victory. Instead, Moscow encountered fierce resistance on Ukrainian soil, in a bitter conflict that has dragged on for months.

WATCH | Zelenskyy makes a direct appeal to Americans: 

‘A matter of time’ before Russia strikes another U.S. ally, Zelenskyy warns

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells Americans in an address to Congress that the military support from the U.S. is an investment in the security and democracy of the world.

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington D.C. Wednesday. In a televised address to Congress, he thanked the U.S. for its military and economic support in defending his homeland, and called for more in the months ahead. 

“Your money is not charity,” he said. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handled in the most responsible way.”

The war in his country cannot be ignored, he said, because “the world is too interconnected and interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and, at the same time, to feel safe when such a battle continues.”

Rae said he agreed with Zelenskyy that the war is no longer just about Russia’s attack on Ukraine, but has implications for the security of all nations. 

He added that “Russia has unleashed a global crisis,” with consequences for inflation and the cost of living globally, food supply, energy stability and worldwide supply chains. 

“It’s not something you can turn away from and say, ‘Well, that’s not my problem.'”

WATCH l Zelenskyy, Putin strike different tones on Tuesday: 

Putin admits to Russia’s difficulties in Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a rare admission that things are not going well for the Russians in Eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met his troops in and around the city of Bakhmut, where the fighting is fierce.

Putin holds power to stop war: Rae

As the conflict currently stands, Rae said he’s not sure what there is to negotiate.

Ukraine does not intend to surrender, and Russia’s actions so far would cast doubt that even a temporary truce is not just “a build up for the next attack,” he said.

“President Putin has said so clearly on so many occasions that he does not believe in the separateness, in the otherness, in the distinctive identity of Ukraine,” Rae said.

“As long as he maintains the position that he has a right to do what he’s doing and that nobody can stop him … there won’t be a really secure peace.”

Accordingly, Rae said the power to end the war lies with Putin himself, “by just stopping the bombing and pulling his troops back.”

“[That’s] why we’re doing everything we can to bring pressure to bear by supporting the Ukrainian resistance as much as we are, and doing even more by sanctions [and] policies against Russia,” he said.

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