Ukraine President-elect Piotr Poroshenko, the self-made ‘chocolate king’ would be well advised to read G B Shaw’s romantic comedy, Arms and the Man, particularly in the light of his bellicose attitude towards the Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. In Shaw’s play, the chocolate cream soldier, Captain Bluntschli, knows the value of chocolate but also knows the futility of war.
Poroshenko’s determination to destroy the Russian separatists is doomed to failure. For every Russian separatist he kills, he creates a small battalion of enemies: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and children and that’s just the family members. Military crusades that are designed to solve problems of nationality only create deep and enduring divisions in any society: think Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Greece and Turkey to name but a few.
Unpalatable though it may be to the West, the best solution in Ukrainian situation is to let the Russian nationalists return to the bosom of mother Russia. Nationalism is a very powerful and often destructive force. But blowing everybody to pieces with attack helicopters is not the way to solve problems of national identity.