In his interview with Noam Chomsky in Truthout dated March 1st , C.J. Polychroniou asks, with reference to Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of another state, “Can you comment on Putin’s legal justifications for the invasion of Ukraine and on the status of international law in the post-Cold War era?” Chomsky says, “There is nothing to say about Putin’s attempt to offer legal justification for his aggression. Its merit is zero.. Chomsky ranks the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “a major war crime, ranking alongside the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Hitler-Stalin invasion of Poland in September 1939.”
In essence, there is no enforceable legality and certainly, no universal sense of right, on the geopolitical scale. There are only actions and consequences. Chomsky sums up the very narrow range of accepable geopoltical outcomes that remain, now that the threatened invasion has occurred, “The options that remain after the invasion are grim. The least bad is support for the diplomatic options that still exist, in the hope of reaching an outcome not too far from what was very likely achievable a few days ago: Austrian-style neutralization of Ukraine, some version of Minsk II federalism within. Much harder to reach now. And — necessarily — with an escape hatch for Putin or outcomes will be still more dire for Ukraine and everyone else, perhaps almost unimaginably so.’
I worry that Western leaders are unanimously displaying a lack of understanding in the matter of this ‘escape hatch’. They are either intentionally provoking Putin into a quagmire that they believe will be his demise and/or they do not understand the consequences of ‘driving the bear into a corner’ in the way that Chomsky does.