Rumen Radev: The Real Power of Diplomacy Is When It Comes before the Bombs and Prevents Them, Not after the Devastation and Casualties2023-11-20 15:10:00
Our great goal is the immediate restoration of peace in both Europe and the Middle East and the guarantee of our security, but achieving these goals requires that we finally have an objective and impartial view. This is what President Rumen Radev said at the opening of the conference "Wars and peace: will the time of diplomacy come?" The forum was organised by the Institute for Economics and International Relations and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
The President highlighted as worrying the fact that after more than seven decades of sustainable peace in Europe, war is again being waged on the continent, which has not been prevented by the means of diplomacy. The real power and effect of diplomacy is when it comes before the bombs and prevents them, not after the devastation and casualties, the Head of State stressed. According to the President, the power of law is increasingly giving way to the right of force, and the politics of peace is giving way to war as a means of conflict resolution. Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine has unleashed the collapse of the global security system built up over decades, he said, highlighting the resulting rise of national interests that rely precisely on force and armed conflict as a means to achieve their goals in the absence of the protective role of the blocking mechanisms embedded in the collapsing security system.
In his statement, the Head of State pointed to the importance of the wrong strategic assessments on both sides of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The vague and inadequate formulation of political goals such as denazification and demilitarisation failed to be translated by the Russian Federation's General Staff into a rational military strategy, the President said, adding that the Russian Federation had made another big mistake at the beginning of the war by underestimating the will of the Ukrainian people to defend their freedom and independence, even at a high cost. At the same time, there is also an underestimation by Ukraine and its Western partners of Russia's military and economic potential. The President recalled the claims of leading Western economists, experts, politicians and media that a few months of sanctions would strangle the Russian economy, that Russian Federation's military potential was exhausted. Instead, today Russian Federation's military-industrial complex is booming, new technologies are being introduced, and the country's mobilisation potential is enormous.
The counter-offensive is the worst mistake in terms of strategic judgement, Rumen Radev pointed out and recalled the enthusiastic calls by politicians, analysts and senior military officers in the media encouraging Ukraine to resort to a counter-offensive operation. In the Head of State's words, it was before the Ukrainian counter-offensive that the time was best for negotiations and seeking a peaceful solution, because the Russian Federation was preparing to defend itself and after major military and territorial losses, while Ukraine was on the rise and with a psychological advantage. Rumen Radev pointed out that he had shared these positions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his visit to Sofia, which coincided with the beginning of the counter-offensive. There is no military solution to this armed conflict and the only way is to come to the negotiating table sooner, to think about a rational formula for peace, President Rumen Radev stressed.
In the head of state's words, the offensive becomes a gamble when it is against a well-organised defence, with similar armed forces in terms of structure and composition, and when it lacks air superiority and significant technological advantage. The cost is high - about 100,000 casualties on the Ukrainian side alone, and that for this counter-offensive, which is bogged down in the mud of the trenches, and much of the latest equipment provided by all NATO allies burned in the minefields, the president noted, adding that at the same time there has been no progress of any kind on the front line. Why did these people have to die and where was diplomacy, politics, civic responsibility, where were our values, the President asked.
Now it is becoming extremely difficult to resolve the military conflict by the means of diplomacy because Russia, sensing some military upsurge, is rejecting the ceasefire in order to start negotiations, the Head of State added. He also noted the West's frustration that despite the colossal war funds invested in support of Ukraine, there has been no progress.
President Rumen Radev clarified that the critical assessments of the course of the Ukrainian counter-offensive and its results were not his own, but a summary of the positions of leading politicians, senior military officers, analysts and media from all over the Western world - from the USA and Europe. I hope that this will not give them a reason to be labelled 'Putinists' as well, as we do, the Head of State noted.
According to the President, there is a complex diplomatic dilemma - if the war is not ended with a ceasefire to start negotiations, the casualties and destruction will grow, and reconciliation with the territories forcibly taken will mean accepting the resolution of such issues by force in our time. The Head of State stressed that it is necessary to find a formula that guarantees the security of both sides, without retreating before the aggressor, but seeking ways to achieve peace through the mobilisation of regional and global forces that have the will to build a new international order and a new security system based on international law. He said the same approach should be applied to the war between Hamas and Israel. It is now clear to everyone that the only possible solution is a political one, within the framework of the establishment of two states according to the UN resolution, the President said.
Diplomacy is the alternative to war and paves the way for predictability in international relations, the Head of State noted and highlighted Bulgaria's role in the efforts to promote international cooperation and to unite the forces ready to build a new security system based on clear rules. He called on Bulgaria to have a sustainable foreign policy, not subject to conjunctural views, narrow partisan interests and political biases, which would take into account the key national interests as enshrined in the Constitution. Bulgaria must develop its capacity so that it can actively contribute in NATO and in the EU to find consensual solutions and to defend our interest, Rumen Radev said, adding that continuing the war in the heart of Europe and turning it into a frozen conflict, as well as returning the spheres of influence in some form, contradicts the Bulgarian national interest.