Whatever was the reason that triggered the Russian-Ukraine War, the war had gone long enough with devastating consequence to the Ukraine people. However, the Ukraine people were defined throughout the history, they do not deserve this turmoil. Prior to the present war, there was eight years of internal war taking place already in the Eastern region of Ukraine, which was a manifestation of the fact that some Ukraine citizens in the East Ukraine were not happy with the new Ukraine government established by an election. In addition, the Crimea peninsula on the South East end of Ukraine had passed a status referendum and a declaration of independence on March 16, 2014, and then signed a treaty of annexation on March 18, 2014 to annex itself to Russia. This came about with the military intervention of Russia first seizing Crimea and then letting her to conduct a resolution vote resulting in an overwhelming approval votes of annexation to Russia. The above events were complicated, and the political procedure adopted were definitely subject to political debate on their appropriateness, but nevertheless they were resolved with less bloodshed than what is happening in eastern Ukraine and the present Russian-Ukraine war. The present Russian-Ukraine War is not only painful to Ukraine and Russia, but also affecting Europe and the entire world in its economic stability due to production, supply and trade disruption in energy, food and finance. If the U.S. and EU led NATO were to continue to supply weapons to Ukraine to sustain the war, it would most likely lead to a world war, likely a nuclear war. The Ukraine war has created tens of millions of Ukrainian refuges and the country has been devastated to ruins, from political, economic and especially humanitarian viewpoint, it is time to call for an immediate ceasefire and adopting a political solution which is fair and least painful to all Ukraine people and ideally approved by the Ukraine people.
The very fundamental issue of the Ukraine crisis at this point is that all Ukraine people should have a right to determine their destination and adopt their desired government (and nation) under the condition that it is acceptable by her neighbors and the world. However, Ukraine citizens consist of several races with different historical background connected with Russia, Poland, and other parts of Europe and even Asia to some extent. Therefore, it is understandable that Crimea with 65% Russian speaking citizens would adopt a resolution to become a part of Russia and Donetsk and Luhansk with nearly all Russian speaking citizens would declare independence from Ukraine. At this moment, it is clear that Ukraine must cease fire to stop the bleeding in the nation. Looking into the future, there are only three options for Ukraine to take. We shall discuss them below and offer our opinion on which one may be the best solution.
The first choice for Ukraine, which is the worst one, is to prolong the present war indefinitely. Presently Ukraine has already lost control of close to 20% of her land to Russia. In addition, Russia has completely destroyed Ukraine’s military facilities and industrial production bases. Thus, Ukraine depends entirely on U.S., EU and NATO support to continue the war. However, no matter how Zelensky is playing into the West's interest in weakening Russia, the sustainability of the war is totally uncertain judging on the world economic condition. Since the war passed 100 days, the disruption of energy, food and commerce supply due to heavy battles, economic sanctions plus the world pandemic impact, the world economy is under stress reaching a breaking point. We have seen in the media, the Ukraine war supporters of the U.S. and EU have already shown a second thought. So the author’s opinion is that Ukraine should make an honest and realistic assessment of her citizens wish, for the benefit of the Ukraine people, she should not and will not want to continue the war.
The second choice for Ukraine, which is the simplest one, is to sign a cease fire and peace treaty accepting Russia’s basic demand – remain neutral and peaceful. From a negotiation and procedure point of view, a treaty can be reached so long Ukraine accepts the de facto war consequence and agrees to Russia’s demand of Ukraine being a neutral country and never to be a NATO member. This treaty would get Ukraine immediate peace so she may start rebuilding the nation from the war devastation. How can Ukraine get her people’s consensus to make a definite choice of the first, the second or the third choice (below) is a political science problem. Would the Zelensky government resort to a fair democratic resolution method to arrive at a choice? The author’s opinion is that Ukraine does not have too many choices except diligently following a democratic process to reach a consensus. This process is critical and delicate for the third choice discussed below.
The third choice for Ukraine, which is an idealistic one, is to arrive at a political solution based on a modern political science procedure – a government serving as an agent for the people to negotiate and develop a political relationship with a host nation willing to own the Ukraine rebuild problem. As discussed above, Ukraine consists of several races with different historical background. Although the present Ukraine borders Russia and has deep and long relationship with Russia during the Soviet Union era, she also has close relations with other nations. We will mention just two examples, one is Poland because part of western Ukraine belonged to Poland before the expansion of the Soviet Union. Poland may be motivated to become a close partner with Ukraine and help Ukraine rebuild. The second example is China, even though China was far away from Ukraine, China and Ukraine have been close and friendly in trade and research and development partnership. That is the reason, China has maintained a neutral position regarding the Russia-Ukraine war and more importantly, Zelensky has repeatedly pleaded that China could play a pivotal role in mediating the Russia-Ukraine cease fire and being the guarantor of Ukraine’s peace and security. China with her Belt and Road Initiative linking Asia and Europe for mutual prosperity may see Ukraine as key bridge for BRI, hence willing to provide the needed aids to rebuild Ukraine. Based on the above discussion, the author suggests that it is entirely feasible for Ukraine to adopt a political solution for settling her current conflict with Russia and rebuilding her future.
From broadest political science point of view, Ukraine should let her citizens have freedom to make choices through a consensus building process to arrive at a compromised but well-thought-out democratic solution. Ukraine obviously requires rebuild and needs vast external financial, technology and economic support. Ukraine government may begin to engage potential ‘support’ countries to work out a political relationship and a Ukraine rebuild assistance plan and to develop a politico-economic resolution for her citizens to select. Ukraine may consider China or Poland even Russia or the U.S. to broaden her post-war ‘host’ nation candidacy. This task is obviously a political science problem. The author invites political scientists to engage a discussion on the Ukraine rebuild plan and the nation to nation relationship. The latter issue could be a trusteeship model, possibly workable between Ukraine and China or Ukraine and the U.S. or a special administrative zone arrangement between Ukraine and Poland or Russia. Obviously, these are over-simplified thoughts, but the fundamental concept is viable. The question is whether the Zelenskyy government can be reorganized to work on the above plan. Ukraine has a large fertile area and a strong work force. It is entirely feasible for China to take on a trusteeship for a part of Ukraine say for 30 years to execute a rebuild Ukraine plan. Ukraine’s agriculture output such as wheat can be exported to China and her engineering talents applied to BRI. The Ukraine government should diligently seek all potential candidates' offers to let Ukraine citizens make the best choice.
In conclusion, the Ukraine situation is complicated. The government may be overwhelmed by war and corruption. But it is a case of a political science problem (dispute between nations involving citizens having different races, cultural inheritance and geographical affiliations) begging for a peaceful solution.