Putin's predecessors: On dictators, international law and dangerous illusions
Oleh Belokolos Oleh Belokolos Ukrainian foreign affairs expert

17:31 Nov. 23, 2016

On dictators, international law and dangerous illusions

Putin on 'Advocate' magazine cover (Dec. 12)

Ukrainian political expert Oleh Belokolos of Maidan of Foreign Affairs on 'Putin's doctrine' and its predecessors

Today, numerous "well-wishers" use a variety of means not only to demoralize the Ukrainian resistance towards the aggressor, but also, to get us used to the idea that finding a "modus vivendi" with Putin's regime via all sorts of agreements is, in fact, inevitable. 

At the same time, history clearly demonstrates that when it comes to their external aggression plans, dictators respect international agreements and laws no more than they do promises to their own people. 

On June 5, 1928, Benito Mussolini remarked: "Any diplomatic agreement is valid only until the moment when one of the parties to the contract becomes strong enough to insist on changing it." 

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Recently, I happened to come across a curious testimony of a member of the German delegation at the 1938 Munich Conference where he unwittingly witnessed a private conversation between Adolf Hitler and his then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop. After the event, the latter expressed doubts on the expediency of the signed papers in terms of their ability to facilitate further expansion, to which the Fuhrer replied: "This paper is worthless." 

But there is no need to search for confirmations in times long gone.  The very recent so-called "Putin's doctrine" among other things stipulates that international law is no longer a dogma, but merely, a set of postulates, from which Moscow will choose whatever suits it best at the moment. 

So, the conclusion suggests itself: while seeking agreements with the dictators may sometimes be justified, counting on the compliance is an illusion. And the cost of illusions in international politics is extremely high, which is something Ukraine has learned the hard way in 2014. 

Read also Putin's regime now has all signs of fascism – expert

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