1/ Hi. I teach negotiations.

Some thoughts about where I disagree with Aaron about how compromise and negotiation logic apply to this situation.

Taking the comment in good faith because the underlying questions are interesting and many others share Aaron's view.

2/ Aaron is absolutely correct that a negotiation involves compromise from both sides.

If there are ever peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine will not expect to get 100% of what it wants - but what it wants is A LOT more than all of its territory back.
3/ Defining what's on the table as "how much Ukrainian territory does each side get to keep" is an incredibly limited view of any potential negotiation and one that massively favours the Russian side.

It assumes that peace is something Russia has to 'offer' and be paid for.
4/ Those like the person in Aaron's video often frame a resistance to negotiation on such terms as being insufficiently committed to peace.

I would argue, rather, that it reflects a commitment to SUSTAINED peace.
5/ If the lesson that Russia learns from this campaign is that when they invade a neighbour, even if they do really badly, the international community will still eventually push the invaded into trading land for peace, we will see this occur again, and again, and again.
6/ The international community is exceedingly unlikely to be able to offer Ukraine meaningful security guarantees and so the only guarantee of peace in the medium term is for this war to both bloody the Russian military beyond immediate repair and to have availed them nothing.
7/ That doesn't mean you couldn't eventually have negotiations.

Last year, before the atrocities at Bucha and the November counterattacks, the Ukrainians were prepared to kick negotiations over Crimea down the road for example. Fudging somewhat the issue to secure peace.
8/ Even if territory isn't on the table at all (even in that limited way) there's still a lot to negotiate over.

Hypothetically, Ukraine could for example commit to not having US bases, on its soil or US troop numbers in excess of a certain number.
9/ Ukraine could reaffirm its commitment from the Budapest Memorandum to never develop nuclear weapons (and this would be a major concession, given nukes would guarantee its security and Russia tore up its own commitments to Ukraine's sovereignty under that deal).
10/ If Russia actually cares about Russian speakers in DNR/LNR (and there's no evidence it does) then Ukraine could certainly look at some elements to allow those oblasts to have greater say in their own affairs.

Note: It very clearly does not and it's silly to pretend it does.
11/ Ukraine's current position is that peace requires reparations from Russia and Hague trials for many of its officials.

I'd love to see that too, but that's an area where if there are talks, some negotiation will inevitably take place and Ukraine could choose to compromise.
12/ There are whole swathes of trade and sanctions related questions that could be discussed given Ukraine's clout with the western countries actually applying them.

For example: Russia very badly wants to start selling oil and gas to Europe again. That's something to negotiate.
13/ I could go on, but hopefully I've made my point.

Pushing Ukraine into talks over how much territory it's willing to let Russia keep in exchange for a ceasefire is:
a) Politically unfeasible in Ukraine
b) Handing Russia a huge win from the start
c) All but ensuring more war
14/ In a negotiation both sides must compromise but if the only thing within scope is how much of what I have I'll give you in exchange for ending a fight you're losing, that's extortion and extortion never really ends.

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