Viktor Orban Defies EU's Absurd "Unconditional Surrender" Doctrine

For most of European history, wars were fought with the understanding that if they became too destructive and costly, they could be concluded with a negotiated settlement. Once it became clear that one side was gaining the upper hand, the other side could sue for peace instead of dragging it out and getting a lot more people killed and property destroyed.

Even during the great 16th century wars between the Ottoman Empire and the Christian nations of Europe, the opposing commanders were occasionally reasonable and humane enough to cease fighting when it became clear that nothing could be gained from prolonging it. The Ottoman siege of Rhodes in 1522 was a notable example, when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent allowed the Knights Hospitaller to surrender on generous terms.

After Napoleon was defeated in 1815, the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw and stated that no power would ever negotiate with him again. This was an early example of the doctrine of “Unconditional Surrender.” However, this was only after he broke the convention of his confinement to the island of Elba. The Pentagon’s B... Jacobsen, Annie Best Price: $6.79 Buy New $9.99 (as of 03:15 UTC - Details)

During the American Civil War, Union General Grant adopted the policy of “Unconditional Surrender” in dealing with Confederate officers who asked for terms. He did, however, agree to negotiate with General Lee at Appomattox. Though I’ve never found time to investigate it, I have heard that the European general staffs marveled at the iron will of Generals Grant and Sherman to suffer stupendous losses in order to annihilate the enemy instead of negotiating with him.

The policy of Unconditional Surrender reached its apotheosis at the Casablanca Conference in 1943, when Stalin persuaded Roosevelt and Churchill to adopt and announce it as official policy in the war against Germany.

Stalin did this because he was afraid the British and Americans would do a separate peace deal with German military officers who didn’t like Hitler and wanted to get rid of him. Because the Russians were doing most of the fighting, Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to Stalin’s demand. Not surprisingly, Nazi propagandists immediately seized upon this declaration as a perfect reason for why the German military should NEVER surrender, but fight bis zur letzten Patrone — “till the last cartridge.”

The trouble with this Unconditional Surrender policy was that it was not only applied to the Nazi regime, but equally to German military officers who would have gladly gotten rid of Hitler. Had the Americans and British supported German resistance officers instead of repeatedly spurning them, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators might have succeeded in getting rid of Hitler and the Nazis in July of 1944.

Numerous historians have noted that by far the most destructive phase of the war was between Stauffenberg’s failed assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 and and May 7, 1945. This last year of the war also coincided with the most murderous phase of the Holocaust in the extermination camps of German occupied Poland. 10-Minute Strength Tra... Deboo PT, Ed Best Price: $12.19 Buy New $9.29 (as of 04:52 UTC - Details)

Ever since Casablanca, the U.S. military and political class has insisted that there can NEVER be any negotiated settlement. Thus, it seems to me, Putin should have realized that the Americans would NOT negotiate with him after hostilities commenced, but would encourage the Ukrainians to fight (with American arms) bis zur letzten Patrone.

Alone among European leaders, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban seems to understand that the doctrine of unconditional surrender is not a rational approach in dealing with Russia during the current war in Ukraine. According to multiple news reports, Orban’s trip to Moscow has enraged the other European heads of state, who apparently prefer that the Ukrainians kill every male in the country—firing armaments supplied by the West—before negotiating with the Russians.

To this day, I’ve not heard a SINGLE commentator explain why the U.S. and EU did not at least try to negotiate an Austrian style neutrality deal for Ukraine? Austrian neutrality was formalized on October 26, 1955; Russia withdrew its occupational army from Austria and has honored the deal ever since.

Had a neutrality deal been negotiated for Ukraine—and had the Russians subsequently violated it—this would have been grounds for a full-scale war. Why didn’t the Western powers at least give this a try in early 2022?

This originally appeared on Courageous Discourse.