President Zelensky Phones Taiwan’s Leader Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai.  Hello Volodya.  I hope you do not mind my calling you that.

Zelensky.  (Sobs, wordless.)

Tsai.  What is it Volodya?  Calm down.

Zelensky. (Sobbing continues.*) “We have been left alone to defend our state. “Who is ready to fight alongside us?

“I don’t see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of NATO membership?

“Everyone is afraid.”

Tsai. But the Americans have given you weapons, rifles.  The Germans even gave you helmets – right away – and now they are promising more.  And they also sent military advisors “little green men” – I think that is what they call them when they are Russian.

Zelensky. We are facing tanks and missiles.  I am afraid what we have is pretty small potatoes.  As the American politician Ron Paul said, it seems the Americans are ready to fight Russia – down to the last Ukrainian (more sobbing).

Tsai.  But Volodya, you got to address the U.S. Congress and plea for help – certainly that shows support.

Zelensky.  Support?  The script that the Americans handed me centered on a No Fly Zone, in other words, a call for WWIII, nuclear war.  I looked like a madman! (More sobbing.)

Tsai.  I did not think that made you look like a madman.  I admire someone who is willing to risk nuclear war for our beliefs.  That shows real spine, real guts.  And those Congress people applauded you.  If you looked mad, would that not make them all insane too.  Surely you cannot believe that.

But I know how you feel about those scripts.  The Americans stuff one in my face every now and then with the “advice” that it would be good to read it.  I feel I am getting an offer I cannot refuse as they say in the American movies.

But you do not have to accept the script – you are safe in hiding in Ukraine.

Zelensky.  I cannot comment on where I am – if you understand what I mean.

And I do not know what kind of company you are keeping, Tsai, but most people are appalled and frightened by the prospect of nuclear war.  My stance allowed Biden to look sane by turning thumbs down.  I was the fall guy.

Tsai.  Look Volodya.  You have to get hold of yourself.  The U.S. has managed to get the whole world behind you.  Just like the US has got the whole world behind me.  Not to worry.

Zelensky.  Are you serious, Tsai?   You know that not only China but also India has refused to join US sanctions on Russia – that is 35% of the world’s population right there.  China is the number one economy in the world by PPP-GDP and India number three as you surely know. So two of the big three are not backing sanctions. Also refusing are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico.  That is over half the world’s population!  And there are many more refusenik nations including the 40 countries not in that list on which the US has sanctions– I have lost count.

And NATO is showing cracks.  Macron and others are talking to Putin all the time.  Sweden has refused to join NATO, saying that would be “destabilizing.”

The world is changing, Tsai.

Exactly how many countries are behind you, Tsai?  You better check – carefully.

I wish I had.  (More sobbing.)

Tsai. (Now looks very worried) Good point, Volodya.

Zelensky.  And now Germany is rearming under the influence of the crazy German Greens, the most hawkish of the Parties in the governing coalition.  That of course is a dream come true for the neocons – having Germany fight Russia.  Two principal competitors of the U.S. fighting one another.  It will destroy Ukraine and the rest of Europe.  As I have said in the past, this war will engulf Europe.

Tsai. (Now a bit shaken.) But why did you not stop all this as soon as you were elected.  You ran as a peace candidate.

Zelensky.  (Even more upset).  I could not.  The Americans would not permit it, and Russia is well aware of this as Lavrov has made clear.  And America’s Neo-Nazi friends like the Azov Battalion fiercely oppose it – and together they have enough clout to stop an elected President – or even depose him as we saw back in 2014.  I am keenly aware of that as is any President until the U.S. grip on this country is broken and it is “de-nazified,” if I may borrow a term.

So here I am presiding over the unnecessary destruction of my beloved country, unable to agree to the simple terms of peace that the Minsk accords established.

My place in history is not going to be a glorious one.

Tsai.  But at least you have the Ukrainian people united behind you.  Here on Taiwan there is considerable pro-Mainland sentiment.

Zelensky.  United? I have had to ban a dozen political parties, including the main opposition one.  I have had to bring all TV under control of one platform.  And I have had to declare martial law.  Do you think everyone here is happy that instead of implementing the Minsk accords we have brought ourselves to this point?

My advice to you, Tsai, is do not allow Taiwan to become the Ukraine of East Asia, because right now that is the plan the Americans have for you.

I have to go now.  I am being called.  I am not even supposed to make calls like this.

(Nervously) Keep this call between us.  Good-bye.

Tsai (Shaken).  Good bye Volodya.

(Hangs up, summons her assistant.)  I need to place another call.  Please get President Xi on the line.  He has wanted to talk.  Tell him I want to discuss the One Country, Two Systems Policy.

And tell him it is the Governor of Taiwan Province calling.

*These are the exact words that Zelensky used in a midnight speech to Ukraine on February 25.

John V. Walsh, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for the San Francisco Chronicle, EastBayTimes/San Jose Mercury News, Asia Times, LA Progressive,, CounterPunch and others.