Speaking of Ukraine

Speaking of Ukraine I’m skeptical that Russia will willingly accept an anti-Russian and pro-Western Ukraine but that’s what Alexander Vershbow says in this piece at The Atlantic Council:

The recent US debate about Russia has focused mainly on Moscow’s disinformation, propaganda, and interference in our elections. But Russia’s aggression against Ukraine remains the original sin and the biggest threat. It’s not just Ukraine’s survival as an independent, democratic state that is on the line, but the future of an international order based on the rule of law rather than the law of the jungle.

That’s why it’s good news that, despite fears that President Donald Trump might throw Ukraine under the bus for the sake of a reset with Moscow, the administration has taken a clear position that better relations with Russia are impossible without a resolution of the Ukraine crisis. Administration officials have developed a reasonably coherent strategy aimed at achieving a diplomatic solution, and they have appointed a capable diplomat, Kurt Volker, to carry it out.

In my opinion arming the Ukrainians or, worse, admitting Ukraine to NATO is one of the worst blunders we could make.

I found this passage something between puzzling and amusing:

For the first time since 2014, the Kremlin may be looking for a way out of the Donbas. While the Crimean annexation has been a winner for Russian President Vladimir Putin in domestic terms, his plans for a second secessionist rump state across southern Ukraine—the “Novorossiya” project—did not play out as intended. Three years of occupation and low-level conflict in the Donbas have strengthened Ukrainian national identity and resolve, without seriously derailing the reform process or implementation of the EU association agreement.

What Putin didn’t account for is that when you exclude ethnic Russians from Ukrainian elections the results are even more anti-Russian than would otherwise be the case. That’s not exactly a formula for pacifying the situation in a reunited Ukraine, unless your plan is for massive ethnic cleansing.

The Russians are capable of making enormous mischief, not just in their own near abroad but right here in the United States as we have seen. If we weren’t behaving as aggressively towards them as we have been for the last 25 years, they might not have decided that we’re their enemies.

2 comments… add one
  • Bob Sykes

    Vershbow completely misunderstands (or misrepresents) Putin’s goal in Ukraine. Putin has never supported independence for the Donbas nor any sort of NovoRossiya. The Minsk accords clearly envision a united (less Crimea) Ukraine. Those accords have been blocked by various paleo-Nazi groups like the Azov brigade and oligarchs like Iulia Timoshenko, but they are the only route to a peaceful settlement.

    By the way, Timoshenko and the Nazis have called for the ethnic cleansing of all ethnic Russians from Ukraine and the suppression of any language other than Ukrainian. That is a formula for an invasion by Russia.

    A united Ukraine with a large ethnic Russian minorty is the best brake on Ukraine joining NATO. While a separate NovoRossiya is clearly the desire of many ethnic Russians in Ukraine, that would result in a western Ukraine clearly in the US alliance system with NATO troops on the Dniepr.

  • Those accords have been blocked by various paleo-Nazi groups like the Azov brigade and oligarchs like Iulia Timoshenko, but they are the only route to a peaceful settlement.

    and we’re supporting the “paleo-Nazi groups” and oligarchs.

Leave a Comment