Clashes between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatists have occurred regularly along the Line of Contact (LoC) in southeastern Ukraine since the February ceasefire agreement was signed in Minsk. Both sides seemingly lack the will to fully implement the agreement, so the conflict looks likely to remain unresolved for the foreseeable future.
As if more evidence were needed that we are entering a new and more perilous era in our relations with Russia, President Obama’s nominee to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security. … If you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming,” Read the AP’s full account here.
In the geopolitical arena, do the ends always justify the means? Is it wise to inflict damage on yourself and your institutions to hobble an enemy? The relationship between the West and Russia over the last few years offers an illustrative case.
In an interview this week with the Huffington Post, ACEWA Founding Board Member Stephen F. Cohen discusses the crisis in US-Russan relations and the ongoing Ukraine crisis with author Dan Kovalik. Among other observations, Professor Cohen comments that “Ukraine had been on Washington’s agenda for a very, very long time; it is a matter of public record. It was to that that Putin reacted. It was to the fear that the new government in Kiev, which overthrew the elected government, had NATO backing and its next move would be toward Crimea and the Russian naval base there. … But he was reacting, and as Kiev began an all-out war against the East, calling it the “anti-terrorist operation,” with Washington’s blessing. …”
Washington’s legion of escalation argues for “raising the costs” to Russia by increasing the number of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine…This rationale is logical on its face, but in practice does not account for the gap between the Russian and American stake in Ukraine. Kiev’s geopolitical orientation is supremely important to Russia, while American interests’ via-a-vis Ukraine are peripheral at best. It’s a case of “must have” for the Russians, versus “nice to have” for the United States.
Forget euro summits and G7 gatherings: for the countries that like to style themselves as the world’s rising powers, the real summitry takes place this week in central Russia, where Vladimir Putin will hold court.
Leaders of the Brics countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) will meet Putin in Ufa on Wednesday, then make way for the Asian powers grouped in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is to invest up to $10 billion in Russia over the next five years, in a move signalling a thawing in relations between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country’s sovereign wealth investment vehicle, agreed on Monday to invest $10 billion over the next five years approximately in the Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a government-run investment fund.
As we all know, it is hard for an individual or nation to view the world or a particular situation through the eyes of another person or nation. I have never seen this more true than what is transpiring now over the Ukrainian crisis as it is viewed by the United States and Russia.
This is a subject of deep concern because the security of our world is threatened and we risk losing the need for collaboration on such transcendent issues as nuclear proliferation and terrorism in Iran and Syria.
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering recently gave a comprehensive interview to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in which he touched on arms control issues with an eye toward the situations in Iran, North Korea and Russia. Regarding the current crisis in relations with Russia, he noted, “When the Soviet Union went out of business, they thought there would be no NATO enlargement…And they are still concerned about NATO enlargement and encirclement, especially about the prospect of NATO enlargement to Ukraine.” Read the whole thing here.
The ultimate madness of today’s U.S. foreign policy is Official Washington’s eager embrace of a new Cold War against Russia with the potential for nuclear annihilation. A rational strategy would seek alternatives to this return to big-power confrontation, writes ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.