ACEWA Founding Board Member Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussion of the broadening US-Russian cold war and confrontation over Ukraine. The main focus is on escalating challenges to the agreement reached by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Sochi in May to implement the Minsk plan for ending the Ukrainian civil war through negotiations.
Determined to prevent another Moscow-led rebel advance, the United States and European governments have prepared a new round of penalties targeting Russia’s energy and financial sectors as part of a sanctions-in-waiting strategy that officials hope will help the West respond immediately if insurgents push deeper into Ukraine.
On June 11, Ambassador Jack Matlock delivered the 2015 Fulbright Lecture at the University of Edinburgh. In it the Ambassador and ACEWA Founding Board Member observes that the Cold War ended by negotiation, not by the victory of one side. Nevertheless, the unfounded triumphalism by the “West,” and the exaggerated Russian reaction to it has produced a new, cold-war-type confrontation over the governance and orientation of Ukraine.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James came out swinging…forcefully telling reporters that she was here and traveling throughout Europe tp deliver a message of reassurance in the face of a “resurgent Russia.”
“I would say, the biggest threat on my mind [is] the activities of Russia,” she said when asked by a reporter what is the biggest threat America faces. “That’s a big part of why I am here in Europe to hold these discussions.”
Days before his death on February 8, 1725, Tsar Peter the Great gave his last will and testament. He exhorted his successors to fulfill Russia’s destiny and conquer the world. The keys to this great endeavor were Constantinople and India, the former for its symbolism and the latter for its wealth.
Neither the actual records nor documentation of Peter’s instructions have ever been found. It is likely that he never issued those deathbed commands. Yet, the legend has endured.
Nato’s league table – likely to be published on the eve of the defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels on 24 and 25 June – will ensure that countries are being compared on a like for like basis when it comes to defence spending, according to British Government sources.
The desire of many Ukrainian politicians to “seal off” rebel-held territories in the Donbas may be coming to pass. The head of Poroshenko’s bloc in parliament, Yury Lutsenko, has declared that the president desires to extend the present automotive blockade of the so-called Luhansk Peoples Republic to all separatist held territories. Passage into them will be possible only by foot or compact car.
Senators are adopting a new tactic in their push for President Obama to arm Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists.
Lawmakers in both parties are supporting a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would give the Obama administration $300 million for Ukrainian security assistance. The provision specifies that half of the funding would be withheld until at least 20 percent of the money is spent on lethal aid.
A plan by Washington to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO states on Russia’s border would be the most aggressive U.S. act since the Cold War, and Moscow would retaliate by beefing up its own forces, a Russian defense official said on Monday.