Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: NATO

It’s Time to Cut a Deal with Putin

It was beginning to look as though things might be winding down in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin had the duma revoke his government’s permission to intervene directly in the country, and the pro-Russian rebels have been beating a swift retreat. But since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine, western countries have unleashed a new round of sanctions. Russia has retaliated with sanctions of its own against the west, but in a far more worrisome move, reports have it that Russia is once again amassing troops on the border with Ukraine. To minimize the risk of further escalation, it is now time for the west to offer Putin a deal.

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Don’t Blame Putin for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by a Russian-built SA-11 surface to air missile. The tragedy killed 298 people, the majority of whom were Dutch, as well as a handful of AIDS researchers. In the wake of this terribly unfortunate incident, many in the west are blaming Russia for having supplied the pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels with the sophisticated weaponry necessary to carry out the deed.  In so doing, however, they are missing the forest for the trees, choosing the simple, cathartic narrative of Russian villainy over the reality.

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Mitt Romney is No Captain Hindsight on Ukraine

Since I last wrote about Ukraine, the Russians have occupied and annexed Crimea, a region that has a 70% majority ethnic Russian population and a major Russian naval base. The United States and the European Union have done even less than I anticipated in response–sanctions have been confined to a few figures in Putin’s administration. At this point, the armchair generals are beginning to come out of the woodwork, with Mitt Romney going so far as to tell us what he believes he would have done had he been elected in 2012. Unfortunately, Romney is no Captain Hindsight, and his proposals only serve to illustrate what a poor choice the American people had in 2012.

 

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The Crisis in Ukraine is America’s Fault

I am an American and I love America, but we got this one wrong and we need to collectively own up to our screw up. American foreign policy decisions have been direct causes of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The narrative in the popular American press, that Putin is behaving aggressively or even irrationally, is incorrect. In truth, Russia is acting from motivations that are grounded in its desire to defend its legitimate security interests. Here’s why.

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Russia Cannot Let Ukraine Go

A deal was reached just yesterday for current Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to relinquish some presidential powers and schedule elections in May. The Russians already appear to believe that deal to be in tatters, as Ukraine’s parliament voted today to dismiss the president from office. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, says:

The opposition not only has failed to fulfill a single one of its obligations but is already presenting new demands all the time, following the lead of armed extremists and pogromists whose actions pose a direct threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and constitutional order.

If the Russians believe the opposition is not following through, that’s what matters. Russia cannot abide the defection of Ukraine to the European Union. It will take all necessary measures to prevent that outcome. Why does Russia care so much and what might Russia do next?

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