Russia dictates its own future while the US and EU develop a cohesive strategy to address the “hostile power.” Martin Kettle used that label instead of possible alternatives such as: rogue regime, enemy, autocracy, or evil nation among others. Kettle writes in The Guardian that “this is not a new cold war.” It may be argued that the free world is on the cusp of a new cold war, depending upon how aggressive Russia continues to be. As written previously and referenced in the story below, one must keep the situation in historic context. The Ukraine has a history of being in a state of flux. The Crimea has a history of allegiance to Russia as do other parts of the Ukraine. At issue is not so much Russia’s affinity with the Ukraine and wanting to rebond with its comrades as it is with the process by which it is doing that. Russia’s blatant disregard for international law combined with military hostility makes their actions intolerable. Yet, what if Russia had addressed the matter differently through diplomacy? Could they have achieved broadening participation in the Ukraine government by ethnic Russians without transgressions?
“Russia is a hostile power, but this is not a new cold war
The west needs to step back from the Ukraine crisis and devise a new strategy of containment towards Vladimir Putin
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 April 2014
'A strategy … can mark the difference between life and death.' Illustration by Matt Kenyon
Plans are worthless but planning is everything, President Eisenhower once observed, drawing on his vast military and political experience. The same could be said about strategy, says Lawrence Freedman in his recent history of the subject. If a strategy is simply a predetermined plan to reach a defined goal, it is not much practical use in the unpredictable real world. But if a strategy is the ability to respond to change within an evolving vision of achievable goals, in essence what Freedman concludes, then it can indeed mark the difference between life and death.
There are few issues in which the need for strategy is more pressing in Europe than in the relationship with Russia over the developing crisis in Ukraine. So on one level it is good news that, as reported in the New York Times this week, the Obama administration is "looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the cold war strategy of containment".”
Vladimir Putin has put Russia on course for a deep freeze with the West. Whether or not that freeze evolves into a cold war or hot one depends upon Russia.
See the short list of Russian options.