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.
1. Russia pulls back to engage diplomats in reconstructing the Ukraine government within the bounds of international law.
“Russia Pulls Back Some Troops Amid Moves to Ease Crisis
By Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer and Kateryna Choursina Mar 31, 2014 1:48 PM ET
Russia began pulling back some troops from Ukraine’s eastern border as diplomatic moves continued to ease the crisis over its annexation of Crimea.
President Vladimir Putin told ChancellorAngela Merkel in a phone call he’d ordered a partial withdrawal, the German leader’s office said in a statement in Berlin. A Russian motorized battalion was returning to its base in the Samara region on the Volga river after exercises near the Ukrainian border, the Interfax news service cited the country’s Defense Ministry as saying.”
Russia’s Parliament signed off Saturday on President Vladimir Putin’s request to send military forces into Ukraine, raising the stakes in a quickly escalating game of brinksmanship. Dozens were hurt Saturday when a pro-Russia protest in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv turned violent, with demonstrators trying to storm the local government building. (Credit: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)
The move prompted world diplomats to call for a de-escalation of tensions that have put the two countries on a possible path to war and roiled relations between Russia and the United States. In what appeared to be an illustration of the growing schism between the two world powers, U.S. President Barack Obama and Putin spoke for 90 minutes — with each expressing their concern over the mounting crisis, according to separate statements released by their respective governments. According to the Kremlin, Putin told Obama that Russia reserves the right to defend its interests in the Crimea region and the Russian-speaking people who live there."
“THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) chats with British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) during a meeting of G7 leaders on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The G7 leaders are meeting to dicuss the current crisis in Ukraine during the 2014 Nuclear Secuirty Summit in The Hague.
4. Russia reinforces hostility through arms trade with Western enemies and rogue nations.
“Putin said “of course our opinions do not coincide, but all of us have the intention to stop the violence in Syria and to stop the growth of victims and to solve the situation peacefully, including by bringing the parties to the negotiations table in Geneva. We agreed to push the parties to the negotiations table.” While Putin has called for negotiated peace talks, he has not urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power, and he remains one of Assad’s strongest political and military allies. The White House did not expect any breakthrough with Putin on Syria during the gathering of the Group of Eight Summit and the meeting further highlighted the rift between the two countries on how to address the fighting in Syria.”