UKRAINE, SYRIA AND EUROPEAN SECURITY

Guest Contributor:

By Kirk Bennett

A recent flare-up notwithstanding, a stable ceasefire seems to be taking hold in the Donbas. Recognizing that a Russian knock-out blow in Ukraine is currently not in the cards, and stung to action by the steady weakening of the Assad regime in the Syrian war of attrition, Moscow has palpably cycled down its pressure, both military and political, on Kyiv. The Kremlin has billed its intervention in Syria as a Russian contribution to a joint struggle of the civilized world against ISIS, and has at the same time taken pains to be seen as playing a helpful role in the Donbas, demonstratively reining in indigenous hard-liners (occasionally with extreme prejudice) and pushing to postpone local elections viewed by Kyiv as illegal and by the West as provocative. Accordingly, there has been an uptick in calls to reward Russia for its constructive behavior by relaxing or removing Western sanctions at the earliest opportunity.

Not long ago I wrote that, by a quirk of geopolitics, ISIS had become a de facto ally of Ukraine. I stand corrected. Ukraine’s real ally in Syria is none other than Bashar Assad. It is Russian alarm at the prospect of the Assad regime’s collapse – not the need to forge some grand coalition against ISIS – that has of necessity deflected the Kremlin’s attention from the grim, long-term struggle to undermine Ukrainian statehood. How things came to such a pass ought to be a cautionary tale for everyone, and above all for the Kremlin.

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published 30 November 2015: Democracy, EU, Europe, History, Military, NATO, Russia

European Regional Security Damaged: Back to Realpolitik?

Guest Contributor:

Mykola Kapitonenko

Along with possible future implications, which are so actively speculated about, Russia’s active revisionist policy in Europe and beyond is generating a new reality on the ground in real-time mode. It turns out not so much that President Putin has lost touch with reality, but rather that his vision and perception of reality is being actively imposed on Europe’s political agenda. Politics is not only about material factors, but also ideas and perceptions. The ability to shape agenda and reframe values is an important power asset and the way this asset is being currently used by Putin undermines European security.

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published 27 October 2015: Democracy, EU, History, Military, NATO, Russia, Security

Why Should and Why Must the U.S. Offer Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine?

The Editors:

By Oleg M. Pohotsky

The very viability of NATO is at stake. How “Front Line” NATO States may reasonably interpret the “guarantees” of Article 5 in view of actions or non-actions pursuant to the Budapest Memorandum

This article is based on private correspondence dated October 10, 2014 between the author and a friend who had recently completed a term as U.S. ambassador to a Central European country.

The continuing battle for eastern Ukraine is the front line in the war for democratic values, for life as we have grown accustomed to and as we would want to live it. Today, it is also Ground Zero for Vladimir Putin’s project to reset the post World War II world order to accommodate the demise of the Soviet Union.

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published 22 June 2015: Democracy, Economics, EU, Europe, History, Military, NATO, Reform, Russia, Security, USA

A Small World After All: the Many Facets of the Russian World

Guest Contributor:

By Kirk Bennett

You would have to be a “small Russia” dimwit like Navalnyy to peddle the slogan that Russia needs to become “a small, cozy democratic national state.” There can be no such Russia! In the process of making itself small, cozy and national, Russia would destroy itself as a nation, as a state, as a historical subject, and as a culture. …The future belongs to empires. – Mikhail Leontyev, Russian journalist and leading Eurasianist.

Being a nation means standing up to your equals, whereas being an empire merely means kicking your inferiors. – Chesterton

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published 1 June 2015: Democracy, History, Military, Russia, Security

Ukraine-Poland Relations: Two Brotherly Nations Together Again

Guest Contributor:

By Andrii Deshchytsia, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Poland and former Foreign Minister

Back in 1991, Poland gave a good start to its bilateral ties with Ukraine by becoming the first state in the world to recognize Ukraine’s independence. Today we have 24 years of true friendship and solidarity behind us. And I am sure more will follow in the same constructive and good-neighborly spirit.

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published 5 March 2015: Democracy, EU, Europe, History, Military, NATO, Reform