Category: Ukraine and Crimea
Along with Beijing, Moscow challenges the global leadership of Washington. Trump never gives anything away for free. His reflex is to protect what America controls and to reclaim what she used to master. That, in the long run, entails confronting … Continue reading
Russia’s military doctrine continues to adhere to the “first strike” principle. Namely, Moscow will not shy away from using its nuclear weapons, if it judges it to be in its interest and it has a chance to annihilate its target … Continue reading
The fact that the European Union legislative and executive bodies threaten those EU members, Poland and Hungary, which question harmful policies on reasonable grounds, does not bode well for unity or democracy in Europe. Neither does the fact that Germany, … Continue reading
Today’s Russia is still looking over its western borders and is luring some European countries. Greece, for example, is strongly dissatisfied with the European Union and went to Moscow for assistance. Serbia has just been visited by Russia’s foreign minister and is inclined toward Russia. Macedonia is following suit. Hungary is upset with the EU policies and is now befriending Moscow. Slovakia is tilting toward Russia, while the Czech Republic is caught between East and West. Only Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states are standing fast by NATO and America. Continue reading
Ukraine is a struggling country caught between Russia and the European Union. Historically, the country has been associated for a long time with Moscow and its culture is split between the Russian-dominated East and the European-dominated West.
The Black Sea is located at a geo-strategic intersection between Europe and the oil-rich Middle East and between NATO and the Russian Federation. The annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine add new significance to this disputed body of water. The issue of the Black Sea and the current Russo-Ukrainian conflict were discussed amply by the NATO leaders at their recent meetings.
The parliament in Kyiv has just signed a bill granting autonomy to Lukhansk and Donetsk regions in the southeast of Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated was his wish. To sweeten the deal the Ukrainian legislature also voted to associate its nation with the European Union. This suggests a return to the traditional policy of subservience to Russia and cooperation with the West, a fence-straddling posture pursued by Kyiv since independence nearly 25 years ago. Putin got what he wanted, while the West remains rudderless under the Obama administration.
John J. Mearsheimer’s geopolitical game theory tells him that the West has provoked Russia into invading Ukraine. Moscow behaves rationally, you see, and Washington should have understood that before it expanded NATO eastward and stepped on the Kremlin’s toes. It is logical and legitimate to defend one’s sphere of interest. Why provoke Moscow?
Western insistence that Kyiv choose between the EU and Russia, claims Putin, is responsible for breaking up the country. Yet despite all odds, on June 27, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia signed association agreements with the EU.
Ukraine is the biggest East European country; it represents the real core of Eastern Europe; and it is currently a bone of contention between Moscow and the West. With an area almost as big as France, a population of 46 million people, with good agricultural land and huge industrial complexes, Ukraine is a country of utmost importance.
A much anticipated summit was held in Vilnius, Lithuania (Nov. 28-29), to prepare the eastern expansion of the European Union. The big prize was to bring Ukraine closer to Europe. At the same time, three other smaller countries, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, were expected to sign association agreements with the EU.
Something strange is happening in the world this fall of Anno Domini 2013. The United States seems politically deadlocked. Europe is struggling both politically and economically and is not really functioning as a union. The Middle East has just stopped short of a new war. And Russia under the old and new President Vladimir Putin is reasserting itself as an international power.