Ambassador Nicholas Burns wrote an interesting op-ed in the Financial Times today on how the international community should respond to Putin’s aggression in the Crimea. NATO has no legal security obligations to Ukraine, and in any case a US and European military intervention would risk a major war between nuclear armed powers. Instead, the international community should launch a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to keep the crisis in check:
1) Assemble a chorus of global leaders to denounce Putin’s actions. This would mean he’d lose some of the soft power gained by the Sochi Olympics (which is important to Putin).
2) The US should not (and probably will not) attend the June G8 Summit. The other G8 members should also boycott, and Russian should be permanently expelled from the group.
3) The US and EU should suspend trade negotiations with Russia.
4) The US and Europe should provide public support to the fragile new Ukrainian government e.g. foreign ministers from the US, Poland, Germany, UK and France should all travel to Kiev in a show of solidarity. They should also advise the government in Kiev to go out of its way to show public acceptance of the millions of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine who were alienated by the protests.
5) NATO should publicly reaffirm the Article V pledge of mutual defence in a crisis., especially to the 10 new members fro central Europe who part of the Warsaw Pact (or even the USSR itself) not so long ago. If necessary NATO should build up collective defence of these countries.