In his latest posting as Senior Columnist for London’s City A.M. newspaper, John Hulsman wrote on how we got to where we are in Ukraine (read: mistakes the West made with regards to the on-going crisis), and how to best Putin in the end.
John argues that the West’s world-view betrayed a total ignorance of the realities of geopolitics; Ukraine is not a primary Western interest, whereas Putin was prepared to risk a lot to achieve an end state wherein Kiev remained within the Russian sphere of influence. John adds that to “see the crisis as it is means accepting the notion that interests primarily guide a state’s foreign policy.” Crucially, Western utopian policymakers were unable to do this.
That Ukraine will remain within the Russian sphere of influence is undoubted, however there is a way to win this contest in the long run. John points out that Russia needs the price of oil to be roughly $110 a barrel to balance its budget; it is already falling south of that, with long-term futures markets pointing to prices heading to well under $100. He goes on to say that the West needs ensure that this happens through “lifting the ban on the export of American oil…[and] encouraging the Poles and British to open up the shale industry.”
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