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John Hulsman: “Putin is just four steps from victory in Ukraine”

In an opinion piece for City A.M., John Hulsman, a leading geo-political risk analyst and speaker, discussed Putin’s position with regard to the emerging situation in the Ukraine.

Presently, John explains, the EU and NATO countries have two dire choices with how to proceed: a) back up their rhetoric and put the money where their mouth is, which seems implausible considering that a monumental amount of financial aid will be needed to repair Ukraine’s crippled economy; or b) watch the whole enterprise fail and let Russia take the reins, a truly tragic situation.

John argues that from Putin’s point of view, it is “far better to do far less, let Western over-promising run its course, have Ukraine limp along, underlining how badly it needs Russian help and support.” He goes on to outline four steps Putin can take to aid this process:

  1. Lightly encourage separatists in eastern and especially southern Ukraine to demand such a degree of autonomy that the central government in Kiev barely functions.
  2. Simply make Ukraine pay the market price for gas, thereby dooming the enfeebled country to economic ruin.
  3. Count on Western aid arriving a day late and a dollar short.
  4. Understand that the IMF will demand absolute austerity considering the Ukraine’s notorious record on rule of law issues, which in turn will confer huge unpopularity on the government and discredit both the fragile new regime as well as the West in general.

Considering that over the weekend “Putin has discredited the West, fatally weakened the new pro-western government in Kiev, and scuppered any hope Ukraine might have had to join Nato”, as John writes in this morning’s City A.M., it seems as though the odds remain on his side.

Today the article featured as the most read story on realclearpolitics, which is the compilation of all the major English language foreign policy stories in the world on any given day. Click here for the full analysis.

For more information on how to book John Hulsman as a speaker, please contact Leo at, or on 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns on Crimea and the crisis in Ukraine

Nicholas BurnsAmbassador 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.

For more information, or to book Nicholas Burns as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

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