In an op-ed for Reuters, Director of Chatham House Robin Niblett discusses what brought Putin to the bargaining table over Ukraine, and how to ensure he upholds the Minsk II agreement. Robin outlines three possible reasons:
- Ukrainian resistance.
- The growing impact of Western economic sanctions.
- The transatlantic debate over providing arms to Ukrainian forces.
However, Robin also notes that important to recognise that “this agreement is broadly similar to the September 2014 agreement and, given that it does not clearly advance Putin’s strategic goals, conflict may again resume.” With these concerns in mind, Robin suggests that the allied governments should consult quickly to clearly set Western expectations and demands:
- State that any future spread of the conflict beyond the existing cease-fire line would be seen as an attack on the political sovereignty of the government in Kiev.
- Make clear that they will not consider easing any of the current economic sanctions until the Minsk II agreement has been completed in full.
- Include unfettered inspections by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
- Ensure the Ukrainian government’s securing control of its border with Russia.
He goes on to argue that although military assistance by the West may not be any more effective than economic sanctions, “both policies are principally about imposing costs on Russia for its actions and accepting costs on North America, Europe and their close allies.”
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With the reigniting of the war in Ukraine, Western leaders are battling over how to help end the conflict. Questions are being raised over whether the US should send arms to fight Russian-backed rebels. As a response to such thinking, John Mearsheimer, one of the foremost realist thinkers on international politics, has cautioned world leaders in an NY Times op-ed titled “Don’t Arm Ukraine.”
Despite a recent report from three leading American think tanks that endorses the sending of advanced weaponry to Kiev, John contends that this “will not rescue its army and will instead lead to an escalation in the fighting.” He goes on to say that such a step is “especially dangerous because Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and is seeking to defend a vital strategic interest.”
Instead, John suggests that “the only way to solve the Ukraine crisis is diplomatically, not militarily.” This can be achieved by making Ukraine a neutral buffer state between Russia and NATO. John believes that the West should also work with Mr. Putin to rescue Ukraine’s economy, “a goal that is clearly in everyone’s interest.”
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General Sir Rupert Smith, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, is a senior international authority on defence, security and strategy.
In an exclusive interview with Chartwell, Sir Rupert gives his take on the West’s strategy towards ISIS – or lack thereof – and whether the West has got it right, following Britain’s recent decision to perform air-strikes in Iraq. Sir Rupert also draws comparisons to the crisis in Ukraine, though noting that the situations are very different from one another, and comments on the ability of strategists to think about, and prepare for, long term solutions.
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Bronwen Maddox, former Foreign Affairs Editor of the Times and now Editor of London-based Prospect magazine analyses the nexus between finance, geopolitics and security.
Recently returned from the US where she interviewed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (pictured above), Bronwen speaks to Chartwell’s Alex Hickman about the legacy of the Scottish referendum and the outlook for the UK 2015 General Election; the US-led coalition against ISIS and its prospects for success; and what ISIS and the situation in Ukraine means for global security and the global economy.
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Writing in today’s Telegraph newspaper, Lord Powell, one of the most influential foreign policy advisors of the Thatcher era, argues that the West has none of the moral sense that inspired foreign policy in the time of Margaret Thatcher. Moreover, he believes that “those who resent Western values will now feel encouraged to challenge our interests.”
This follows from the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty yesterday, hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies, where Lord Powell put forward the question, “has the West gone soft?” He suggests that whilst it was unavoidable that the power and capability of our nation would fall, in relative terms, as others rose, “there has also been an avoidable decline in the West’s will to act – in short, our backbone.”
Lord Powell attributes a number of reasons for this, including the fact that is seems “notoriously hard to galvanise democratic societies to meet new threats in the wake of conflict.” More importantly, he adds, is that “the ability to convey a sense of the West’s destiny to lead in world affairs has evaporated.”
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Following on from the first round of Ukraine’s Presidential Elections, we spoke to Sir Roderic Lyne (based here in London) about the outlook for the country, what’s driving Putin and what the West can do about it.
“As the West does not seem prepared to commit the huge, multi-year resources necessary to enable Ukraine to resist Russian pressure, the short-term prospect is for an unheroic accommodation which will satisfy most of the Kremlin’s aims. This will not make for a sustainable long-term solution. Ukraine will remain a problem for years to come.”
Click here to read a summary of our discussion
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