Go Slow on Ukraine
This Politico article is one of the most cynical I have read about the West’s morals. While it mainly indicts the Europeans, it also applies to the US, since the US and EU banks are competitors for Russian investments. Russian oligarchs own US sports teams as well as European sports teams. American banks are a little more distanced and a little more restricted by American laws and regulations, but not much.
I tend to agree with Stephen Cohen and Mearsheimer that Russia has important strategic and historical interests in the Ukraine that are unmatched in the West, which is mainly concerned about preserving international law in general, rather than any specific threats to American or Western European security. Poland, Moldova and perhaps the Baltic republics have some genuine security concerns, but those are not immediate. Poland might end up being more secure if Ukraine remains a buffer state within the Soviet sphere of influence than if Ukraine appears to be a festering threat to Russian national security. That might make Russia more likely to threaten nearby states like Poland than if it feels secure behind a friendly Ukraine. Russia sees the encroachment of NATO as a threat; Poland’s membership in NATO is a protection for it that is unlikely to be challenged by Russia.
Here are some of the comments by Cohen and Mearsheimer that I think are more valid than a lot of the commentators (and Republicans) who fret about Obama’s weakness and the need to punch Putin in the nose. I think Kissinger may also incline toward the Cohen and Mearsheimer view based on his interview with Charlie Rose.
Cohen in The Nation magazine:
Cohen on PBS NewsHour
Mearsheimer on PBS
Kissinger on Charlie Rose