The Policy Debate About Ukraine

Source: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, May 9

Many in the US are already calling for arming Ukraine as a deterrent to Russia…. But Russia’s belligerency and appalling behaviour should not permit Western hardliners to gain control of the policy debate. Hardline approaches brought expanded conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, leading to plenty of deaths but not to meaningful political or economic solutions in the affected countries.

Both Russia and the West have played fast and loose with international law in recent years. The West violated national sovereignty in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Russia is now playing the same card with shocking brazenness in its own neighbourhood, often justifying its actions by pointing to Western precedents….

But Russia’s true long-term interests lie in multilateralism, integration into the world economy, and the international rule of law. Putin’s current path is strewn with grave hazards. He is undermining Russia’s economic prospects, while confronting the world with a growing threat of war.

Jeffrey Sachs, economist and U.N. special adviser



One response to “The Policy Debate About Ukraine

  1. Putin is no doubt a scoundrel, but even if he were the sort of leader Western governments approve of, his policies toward Ukraine would have to be much the same as they are now. The plight of the Russian-speakers of eastern Ukraine demands it. These people legitimately fear the current Kiev régime, because it violently overthrew the country’s lawfully elected president, because it passed a law (later vetoed) abolishing the language rights of Russian speakers, because the economy of the region is more closely tied to Russia than to western Ukraine and because several ministers in the Kiev cabinet are members of a rabidly anti-Russian (and anti-Jewish) political party. Any Russian leader, whether a scoundrel or a saint, would be forced by the situation to act as Putin has done.