Walter Russell Mead notes Les Gelb getting publicly uncomfortable with our current foreign policy:
‘Gelb points out that Obama’s inclination towards diplomatic negotiation without the threat of military follow-through could encourage potential aggressors to act without fear of retribution.’
Anne Marie Slaughter advocates for caution:
‘For some frustrated with the complexity of the post-Cold War world, redividing the globe along an East-West axis would be comforting. Yet doing so serves military and defense interests all too well, as George Kennan understood as he watched his original doctrine of containment become an entrenched enmity licensing military adventures in the name of anti-communism’
Yet, as Claudia Rosett points out, putting all of our energies into international institutions and law…is… well…:
‘The UN body that should really be objecting to Russia’s seizure of Ukraine is the UN Security Council. But with Russia holding one of the Permanent Five veto-wielding seats, the Security Council is even more impotent than usual. So Ukraine had to take its case to the General Assembly, where the resolutions can carry a certain heft as a reflection of general opinion, but have no binding force’
In advocating for peace, aiming U.S. energies towards peace talks and negotiations through international institutions actually leading to more peace? What about Libya, Egypt, and Syria?
David Goldman wrote the following back in 2008, a few years after Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, just as Georgia was flaring up, and when Putin stepped-in (to Georgia) to maximize his advantage:
‘The place to avert tragedy is in Ukraine. Russia will not permit Ukraine to drift to the West. Whether a country that never had an independent national existence prior to the collapse of communism should become the poster-child for national self-determination is a different question. The West has two choices: draw a line in the sand around Ukraine, or trade it to the Russians for something more important.
My proposal is simple: Russia’s help in containing nuclear proliferation and terrorism in the Middle East is of infinitely greater import to the West than the dubious self-determination of Ukraine. The West should do its best to pretend that the “Orange” revolution of 2004 and 2005 never happened, and secure Russia’s assistance in the Iranian nuclear issue as well as energy security in return for an understanding of Russia’s existential requirements in the near abroad. Anyone who thinks this sounds cynical should spend a week in Kiev.’
Related On This Site: Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others…From The National Interest: ‘Inside The Mind Of George F. Kennan’
Nearly three years ago now: Eric Posner At The Volokh Conspiracy: The Bear Is Back!
Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’…Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’…Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others…
6 thoughts on “Some Links On Foreign Policy & Ukraine”
Politics over principle. Why am I not surprised?
And everyone disagrees about the principles…
Self-determination is fine, I mean more along the lines of use of force, threat of force, potential threat of force, all force put into international institutions as to how we manage our self-determination, the determination of Ukraine, the Baltic states, and those living in Putin’s Russia.
Not to flog a dead horse but you think we all disagree about when force has been used to compel obedience?
It’s very much a live horse, and I appreciate the discussion.
I don’t think everyone agrees, that’s for sure, and I guess that means that I may not agree with the statement myself. Does that make me fall away from a vital principle? Perhaps.
I’m not sure if force has to be used in this case (in fact, I’m convinced we shouldn’t nor couldn’t be involved in Ukraine with direct military involvement), but I’m compelled by the idea that if we don’t back up our agreements without the possibility of force, then this can lead to worse outcomes.
Our negotiations with Iran may lead to better outcomes, but may well lead to us being taken advantage of by people with no intentions of not pursuing a nuclear arsenal, which could lead to much worse outcomes and much worse decisions of force.
There may come a time when the principle of using any force is not for us to decide.
Certain actors in the world only heed our interests because of our strength, economically and militarily, and what is clear to me is that many US and Western actors don’t have the exact map they need to be properly understanding Russia, history, and events.
I’ll continue to think about it, and like I said, it’s one of the most important discussions to have.