American Strategy After Ukraine: From Estonia to Azerbaijan

From Estonia to Azerbaijan: American Strategy After Ukraine

Geopolitical Weekly 

As I discussed last week, the fundamental problem that Ukraine poses for Russia, beyond a long-term geographical threat, is a crisis in internal legitimacy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent his time in power rebuilding the authority of the Russian state within Russia and the authority of Russia within the former Soviet Union. The events in Ukraine undermine the second strategy and potentially the first. If Putin cannot maintain at least Ukrainian neutrality, then the world’s perception of him as a master strategist is shattered, and the legitimacy and authority he has built for the Russian state is, at best, shaken.

Whatever the origins of the events in Ukraine, the United States is now engaged in a confrontation with Russia. The Russians believe that the United States was the prime mover behind regime change in Ukraine. At the very least, the Russians intend to reverse events in Ukraine. At most, the Russians have reached the conclusion that the United States intends to undermine Russia’s power. They will resist. The United States has the option of declining confrontation, engaging in meaningless sanctions against individuals and allowing events to take their course. Alternatively, the United States can choose to engage and confront the Russians.

A failure to engage at this point would cause countries around Russia’s periphery, from Estonia to Azerbaijan, to conclude that with the United States withdrawn and Europe fragmented, they must reach an accommodation with Russia. This will expand Russian power and open the door to Russian influence spreading on the European Peninsula itself. The United States has fought three wars (World War I, World War II and the Cold War) to prevent hegemonic domination of the region. Failure to engage would be a reversal of a century-old strategy.
Read more: From Estonia to Azerbaijan: American Strategy After Ukraine | Stratfor
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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 28, 2014 at 11:41 am

    “If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you ….. You will be a man, My Son!” – Rudyard Kipling
    Ukraine: Don’t Blame President Putin – Look in the Mirror:

    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/conflicts/06-03-2014/127053-ukraine_mirror-0/

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 28, 2014 at 11:50 am

    When I heard President Obama say this: “…Russia is a weak Regional Power ..” I said to myself, ‘Oh my goodness! I bet Colin Powell will call him up and say to him, Brother, I feel your pain!’ President Obama is in the embarrassing position of leading by following in front at this conference, in my opinion.

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