Resolved: NATO should strengthen its relationship with Ukraine in order to deter further Russian aggression.
The geopolitical situation that created the impetus for this resolution began in February 2014 when President Victor Yanukovych of the Ukraine was forced out of office by protestors after months of protests. The opposition to control of the capital city of Kiev soon after Yanukovych fled.
On February 22, the Ukrainian granted amnesty to all political prisoners, brought back the constitution of 2004 (which reduces the powers of the president), and announcing an early presidential election in May. The interim President is Oleksandr Turchynov.
Although Yanukovych fled, he refused to resign and politicians from the south and east regions, including Crimea, declared continuing loyalty to Yanukovych. On February 28, unmarked armed forces, which were Russian forces supported by Ukrainian separatists, began a takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, which was part of the Ukraine. Russia rationalized the take-over by claiming it was there to protect ethnic Russians living in Crimea, as Crimea was one of the regions to continue supporting Yanukovych.
On March 16th, a controversial referendum was held where a reported 95% of the voters voted to secede from the Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Although the referendum was heavily criticized for occurring under the threat of Russian military intervention (a United Nations resolution supported by 100 member states (to 11 against, with 58 abstentions declared the Crimean referendum invalid), and under the presence of thousands of Russian troops and the authorization by the Russian Parliament to use force in the Ukraine, it did not change the outcome.
Leading countries, including the US, the UK, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Turkey accused Russia of breaking international law and violating Ukraine’s sovereignty in an aggressive takeover of Crimea.
The US, the European Union, and Canada threatened and eventually implemented sanctions against some Russian individuals and companies. Russia responded in kind. Despite these sanctions, instability continues to increase, with Kiev claiming it can no longer maintain control over the Eastern parts of the country. Russia’s military power in the country means that it operates unrestrained. Stephen Bucci explained on March 4th.
Early reports indicate that Moscow has reinforced its military installations in Crimea with thousands of personnel. These troops are backed by Crimean nationalists posing as local militia. Under a 2010 basing agreement, Russia can station up to 25,000 military personnel, 388 naval vessels, and 161 aircraft in Crimea. All of this means that Putin will attempt to do what he pleases in Crimea and claim that it is all legitimate. It is, however, a clear violation of Ukraine’s national sovereignty.
The NSDA Public Forum resolution is centered around the ultimate question of whether or not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should strengthen its ties with the Ukraine in order to deter further Russian aggression. This Russian aggression is most likely to occur (if it occurs) in other parts of the Ukraine, and potentially against other countries that were once part of the former Soviet Union and even potentially against other East European countries such as Poland that were once aligned with the former Soviet Union.
Although Russia has not made any statements threatening this other areas or nations, individuals who are concerned about Russian aggression point out that Russia has at least 40,000 troops amassed on the Ukrainian border, that it could justify further incursions on the grounds that it wants to protect the Russian population in these areas and countries, and that Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has always dreamed of restoring Russia’s territory to be consistent with what it lost when the former Soviet Union fell.
Key Questions for Debate
Given this background, I think the resolution creates the following points of debate –
(a) Is Russia a threat to other parts of the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and other parts of the world?
(b) Is military deterrence likely to prevent Russian aggression (if Russia is a threat)?
(c) Is strengthening more likely to deter Russia than provoke it?
(d) Is NATO the best mechanism to strengthen deterrence?
(e) Can deterrence be strengthened in ways that do not increase NATO-Ukraine ties?
(f) Does deterrence need to be increased beyond measures that are currently being taken to prevent Russian aggression?
I think that Pro teams need to be able to answer all of these questions in the affirmative in order to win the debate and that if Con teams can answer one of these questions in the negative that they will likely win the debates. Given this, I will focus the latter part of the essay on these questions.
Before I focus on each of these questions, however, I’d like to provide some additional background knowledge that I think is important to understanding and processing the arguments related to the resolution.
What is NATO?
NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on April 4,1949. The organization “constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.” Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, which requires member states to treat the attack on one state as an attack on all states.
There are 28 states across North America and Europe. The newest members are Albania and Croatia, which joined in April of 2009.
Until 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell, the primary purpose of the NATO alliance was to deter aggression by what was then the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations in Europe.
After the revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, the de facto main adversary for NATO was eliminated and considerable ink was spilled over a re-evaluation of NATO’s “purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe.” Suggestions for new NATO roles including peacekeeping outside of Europe, humanitarian missions, and policing within Europe.
One thing that quickly emerged was the desire to include former Warsaw Pact countries that were allied with the former Soviet Union into NATO. This began with the German reunification in 1990 that resulted in East Germany becoming not only part of Germany but also of NATO.
There is some evidence that Russia was originally given assurances that NATO would not expand further east. As Wikipedia explains:
Jack Matlock, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland. In May 2008, Gorbachev repeated his view that “the Americans promised that NATO wouldn’t move beyond the boundaries of Germany after the Cold War.
In the late 1990s, however, membership expanded to include many former East European nations, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Then in the early 2000s Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania become members.
In 2008, former US President Bush pushed for the Ukraine to become a member, but he wasn’t successful in his efforts.
Unsurprisingly, Russia opposes this continued expansion.
Who is Vladimir Putin?
Vladimir Putin is the current President of Russia and has been so since May of 2012. He was previously the President from 2000 to 2008 and was the Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012.
Prior to his rise in politics, he served as an officer in the KGB, the Russian intelligence services.
To many observers, the rise of Putin is Russia is responsible for the decline in freedom in Russia. Others claim that Putin aims to reconstitute the former Soviet Union and to push back against NATO expansion. This push back against NATO expansion may have been partly responsible for the annexation of Crimea. He has a reputation for taking a hardline in foreign policy negotiations and for not reciprocating Obama’s attempt to “reset” US Russian relations.
What does it mean to strengthen relations for the purpose of deterring Russia?
The resolution is ambiguous as to what is included in an effort to “strengthen its relationship with the Ukraine,” especially “in order to deter Russian aggression.” It is also, of course, ambiguous as to where the aggression is to be deterred.
If the goal is to deter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, for example, existing efforts to strengthen military resolve in Eastern Europe may be sufficient. If the focus is deterring future military activity in the Ukraine, however, this may necessitate defending the threat to send NATO troops into the Ukraine.
BBC Monitoring Europe – Political, Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, April 18, 2014 Friday, NATO unable “to intimidate” Russia with regard to Ukraine – Italian commentator
While one cannot expect much from the EU in terms of security policies, NATO seems to be living in an ineffective parallel dimension. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced that “we will have more aircraft in the skies, more ships on the seas, and greater forces on the ground” in the member states of Eastern Europe. Some 50 radar aircraft – which are both surveillance and combat aircraft – most of which are American, have been redeployed to Poland, the Baltic republics, Romania, and Bulgaria, while some 10 ships have been deployed in the Black Sea and the Baltic. These are defensive measures aimed at reassuring the eastern allies who are understandably worried by Moscow’s military manoeuvres – which, however do not threaten NATO. The alliance’s deployment has no impact whatsoever on the low-intensity operations that are underway in Ukraine, though Rasmussen has described them as “military moves that we believe are necessary as a deterrent.” The only deterrent against any Russian military intervention in support of the secessionists would be the threat to send allied troops in to Ukraine to guarantee its territorial integrity, but this is an escalation that nobody seems prepared to support.
What measures are currently being taken to strengthen deterrence?
NATO is currently expanding cooperation with the Ukraine now to help develop military capacity, improve the armed forces of the Ukraine, and to improve the ability of NATO forces and Ukraine forces to work together.
Ukraine General Newswire, April 8, 2014 NATO-Ukraine cooperation will change – Rasmussen, https://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/rasmussen-nato-ukraine-cooperation-will-change-342570.html
NATO is to continue its cooperation with Ukraine within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, but not in the usual way, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. “I would expect our cooperation with Ukraine to continue within the existing framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. But it will not be business as usual,” he said. Speaking in Paris, the secretary general reminded that NATO foreign ministers during the meeting on 1 April decided to enhance their cooperation with Ukraine. “We have together with the Ukrainians identified areas where we could strengthen our cooperation when it comes to defense reforms, help to develop military capacity, improvement of the ability of Ukrainian armed forces to work and operate together with the armed forces of NATO countries,” he said. Rasmussen reported that they adopted a list of initiatives and started together with the Ukrainians to implement that program.
NATO is also increasing ship movements in the Black Sea to deter Russia.
Phil’s Stock World, April 17, 2014, More ‘De-escalation’ – NATO Sends Five Warships To Baltic Sea
NATO members are sending navy ships to the Baltic Sea to increase the security of the alliance’s eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis. NATO’s Maritime Command said Thursday it is sending four minesweepers and a support vessel to the Baltic Sea. The ships are from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia. The alliance said Thursday it does not intend to escalate the situation in Ukraine, but rather to ‘demonstrate solidarity’ and ramp up NATO’s readiness.NATO has made clear it does not want to get involved militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.
What additional measures could be taken?
Although Public Forum debaters do not usually advocate cases, there are a number of specific proposals for how NATO could expand its relationship with the Ukraine in order to deter Russian aggression.
All teams need to be prepared to do the following:
(a) Fully understand each of the proposals so that they are prepared to debate them in the context of any given debate;
(b) argue for certain proposals (either as examples or specific cases when they are Pro);
(c) argue against certain proposals (either as examples or against specific cases when they are Con).
The most significant step NATO could take to improve its relationship with the Ukraine would be to offer the Ukraine membership in NATO. There are some advocates for this approach.
John R. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-06, The Weekly Standard, May 5, 2014, NATO Is Still the Answer; Obama’s floundering Ukraine policy.
Moscow has long understood Western cowardice. Just four months after Bucharest, in a laboratory-like causal connection rare in global politics, Russia dramatically escalated its simmering conflict with Georgia, bombing its tiny neighbor and surging troops to within 30 miles of the capital, Tbilisi. Faced with a U.S. response that looks robust compared with our reaction today in Ukraine, Russia withdrew to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two provinces it most wanted to hive off, and hunkered down into the stalemate that Georgia still endures. Then-candidate Barack Obama initially called for both Russia and Georgia to exercise restraint, a form of blindness and moral equivalence the Kremlin noted. (After intense criticism, Obama tried to walk back his first reaction.) With its term waning, and facing a daunting economic crisis, the Bush administration did little more for Georgia or Ukraine. Obama, by contrast, entered office in 2009 on a wave of domestic and international popularity, shortly thereafter winning the Nobel Peace Prize for no apparent reason. He might well have contemplated the long-term significance of Georgia and Ukraine, but he did not. Instead, intent on blaming Bush for problems in the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship, Obama unveiled the reset button, exemplifying his new policy direction. Out went the national missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and in came the lamentable New START arms control treaty (precisely the kind of Cold War thinking Obama would later deride). Other errors followed, including relying on Russian diplomacy to help oust Syria’s Assad regime and eliminate Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, neither of which Moscow had any intention of doing. After Obama induced Russia to support a Security Council resolution that led to the overthrow of Libya’s Qaddafi, Moscow concluded it would do Obama no more favors despite all his prior concessions. Obama left Ukraine and Georgia to fend for themselves, ignoring the politico-military reality that Russia instinctively understood. He thereby left open the vulnerability that Bush had tried to close in April 2008. Many who now oppose robust U.S. efforts to protect Ukraine from Russian depredation and partition assert that we have no serious interests there, and accordingly also reject any hint we might once again consider NATO membership. Yet, in the long term, joining the alliance is the only strategy that can realistically secure Georgian and Ukrainian sovereignty and keep alive the option of joining the West more broadly. Modest NATO force redeployments to nearby countries, signing near-meaningless political declarations, and multiyear commitments to strengthen economic ties with the West will do little to shift today’s economic, political, or military advantage away from Russia and toward Ukraine and Georgia. Some argue that NATO should never have admitted any ex-Warsaw Pact members, and most certainly should not have added former Soviet republics, because geography and history relegated these countries to Russia’s sphere of influence. That argument has the virtue of consistency, but nothing more. In fact, it proves too much. One could as easily argue that Poland is in Germany’s sphere of influence rather than Russia’s. That kind of dispute, in short form, is why Europe saw two world wars in the 20th century. It is precisely to prevent such wars, and thus further effusions of American blood, that we bring otherwise vulnerable countries into NATO, thereby simultaneously protecting U.S. interests and stabilizing Europe. NATO rightly rejected the untenable view, amounting to appeasement, that Central and Eastern Europe fall naturally and inevitably into Russia’s sphere of influence, and that bringing them into NATO unnecessarily and unfairly provokes Moscow. NATO is and always has been simply a defensive alliance shielding those of like mind and interest. Russia has no claims strong enough or legitimate enough to justify its dominating unwilling neighbors. As for the three Baltic republics, admitted to NATO in 2004, the United States never recognized the legitimacy of the USSR’s snuffing out their national independence to begin with. But having expanded into former Soviet territory, NATO paused, failing to pursue its own logic decisively. Leaving Ukraine and Georgia in a no-man’s land between NATO and Russia was an invitation to meddling by Moscow, and ultimately to chaos and conflict. That is what we have now, and what Bush tried to forestall in 2008. Obama did not pursue Bush’s proposal, in part because of his general lack of interest in U.S. national security issues; in part because he was pressing the reset button; and in part because he does not accept the basic premise that unity against aggression is the best way to ensure international peace and security. In fact, in his September 2009 U.N. General Assembly speech, Obama said, It is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009, more than at any point in human history, the interests of nations and peoples are shared. No world order that elevates one nation or group or people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. He clearly believed instead that the reset button would produce a more congenial Russia, and that there was no need for Cold War foreign policies. What is happening today in Ukraine proves how wrong he was. NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia undoubtedly carries risks, but no alternative policy can provide anything like the necessary security to stop further Russian interference. The Europeans missed an excellent chance to reduce the risks in 2008, and now, of course, they are even more dependent on Russian hydrocarbons than they were then. Ironically, perhaps Russia’s increased economic power will finally put paid to the argument that greater commercial ties inevitably reduce the chances for war. In fact, expanded trade between Russia and the EU has enhanced Russia’s leverage, not Europe’s. This anomaly need not have materialized, and extraordinary opportunities certainly now exist to reverse or at least neutralize Russia’s oil and gas assets by once again making America a net energy exporter. Even announcing such a policy would be an economic disincentive to Russia, but Obama has done effectively the opposite throughout his presidency. Had the Europeans backed Bush in 2008, we might well have deterred Russian military and political aggression in both Georgia and Ukraine. In truth, Europe’s timidity is a real obstacle to a more assertive response to Russian aggression. But Obama’s own weakness has created a vicious circle. European fears provide Obama with an excuse not to act, and the failure of U.S. leadership leaves Europe even more reluctant to respond effectively. It may be that Europe is not up to the task, but we will never find out if America does not first at least try to exercise leadership, which Obama has consistently failed to do. The stakes are high for Ukraine and Georgia, but they are equally high for all the other former Soviet republics, which understand that if Russia continues to get its way, they will not be far behind. Further afield, no one is watching more carefully than China. Western failure in Ukraine will be palpable evidence to Beijing that ramping up its near-belligerent territorial claims in the East and South China Seas is likely to be met with little more than rhetorical American opposition. While other Asian countries affected by China’s demands may not fold as easily as Europe, without Washington in the equation, there is little doubt what the end result will be. U.S. political operatives tell us endlessly that our fellow citizens do not care about national security issues. Ukraine, however, has been one of many wake-up calls under Obama signaling Americans that protecting our country is critically important in its own right, whatever the politics. And skilled politicians, whether Hillary Clinton for the Democrats or Candidate X for the Republicans, will soon realize that what is good for the country is also good for their electoral prospects.
There are heaving criticisms of welcoming the Ukraine into the NATO alliance, both formally or as part of a substantially strengthened relationship between NATO and the Ukraine. Doug Bandow, wrote on April 8, 2014, that these approaches risk drawing the US into war with Russia.
Russia’s brazen annexation of Crimea has generated a flood of proposals to reinvigorate NATO. Doing so would make America less secure. For most of its history, the United States avoided what George Washington termed ‘entangling alliances.’ In World War II and the Cold War, the United States aided friendly states to prevent hostile powers from dominating Eurasia. The collapse of communism eliminated the prospect of any nation controlling Europe and Asia. But NATO developed new roles to stay in business, expanding into a region highly sensitive to Russia. The invasion of Crimea has triggered a cascade of demands for NATO, mostly meaning America, to act. President Barack Obama responded: ‘Today NATO planes patrol the skies over the Baltics, and we’ve reinforced our presence in Poland, and we’re prepared to do more.’ The Eastern Europeans desired much more. An unnamed former Latvian minister told the Economist: ‘We would like to see a few American squadrons here, boots on the round, maybe even an aircraft carrier.’ A gaggle of American policy advocates agreed. Moreover, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said alliance members would ‘intensify our military cooperation with Ukraine,‘ including assisting in modernizing its military. A number of analysts would make Ukraine an ally in everything but name. For instance, wrote Kurt Volker of the McCain Institute, NATO should ‘[d]etermine that any further assaults on Ukraine’s territorial integrity beyond Crimea represent a direct threat to NATO security and … will be met with a NATO response.’ Charles Krauthammer suggested creating ‘a thin tripwire of NATO trainer/advisers’ to ‘establish a ring of protection at least around the core of western Ukraine.’ AEI’s Thomas Donnelly proposed ‘putting one brigade astride each of the two main roads’ connecting Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland, ‘backed by U.S. aircraft.’ Robert Spalding of the Council on Foreign Relations advocated deploying F-22 fighters along ‘with an American promise to defend Ukrainian skies from attack.’ Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged increasing ‘cooperation with, and support for, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other non-NATO partners.’ John Bolton suggested putting ‘both Georgia and Ukraine on a clear path to NATO membership.’ Of course, more must be spent on the military. Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council complained that ‘The past half-decade has seen the U.S. defense budget fall victim to the budgetary axe.’ Yet America’s military spending is up 37 percent over the last two decades, while collective expenditures by NATO’s other 27 members are down by 3.4 percent. Overall, the Europeans spend 1.6 percent of GDP on the military, compared to America’s 4.4 percent. Today most NATO members, including the Eastern Europeans-with the exception of Poland-continue to cut outlays. Of course, U.S. officials insist that Europe should do more. But the Europeans have no reason to change so long as Washington guarantees their security. Despite Europe’s anemic military efforts, it still far outranges Russia. And with a collective GDP more than eight times that of Russia, the Europeans could do far more if they desired. The basic problem, noted Stephen Walt, is that ‘president after president simply assumed the pledges they were making would never have to be honored.’ Obviously, an American threat to go to war may deter. But history is replete with alliances that failed to prevent conflict and became transmission belts of war instead. In fact, in 2008 Georgia appeared to believe that Washington would back it against Russia. Offering military support to Ukraine could have a similar effect. Washington should bar further NATO expansion. Over the longer term the United States should turn responsibility for Europe’s defense back to Europe. As I point out in my latest Forbes column: ‘Americans should sympathize with the Ukrainian people, who have been ill-served by their own government as well as victimized by Moscow.But that does not warrant extending military support or security guarantees to Kiev. Doing so would defeat the original purpose of the alliance: enhancing U.S. security.’Today Washington could best protect itself outside of the transatlantic alliance.
As briefly referenced in this article, there are a number of other proposals for strengthening NATO-Ukraine relations short of bringing in the Ukraine directly into NATO, including troops on the ground, advisors on the ground, and a pledge to protect Ukraine’s security.
– Advisors on the ground
Charles Krauthammer, March 13, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-how-to-stop-putin/2014/03/13/9252a64a-aadb-11e3-af5f-4c56b834c4bf_story.html
Declare that any further Russian military incursion beyond Crimea will lead to a rapid and favorable response from NATO to any request from Kiev for weapons. These would be accompanied by significant numbers of NATO trainers and advisers. This is no land-war strategy. This is the “tripwire” strategy successful for half a century in Germany and Korea. Any Russian push into western Ukraine would then engage a thin tripwire of NATO trainer/advisers. That is something the most rabid Soviet expansionist never risked. Nor would Putin. It would, therefore, establish a ring of protection at least around the core of western Ukraine
— Troops on the ground
James Jeffrey is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He was U.S. ambassador to Iraq in the Obama administration and deputy chief of mission to Kuwait from 1996 to 1999, April 15, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-should-send-ground-troops-to-ukraine/2014/04/15/aa40b238-c408-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html
The best way to send Putin a tough message and possibly deflect a Russian campaign against more vulnerable NATO states is to back up our commitment to the sanctity of NATO territory with ground troops, the only military deployment that can make such commitments unequivocal. To its credit, the administration has dispatched fighter aircraft to Poland and the Baltic states to reinforce NATO fighter patrols and exercises. But these deployments, as with ships temporarily in the Black Sea, have inherent weaknesses as political signals. They cannot hold terrain — the ultimate arbiter of any military calculus — and can be easily withdrawn if trouble brews. Troops, even limited in number, send a much more powerful message. More difficult to rapidly withdraw once deployed, they can make the point that the United States is serious about defending NATO’s eastern borders.
While examples of effective ground force “tripwires” date to the U.S. brigade in Berlin during the Cold War, the most relevant recent example is Kuwait after 1993. To deter Saddam Hussein from any new attack, the United States maintained a “heavy brigade package” of armor and other materiel to equip a force of 5,000 troops to be quickly flown in if needed. The United States and Britain also maintained fighter aircraft in Kuwait. All this, however, was not sufficient to fully deter Hussein. U.S. ground forces were deployed in 1994, 1996 and 1997-98. Even with equipment already deployed, it took time to fly the troops in, and the decisions required precious time for Washington and the Kuwaiti government to deliberate.
To deal with these issues, the Clinton administration finally stationed a small ground force in Kuwait, rotated from stateside units on six-month deployments. In a crisis, the thinking went, it would buy time for a full brigade to deploy and encourage rapid Kuwaiti deployment, possibly deterring a ground attack. In Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, the United States went with the force on the ground, rapidly reinforced by a Marine expeditionary unit, rather than wait for a brigade to deploy and thus signal its intentions to Hussein.
If the Russians do not stop their destabilization of eastern Ukraine as they have agreed, and in particular do not stand down their conventional forces on the Ukrainian border, then the administration, after consulting with NATO, should inform Moscow that it will station limited forces in Poland, the Baltic states and Romania. Initial contingents could be as small as companies (150 soldiers) on “training” maneuvers, but equipment for larger forces and a permanent rotation of troops could be quickly organized. Although Russian ground forces near Ukraine number an estimated 40,000 or more, a small U.S. force could rally affected nations to commit their own larger forces and encourage other NATO states to deploy troops. Taken together, that would provide more than a tripwire, generating time for larger reinforcements and complicating any threat against NATO states or even Crimea-style intervention in Ukraine.
Would such a deployment be provocative? Only if being serious about deterring Putin is provocative. Would it violate “understandings” with Moscow eschewing such U.S. stationing? Probably, but Putin has already violated a library’s worth of understandings, agreements and treaties pertaining to territorial integrity. His actions undercut the basis for NATO defense thinking since 1991, but no U.S. or European response has delivered the West’s promised “serious consequences” and “different relationship” with Russia. Deploying troops would do so.
We do not need to be apologetic about the risk of even “tripwire” presences. Putin has no illusions about the United States’ combat-hardened conventional superiority. But, by all appearances, he has great doubt about U.S. willingness to use force, and that creates a dangerous situation. After seeing American boots on the ground, Hussein decided not to threaten Kuwait anew. But recall that half a world away and six decades ago, the United States took a different approach, withdrawing its forces from South Korea. North Korea and its Russian supporters saw that as a green light to invade, only to learn, three years and millions of casualties later, that the United States was serious about defending a friend.
– F-22 Deployment
Robert Spalding, March 31, 2014, America’s Secret Weapon to Stop Russia http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/americas-secret-weapon-stop-russia-10154 (Robert Spalding III is a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Spalding was most recently vice commander of the 509th Bomb Wing based at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, where he was responsible for preparing and maintaining United States’ only B-2 wing. He also commanded the 509th Operations Group, where he launched B-2s to protect civilians during Operation Odyssey Dawn)
Crimea is most likely permanently lost until there is a change in government in Russia. To buy time for Ukraine and to allow time for diplomatic measures to be effective, a military solution is called for. A purely defensive deployment of F-22 fighters (along with supporting aircraft) is just one possible solution. To be diplomatically effective these forces would have to come with an American promise to defend Ukrainian skies from attack. Without firing a shot, such a deployment would immediately change Putin’s invasion calculus. Faced with F-22s, Russian aircraft would not survive, and thus could not support a Russian ground invasion. Ukrainians would feel more confident about their ability to defend their country, since any Russian invasion would be subject to attack by Ukrainian aircraft protected by F-22s.
These approaches are also criticized as likely to fail, as highly escalatory and risk drawing the US into war with Russia.
Steve Chapman, The Examiner, April 3, 2014, Boots on the Ground in Ukraine?
The United States government has a dangerous penchant for military intervention, so after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, it was a relief that no one talked about sending troops or deploying bombers. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., scotched any such notion by acknowledging glumly that “there is not a military option.” Silly him. For the most bellicose hawks, there is always a military option. After a brief lull, some of the people who beat the drums for war in Iraq — and have done likewise for Iran — now propose that we put American lives at risk on behalf of Ukraine. This comes as a bit of a surprise because we have never made a commitment to fight for Ukraine. We have made such commitments to the 27 other countries that belong to NATO. The alliance charter obligates every member to treat an attack on one as an attack on all. But Ukraine has not been included in the club, and judging from polls, Ukrainians actually didn’t want to be included. To some commentators, it doesn’t matter: We should use our military might to protect Ukraine anyway. Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and a veteran of Jimmy Carter’s administration, urges President Obama to send F-22 fighters to Poland and make it clear he will use them if Putin advances farther into Ukraine. Thomas Donnelly, a defense analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, views the failure of American politicians to endorse “boots on the ground” in Ukraine as “a crippling weakness.” Writing in The Weekly Standard, he says, “Preserving the peace on the Eurasian landmass demands land forces.” Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer, who exhibited calm indifference to the Russian invasion of Georgia under President George W. Bush, now wants NATO to dispatch military trainers and advisers. He favors a “tripwire” strategy that would “establish a ring of protection at least around the core of western Ukraine.” This notion brings to mind the response when a French defense official was asked the smallest British force that would be of use to France in case of war with Germany. The answer: “One single private soldier — and we would take good care that he was killed.” What these proposals have in common is that they would interpose our soldiers as hostages, virtually forcing the U.S. to go to war should Putin advance. The assumption of the advocates is that by shackling ourselves to Ukraine, we will stop him in his tracks. The risks of fighting NATO, they argue, deterred the Soviet Union and would undoubtedly deter Putin. But how can they be so sure? These critics accuse Obama of inviting aggression by failing to make good on his threats regarding Syria. Yet they somehow assume Putin would take this sort of gesture by the president as an unbreakable commitment. What they omit is what happens if they are wrong. In that case, Americans would find ourselves fighting a war against Russia over a place that matters a great deal to Russia’s security and none at all to ours. That, or Obama would have to slink away and admit he was bluffing, inviting doubts about every other U.S. defense commitment. Contrary to myth, our 1994 deal getting Ukraine to surrender its nuclear weapons doesn’t obligate us to use force to protect it. In case of trouble, the agreement promises nothing but consultations. The idea that a few advisers or planes would check the Russians is based on hope, not history. During the Cold War, the U.S. deterred Moscow by drawing bright red lines and backing them up with massive forces and willing allies. It also relied on our nuclear weapons in Europe. The ultimate guarantee against invasion was the possibility that we would turn Russia into a charred wasteland of radioactive debris. That threat is far less credible than it was then. Committing ourselves to the defense of Ukraine is risky enough by itself. But it also means putting our fate in the hands of Ukrainian politicians who have longstanding grudges against Russia and may be emboldened by our presence. Once we put forces in Ukraine, we have no assurance our allies will act in our interest. Sending NATO forces to Ukraine is like walking into a biker bar with an acquaintance who has a real grudge against bikers. Maybe things will go fine, and maybe not. If not, we’ll wonder why we didn’t stay out when we had the chance.
Short of expanding NATO and putting troops on the ground, military advisors on the ground, and offering security guarantees, NATO could provide military assistance, including light weapons, that have been requested by Ukrainian authorities.
The Examiner (Washington, DC), April 16, 2014, Obama must defend NATO’s real red lines from Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine
Last week masked men, in camouflage garb with no insignia, dressed and equipped like Russian special forces, started taking over police stations and other government buildings in the Donets Basin in eastern Ukraine. They appeared to be working in tandem with local militias in defying the Ukrainian government.
This week the Ukraine government has responded by sending in military forces to counter these actions. There has been shooting and violence. But Ukraine’s military doesn’t seem capable of asserting control.
So Vladimir Putin’s Russia, with some 40,000 troops massed just outside Ukraine, seems to have taken effective control of a significant chunk of that country — or at least denying effective control to the Ukraine government. Whether Putin will follow up with an explicit occupation and annexation, as he did with Crimea, is unclear. Polling and previous referendum results suggest much less support for absorption into Russia in eastern Ukraine than in Crimea. What is clear is that Putin’s actions violate the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, signed by Russia, the U.S. and Britain, which guaranteed Ukraine’s boundaries in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. And what is just as clear is that the United States is unable or unwilling to do anything effective to enforce its commitment. Barack Obama’s response has been tepid. Ukraine authorities requested light arms, antitank weapons and intelligence assistance. Obama agreed to provide Meals Ready to Eat. And to have them delivered by commercial trucks rather than military transport planes, so Putin wouldn’t consider it provocative. But Putin surely finds provocative Obama’s verbal condemnations of Russia’s actions and the sanctions on a handful of Russian insiders imposed by the U.S. and Europe. Obama seems to have chosen a middle option. He declined the recommendation of NATO military commander Gen. Philip Breedlove for strategic intelligence sharing with Ukraine. And he has declined some foreign policy experts’ advice that we should acquiesce without complaint in Russia’s domination of Ukraine. Strong arguments can be made that either option would be preferable to the middle course Obama has chosen. It has left the United States, contrary to Theodore Roosevelt’s advice, speaking very loudly and wielding a very small stick. Obama came to office, as did his two predecessors, hoping to establish a cooperative post-Cold War relationship with Russia. Characteristically, and unlike Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he blamed current problems on his predecessor and called for a “reset.” But the KGB veteran Putin, who called the demise of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century, sees things differently. He pocketed Obama’s concessions on missile defense and nuclear arms, and seeks to expand Russia’s domain back toward czarist and Soviet dimensions. Clinton and Bush encouraged the expansion of NATO and the European Union eastward to include former Soviet satellites and the Baltic nations absorbed by the Soviets pursuant to the Hitler- Stalin pact. But the hopes that the appeal of European-style democracy would spread farther east have not been fulfilled. Ukraine has remained an economic basket case, with a kleptocracy like Russia’s but without its oil resources. Politically, it has been closely and bitterly divided between a pro-Russian east and south and a pro-Western west and north. The lure of the European example has been diminished by Europe’s sluggish economies and the fiasco of the Euro. And if Obama has been unwilling to give military aid, European leaders dependent on Russian natural gas and investments have been wary of imposing economic sanctions. The real danger may lie not in Ukraine but farther west. Obama’s dismissal of his red line in Syria and his tepid actions on Ukraine may lead Putin to believe he will not back up other commitments.
Putin says he is protecting Russian minorities in Ukraine; what if he does so in the Baltic republics?
The British historian Christopher Clark, author of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, warns of “the danger, in trying to avoid conflagration in Ukraine, that Western leaders fail to provide clear signals to Putin.” The West, he says, must show “firmness and clarity in defending the real red lines established by NATO.” That means more U.S. and NATO military forces in the Baltics and Poland. And beefing up U.S. and NATO militaries. Putin’s goal may be to dismantle NATO as he believes NATO dismantled the Soviet Union — the greatest geopolitical tragedy of 21st century. Obama must not allow that to happen.
In an interview, Charles Krauthammer spoke of the importance of light weapons in deterring war.
Daily Caller, March 21, 2014, http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/21/krauthammer-send-weapons-to-ukraine-or-risk-future-war-with-russia/
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer advocated strongly for the U.S. government to provide weapons to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, arguing they are necessary to deter Vladimir Putin and that a full-scale war may otherwise erupt in the future. Krauthammer spoke on a Fox News panel Friday with Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers and conservative columnist George Will, discussing the tensions between Ukrainian and Russian forces on the nations’ shared borders. With Crimea officially absorbed today into the Russian Federation, observers are nervous that portions of eastern Ukraine may soon be invaded by Russian forces. Will noted that Putin doesn’t seem particularly cowed by American sanctions against his inner circle and financial sector. “It seems to me if you listen to Putin’s language and watch his body language, it’s obvious that he’s having the time of his life,” he said. “And he thinks he’s winning.” Krauthammer explained that the point of America’s involvement in the region is “to add something on the scale that would deter [Putin] in calculating the cost and the benefits. And he’s obviously not sure which way to go. You can do it by sending the Secretary of Defense tomorrow to Kiev to give them large numbers of weapons.” Will agreed, claiming you “trigger military action by relying on economic incentives. Nothing in modern history, it seems to me, demonstrates that dictators — Mussolini, Hitler, the rest — that dictators are economic creatures calculating costs and benefits in terms of how their stock market is or how their portfolios are. These are atavistic, difficult people that are not simply calculating machines.” “That’s precisely why you supply the Ukrainians with weapons,” Krauthammer responded. “That when Putin thinks of taking these parts of Ukraine, which are only partially Russian, would be very much higher than it was in Crimea.” “With the possibility that the whole thing goes up, and it becomes a big fight,” host Bret Baier replied. “You want to deter an invasion,” Krauthammer explained. “If this happens, all bets are off and we really are in a difficult situation, which could end up in a war in the Baltics or a war with the Poles. You want to deter that.”
And Leslie Gelb of the Council of Foreign relations also advocates providing light weapons
Leslie Gelb, Council on Foreign Relations, May 2, 2014, “The Unhappy Truth About Ukraine,” May 2, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/02/the-unhappy-truth-about-ukraine.html
Talks need to be held on the military front as well. The U.S. and Europe are not committed to the defense of Ukraine, but they do have obligations to help Ukrainians defend themselves, where that defense is viable. The Ukrainians never would have given up their nuclear weapons 20 years ago in response to the Budapest Memorandum negotiated by Moscow and Washington if they believed for an instant that the West would abandon them. This military aid should go through American special-operations forces and be in the nature of road bombs (IEDs), mortars, grenades, other explosives and effective small arms. U.S. training should be provided, if not in Ukraine itself, then in nearby countries. Ukraine can’t fight Russia army-to-army, but it can make Moscow think more than once if it faces the prospect of guerrilla war. If evidence is found that Ukrainians were using this assistance to fight in the eastern regions, then the aid should be stopped. Ukrainians have to understand (and presumably they do) that their military activity in the east would likely provoke a Russian invasion. This is the last thing Ukrainians or Americans want.
Another heavily debated idea is for the US to provide non-lethal military assistance, such as body armor and night vision goggles, to the Ukraine.
The New York Times, April 16, 2014, General and Former Defense Official Urge Nonlethal Military Aid for Ukraine, p. 10, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/world/general-and-former-defense-official-urge-nonlethal-military-aid-for-ukraine.html
Ukraine’s military has an urgent need for nonlethal military assistance like body armor, night-vision goggles, communications gear and aviation fuel to defend against a potential Russian attack, according to a new analysis by a former NATO commander and a former Pentagon official. But wary of provoking Russia, the Obama administration has been reluctant to provide it, they say. ”Implementation of U.S. nonlethal military aid is seriously flawed and needs immediate correction,” Gen. Wesley K. Clark and Phillip A. Karber wrote in a copy of the report that The New York Times obtained on Tuesday. General Clark, who is retired, is the former NATO commander who led the alliance’s forces during the 1998 Kosovo conflict, and Mr. Karber is a former strategy adviser to Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger. The new interim government in Ukraine submitted a request to NATO nations last month for military assistance, including vehicles, mine-clearing equipment, communications gear, medical supplies, fuel and the sharing of intelligence. The United States has sent 300,000 M.R.E. — meals ready to eat — rations to Ukraine’s forces, but the Obama administration has made it clear that it is not planning to send weapons or other forms of so-called lethal aid for fear of provoking Russia. NATO has also moved cautiously. Ukraine’s foreign minister recently said a NATO team would assess his nation’s military needs, but some Western officials say the alliance is unlikely to provide much assistance until a new president is elected on May 25 and the East-West crisis over Ukraine eases. But General Clark and Mr. Karber say that Ukraine’s forces have a pressing need for more nonlethal aid, and that providing it could help deter Russia, which has positioned about 40,000 troops near Ukraine’s border, from intervening militarily in eastern Ukraine. ”The most important assistance currently needed to make the existing Ukrainian force as defensible as possible in the current crisis (between now and the elections of 25 May) is nonlethal equipment from the U.S.,” they wrote after a recent visit to Ukraine. The visit of General Clark, who ran for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, and Mr. Karber took place in late March and early April. They traveled at the invitation of Ukrainian officials, and the trip was paid for by the Potomac Foundation, an American nonprofit research center. General Clark and Mr. Karber met with Ukrainian generals and defense officials, and Mr. Karber visited Ukrainian armored, mechanized and light infantry brigades on their northern, eastern and southern fronts. According to their assessment, which has been provided to Obama administration officials and lawmakers, Ukraine’s forces are facing a formidable military challenge. ”The 1,000-mile-long front is three times the frontier that Ukraine’s modest armed forces are designed to handle,” they wrote. ”Moreover, decade-long corruption has left their Air Force ill equipped, vulnerable and unready for modern air combat. ”Russian occupation of Crimea has virtually destroyed Ukraine’s coastal defense from the south,” they wrote, adding that threats from other directions ”divert Ukrainian political attention and disperse badly needed forces to the southwest and northwest.” Ukraine, they say, needs more aircraft, and more antiaircraft and antitank missiles. But it also has a dire need for nonlethal assistance. Without body armor, Ukrainian troops are vulnerable to snipers. Only one in 100 soldiers, they write, is equipped with body armor. Without night-vision gear, Ukrainian forces cannot detect Russian infiltrators. Ukrainian troops also need satellite radios to coordinate forces along a broad front ”with no reserve and no air support to fill in the gaps,” they say. Another reason the radios are needed, they say, is that the Russian military would most likely cut and jam communications during an invasion as it did in Crimea. Ukraine has such a shortage of aviation fuel that commanders are holding much of it in reserve in case Russia invades. But that means that Ukrainian helicopters do not have enough fuel for training or to effectively patrol the border. General Clark and Mr. Karber urged the Obama administration to take a less restrictive approach on what nonlethal aid should be provided and appoint a top-level official to cut through red tape and ensure that aid is quickly delivered.
The Obama administration has been relying heavily on the threat of stepped-up economic sanctions to dissuade the Russians from invading eastern Ukraine and has rebuffed proposals from Senator John McCain that the United States provide light weapons to the Ukrainian military as too risky. ”We do not see a military solution to this crisis,” Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said Tuesday. But according to Secretary of State John Kerry, the administration’s efforts have not dissuaded Russia from sending intelligence agents and even small numbers of special forces into Ukraine. Mr. Carney declined Tuesday to say whether the administration would consider an increase in nonlethal aid and, if so, when it might be provided. ”I just don’t have any new information to provide today about forms of assistance that we’re considering, except to say that we’re not discussing lethal assistance,” he added. Some experts said that while it was important to avoid a provocation, more should be done to help Ukraine’s forces. ”I understand the concern that we not start an escalatory process that we cannot control, but I do think that the U.S. and the West can and should do more than we are apparently doing so far to support Ukraine’s legitimate defense capabilities,” said Robert Nurick, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
There is obviously a large continuum of measures that could be taken by NATO to strengthen its relationship with the Ukraine, including everything from NATO membership that would obligate all NATO countries to respond to an attack on Ukraine’s territory as if it were an attack on its own to troops on the ground to providing military assistance to providing non-lethal military aid. The stronger the measure(s) the Pro team advocates to strengthen relations with Ukraine the stronger the Con arguments will become (for example, NATO membership for the Ukraine is more likely to provoke escalation than providing non-lethal military aid). On the flip side, the weaker the measure the Pro advocates, the less likely it is to be effective. There is, of course, also an open “debate theory” question as to whether or not Pro teams can advocate specific cases or whether or not they have to defend all potential ways that relations can be increased. Pro teams will likely want to argue that they only have to defend one of the proposed ways to increase relations and Con teams will likely want to argue that the Pro has to defend all ways because some, like NATO membership for the Ukraine, are rather difficult to defend. Of course, all of these arguments are premised on a general claim/assumption that military deterrence can prevent Russia/Putin from additional aggression in the Ukraine. Although there are criticisms of this general claim/assumption, it is defensible.
Aron 3/14/14, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/putin-on-the-couch-104647_Page5.html#ixzz2x0r0qiHV (Leon Aron, director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is author of Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991.)
Vladimir Putin is a man who sees his mission as the Russian state’s recovery of political, economic, social, cultural and geostrategic assets that were lost in the Soviet collapse—this mission I’ve dubbed the “Putin doctrine.” Domestically, it means re-establishing the state’s control over (and maybe even ownership of) politics, Russia’s legal system, the economy’s “commanding heights” (first and foremost, oil and gas) and the national cultural narrative. In foreign policy, the Putin doctrine means more muscular, more assertive, at times even aggressive, policies with respect to the geostrategic triad essential to Russia’s national identity: nuclear superpowership, defined by Putin as incompatible with strategic missile defense anywhere near Russian borders; Russia as a great power, which he interprets largely in opposition to the West and, especially, the United States; and dominance, even hegemony, in the post-Soviet space (minus the Baltics), specifically a veto over former satellites’ foreign and defense policies and alliances. This vision of Russia’s geostrategy explains why a Europe-bound Ukraine is such a sharp and deep setback for the Putin regime and why it necessitated such a swift response. Defined by Putin from the very beginning as a contest within the greater West vs. Russia competition, the Ukrainian revolution has struck body blows not at one, but at two elements at the heart of Russia’s geopolitical objectives as defined by Putin: a world great power and the regional hegemon. As a result, containment, destabilization and, if possible, derailment of the new, pro-Western Ukraine has become (and will continue to be) a key domestic political issue for Putin, whose legitimacy is being threatened by Ukraine’s exit from Russia’s sphere of influence. As for Putin’s next moves, they will be defined solely by a cross calculation of the two sets of constantly updated political metrics in his head: his sense of regaining the initiative and recovering Russia’s status on the one hand, and the costs inflicted by the West’s sanctions on the other.
Regardless, Con teams should aim to be prepared to debate both the specifics of the measures as much as possible AND to make general arguments against expanding NATO’s cooperation with the Ukraine.
The primary argument against expanding cooperation is that it will trigger the encirclement of Russia and risk a military lash-out.
Rick Rozoff LiberalPro, April 28, 2014. NATO’s Incremental But Inexorable Absorption of Ukraine.
A version of this feature will appear in the forthcoming volume Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks Global War, edited by Stephen Lendman and to be issued by Clarity Press. As more information becomes available it will be posted at Stephen Lendman’s website. With almost 1,500 miles of land and sea connecting the two nations, the border with Ukraine is the longest along the western frontier of Russia, with that of Finland next in length. Until the end of the Cold War only one member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization directly adjoined Russia: Norway, and that for only 135 miles, land and sea. (Though Turkey bordered other Soviet republics.) The decade of NATO expansion beginning in 1999 brought four new members of the U.S.-dominated military bloc directly up to Russia territory: Estonia and Latvia to northwestern Russia proper and Poland and Lithuania to the non-contiguous Kaliningrad Oblast. The acquisition of Ukraine as a full NATO member or even as it now is, a partner lending its territory, troops and general military assets to the alliance, would, with the likely prospect of Finland being enlisted in tow, cover the entire western flank of Russia from the Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south with NATO air bases, naval docking facilities, firing ranges and training grounds, airfields, radar installations, storage compounds, cyber warfare centers, interceptor missile batteries, armored vehicles, troops and tactical nuclear weapons. Ukraine is and for decades has been seen as the decisive linchpin in plans by the U.S. and its NATO allies to effect a military cordon sanitaire severing Russia from Europe. In 1995, just four years after the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Ukraine became the first member of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States to join NATO’s mechanism for the eventual absorption of all of Europe and the rest of former Soviet space not already in the bloc, the Partnership for Peace. The twelve Eastern European nations that joined NATO in 1999, 2004 and 2009 are all graduates of that program. (Waiting in the wings are 22 more members of the transitional program for military integration and full NATO membership; all fourteen European countries not already members, except for Russia, the three former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus and the five in Central Asia.) Two years later the military alliance established the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, out of which was created the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which is active to this day; in fact more so than ever before since the violent coup d’état in Ukraine in February of this year. In December of 2008, four months after the Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia and thereby triggered a five-day war with Russia, Ukraine and Georgia were both made the recipients of the first-ever Annual National Programs crafted by NATO. Earlier in the year, at the alliance summit in Bucharest, Romania, it was announced that, although the last stage before full NATO accession – the Membership Action Plan – would not immediately be granted to the two former Soviet republics, NATO was nevertheless committed to their eventual membership. One of the Ukrainian public officials pushing for a Membership Action Plan was then-chairman of the nation’s parliament, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, now the U.S.-selected (indeed, the U.S.-imposed) prime minister and effective head of the ruling junta. In fact, the parliamentary opposition blocked the functioning of the Verkhovna Rada from January to March of 2008 – ahead of the NATO summit in early April of that year – in protest against the nation being dragged into the bloc. The main effort domestically to expedite the incorporation of Ukraine into NATO emanated from the duarchy emerging from the 2004-2005 ‘Orange Revolution,’ President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Indeed, Washington and its European allies supported and directed the second so-called color revolution (after that in Georgia the preceding year) with just that intended effect in mind. Ahead of the Bucharest summit President George W. Bush, fellow Republican and at the time candidate for his party’s presidential nomination (which he later secured) John McCain, and Democratic rivals for their party’s nomination, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, all fulsomely endorsed full NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. A year ahead of the ‘Orange Revolution,’ Yushchenko’s predecessor, Leonid Kuchma, had attempted to appease the U.S. and NATO by providing 1,650 troops for the NATO-supported Multi-National Force – Iraq. A nominal contingent of Ukrainian troops has also been assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, part of an over 50-nation integrated command. But as not only Kuchma has learned, total subservience, abject submission alone are accepted by NATO ‘partners’ in Washington and Brussels. Georgia would later supply 2,000 (the third largest deployment after those of the U.S. and Britain at the time), which were airlifted home by American aircraft during the August 2008 war with Russia. The ‘orange’ regime of Viktor Yushchenko was accused of surreptitiously shipping weapons and allowing if not organizing the deployment of military and extremist nationalist paramilitary forces to Georgia during the fighting. Immediately after the South Caucasus war ended, Yushchenko flew into the Georgian capital to join a rally with (and for) President Saakashvili and immediately upon returning to Kiev signed a decree demanding Russia notify his government of – in essence seek its authorization for – naval and air deployments from the Black Sea Fleet base in Sebastopol. He reserved the right to prevent Russian vessels from departing and returning to the complex; that is, a de facto selective blockade. Starting no later than 2006, at first covertly and then quite flagrantly, directors and other officials of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency visited Ukraine to discuss the stationing of interceptor missile components in the country, part of an initiative that has subsequently been embraced by all 28 members of NATO under the Barack Obama administration’s European Phased Adaptive Approach land- and sea-based missile shield being deployed along Russia’s western (and later southern) border. Annual U.S.-led NATO Partnership for Peace military exercises code-named Sea Breeze have been held in Ukraine every year since 1996 – in the Crimea, near the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – except in 2006 when they were cancelled because of local protests. Led by U.S. European Command, yearly Rapid Trident military exercises are also held in Ukraine with U.S., NATO and Partnership for Peace forces. In the words of U.S. Army Europe’s account of last year’s iteration, Rapid Trident ‘helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support…designed to enhance joint combined interoperability with allied and partner nations’ as well as ‘support[ing] Ukraine’s Annual National Program to achieve interoperability with NATO and commitments made in the annual NATO-Ukraine work plan.‘ In the same month as NATO initiated its Annual National Program with Ukraine, December of 2008, Washington launched the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, the founding document of which asserts and identifies among other objectives: ‘Deepening Ukraine’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions is a mutual priority. We plan to undertake a program of enhanced security cooperation intended to increase Ukrainian capabilities and to strengthen Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO membership. ‘Guided by the April 3, 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration of the NATO North Atlantic Council and the April 4, 2008 Joint Statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which affirmed that Ukraine will become a member of NATO. ‘Recognizing the persistence of threats to global peace and stability, the United States and Ukraine intend to expand the scope of their ongoing programs of cooperation and assistance on defense and security issues to defeat these threats and to promote peace and stability. A defense and security cooperation partnership between the United States and Ukraine is of benefit to both nations and the region. ‘Working within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, our goal is to gain agreement on a structured plan to increase interoperability and coordination of capabilities between NATO and Ukraine, including via enhanced training and equipment for Ukrainian armed forces.’In 2010 Ukraine became the first NATO partner state to provide a warship for the alliance’s Operation Active Endeavor, a permanent naval surveillance and interdiction campaign throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea inaugurated in 2001 with the activation of NATO’s Article 5 mutual military assistance provision. In 2013 Ukraine complemented the above contribution by becoming the first NATO partner to assign a warship to the bloc’s Operation Ocean Shield, a now five-year-old (and also intended to be indefinite) maritime mission off the Horn of Africa in the Arabian Sea and further into the Indian Ocean. Before the onset of civil unrest in the country last November, NATO was already touting Ukraine as one of four partners to join the global NATO Response Force. (The other three being Georgia, Finland and Sweden.) Now with a U.S.-NATO proxy regime in place in Kiev, the prospects for Ukraine being turned into a veritable gargantuan forward base for the Pentagon’s and NATO’s inexorable, now generation-long, drive to the east, overrun with Western military advisers and intelligence agents and hosting warplanes, warships, armor, troops and missiles, are being entertained by Western leaders with a degree of ambitiousness and recklessness surpassing anything hitherto contemplated.
Although there are some general arguments against expanding the Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO, As previously mentioned, appropriate of the size (for lack of a better term) of the increase in relations will depend on the strength of the Russian threat and that, of course is debatable. The next session of this essay examines these arguments.
Is Russia a threat to other parts of the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and other parts of the world?
There are arguments as to why Russia is a threat. As discussed previously, many argue that Russia has the military capacity to invade the Ukraine within 12 hours.
CNN Wire, April 2, 2014, Ukraine crisis: NATO military chief warns Russian troops could invade swiftly, http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/02/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/
NATO’s military chief warned Wednesday that Russian troops could begin moving on Ukraine within 12 hours of being given an order, amid fears that Moscow could seek to invade its eastern region. Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, also told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that with 40,000 troops massed near the border, Russia has all the components necessary to move on Ukraine. These forces are “supported by fixed-wing aircraft, rotary aircraft, all of the logistics required in order to successfully make an incursion if they needed,” he said.
And many others argue that additional aggression is likely absent deterrence because dominance of the Ukraine is part of Russia’s geopolitical strategy.
Friedman 3/2/14, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/putins-playbook-the-strategy-behind-russias-takeover-of-crimea/284154/ Uri Friedman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Global Channel. More
It seemed like a classic example of euphemistic bureaucrat-speak when, on Friday, U.S. officials referred to the deployment of Russian troops in Crimea as an “uncontested arrival” rather than an invasion. But terminology matters here. Take the word “uncontested”: The southern peninsula of Crimea, which the Soviet Union transferred to Ukraine in 1954 and which now hosts the Russian military’s Black Sea Fleet, is the only region in the country where ethnic Russians are a majority (60 percent of a population of 2 million). And a good number of them favor closer relations with, if not outright annexation by, Moscow; according to one recent poll, 42 percent of Crimean residents want Ukraine to unite with Russia. That doesn’t mean there are no Ukrainian nationalists or Kremlin opponents in Crimea—there certainly are—but it does mean many people in the autonomous republic, spooked by the ouster last week of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych, welcome Russian military intervention. Or take the word “arrival”: If this is an invasion, it’s a disorienting and not yet fully formed one. There were the shadowy, Russian-speaking gunmen who fanned out across Crimea on Friday, seizing government buildings and airports. And then there was the series of seemingly orchestrated events on Saturday: Crimea’s freshly minted prime minister pleading for Russian help; Russia’s lower house of parliament urging Vladimir Putin to “stabilize” Crimea, the Russian president obliging; the upper house swiftly granting him the authority to use force in Ukraine. Putin is pledging to make his next move soon, as his military masses and the White House fumes. All told, we’re now witnessing what Reuters is calling the “biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.” What should we call the worrying developments in Ukraine? And what is Putin thinking? So what should we call the worrying developments in Ukraine? And what is Putin thinking? Back in 2008, Thomas de Waal, an expert on the South Caucasus, argued that Putin’s greatest legacy is something de Waal called “soft annexation,” which, at the time, was underway in Georgia’s breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The idea, expressed in various forms over the years, is that Russia is pulling political, economic, and military levers—all of which fall short of traditional invasion—to exploit ethnic conflicts in countries that used to be in its orbit. And the goal is to leverage these tensions, which are often relics of the Soviet Union’s messy consolidation and collapse, to gain influence in former Soviet states, while preventing these countries from moving closer to the West. When, for instance, Ukraine was considering a treaty with the European Union earlier this year, Fiona Hill and Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution penned a prescient memo warning of ways Russia could retaliate politically and economically against Kiev: Putin perceives the European Union as a genuine strategic threat. The threat comes from the EU’s potential to reform associated countries in ways that pull them away from Russia. The EU’s Association Agreements and DCFTAs are incompatible with Putin’s plan to expand Russia’s Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan and create a “Eurasian Union.” Putin’s goal is to secure markets for Russian products and guarantee Russian jobs. He also sees the Eurasian Union as a buffer against alien “civilizational” ideas and values from Europe and the West…. Moscow could take actions that weaken the coherence of the Ukrainian state, e.g., by appealing to ethnic Russians in Crimea, or even by provoking a violent clash in Sevastopol, leading to the deployment of Russian naval infantry troops from the Black Sea Fleet to “protect” ethnic Russians. One of the most consequential questions now is whether Putin’s gambit in Ukraine will follow the model of Russia’s previous support for secessionist movements in former Soviet states (and particularly in the Black Sea region), or whether it represents a break with that approach. The Moldovan prime minister, for his part, sees in Ukraine’s crisis echoes of Moscow’s backing of the breakaway province of Transnistria, another pro-Kremlin territory with a large ethnic Russian population. In the early 1990s, Transnistria declared independence from Moldova, sparking a brief war between a complex constellation of regional forces that included a Russian military unit known as the 14th Army. Russia now stations troops on the wisp of land along the Ukrainian border, and provides Transnistria with financial assistance. Negotiations to resolve its status are frozen. Wikimedia Commons Many others are comparing the current situation to Russia’s intervention in Georgia in 2008 over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which also have small ethnic Russian populations. Russia sent peacekeepers to the territories, and dispatched its military to ostensibly protect those troops when Georgia tried to reclaim South Ossetia by force in the summer. That war lasted five days and left Russia in control of the provinces, both of which are now home to Russian military bases. There are several similarities between these cases and that of Crimea: the separatist rumblings in ex-Soviet states turning away from Russia, the appeals of ethnic Russians in the territories for the Kremlin’s help, the forward deployment of Russian troops. In the lead-up to the latest standoff, for instance, the Russian consulate in the Crimean capital of Simferopol had stoked controversy by issuing Russian passports to ethnic Russian Crimeans—a practice Moscow also employed in South Ossetia ahead of the conflict there. “The Russians raised the stakes and baited [former Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili …. by effecting a ‘soft annexation’ of South Ossetia,” de Waal wrote as war between Georgia and Russia broke out in 2008. “Moscow handed out Russian passports to the South Ossetians and installed its officials in government posts there. Russian soldiers, although notionally peacekeepers, have acted as an informal occupying army.” Putin himself, however, has dismissed these comparisons. When asked by a reporter in December whether Russia would deploy troops to Crimea in a Georgia-like scenario, he dismissed the analogy as “invalid”: [I]n order to stop the bloodshed, as you know, there were peacekeeping forces in [Abkhazia and South Ossetia] that had international status, consisting mainly of Russian troops, although there were also Georgian troops and representatives from these then-unrecognised republics. In part, our reaction was not about defending Russian citizens, although this was also important, but followed the attack on our peacekeeping forces and the killing of our troops. That was the essence of these events. Thankfully, nothing similar is happening in Crimea, and I hope never will. We have an agreement on the presence of Russia’s fleet there. As you know, it has been extended–I think, in the interest of both states, both nations. And the presence of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol, in Crimea, is in my view a serious stabilising factor in both international and regional policy—international in a broad sense, in the Black Sea region, and in regional policy. Fast-forward two months, though, and the situation has changed dramatically. Putin’s ally in Kiev has been removed from power. A new, pro-Europe Ukrainian government has taken shape. The future of the Crimean base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is crumbling but still important for Russia’s naval power in the Black Sea and Mediterranean, is in jeopardy. And, just like Russia did in Georgia, Putin is now justifying the use of force in Ukraine as a means of protecting “the life and health of Russian citizens and compatriots on Ukrainian territory,” including Russian troops. Russia may be trying to secure its naval base and destabilize the Ukrainian government, not set the stage for annexation or invasion. Still, Russia’s recent moves don’t necessarily mean that it will go as far as a Georgia-style “soft annexation.” De Waal himself pointed out on Friday that Crimea (population: 2 million) is far bigger than Abkhazia (population: 240,000), South Ossetia (population: 70,000), and Transnistria (530,000), and that secessionist sentiment is less widespread in Crimea than in these other provinces. In threatening force in Ukraine, he wrote, Russia may primarily be trying to secure its naval base and destabilize the Ukrainian government, not set the stage for annexation or invasion: Any Russian escalation deserves a strong response from the West. But if you read what Putin is actually saying he is being more equivocal. He is ruthless, but he is not Sauron in Lord of the Rings. He almost certainly wants the government in Kiev to fail, but he is also hosting the G8 summit in Sochi in June…. Russia has one overwhelming strategic asset in Crimea: the Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol. My guess is that Putin’s main goal in Crimea is to maintain that base at all costs. If the Crimean crisis is fundamentally a show of strength by Putin to preserve his naval base in Crimea, and remind Ukraine’s government that Moscow can still knock it off balance, what explains Putin’s willingness to make such a bold move in the first place—one that could still potentially mushroom into a larger conflict? In 2006, Nicu Popescu, an expert on EU-Russian relations, offered one of the best analyses I’ve seen of Russia’s new assertiveness in world affairs under Putin. Moscow’s support for secessionist movements in Georgia and Moldova, he said, was part of Russia’s larger decision over the past decade to make expanding its influence in Eurasia, not creating favorable conditions for domestic economic growth, the top priority of its foreign policy. There are four reasons for this shift, Popescu argued: The growth of Russia’s economy due to oil and gas exports, which helps bankroll a more aggressive foreign policy The Kremlin’s centralization of power, which neutralizes the challenges posed by political opponents at home The retreat of the West from the world stage after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which creates an opening for Russia The success Russia has had in suppressing its own secessionist movement in Chechnya, which makes it easier for the Kremlin to support secessionist groups abroad “These have all led to a feeling in Moscow that Russia has the resources and the proper international conditions to reassert its dominance in the former Soviet Union,” Popescu wrote. “Stepping up support for the secessionist entities is seen as a way to achieve that.” And if Russian leaders believe they can do so, in Crimea and elsewhere, without provoking a major response from the West, they seem willing to assume the risk that comes with it.
This new geopolitical strategy is arguably part of a larger strategy of reasserting Russia’s geopolitical dominance
Nile Gardner, Phd, Heritage Foundation, March 28, 2014, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/03/beyond-the-crimea-crisis-comprehensive-next-steps-in-usrussian-relations Backgrounder #2896 on Russia and Eurasia Beyond the Crimea Crisis: Comprehensive Next Steps in U.S.–Russian Relations
Nothing indicates that Russia is on a path to reform. Democratic freedoms are in retreat, corruption is endemic, and the future is bleak. The same failings of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago are starting to reappear in Putin’s Russia today. While the Russian economy is still growing, it continues to rely on the export of hydrocarbons, other raw materials, and weapons. Russia’s population is declining due to aging, rampant alcoholism and drug addiction, widespread disease, and low fertility rates. Expressions of ultranationalism are on the rise, fortifying the government’s quest for a new sphere of influence. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall caught many by surprise. Western leaders should not allow a resurgent Russia or the instability deriving from a degenerate Russia to catch them by surprise as well. What the West is witnessing today is not a resurgent Cold War Russia, as commentators frequently claim, but an Imperial Russia. Putin’s behavior is like that of the Russian Tsars who built the Imperial Russian Empire nation by nation, khanate by khanate, and kingdom by kingdom. In the eyes of Russians at the time, the 17th and 18th century territorial gains that in part defined Imperial Russia were regarded not as “annexations” but as taking what was already theirs. At the time, Russia’s imperial conquests were popularly characterized as acts of liberation of fellow Orthodox Christians from Polish Catholic rule. Take out the religious dimension and replace it with the need to protect—to paraphrase Vladimir Putin—Moscow’s fraternal ties with ethnic Russians and we have a similar situation. Today. just as in the 19th century, Russia’s leaders see themselves as taking what is already theirs. Whether it is Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea, the creation of the proposed Eurasian Union, the Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, or what amounts to the suzerainty of Armenia in all but name, the empire is being rebuilt.
Pro teams will also need to impact these arguments – to explain why it would be bad if Russia engaged in more aggression against the Ukraine. These impacts can include everything from violations of sovereignty (sovereignty good files) to rights violations, to wide-scale escalation of war.
Seth Baum is Executive Director of the think tank Global Catastrophic Risk Institute. He recently completed a Ph.D. in Geography at Pennsylvania State University and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the Columbia University Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. Based in New York City, Baum’s research covers a variety of topics including ethics, economics, climate change, nuclear war, and life in the universe.
No one yet knows how the Ukraine crisis will play out. Indeed, the whole story is a lesson in the perils of prediction. Already we have a classic: “Putin’s Bluff? U.S. Spies Say Russia Won’t Invade Ukraine,” published February 27, just as Russian troops were entering Crimea. But considering the best and worst cases highlights some important opportunities to make the most of the situation. Here’s the short version: The best case scenario has the Ukraine crisis being resolved diplomatically through increased Russia-Europe cooperation, which would be a big step towards world peace. The worst case scenario has the crisis escalating into nuclear war between the United States and Russia, causing human extinction. Let’s start with the worst case scenario, nuclear war involving the American and Russian arsenals. How bad would that be? Put it this way: Recent analysis finds that a “limited” India-Pakistan nuclear war could kill two billion people via agricultural declines from nuclear winter. This “limited” war involves just 100 nuclear weapons. The U.S. and Russia combine to possess about 16,700 nuclear weapons. Humanity may not survive the aftermath of a U.S.-Russia nuclear war. It seems rather unlikely that the U.S. and Russia would end up in nuclear war over Ukraine. Sure, they have opposing positions, but neither side has anywhere near enough at stake to justify such extraordinary measures. Instead, it seems a lot more likely that the whole crisis will get resolved with a minimum of deaths. However, the story has already taken some surprising plot twists. We cannot rule out the possibility of it ending in direct nuclear war. A nuclear war could also occur inadvertently, i.e. when a false alarm is misinterpreted as real, and nuclear weapons are launched in what is believed to be a counterattack. There have been several alarmingly close calls of inadvertent U.S.-Russia nuclear war over the years. Perhaps the most relevant is the 1995 Norwegian rocket incident. A rocket carrying scientific equipment was launched off northern Norway. Russia detected the rocket on its radar and interpreted it as a nuclear attack. Its own nuclear forces were put on alert and Boris Yeltsin was presented the question of whether to launch Russia’s nuclear weapons in response. Fortunately, Yeltsin and the Russian General Staff apparently sensed it was a false alarm and declined to launch. Still, the disturbing lesson from this incident is that nuclear war could begin even during periods of calm. With the Ukraine crisis, the situation today is not calm. It is even more tense than last year, when the United States was considering military intervention in Syria.
Although there is a lot of evidence about the potential for escalation, Pro teams do need to be careful about making this argument because if the Con wins that strengthening Ukraine/NATO relations makes escalation more likely then I the Con will win that all of these large escalation impacts are actually triggered by the Pro. If, on the other hand, the Pro does not argue this escalation impact and instead focuses on the other impacts to Russian aggression (sovereignty violations, rights violations) and the Con goes for the “risk of conflict” argument, the Pro could make defensive arguments as to why conflict escalation is not likely. And, the Con could use this piece of evidence to argue that escalation is not likely now because NATO does not currently have a strong relationship with the Ukraine.
Jan Techau is the director of Brussels-based Carnegie Europe, the European think tank of the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, Deutsche Welle World, April 25, 2014, NATO military response ‘almost unthinkable’
Russia has been conducting troop exercises on Ukraine’s border. But an invasion would not trigger a NATO military response – and probably not even strong economic sanctions, says the director of Carnegie Europe. How would NATO react if Russia invaded Ukraine? My feeling is that NATO would condemn this very strongly. But if people expect NATO to protect eastern Ukraine militarily and defend it – I think they’re mistaken. I don’t think there’s willingness on behalf of any NATO member state to commit NATO troops to defending eastern Ukraine. So we will not see military action. That’s a pretty safe bet and that’s what Mr. Putin knows. Ukraine is not a NATO member. But wouldn’t a Russian invasion of Ukraine mean that NATO members, such as in the Baltics or in Poland, could feel that their territorial integrity is even more threatened? These countries have, for a long time, felt threatened over the Ukraine developments. We’ve seen NATO planning on how to increase troop presence there, how to reassure these countries and how to make it clear that the Article 5 borders – the borders of NATO solidarity – will be defended. The US is currently holding military exercises in Poland. Germany has earmarked planes for air policing into the Baltic area later this year, and other countries have committed similar kinds of assets. That’s the right thing to do. But it’s almost unthinkable to have a military response in reaction to an attack on Ukrainian territory.
But, of course, if NATO did have a strong relationship with the Ukraine that escalation would be more likely because those strengthened ties would make it more likely that NATO gets drawn-in (obviously if there is an alliance relationship (if the Ukraine is a NATO member), but also if, for example, NATO countries have soldiers on the ground in the Ukraine that are getting shot at by Russian troops).
Although there are certainly strong arguments that indicate that Russia is a threat, are also some specific arguments that Russia is not a threat to the Ukraine.
One — Russia is not seeking military control of the Ukraine, only political control.
Jan Techau is the director of Brussels-based Carnegie Europe, the European think tank of the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, Europe, Deutsche Welle World, April 25, 2014, NATO military response ‘almost unthinkable’
Has NATO’s increased presence along the alliance’s eastern borders had any effect whatsoever. It’s very hard to say how this is being perceived in Moscow. The goal of the Russian policies at the moment is to regain political control over all of Ukraine – either very quickly or over the next one or two years. [Russia] has played things very systematically over the last few weeks. This is the one thing that Putin has to achieve, because under his watch Russia “lost” Ukraine, if you will. Now he needs to right that wrong from his perspective. That’s the goal. Touching Article 5 territory is not his operational goal at this point so far, Just to get this clear: You say Russia’s operational goal is to regain control over all of Ukraine – including the west of the country, including Kyiv? I’m talking about political control – I’m not talking about occupying the entire country. I’m pretty convinced that it is not in Russian interests to have a military operation in all of Ukraine. But the ultimate goal is to regain political control over who governs the country. Russia thought it was safe with [former Ukrainian President] Yanukovych. They had banked on him to basically hold the fort and to stay in power even throughout the entire Maidan process. They miscalculated. Yanukovych fled from office, and now they need to regain control. This is the strategic goal of Russia – to keep Ukraine as tightly associated as possible, to tie it into its sphere of influence. What they ultimately want is to have somebody in power who’s Russia-friendly. That’s not the case at the moment, and that’s something they want to change. The goal is that this new government, the current post-revolutionary government, cannot succeed. It must be undermined. It must be unable to consolidate the country. It must be unable to conduct a proper constitutional process in the next couple of months. And it must also fail – from the Russian perspective – to consolidate the economy.The big question is whether Russia is playing this as a short-term game over the next few weeks – basically until the elections in Kyiv in late May – or whether we’re looking at two years or so. I can’t judge that. But the goal itself is pretty clear.
Two – Russia is deterred by Ukraine itself from invading.
Claude Salhani is senior editor at Trend Agency in Baku and a political analyst specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and terrorism, April 3, 2014, How Russia can hit NATO’s soft underbelly
Right now Russia has its sights set on more than just Ukraine. Russia wants to put a stop to Western expansion eastwards, preventing NATO and the European Union from achieving their aspiration of creating a single unified Europe. And the most amazing thing is that Putin can accomplish this without firing a single shot. “Russia has its eyes on bigger goals than Ukraine — it wants to tear apart the territorial status quo created in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union,” says Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute. There are numerous reasons why Putin does not need to send his forces into Ukraine. Putin is well aware that while Ukraine counts many Russian supporters, there are equally, if not more supporters of a free Ukraine, and unlike in Crimea where Moscow could count on the support of the ethnic Russian population, in invading Ukraine, Russian troops would have to engage in real battles with Ukrainians who would oppose Russian domination. Additionally, unlike the Crimean peninsula, Ukraine does not have natural delimitations – natural frontiers – making a military campaign somewhat dangerous as there are no “guard rails,” or as Eyal puts it, “there are no obvious limits to this territory.” In case the campaign does not unfold as planned, it leaves no obvious exit strategy for Moscow. Also Eastern Ukraine is a much larger territory and would require a substantial military force to effectively control it. Putin knows that NATO is not about to start a war in Europe over Crimea, with its large Russian population, Moscow has a firm support base there. In fact when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris last week, the issue of Crimea was not even mentioned in the final communiqué. What Russia wants is to maintain Ukraine as a natural buffer zone between it and the Western alliance, giving Russia a clear “kill zone” in case of attack. The large plains of Ukraine would require massive armor and infantry to occupy, and would require some time to advance across the open plains, giving the Russian military ample time to beef up defenses to Russia proper. What Moscow hopes to achieve is to maintain Ukraine as a no-man’s land. And this Putin believes, according to Eyal, can be achieved through “what Moscow likes to call the ‘federalization’ of Ukraine.” As the BBC explains, Russia’s intention is to create a federated Ukraine where the regions would have a say in both the country’s internal and foreign policy. An article published on the BBC’s website says, “[this], is a more polite Russian way of saying that the ethnic Russians inside Ukraine will be able to block the country’s pro-Western orientation.”
Three – Russia’s actions are not aggressive (as the resolution seems to assume), but rather are defensive measures in reaction to the long history of NATO expansion that was described in more detail above.
Sommers 2/25/14, Jeffrey Sommers is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a senior fellow at its Institute of World Affairs. He is visiting faculty at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia, and the co-editor of “The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/02/25/how-the-west-can-shape-ukraine/us-engagement-in-ukraine-requires-understanding-russian-history
For Russia, the main terrain on which World War II was fought was Ukraine. The best way for the United States to constructively engage both Ukraine and Russia is through acknowledging this history. This should have been done when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, but it wasn’t. President George H.W. Bush promised Mikhail Gorbachev that if the Soviets let the Warsaw Pact go, Russia would not have to worry about NATO expansion. The U.S. responded to this deal by immediately taking the former Warsaw Pact states into NATO and then moving into former Soviet territory in the Baltics. Nobody could blame new entrants for wanting NATO entry, given their past of Soviet occupation. But, neither could anyone blame Russians for feeling betrayed by the U.S. breaking its word. Russia sees the U.S. State Department as pursuing the “great game,” wishing to break up Russia and its “near abroad” and remaking it as a “neoliberal periphery.” For Russia, the game has an existential character. Russians saw NATO’s moves toward Georgia as cutting too close to the bone, and they responded. The prospects of NATO assimilating Ukraine represents taking Russia’s “heart”: the very ancestral home where Russia was founded and on which it repelled the fascist invasion in the Great Patriotic War. Thus, the United States and the European Union must make clear NATO’s expansion is done. Do this, and perhaps the U.S., the E.U. and Russia can cooperate in Ukraine.
The negotiations alternative is best wrapped in an overall criticism of the general effectiveness of deterrence as the best way to prevent further Russian aggression. Since NATO is a military alliance, the entire premise of the notion that improving relations between the Ukraine and the NATO is based on the efficacy of deterrence, which is possible to criticize in this situation/context.
Cole, 3/24/14, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_romney_is_wrong_that_obamas_syria_policy_emboldened_putin_20140324 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan
Russia’s actions in Crimea do not make it the chief geopolitical adversary to the US. Crimea was never a US sphere of influence. If Romney meant to imply that Obama’s Syria policy emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea, that is frankly absurd. Rep. Dick Durbin (D-IL) pointed out that in the wake of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Putin nevertheless sent troops into South Ossetia and peacekeepers into Abkhazia, recognizing them both as independent of Georgia. He also bombarded Georgia. These events unfolded in March-October of 2008, when George W. Bush was president. It is unclear that Bush did anything at all about these events, despite talking a good game. Had Bush encouraged Putin by invading Iraq? In fact, the Georgia crisis in some ways began with the declaration by Kosovo of independence from Serbia, and this was cited by Putin. Russia opposed Kosovo independence but then later saw it as a precedent for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As for Syria, nothing Obama did there would have made any difference to Putin. If Obama had in fact sent some bombs or drones on Damascus over the chemical weapons issue, it would have done nothing to deter either Syria or Russia. But, if there is a principal villain in Obama’s decision to turn to international allies in defusing the crisis, it is the Republican-held House of Representatives, which clearly was going to vote against US intervention. So it is rich that the GOP standard-bearer should again be attacking a sitting president. Bush’s non-action during the Georgia crisis is now completely forgotten by the Republicans castigating Obama. Romney also completely misunderstands Russia’s motives. From Moscow’s point of view, NATO enlargement was a a kind of Western aggression. Romney’s advice that we should enlarge and speed up those developments is guaranteed to produce defeats for the US.
It is also, of course, possible to generally criticize military deterrence.
Kober 10 – research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute (6/13, Stanley, “The Deterrence Illusion”, http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11898
The first world war was the product of a mode of rational thinking that went badly off course. The peace of Europe was based on security assurances. Germany was the protector of Austria-Hungary, and Russia was the protector of Serbia. The prospect of escalation was supposed to prevent war, and it did — until, finally, it didn’t. The Russians, who should have been deterred — they had suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Japan just a few years before — decided they had to come to the support of their fellow Slavs. As countries honoured their commitments, a system that was designed to prevent war instead widened it. We have also been living in an age of globalisation, especially since the end of the cold war, but it too is increasingly being challenged. And just like the situation at the beginning of the last century, deterrence is not working. Much is made, for example, of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) invoking Article V — the famous “three musketeers” pledge that an attack on one member is to be considered as an attack on all — following the terrorist attacks of September 11. But the United States is the most powerful member of NATO by far. Indeed, in 2001, it was widely considered to be a hegemon, a hyperpower. Other countries wanted to be in NATO because they felt an American guarantee would provide security. And yet it was the US that was attacked. This failure of deterrence has not received the attention it deserves. It is, after all, not unique. The North Vietnamese were not deterred by the American guarantee to South Vietnam. Similarly, Hezbollah was not deterred in Lebanon in the 1980s, and American forces were assaulted in Somalia. What has been going wrong? The successful deterrence of the superpowers during the cold war led to the belief that if such powerful countries could be deterred, then lesser powers should fall into line when confronted with an overwhelmingly powerful adversary. It is plausible, but it may be too rational. For all their ideological differences, the US and the Soviet Union observed red lines during the cold war. There were crises — Berlin, Cuba, to name a couple — but these did not touch on emotional issues or vital interests, so that compromise and retreat were possible. Indeed, what we may have missed in the west is the importance of retreat in Soviet ideology. “Victory is impossible unless [the revolutionary parties] have learned both how to attack and how to retreat properly,” Lenin wrote in Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder. When the Soviets retreated, the US took the credit. Deterrence worked. But what if retreat was part of the plan all along? What if, in other words, the Soviet Union was the exception rather than the rule? That question is more urgent because, in the post-cold war world, the US has expanded its security guarantees, even as its enemies show they are not impressed. The Iraqi insurgents were not intimidated by President Bush’s challenge to “bring ‘em on”. The Taliban have made an extraordinary comeback from oblivion and show no respect for American power. North Korea is demonstrating increasing belligerence. And yet the US keeps emphasising security through alliances. “We believe that there are certain commitments, as we saw in a bipartisan basis to NATO, that need to be embedded in the DNA of American foreign policy,” secretary of state Hillary Clinton affirmed in introducing the new National Security Strategy. But that was the reason the US was in Vietnam. It had a bipartisan commitment to South Vietnam under the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation, reaffirmed through the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which passed Congress with only two dissenting votes. It didn’t work, and found its commitments were not embedded in its DNA. Americans turned against the war, Secretary Clinton among them. The great powers could not guarantee peace in Europe a century ago, and the US could not guarantee it in Asia a half-century ago. Before the US makes further guarantees, it needs to understand the reasons for these failures, lest new promises lead to tragedy both for the US and those who would put their trust in it
In regards to whether or not Russia is a threat to the rest of Eastern Europe, there is a strong argument that it is not because NATO Article Five commitments, which commit all countries in the NATO alliance to defend each other, deter Russia from taking additional action. As explained above, the NATO alliance now includes some countries from Eastern Europe.
The Washington Post, April 19, 2014, NATO reassurances ease fears in Baltics, p. A1
Baltic officials say they do not believe that Russia is planning operations in their countries like the one in Ukraine, and they cite the threat of a NATO response as a key reason. “Article Five is absolutely a red line,” said Andrejs Pildegovics, Latvia’s state secretary for foreign affairs, referring to the provision in NATO’s charter that guarantees collective defense. “All allies should have full protection.”
Also, as noted above, NATO has been increasing the security of its eastern European allies by bolstering military presence in those countries
And in regards to both the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and even other forms of potential Russian expansionism, its threat is limited by its economic and military weakness.
Stephen Walt is professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, April 24, 2014, ABC Transcripts (Australia), Obama ‘weak’ on Syria and Ukraine? He’s here as a guest of Sydney University’s US Studies Centre and I asked him about Republican criticism of president Obama for being allegedly weak on Ukraine and Syria, http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s3991659.htm
MARK COLVIN: There’s a viral image going around the internet, has been for the last couple of weeks, which shows Vladimir Putin playing games of simultaneous chess with a number of Western leaders, and clearly winning. Is that accurate, or are we over-estimating Putin’s brilliance? STEPHEN WALT: I think Putin has played a rather weak hand fairly well, but in part because he’s been operating in areas where, again, Russian vital interests really are engaged and ours are not. So he’s got somewhat more resolve, he’s probably willing to run greater risks, and pay a greater price than we are. But the key to understanding this is, you know, this is not 1938. Vladimir Putin is not the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, and Russia is not Nazi Germany. Russia is a declining power. It’s dependent on energy exports, and those energy exports are going to be worth less and less as the price of energy goes down, as I believe it will do. MARK COLVIN: Because of gas and shale oil? STEPHEN WALT: Because of shale oil revolution in the United States and elsewhere. So, Russia’s long-term economic future does not look bright.
Economic interdependence also serves as a disincentive for Russian aggression.
Robert Dreyfuss, a Nation contributing editor, is an investigative journalist specializing in politics and national security.
Plain, old-fashioned capitalism will prevent a new cold war between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and Russia’s gobbling up of the Crimean region. Capitalism, plus the fact that probably not one American in a thousand could locate Crimea on a map, and even the most hard-headed US political analysts have trouble coming up with a decent definition of what US interests in Ukraine might be. Helping to contain the crisis is the fact that Russia, Europe and to a lesser extent the United States are tied together in a powerful web of financial and economic ties that didn’t exist, say, during the real Cold War. Their influence runs counter to the many, many cries from hawks to impose tough economic sanctions on Russia, as if the giant Eurasian power were a small “rogue state.” The Washington Post, for instance, said in an editorial: Some argue that the West lacks the means to damage the Putin regime or that the United States cannot act without Europe, but neither claim is true. Banking sanctions—denying Russians and their banks access to the U.S. financial system—could deal a powerful blow. Mr. Obama must respond to Mr. Putin with measures that force the Russian ruler to rethink his options. But, as CNN reports: Russia is the European Union’s third-biggest trading partner after the United States and China, with goods and services worth more than $500 billion exchanged in 2012. About 75% of all foreign direct investment in Russia originates in EU member states, according to the European Commission. In addition, Russia is the single biggest supplier of energy to the European Union. British energy firm BP is the second-largest shareholder in Russia’s leading oil producer Rosneft, and some of the biggest energy companies in Germany, the Netherlands and France are invested in a joint venture with Russian gas giant Gazprom. And, in a lengthy interview in The American Interest, Zbigniew Brzezinski points with regret to the fact that British bankers, who have large deposits of Russian cash—particularly from Russian oligarchs—are resisting any sort of confrontation over Ukraine: The British seem inclined to argue, “Well, there’s a lot of Russian money in our banks.”… The bankers doubtless have a lot of influence, particularly in political systems in which money is increasingly the mechanism that oils the “democratic process.” Earlier, the BBC had reported that a document carried by a top British official read: “The U.K. should not support for now trade sanctions or close London’s financial center to Russians.” The New York Times, in a long March 7 piece analyzing US and European business interests in Russia and their effect on the politics of the situation, quoted several executives with Western firms who clearly want to cool the crisis talk: European businesses “have no interests in any deterioration of the current international situation linked to Ukraine,” Frank Schauff, the chief executive of the Association of European Businesses in Russia, said on Friday. “We call upon all parties to engage in a constructive dialogue, which will secure stability, welfare and economic growth on the European Continent.” Among American companies cited in the Times are Pepsi, Ford and John Deere. The Times quoted Ken Golden, director of global public relations for Deere, in its piece: While Russia represents less than 5 percent of Deere’s total equipment sales, the company recently cited Russia as being key to its future growth. “We urge political leaders to solve this issue without violence and in accord with international agreements,” Mr. Golden said. Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50! It even extends to the defense industry. According to Defense News, in a piece titled “Amid Ukraine Crisis, EU Plays It Safe,” various European arms manufacturers, including in Sweden, value current and potential sales to Russia. France is apparently insisting that it will continue to sell arms to Russia, including a $1.7 billion deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers. Said one expert quoted in the piece: It looks like the Europeans are extremely keen to do everything except anything that hurts their commercial interests. There is zero appetite to hurt business interests, and arms sales fit into that category.
Beyond the question of the Russia threat, Pro teams may argue that it is important for NATO to provide strong support for the Ukraine at this time in order to maintain the credibility of the alliance.
James Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
The Washington Times, April 9, 2014, Putin’s provocation; NATO’s credibility is at stake
Even though Russia has become a key energy supplier for Germany and the West European grid, its economy is extremely vulnerable to the external demand for its in-ground resources. Compounding that problem is the inherent weakness of its economy, plus its declining Slavic population and a rapidly rising Muslim populace. Many European Union countries rely on Russia for approximately 30 percent of their energy requirements. Nonetheless, if NATO is to remain relevant, it needs to reassert its fundamental principles and take action that will send an unmistakable message that it will defend itself as well as its newest members. Such action does not require deploying NATO forces to Ukraine. However, requests for military equipment should be granted so Ukraine can be seen as having a capability to defend its sovereignty. Key to demonstrating NATO’s determination and solidarity is the execution o visible confidence-building measures. This should include key defensive as well as offensive elements to dissuade Mr. Putin from any follow-on military aggression. NATO should deploy the latest offensive weapons – F-22s, AWACS, Global Hawks, F-15E, B-2s and Eurofighter Typhoons – and defensive systems such as Patriot and PAC-3 batteries, to carefully selected NATO areas. At least one carrier battle group should be maintained in the Eastern Mediterranean. Once forces are in place, they need to be exercised in a way that clearly shows NATO solidarity. These exercises also need to include a theaterwide command-and-control exercise. NATO ground forces should also be incorporated as part of the overall exercise program. The key to demonstrating NATO’s determination and solidarity will not be found in the Saul Alinsky playbook, nor will it be accomplished by “leading from behind.” It will require Mr. Obama to measure up to meet Mr. Putin’s challenge by displaying the necessary leadership NATO deserves. The consequences for failure in meeting this challenge will loom large in the future.
Teams can then make general arguments about the general importance of the credibility of NATO.
Pro teams can also make a strong argument about the centrality of creating a united Western front against the Ukraine in order to shore up US global leadership and create psychological deterrence against other territorial conflicts.
A strong, united Western front against Russia is critical to support US global leadership and stave off other territorial conflict.
Ulrich Speck, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 28, 2014, http://carnegieeurope.eu/2014/04/28/ukraine-crisis-who-will-blink-first-vladimir-putin-or-west/h9fd
Obama, on the other hand, is much more inclined to put the squeeze on the Kremlin. Washington is used to confrontation with Russia — and with Putin, specifically — and America is much less economically-connected with its old Cold War rival. American leaders aren’t motivated solely by their concern over eastern Europe and Russia reasserting itself as a more aggressive and expansionist power. The U.S. also wants to assert key norms of international order — namely territorial integrity and the principle to change borders only with the consent of all parties. Ukraine is also a welcome opportunity to signal to allies and rivals alike that America is not retrenching from its global engagements. The impact of the Ukraine crisis on China and the various territorial conflicts with its neighbors will also loom very large on the minds of policy makers in Washington. But whatever the differences among U.S. and EU leaders, the more they act in concert, the better chance they have to achieve their goal: beating back Moscow’s attempt to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
What alternative measures could be taken?
The resolution forces the Pro to defend an increase in relations between the NATO (a military alliance) and the Ukraine, but this is not the only way to deter Russian aggression, particularly if the goal is to deter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
To solve the problem of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, the Con could, for example, argue for strengthening US relations with our Eastern European NATO allies.
Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation
This is a European security crisis which, if mishandled, may make the wars in Yugoslavia seem tame. This is also an hour of truth for the Obama administration. The West is likely to scale down its positive multi-lateral and bilateral cooperation with Moscow. The United States should stand up to Russia by showing commitment to our NATO allies. We should reassure the Alliance members in Central and Eastern Europe that their defense is guaranteed by deploying assets to the region, and make crystal clear that any armed aggression toward a NATO member will trigger Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which provides for common defense. Furthermore, the U.S. and the Europeans should devise and implement targeted sanctions aimed directly at Russian officials responsible for violating Ukrainian sovereignty, including freezing financial assets and imposing visa bans. The president should work bilaterally and multilaterally with our European allies to impose a robust sanctions regime that will directly impact those in Russia’s government involved in aggression in Ukraine. Finally, the U.S. should expand relations with the Europeans beyond common defense by boosting energy cooperation and expediting liquefied-natural-gas exports to our European partners. American leadership is in order. The U.S. and the West should not allow Ukraine to be destroyed. Aggression should not stand.
This would not only solve any potential Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, but it could also provide general deterrence that could potentially deter additional Russian aggression in the Ukraine.
This is likely to be a superior approach because strong relations between the Ukraine and NATO would be more likely to trigger Russian aggression than just strengthened ties/defense with/among NATO allies
Another alternative is for the US to simply more directly threaten Russia if it moves into the Ukraine.
Michael Edward O’Hanlon is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, specializing in defense and foreign policy issues. He began his career as a budget analyst in the defense field.
Were the current crisis to escalate to a bad situation — which it hasn’t yet — and Ukraine to face civil warfare and an invasion by Russia to back up one side, then I think these kinds of tools would be applied. They’d be effective and Putin knows it. So I’m relatively confident he won’t take this gamble, provided we are clear in our communications about how we would respond. That said, the West’s policy now needs to focus on making sure he doesn’t invade. He should be asked to declare no plans for forcible annexation of any part of Ukraine — or any longer military stay in any part of Ukraine than absolutely necessary. He should allow international monitors and mediators to help verify the protection of various populations within Ukraine — a plan he reportedly discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday. He should also work toward a new deal with the Ukrainian government that will be respected by all. The Ukrainian government also needs to continue to show that it is seeking to include and represent Ukrainians of all major parts of the country and society. Moscow must restore Ukraine’s full sovereignty in short order — while ensuring protection for Russian speakers as noted above. Putin should continue to have his military units in Crimea refrain from the use of force, and also to stop trying to recruit defectors from the Ukrainian army into their general ranks. No further Russian troop mobilizations or large-scale additional reinforcements of Russian positions in Ukraine should occur. Chances are high that this crisis can still be contained and ultimately defused. We need to distinguish between the unpleasant things that have already happened and the catastrophic possibilities that, with good policy and clear warnings as well as inducements to all relevant parties, we can probably still prevent.
Again, even this is probably less likely to antagonize Russia/lead them to feeling encircled than more substantial Ukraine/NATO cooperation
Beyond (or instead of) military measures, the Con could argue that negotiations are superior approach (and they could argue that is going on in the status quo to avoid any criticism that they are introducing a “counterplan” in Public Forum debate).
A descendent of Ukrainian ancestors, Scott R. Spencer was a Delaware congressional candidate in 2010 and had proposed to keep NASA’s space shuttles flying to avoid the potential technical, financial and political risks of depending solely on Russia for America’s access to space. He can be reached at [email protected].
As the crisis in Ukraine unfolds, the risks of a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine make it imperative that an innovative path forward be developed for a peaceful resolution. The volatility of a war over the Ukraine crisis also risks involving Europe and the United States. The crisis reached the current flashpoint after the elected pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from office by opposition groups supported by Europe and the United States. Russia viewed this as a coup d’etat by Western interests. Perhaps provoked by the influence of the U.S. on Ukraine’s future and for political, military and/or nationalistic reasons, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has invaded and occupied the strategic Crimean Peninsula of Eastern Ukraine on the Black Sea. This is also the location of a strategic naval port that Russia has paid Ukraine to use. Although Russia’s invasion is a violation of international law, the United States’ leverage to hold Russia accountable has been undermined by our ill-fated invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. drone strikes in sovereign nations, which Russia and other nations contend has been a violation of international law. Because of Russia’s disagreements with U.S. military actions in the Middle East and our influence on the ouster of the elected president of Ukraine, traditional diplomatic solutions have been less effective because Russia views our concerns as a double standard. Left unresolved, this crisis could result in the unpredictable consequences of a civil war in Ukraine, Russian military aggression to annex more of Eastern Ukraine or a chain of events leading to a wider-scale war in Europe. Already other European ethnic groups have been flexing their influence in the Ukrainian crisis with para-military forces. Because of the volatility of this crisis, in which a war of words could quickly flash over into a war of weapons, leaders in the U.S. and Russia must immediately cease and desist from political and diplomatic posturing, threats of sanctions and drawing red lines in public announcements and press conferences. This accomplishes nothing but pushing each side into corners with no margin for negotiation or compromise. A key lesson in the Cuban Missile Crisis was to refrain from public threats and to use discreet back channels to negotiate a diplomatic solution. There have been some offers for negotiations between the U.S. and Russia, which have been dismissed unless certain preconditions are met. No such preconditions to negotiate were required during the Cuban Missile Crisis. There are no preconditions to fight wars – there should be no preconditions for diplomatic negotiations essential to prevent wars. Too many times in history the failure to achieve a diplomatic solution has resulted in the horrific suffering of civilians, especially children, when war breaks out. In 2014, an innovative diplomatic initiative for preventing war in the 21st century should be implemented in this crisis. Since we are capable of fighting a war 24 hours a day, we should be able to fight 24 hours a day to prevent a war by organizing a diplomatic Crisis Resolution Team to conduct around-the-clock negotiations with three teams (A, B, C) in eight-hour shifts. This triage team would include diplomats from the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations, as well as crisis negotiating experts selected by each country. The CRT would rotate negotiations weekly between Moscow, Kiev and Washington so that top officials and leaders in each country would have an opportunity to participate. Since the CRT meetings would be held behind closed doors, the confidential negotiations and lack of posturing and threats in the press will go a long way to defuse the crisis and create a less stressful atmosphere for innovative solutions, proposals and bargaining that could even include a peaceful purchase of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia that would greatly benefit cash-starved Ukraine. Such a peaceful solution would save the far higher costs of a war and secure the vital agricultural, commercial, cultural and scientific ties between the U.S. and Russia as witnessed by the return to earth last week of three International Space Station crew members, including an American astronaut on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Although there is a strong defense of arguments claiming that negotiations are a better approach, Pro teams can attack these claims with the arguments that they constitute nothing more than appeasement.
Aron 3/14/14 http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/putin-on-the-couch-104647_Page5.html#ixzz2x0r0qiHV, Leon Aron, director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is author of Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991
Vladimir Putin is a man who sees his mission as the Russian state’s recovery of political, economic, social, cultural and geostrategic assets that were lost in the Soviet collapse—this mission I’ve dubbed the “Putin doctrine.” Domestically, it means re-establishing the state’s control over (and maybe even ownership of) politics, Russia’s legal system, the economy’s “commanding heights” (first and foremost, oil and gas) and the national cultural narrative. In foreign policy, the Putin doctrine means more muscular, more assertive, at times even aggressive, policies with respect to the geostrategic triad essential to Russia’s national identity: nuclear superpowership, defined by Putin as incompatible with strategic missile defense anywhere near Russian borders; Russia as a great power, which he interprets largely in opposition to the West and, especially, the United States; and dominance, even hegemony, in the post-Soviet space (minus the Baltics), specifically a veto over former satellites’ foreign and defense policies and alliances. This vision of Russia’s geostrategy explains why a Europe-bound Ukraine is such a sharp and deep setback for the Putin regime and why it necessitated such a swift response. Defined by Putin from the very beginning as a contest within the greater West vs. Russia competition, the Ukrainian revolution has struck body blows not at one, but at two elements at the heart of Russia’s geopolitical objectives as defined by Putin: a world great power and the regional hegemon. As a result, containment, destabilization and, if possible, derailment of the new, pro-Western Ukraine has become (and will continue to be) a key domestic political issue for Putin, whose legitimacy is being threatened by Ukraine’s exit from Russia’s sphere of influence. As for Putin’s next moves, they will be defined solely by a cross calculation of the two sets of constantly updated political metrics in his head: his sense of regaining the initiative and recovering Russia’s status on the one hand, and the
And recent events related to growing instability cast doubt on whether or not Russia will agree to a negotiated solution.
The Kremlin said Friday that “all hope” for an internationally negotiated settlement in Ukraine had been destroyed, hours after two Ukrainian helicopters were shot down as government forces launched an assault to dislodge pro-Russian separatists from the eastern city of Slovyansk.
A spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Dmitri S. Peskov, told news agencies that the “punitive operation” against the separatists’ eastern stronghold effectively had destroyed “all hope for the viability of the Geneva agreements” negotiated in the Swiss city on April 17 by the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, which were intended to defuse the crisis.
The agreements, which had never taken deep root, had become increasingly frayed in recent days. Much of eastern Ukraine slipped beyond the control of the authorities in Kiev as militants took control of a series of official buildings and captured a German-led team of military observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
There are also strong criticisms of sanctions.
Meyers and Higgins 3/18/14 http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2014/03/18/sanctions-dont-deter-putin-on-crimea.html The New York Times, Acting Moscow Bureau Chief, formerly in Iraq and in Washington.
Still, in Moscow, the initial listing was met with public derision and even mockery, though privately there appeared to be relief that the sanctions had not reached any of Russia’s major economic or banking figures, as many had feared. In one measure of the reaction, Russia’s battered stock markets rose sharply at the end of the day as the U.S. and European announcements were made. Among those penalized yesterday were Vladislav Surkov, for years one of Putin’s most-influential advisers, known as the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal”; Sergei Glazyev, an economist who has been advising Putin on Ukraine; Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament; and Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy prime minister. No sanctions were placed on Putin. Others named by the White House were Leonid Slutsky and Yelena Mizulina, members of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament; and Andrey Klishas, a member of the Federation Council who wrote a bill to seize assets of Western individuals and assets in retaliation for any sanctions imposed on Russia. The White House also sanctioned two Russian-supported figures who have taken power in Crimea — Sergei Aksyonov, the newly declared prime minister; and Vladimir Konstantinov, the newly declared speaker of its parliament. In addition to Yanukovych, the Americans penalized Viktor Medvedchuk, head of a pro-Russian civil society group, Ukrainian Choice. Putin’s moves showed that Moscow has no intention of backing down in the face of Western sanctions over a dispute that has created a profound rift in East-West relations and threatens the security of borders created after the Soviet Union’s breakup in the early 1990s.
Con teams could also argue in favor of increasing financial support for the Ukraine (either alone or in combination with negotiations).
Jones 3/24/14 http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brookings-now/posts/2014/03/brookings-scholars-on-ukraine-crimea-crisis-march-24
Bruce Jones is a senior fellow and the director of the Project on International Order and Strategy at Brookings and chair of the advisory council of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. His research focuses on U.S. policy on global order and transnational threats, multilateral institutions, international conflict management and fragile states. His most recent book, Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint, will be released in March 2014.
Russia’s actions, the attempt reverse Crimea’s status by force, really threaten a lot of our allies in Eastern Europe, and I think it’s very important that the United States stand behind our allies. … The first round [of sanctions] were more symbolic; this round is really going after key financial institutions and people close to Putin. And these will have an effect over time; they’re not going to reverse Russia’s actions tomorrow but they will weaken the Russian economy over time. Ukraine needs U.S. financial and political support, Jones said: We’re not going to invade militarily … this is not a NATO ally. We can use sanctions. We can support the government of Ukraine; that’s going to be a long, hard slog. This is not a well-managed government. We’re going to have to give it financial support but also political support and try to urge it to do serious reforms if Ukraine is going to stand up on its own and tilt toward Europe which is what we want to see here. … We hear a lot about American decline and the rise of these new powers and the kind of resurgence of Russia. But the fact is, if you look at the fundamentals, the United States is an enduring power and it’s by far and away the most influential actor on the world stage. It’s really a question of how we choose to lead and whether or not we put the will and the muscle behind our leadership.
Is deterrence workable?
This question has already been addressed a bit in the section of the essay that discussed why deterrence is a failure in this particular context as well as why it may generally fail.
The focus of this previous criticism of deterrence was really on the desirability of military deterrence in general and how it might antagonize Russia. There is a different set of arguments, however, that focus on the claim that Putin is undeterable because he is bent on re-establishing Russia’s greatness. In other words, deterrence fails because military strength can’t solve the problem, not because it is bad.
Illarionov 3/17/14 http://inforesist.org/putins-former-adviser-regime-of-yanukovich-its-a-kids-playground-comparing-to-putins-regime/?lang=enis lecture at National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy former adviser of Putin,
So what happens now? Putin’s aggression that includes invasion by Russian military troops, taking over Crimean Institutions and attacking Ukrainian military bases, human deaths. Aggression is one of the biggest crimes against international peace and security. As well it’s a crime under the Criminal Code of Russian Federation ( Art. 353 and 354) . The first stage of this aggression – invasion of Crimea and attempt to annex. Those who believe that Putin’s aggression will stop at Crimea are wrong. In “Ukrainian Plan” that was developed long time ago that is only a first step. Next one will be to destabilize situation in the South and East of Ukraine. According to this plan, provoke local fights which will lead to the civil war. This situation in Ukraine will be the most desirable for Kremlin for the next few years. 3. One of the most important goals of “Ukrainian plan” is to represent Ukraine to Ukrainians, as well as to International and Russian community as a politically invalid country. Territory of chaos. Place of anarchy. A land of war against everything – West against East, Christians against Muslims, lefts against rights. 4. Putin’s Ukrainian plan includes a third element and it’s very popular argumentation among Kremlin’s chiefs. They insist that what happened in Kiev was a violent coup d’etat. That present Ukrainian government is illegitimate. And that the only legitimate government, according to Kremlin, is at Crimea. Ministry of foreign affairs of Russia often calls present government in Kiev as “Nazis, Banderas, fascist thugs regime”. So the third goal of Putin’s aggression against Ukraine is the change of Ukrainian government. 5. And here we have a question – why to punish so hard? Ousted regime is Ukraine was a light copy of Putin’s regime in Russia. Yanukovich’s regime was a kids playground comparing to present regime in Russia. Both regimes are connected by the blood ties. So the fall of the first one is the huge knock out to the second. It’s a death threat to the chief and symbol of the same regime at the North-East from Ukraine, but with bigger power and with more commodities. 6. Euromaidan – is anti-criminal, anti-Soviet/anti-Communism and anti-Empire revolution. The same kind of revolution that happened a quarter century ago at many counties of Central and Eastern Europe, but didn’t realize in Russia, Belarus and Asian Republics of ex-USSR. Georgia had its own anti-criminal. Anti-Communist and anti-Soviet revolution in 2003. But Ukrainian “Orange revolution ” of 2004 was not able to bring changes. And because today’s Russia re-births communist’s and Stalin’s symbols, ideas and institutions, when present regime is clearly criminal and Russia reconstructs into Empire – to all that Ukrainian February’s Revolution is the biggest knock out , that’s a death threat to the present ideology and power structure of Russia. 7. So what is Putin scared of so much in Kiev and Ukraine? Why does he hate so much independent Ukraine? Why did he prepare such a cruel vengeance? First of all – Maidan, a Public Democratic institution created by people. Second – possible raise/creation/appearance(?) of “Ukrainian Saakashvilli”. A Person, that will represent all 3 elements of last revolutions at the post-soviet territory – Rose Revolution of 2003 in Georgia, Maidan Revolution of 2014 in Ukraine : the anti-Criminal, anti-Soviet and anti-Imperial movement .Putin’s aggression is a punitive expedition against Ukrainians for the creation of the Maidan, for the attempt to break loose from the tenacious and sticky imperial entanglement. 8. To understand Putin, one must try on “his shoes”, try to understand his thinking and logic, try to imagine how he himself is seeing his task. He believes that he is chosen by the Divine Providence to punish liberated Ukrainians by the means of destabilising the country, overthrowing the government, annexing territories, “unification of Russian land and of separated Russian people”. He imagines that he has got a cart-blanch from Above to fulfil the “historical imperial dream”. All the more so, he does not consider a neighbouring country to be an established state. He has said that much in the April of 2008 on the NATO summit in Bucharest. In his opinion, such country does not exist, and half of the Ukrainian territory is “ancestral Russian land”. He believes that now there is a unique historical situation: Ukraine is in state of severe crises, its authorities and institutions do not function effectively. He dreams that the Providence demands him to fulfil this mission. That is why if on the one side of the political balance is such a “historic mission” and on the other – possible economic and personal sanctions, will he be afraid of the latter? Will the decision to exclude Russia from the G8 influence him? Will he care even about the exclusion from the UN, as was excluded the USSR from the League of Nations for a military attack on Finland in 1939? He has a choice between the “voice of Providence” and noise of “some papers”, he will choose the former. And at the end of all, the sanctions will pass, but the land will remain.
These arguments are good (there are good cards for them), but Con needs to carefully consider whether or not they want to make them because they are not especially strategic; if the Con makes these arguments, they cannot also make arguments that Putin/Russia is not a threat and that alternative measures such as negotiations and financial penalties will be (more) effective.
Additional Con Argument – Strengthening NATO
The resolution asks whether or not NATO should strengthen its relationship with the Ukraine “in order to deter further Russian aggression.”
I think an interesting argument that the Con can make is to argue that NATO should not strengthen its relationship with the Ukraine in order to deter future Russian aggression but rather in order to maintain the credibility and relevance of NATO
James Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations., The Washington Times, April 9, 2014, Putin’s provocation; NATO’s credibility is at stake, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/8/lyons-putins-provocation/?page=all
Even though Russia has become a key energy supplier for Germany and the West European grid, its economy is extremely vulnerable to the external demand for its in-ground resources. Compounding that problem is the inherent weakness of its economy, plus its declining Slavic population and a rapidly rising Muslim populace. Many European Union countries rely on Russia for approximately 30 percent of their energy requirements. Nonetheless, if NATO is to remain relevant, it needs to reassert its fundamental principles and take action that will send an unmistakable message that it will defend itself as well as its newest members.Such action does not require deploying NATO forces to Ukraine. However, requests for military equipment should be granted so Ukraine can be seen as having a capability to defend its sovereignty. Key to demonstrating NATO’s determination and solidarity is the execution of visible confidence-building measures. This should include key defensive as well as offensive elements to dissuade Mr. Putin from any follow-on military aggression. NATO should deploy the latest offensive weapons – F-22s, AWACS, Global Hawks, F-15E, B-2s and Eurofighter Typhoons – and defensive systems such as Patriot and PAC-3 batteries, to carefully selected NATO areas. At least one carrier battle group should be maintained in the Eastern Mediterranean. Once forces are in place, they need to be exercised in a way that clearly shows NATO solidarity. These exercises also need to include a theater-wide command-and-control exercise. NATO ground forces should also be incorporated as part of the overall exercise program. The key to demonstrating NATO’s determination and solidarity will not be found in the Saul Alinsky playbook, nor will it be accomplished by “leading from behind.” It will require Mr. Obama to measure up to meet Mr. Putin’s challenge by displaying the necessary leadership NATO deserves. The consequences for failure in meeting this challenge will loom large in the future.
The Public Forum resolution for the June NSDA tournament is drawn from the recent controversy related to the events in the Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Although these events are recent, it is important to understand the history of Russia, the role of NATO in Europe and Eastern Europe, as well as Russian politics to be fully prepared to debate this resolution.
As for the specific of the arguments, Pro teams will need to mount a strong defense of the need to increase relations between NATO (a military alliance) and the Ukraine. Although there are certainly advocates for strengthening those ties, most writers contend that the US should strengthen ties with NATO, generally improve NATO defenses throughout Europe, and use sanctions and diplomatic pressure to encourage a resolution to the dispute. These are the strong Con arguments that the Pro will have to overcome.