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Who Lost Ukraine?

February 21st, 2014 - 10:36 am

The question is probably premature, albeit not by very much, but here’s Peter Vine on Ukraine and America’s pivot to Asia:

America and the E.U. should be working together to help resolve the Ukraine crisis. Instead, the two powers talk past each other.

This disconnect has been a long time in the making. It began during the debate over how to handle the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Tensions increased when NATO intervened in Kosovo in 1998. The U.S. and U.K. favored air strikes; Germany opposed them.

America’s relationship with Europe suffered further during the Iraq war in 2003—which many European governments opposed—and also with whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leak of classified U.S. surveillance schemes last year.

But America’s strategic “pivot” to the Pacific has been the most damaging to its position in Europe.

I’m not one given to being overly generous (cough) to the Wiggleroom Administration, but this analysis is unfair.

Of course America was going to pivot to Asia — it began under the Bush Administration. Don’t forget, Asia is where both Iraq and Afghanistan are located. And we’ve been moving military assets out of NATO countries, even as NATO expanded, in the decade before 9/11. We sent VII Corps from Germany to Saudi Arabia for the First Gulf War, when that great armored formations undertook one of history’s most rapid and amazing offenses. And then it was simply disbanded after returning to the United States more than 20 years ago. If we had really believed Europe was our strategic focus, VII Corps would be there still today.

What’s going on in Ukraine is a tragedy, and one likely to end in Europe’s (and America’s) diminishment, and in Moscow’s aggrandizement. If Russia really wants to pick off the historically Russian parts of Ukraine, it’s not really in our power to stop them.

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Picture if you will a bold and ugly play where Russia puts some serious hurt on Ukraine, possibly seizing the Crimea or beyond, and China takes that moment to pounce on whatever chunks of rock are currently catching their fancy.

Technically, if Europe got sucked into the East, then we would be obligated by NATO to get involved, whereas if Japan got sucked into a conflict with China, we would be also be obligated (would Europe? I've never been certain about that.)

And thus everything..... everything about the current status of planet Earth and the global alliances of same would depend on the wisdom and strategic abilities of the current President of the United States and his team.

Gosh that makes me feel good. How do you think it makes Moscow and Beijing feel today?

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