April 15, 2015

PROBABLY NOT WITH HILLARY AND OBAMA IN CHARGE: The U.S./Russian Diplomatic Debacle: Could It Have Been Otherwise?

Did the West bungle its relations with Russia after the Cold War? Was there a better way? This debate, now a quarter of a century old, will doubtless be with us for decades. The sides don’t seem to change much, nor do their arguments. Those who opposed the enlargement of NATO in the 1990s treat the war in Ukraine as proof that they were right all along. It was madness, they say, to challenge a core Russian security interest. Enlargement’s supporters, of course, claim vindication just as vehemently. For them, Putin’s aggression shows the wisdom of bringing new members into the alliance. Including Ukraine, they suggest, might have avoided the current crisis altogether.

While they differ in their policy prescriptions, these two sides converge on one point: their view of Russia. Great powers don’t change much, they tell us. Habits of domination are not easily unlearned. So expect a future full of potential trouble, and think carefully in advance about how to avoid it.

Centuries of conflict confirm such maxims.

Well, that was before we had Smart DiplomacyTM so naturally there’s nothing to learn from history.

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