Careful Optimism or What Would Have Done (or Would Do) Ronald Reagan with the Situation in Crimea

8 March 2014

‘I am not going to start that World War III because of you”

General Michael Jackson (General’s response to the order to knock out Russian troops from the Pristina airport during the conflict in Kosovo in 1999)

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them”

The words attributed to Vladimir Lenin

Instead of an introduction

Before proceeding to the main issue of this publication, I would like to place some coordinates that will define how I see the situation around the Crimea in its international aspect.

When Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 2000, during his first inaugural speech he mentioned, among other things, the restoration of Russia as a great power. Currently in the theory of international relations such a Russia means one that dominates at least in its region – in this particular case we are talking about the Post-Soviet space. It means that implementing Putin’s idea to restore Russia as a great power would not be possible without reformatting the former Soviet Union region with the Kremlin’s exclusive right to veto strategic decisions of the former Soviet republics – the so-called reincarnation of “Brezhnev Doctrine”, but in a much narrower region compared to the communist era.

In fact, during his time in power Putin allocated lots of time and resources for this aim. And Ukraine had and still has a central place in such plans – successfully implementing the plan to establish informal control over our state would mean that Putin will be able to conquer other countries in the European part of the former Soviet Union, given the much lower potential of these countries compared to Ukraine. Therefore, it is clear that any attempt of the West (either through NATO enlargement – which according to Moscow is an openly hostile form of Western activity — or in a milder form of association agreements and free trade area with the EU) to reformat former Soviet space without Russia’s participation, arouses resistance. Therefore, confrontation is inevitable: this in fact we are seeing today. The only question is in the manifestations and forms – a cold war could escalate into something more active. Continue reading