I suspect that the reason for this bleak outlook is that we too – me absolutely included – need to lower own expectation on the West finally taking its own values and the means by which to protect them seriously. It seems to me that being spoiled in decades of good times in terms of development & prosperity have all but dampened our willingness to defend our values when push comes to shove; that is unless of course its all about political posturing or flashing military might but only using them when convenient – that is where weak states are involved or for the financial incentives of arms trade and irrespective of any human rights abuses of the recipient state; that’s as far as sacrifice and values go at the present time unfortunately, but as that old saying goes “what goes around comes around”.
No one wants conflict but to counter aggressive Russian actions past and present with rhetoric, political posturing and waving €signs to Ukraine is not the way to go as I mentioned in previous blogs so I’ll not rehash-scrambling to arrange meetings or remote video conferences cannot solve much if anything. There is a time and a place for diplomacy and there is a set of requirements for such talks to begin if they are to be serious; non of these apply in the current situation. Please recognise that action (or inaction as the case may be) in dealing with Russia’s Putin in moments like this have ramifications not only in the Ukraine crisis but sets the model in case of future crisis either as an enabling factor or a deterrent.
On the other hand I would truly like this east/west power play involving the west vs. Russia and China to end once and for all and in such a way that also prevents using weak states that are used as pawns in these high stake power play from having to pay the price either politically or economically. There needs to be a focus not on specific regional issues but rather on creating a new model of pragmatic cooperation by developing a system that ensures differences are resolved early in the process and before they do become full blown crisis just for starters; but in my opinion thats a conversation for another day once the dust settles. As a matter of fact and to be fair I do totally understand Russia’s concern over Ukraine’s entry into NATO but I do NOT support its aggressive actions in Crimea as well as political meddling and cyber attacks to undermine western Democracies. There are also ways to ensure NATO protection of Ukraine short of it becoming a member of the organisation; so that should not be a problem but that should be part of a negotiation process not through aggressive threats & actions.
For now the West (and particularly the EU) needs long terms solutions and proactive measures to help develop better coordination geared to deal with similar crisis; one less based on rhetoric/posturing and scrambling and more on viable action on the ground otherwise any form of union cannot last for very long.
The President has been “tormenting me for 6 hours”! There is little for President Macron to boast about when being treated like a student by his teacher in this meeting/news conference but on the other hand this should have been expected and sets a sad downhill trajectory as a pattern for the West’s dealing with Putin’s Russia.
Just a thought!