A hope for peace in Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.  Source: NBC News

Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.    Source: NBC News

I hope the proposed cease-fire in Ukraine takes effect, and I hope President Obama accepts this life-line out of the crisis.

A deal that recognizes the autonomy of Donetsk and Lugansk without breaking up Ukraine would be in the best interests of everyone.   The industrial resources of eastern Ukraine would be remain part of the overall Ukrainian economy.  But Russian language and culture in Ukraine would no longer be under attack.

While President Putin would not want to give up control of the Russian naval base in Ukraine, it  is not in his interest for Russia to annex eastern Ukraine.  Keeping Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Ukraine would be insurance that Ukraine as a whole does not join NATO.

It is undoubtedly true, as President Putin said, that the Russian army could take Ukraine in a week.  The question of whether the Russian army could successfully occupy Ukraine is another matter.   The American army defeated the army of Saddam Hussein very quickly.  Successfully occupying the country was a different matter.

It would not be in Russia’s interest to annex eastern Ukraine, if it meant an anti-Russian Ukrainian government in western Ukraine joining NATO.  A neutral Ukrainian buffer state would be in the interest of both countries, and would not threaten any vital interest of the United States.

Or so it seems to me.  This is, however, not based on any special knowledge of Russia and Ukraine, but on what I imagine I would think and do if I were in President Putin’s place.  Does this make sense?   What do you think?

It’s interesting, though, that President Poroshenko of Ukraine negotiated the cease-fire with President Putin of Russia, not with the rebel leaders in Donetsk and Lugansk.   It goes to show who was, and is, really in charge.


Ukrainian president would order ceasefire if Minsk peace talks confirmed by Shaun Walker for The Guardian.

Vladimir Putin drafts peace plan for eastern Ukraine by Shaun Walker for The Guardian.

Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault: the Liberal Delusions that Provoked Putin  by John Mearshiemer for Foreign Affairs.   This is an excellent background article.  My only criticism is that Mearsheimer attributes U.S. policy solely to naivete and not to the influence of financial speculators who want to acquire Ukraine’s rich agricultural and energy resources.

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