Some U.S. foreign policy experts refuse to learn from Neville Chamberlain.
Russia wants to be part of the world but free to figure out how to modernize its own country. As long as it respects the full political sovereignty of neighbors such as Georgia and Ukraine -- that is, it doesn't try to control their internal affairs or dictate their regimes -- it shouldn't have to fear foreign military bases in countries that abut its territory.
The U.S.-Russian joint focus should be on actions that actually do make the world a safer place. If the cost of getting that genuine convergence of strategic interests and results on the ground is giving up radars in Poland and the Czech Republic, and being honest about the very unlikely prospects for Ukrainian or Georgian membership in NATO, I would say it’s a small price to pay.
That's from The Russia Opportunity, a Foreign Affairs article by Bill Bradley, a former U.S. senator and now a managing partner at Allen and Company.
Little does Bradley seem to know that Russia does NOT respect the full political sovereignty of neighbors such as Georgia and Ukraine. Russia DOES try to control their internal affairs and DOES try to dictate their regimes.
Last year, Russia partitioned Georgia. Russia believes that Ukraine has no right to modernize its own gas pipeline without somehow kowtowing to Russian interests.
The Kremlin maintains a high profile in Ukrainian elections and demands special treatment for Russians and Russified Ukrainians living in Ukraine. It grants no such treatment to Ukrainians living in Russia, having assimilated them for decades. It incites separatism in Crimea and shows no interest in withdrawing its Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol once the lease agreement expires in 2017.
Aside from his blind quid-pro-Kremlin push, Bill Bradley does make a few sound points:
From 1993 to 1997, beyond supporting IMF infusions, the United States provided just $4.7 billion in direct assistance. Not only was American assistance to Russia long on rhetoric and short on impact, but hundreds of millions of those funds went into the pockets of American consultants, planners, and advisors who went up the learning curve over and over again even as billions more of IMF funds were stolen by the then ruling elite of Russia. Only pennies actually reached the Russian people.
The same thing happened to the Ukrainian people! Except that we gave up our nuclear arsenal — the world's third-largest — entirely.
So Bill Bradley thinks that, by disarming and disowning Ukraine, America will be a safer place?
I think he got it all wrong.
Well, for starters, we still have that long-range missile technology. We also have vast stockpiles of conventional weapons. Any idea where some of that stuff might end up once you kindly invite Uncle Vlad to Ukraine?
Bradley’s appeasement rhetoric culminates in the closing paragraph:
During the war in Georgia, Senator John McCain memorably proclaimed, “We are all Georgians.” To this I respond, “No, we are all Americans.” The sooner we recognize how central Russia is to American interests, the sooner we can form the basis of a meaningful partnership.
Mr. Bradley, how soon before you realize that the policy you advocate would actually encourage Russia to try to annex its neighbors? What effects would a Russian adventure in Ukraine have on regional and global security, not to mention humanitarian and energy issues?
Would American interests be well served?