08 March 2014

Ukraine 3/8: Blame Game?

The Economist has an interesting take on who is to blame for Ukraine.

Those convinced that a weak Mr Obama has emboldened foes are concentrating on the wrong bit of his foreign policy. Managing a thug like Mr Putin, who would distrust any American president, was never going to be easy. More thoughtful critiques consider how Mr Obama relates to allies.

Mr Putin is not deterred by even the toughest Western rhetoric when he sees a chance to advance national interests, says Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, who led government intelligence analysis of Russia during the Georgian crisis. The only way now to slow his march into Ukraine, she suggests, is for America to work in lockstep with Europe, preventing Mr Putin from exploiting Western divisions.

Kurt Volker, a former American ambassador to NATO, wishes that America had worked with Europe years ago to make Ukraine’s oligarch-infested energy sector more transparent. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wants co-ordination with Europe on economic aid for Ukraine. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, argues for opening up American gas exports to the region, to weaken Russia’s grip as an energy supplier.

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