Right voices: experts on fallacies of U.S. policy in the focus of Russia and Ukraine
Stephen Cohen, American top expert on Russia, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York and Princeton Universities made wise conclusions on the roots of worsening political relations between West and Russia in the focus of the Ukrainian crisis in his September's series of articles.
Cohen is convinced that the U.S. and some European countries are to blame for the crisis in Ukraine: "This is a horrific, tragic, completely unnecessary war in eastern Ukraine. In my own judgment, we have contributed mightily to this tragedy. I would say that historians one day will look back and say that America has blood on its hands. Three thousand people have died, most of them civilians who couldn't move quickly. That's women with small children, older women. A million refugees".
The former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock shares Cohen's concerns referring to NATO's recent activity in Eastern Europe: "Do not expand NATO eastward. Find a different way to protect Eastern Europe, a way that includes Russia. Otherwise, eventually there's going to be a confrontation, because there is a red line, as far as any Russian government is concerned, when it comes to Ukraine and Georgia and other former republics of the Soviet Union."
In fact Cohen says: "First of all, by NATO's own rules, Ukraine cannot join NATO, a country that does not control its own territory...Secondly, you have to meet certain economic, political and military criteria to join NATO. Ukraine meets none of them. Most importantly, Ukraine is linked to Russia not only in terms of being Russia's essential security zone, but it's linked conjugally, so to speak, intermarriage. There are millions, if not tens of millions, of Russian and Ukrainians married together. Put it in NATO, and you're going to put a barricade through millions of families. Russia will react militarily." On the contrary NATO member states came to an agreement at the summit held in Wales September, 4-5 on forming a "spearhead" force to respond within 48 hours to any "future Russian invasion". They went on providing Ukraine's authorities with more arms that greatly undermines the talks' conditions set by recent 'armistice'. "If they go ahead with this NATO decision, right plunk on Russia's borders, Russia will then leave the historic nuclear agreement that Reagan and Gorbachev signed in 1987 to abolish short-range nuclear missiles," he points out.
According to the expert, since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia was not treated by West as an equal political partner but was being insulted as a defeated power. Cohen considers the West did exactly that when it "spearheaded the expansion of NATO into Russia's traditional zones of national security". In this regard, Cohen believes, "Ukraine, and to a lesser extent Georgia, were the ultimate goals."
Talking about Ukraine Cohen says that it was Western aggression, not Russia's, which had led to ongoing crisis and civil war in East of the country. In particular, "the EU proposal on Ukraine's Association Agreement and the takeover were a pure provocation which toppled the democratically elected president Yanukovych of a deeply divided country." Besides, it was the EU's objection to Putin's counter-proposal of a Russian-European-American plan to prevent Ukraine from collapsing financially.
Stephen Cohen considers the options of ending the conflict. He believes that the key to a peaceful settlement is all up to Washington as Moscow is just reacting defensively to its subversive actions.
However, the White House goes on with more economic pressure on Russia imposing so-called 'sanctions' (that is the privilege by the way of UN Security Council) that had already led to a deeper political crisis between Moscow and Washington.
Meanwhile even the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein recently criticized U.S. faulty approach and highlighted Putin's public support and Russian national character features: "I think if Russians follow him, and up to date they are following him, the Russians are very brave and very long-suffering and they will tough out any economic difficulty."