Monday, February 16, 2015

John Mearsheimer: Ukraine not to arm!

John Mearsheimer: Ukraine not to arm!
February 16

Editor's note: Well-known expert on international relations, University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer writes about why he believes the United States should not arm the Ukraine, and how they should behave in order to allow the Ukrainian crisis. This article was published in The New York Times February 8, 2015

Opinion of Professor Mirshaymera reflects the opinion of those in the American foreign policy establishment opposed to an open conflict with Russia, trying to close the project Novorossia through peaceful negotiations, rightly pointing out that the pressure on Russia will lead to undesirable consequences for the United States. We believe that this material was not without interest to Russian readers.

Already last year as Ukrainian crisis, and Russia it wins. Separatists in eastern Ukraine are gaining ground, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no sign that he is willing to give up in the face of Western economic sanctions.

As might be expected, in the US hear more voices calling to begin deliveries of arms Ukraine. A recent report by the three major US think tank argues that it is necessary to pass Kiev modern weapons. Ashton B. Carter, whom the White House away in the new ministers of defense, said last week in the Senate committee on defense, that he was "seriously leaning towards it."

They are wrong. If this decision is made, the journey will be a big mistake for the United States, NATO and Ukraine itself. Sending arms Ukraine will not save her army and vice versa will lead to escalation of hostilities. This step is particularly dangerous because Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and seeks to protect its strategic interests.

Of course, no one disputes that armed separatists exceeds Ukrainian, as on the side of the separatists and Russian weapons. And because the balance of power firmly on the side of Moscow, Washington could send large amounts of equipment for the Ukrainian army, in order to give that opportunity to fight better.

But the conflict will not end. Russia, in this case the answer countermeasures that would negate the temporary advantage that Kiev will receive from the American weapons. The authors of the study think tanks agree with this, noting that "even with significant support from the West, the Ukrainian army will not be able to reflect the decisive attack of the Russian armed forces." In short, the United States can not win the arms race in the Ukraine and thus ensure the defeat of Russia in the field.

Supporters of arms supplies to Ukraine put forward a second line of argument. The key to success will be, they say, not a military victory over Russia, but raising the cost of the war to a level at which Putin will have to surrender. Loss gradually forced Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and allow one to join the European Union and NATO and become an ally of the West.

This strategy of coercion also unlikely to work, no matter how to "punish" the West resort.Supporters of Ukraine's arms can not understand that Russia's leaders are convinced that in Ukraine at stake are fundamental strategic interests of their country. They are not going to give in, even if it means taking on large expenses.

The Great Powers react harshly when opponents are far projecting its military power to their neighboring countries, especially when they are trying to turn them borderline state in its ally.That's why the US has the Monroe Doctrine, and today no American leader will not tolerate if Canada or Mexico to join the military alliance, led by another great power.

Russia is no exception in this regard. Therefore, Putin did not budge under the sanctions and is unlikely to make significant concessions, if the cost of the war in Ukraine will increase.

Raising rates on Ukraine faces an unwanted escalation. Not only harden the conflict in eastern Ukraine, it can spread to other parts of the country. Implications for Ukraine, which is already facing deep economic and social problems can be disastrous.

The possibility that Putin may go so far as to threaten that will be nuclear weapons may seem unlikely, but if the purpose of Arms of Ukraine is to raise the price of Russian intervention and hence put Moscow in a difficult situation, you can not dismiss this possibility. If the pressure of the West will be successful, and Putin comes to despair, it may be a strong desire to try to salvage the situation waving the nuclear club.

Ultimately, our understanding of escalating crises and wars is limited, but we know that the risks are significant. Cornering nuclear-armed Russia - is to play with fire.

Supporters of arms supplies Ukraine recognize the problem escalation, which is why they emphasize the fact that Kiev is necessary to give only "defensive weapons", not "offensive."Unfortunately there are no significant differences between the two categories. Any weapon can be used for both attack and defense. Thus, to be sure, Moscow will not consider this American weapons as "defensive" as Washington intends to review the status quo in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian crisis can only be resolved by diplomatic means, not military. It seems that German Chancellor Angela Merkel recognizes this fact, as it is said that Germany will not send weapons to Kiev. Her problem, though, is that she does not know how to resolve the crisis.

She and other European leaders are still under the illusion according to which Ukraine can be torn away from Russia and to include in the West, and that Russia's leaders must recognize this. They do not recognize.

In order to save Ukraine and then restore a working relationship with Russia, the West should strive to make Ukraine a neutral buffer state like Austria during the Cold War. To this end, the agenda must be removed enlargement of the European Union and NATO, it must be emphasized that the aim of the West is neutral Ukraine, which does not threaten Russia. The United States and its allies must also work together with Putin in order to save the Ukrainian economy, the purpose of this in the public interest.

It is important that Russia helped to end the war in eastern Ukraine, and to Kiev regained control of the region. And yet, Donetsk and Lugansk regions should be given substantial autonomy and protection of the rights of the Russian language should be a top priority.

Crimea, lost because of Western attempts to push the boundaries of NATO and the European Union to the Russian front door, of course, is lost forever. Time to end this reckless policy, while Ukraine and relations between Russia and the West will not be caused even more damage.

About the Author: John J.. Mirshaymer, political science professor at the University of Chicago, one of the leading experts in the field of international relations, the creator of the theory of "offensive realism." 

Translation Alexander Bovdunova specifically for IA "New Russia"

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