My take on US foreign policy towards Russia and Ukraine.

Cont. 4

Rising tensions over Ukraine have gone global and the proper course of action should be not coercion and continued pressure on Russia with sanctions but a constructive dialogue between the two nations that have real potential for de-escalating the situation. As many political scientists have observed and argued, the United States have taken a wrong approach towards Russia since the 90's by expanding NATO and not taking into account Russia's security concerns. Such foreign policy has promoted Russians to resort to realpolitik in the face of losing Ukraine to EU that will bring NATO to their borders. Current sanctions that serve as punishment have greatly escalated situation even further and as a result it crashed heavily dependent on Russia Ukrainian economy, it has affected European Union as well because of interconnectedness of economies. Current aid to Ukraine, that includes militarily to fight separatists will only divide Ukraine further and will cause more casualties. Sanctions will not bring back Crimea and Russia is not going to drop their support for separatists, thus sanctions are effective only in causing damage to Russian economy but they fail to accomplished practical goals, such as ending the conflict and having a decisive resolution in Donbass. There is no easy solution for the ongoing conflict but one thing is certain, there is no benefit to further escalation. Further negotiations should be held with self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic with a possible solution being federalization, autonomy or two-state solution. In the face of current events, M. Gorbachev ex-General Secretary of USSR who moved towards closer US-Russian relations stated: "I suggest the leaders of Russia and the United States think about holding a summit with a broad agenda, without preliminary conditions; One needn't be afraid of 'losing face', that someone will gain a propaganda victory: this should all belong to the past. One needs to think about the future; This is extremely dangerous, with tensions as high as they are now. We may not live through these days: someone could lose their nerve." And this is exactly what both countries need to do or we are going to see another Cold War with a possibility of it turning into hot conflict that will have no winners, only losers. To put things in perspective regarding annexation of Crimea, it's important to understand historical relevance of Crimea and how it fits in current situation. Crimea has been under Russian sphere of influence, territory, since 18th century and majority of Crimeans are ethnic Russian. During Soviet years, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when Ukrainian born Nikita Khruschev, General Secretary of USSR, gave Crimea to Ukrainian SSR for more efficient administration. Whether such transfer of territory was legitimate is under dispute but one thing is certain, such a deal did not take into account the possibility of the collapse of the USSR. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Crimea became an Autonomous Republic but under Ukrainian sphere of influence despite many Crimeans being sympathetic towards reunification with Russia. The territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia concerning Crimea has been ongoing since the early 90's. In 1994, Crimea conducted a referendum for independence that was deemed illegal by the Kiev government. Ever since, Crimeans were denied any chance for self-determination or reunification with Russian Federation. Los Angeles Time wrote in May, 1994: “Jubilant Crimean deputies applauded and hugged each other after an overwhelming majority of 69 out of 73 present approved the bill restoring a 1992 constitution, which puts Crimea's relations with Ukraine on a foreign footing; Toward evening they went a step further by considering an appeal to Moscow and Kiev to allow Crimea to move toward rejoining Russia, the Interfax news agency reported.“ If we take into account above points, then it's clear that Crimean issue goes beyond widely accepted view that annexation of Crimea by Russia was a blind aggression towards domination of ex-Soviet Republics. Following Kiev's revolution or a coup, depending on individual interpretation, Russian Federation has resorted to realpolitik and played their wild card in Crimea. They cut off Crimea from mainland Ukraine and took under control all military bases to hold a referendum that would decided the fate of Crimea, either to rejoin Russia or stay with Ukraine under Crimean constitution of 1992. It's worth underlining that as per agreement between Ukraine and Russia, Russia was allowed to station their troops in Sevastopol with up to 20,000 men. Whether this was an invasion of a sovereign state or a peacekeeping mission requested by Autonomous Republic of Crimea in the face of unconstitutional coup is under dispute. One of the independent American media, Vice News, sent in journalists to interview the locals and to document situation in Crimea from invasion to referendum that was not recognized by the United Nations as legitimate. In Vice's report, overwhelming majority voted for reunification with Russia and expressed their disdain Ukrainian interim government. During invasion no casualties or civil unrest was observed.

/r/geopolitics Thread