The unresolved conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbas region represents by far the greatest danger of a new war in Europe – and by far the greatest risk of a new crisis in relations between the United States and Russia.
For President Biden, the question is: can he jettison the confrontational behavior toward Russia on Russia’s doorstep and work instead with Berlin, Moscow, and Kiev to fashion a sustainable solution that meets European, Ukrainian, and Russian security needs?
Professor Mearsheimer assesses the causes of the Ukraine crisis, the best way to end it, and its consequences for all of the main actors. A key assumption is that in order to come up with the optimum plan for ending the crisis, it is essential to know what caused the crisis. Regarding the all-important question of causes, the key issue is whether Russia or the West bears primary responsibility.
On Tuesday, I spoke with ACURA board member, filmmaker and citizen diplomat Cynthia Lazaroff. For decades Cynthia has been among our most energetic and innovative citizen diplomats – working on Track II diplomacy and citizen exchange initiatives since the 1980’s.
In 1983, at the height of Cold War tensions, Cynthia co-founded and served as Executive Director of the US-USSR Youth Exchange Program where she pioneered exchanges in the fields of art, literature, theater, education, film, sports, among many other areas.
More recently, she founded NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and author of Dawn of a New Armageddon, a personal account of the Hawaii missile scare that was published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Hiroshima Day 2018.
Before we began, Cynthia and I paid tribute to the late William vanden Heuvel who for years served as president of the Committee. Ambassador vanden Heuvel was a great gentleman and left a big imprint on his country through his work on civil rights and international diplomacy. He will be sorely missed by his colleagues on the Committee. – JWC
Differences between the United States and Russia do not, and indeed cannot, preclude dialogue and diplomacy – nor do they exclude the possibility of compromise. But this would require, to borrow a phrase from Mikhail Gorbachev, “‘a de-ideologization of interstate relationships.”
Relations between the United States and Russia have reached a particularly perilous moment.
The past year has seen an unprecedented rise in U.S.-Russia tensions in the Arctic since the end of the Cold War. For the first time since the 1980s, NATO warships entered the Barents Sea just off Russia’s Arctic coast in May 2020.
Both sides have an interest in demilitarizing the region and enhancing cooperation.
There is plenty of re-thinking going on in Paris and Berlin about the wisdom of an enduring East-West confrontation. With the Geneva summit on the horizon, the Biden team might begin to take seriously its own rhetoric about the importance of listening to our allies.
And it’s a head-scratcher, since his campaign once called Trump’s withdrawal of the Cold War agreement ‘short-sighted.’