26 April, 2014

Ukraine; the next step

I hesitate to re-enter the debate on the Ukraine. A dismal story in European statecraft has been mishandled at every step, such that it is hard to see an end to it.

Let me explain, however, how there could be an end.

As I have pointed out, Russian aggression was the likely outcome of Europe's wooing of Ukraine. A child could have seen that. Putin carefully cultivates his image as a tough guy, but it is not purely for his image. If the former Soviet states on the periphery of Russia know that he means business they won't step out of line. He has to be able to rattle his sabre at America and Europe.

So instead of more sanctions, which will not harm America but which will do lasting damage to Europe, let Putin win something. Back down a bit, concede a little so he has something to show for it all: not just the man who lost Western Ukraine but the man who stood up to the West.

That way there is a chance of peace.

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