Dr. Simon Leitch argues that the fighting in Ukraine has largely fallen off the radar of many people in the West, and there is no longer any serious talk of getting back Crimea, but the long-term dangers for Ukraine are as high as ever. Rather than facing Russian annexation, Ukraine now finds itself in the unenviable position of becoming yet another frozen conflict zone on the Russian periphery.
According to European, American and Ukrainian sources, Russia has invaded Ukraine. The conflict has finally evolved into a conventional war, and yet policymakers in the Ukraine remain reluctant to actually declare war. After all, it has become customary for states to fight wars without declarations and if Ukraine is to declare war it will only legitimize more Russian attacks and allow Russia to play the role of the injured. The Ukrainian dilemma over the word “war” is an apt illustration of how words matter in international politics.
One month ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 was shot down in Ukraine in an event described as a game changer for the insurgency. Many pundits felt that “Russia” or “Putin” would have to de-escalate the crisis and back away from supporting the insurgency. A month later we can say that the game changer was clearly nothing of the sort and it isn’t hard to see why.
Conventional wisdom suggests that economic interdependence between the great powers reduces conflict. Whilst the general argument makes sense, recent Russian actions in Ukraine highlight how genuine economic interdependence is, much like nuclear weapons, hard to apply in a deterrent strategy. Dr. Simon Leitch, Alochonaa’s Editor in Chief for Foreign Policy and International Affairs, argues that, the rise of the economic interdependence between strategic rivals like Russia and NATO, or China and some of its neighbors, will complicate deterrent strategies, perhaps even to the advantage of the aggressor.
In this analysis, Dr. Simon Leitch downplays the risk of Russia’s further extension beyond Crimea.In Leitch’s words: “If I were in Putin’s shoes right now I would be happy with things the way they are. Crimea in the pocket, NATO humiliated and Ukraine politically divided – it’s a good week’s work for the Kremlin.”
In this article Dr. Simon Leitch assesses the role of NATO and economic sanctions in the Ukraine crisis. He concludes that economic interdependence will insulate Russia from serious economic consequences whilst attempts by NATO to interject itself into the situation are misguided and doomed to fail.