Europe has faced such ugly moments too often. There, the issues of life and death, as well as war and peace, depended on the balance of power and the test of will between the tyranny and the more benevolent powers.
The peaceful end of the Cold War thirty years ago changed its bloody history and heralded the arrival of President George HW Bush’s era in 1989. I wanted to bring “Europe as a whole and freedom” where Russia will find its legitimate and peaceful place.
“For 40 years, the seeds of democracy in Eastern Europe were dormant, buried under the frozen tundra of the Cold War.” Said President Bush, on May 31, 1989, in Mainz, Germany, six months before the fall of the Berlin Wall and more than two years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. “And for decades, decades, the cold of conflict and oppression has diminished the flowering of the human spirit … the world has been waiting long enough. The time is right. Europe is complete and free. will do.”
Against this background, this week US President Joe Biden faces the dying embers of his aspirations and the moment of truth of his presidency signature foreign policy initiative.Biden is rallying allies for systematic competition between democracy and the dictatorship of China and Russia, he said.st century.
It clashes with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s signature ambition to reverse the collapse of the Soviet Union and the expansion of NATO to the border. He is famous “(20 biggest geopolitical tragedy)th)century. At the age of 70, he seems more determined than ever to consolidate his heritage, with a Russian emperor and leader in front of him, through territorial expansion or the rule of his neighbors.
This week starts on Monday US-Russia Bilateral Meeting in GenevaBegins with the first conversation on Sunday evening, moves to the Russian-NATO Council in Brussels on Wednesday, and ends on Thursday at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Vienna.
It was the Russians who prompted all these emergency meetings Security requirements It was submitted in the form of two draft treaties in mid-December. Their provisions ban Ukraine from joining NATO and require the alliance to withdraw troops stationed in Central and Eastern European member states and suspend all military exercises in those countries. do. A few days later, Putin’s brinkmanship in the form of an ultimatum was implemented, supported by an army of about 100,000 people near the Ukrainian border.Military technology“Action when not satisfied.
So far, the United States and its allies have passed through carrots in mutual consultation on several aspects of the treaty, such as permitted missile systems and military exercises, and penalties, new financial, military and technical sanctions in the event of Russia’s invasion. Ukraine has answered his escalation through the stick of.
U.S. officials Told the New York Times Their plans include “separating Russia’s largest financial institution from global trading, imposing a ban on American or American technology needed for the defense and consumer industries, and doing the equivalent of a guerrilla. Includes arming Ukrainian militants. ”In that regard, the fight against Russian military occupation. ”
By the end of this week, the United States and its allies may know if Putin is willing to negotiate or if he decides to escalate.
The liquidity of the situation last week Rapid Russian-led military intervention In Kazakhstan, at the request of Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Kaev, it appeared to subdue widespread public protests against rising fuel prices on January 2.
It would be a mistake to separate Putin’s actions in Kazakhstan from his ambitions in Ukraine. By his calculus, they are closely related.
When the dust settles, Kazakhstan could land deep in Moscow’s expanding sphere of influence since it collapsed from the Soviet Union in 1991. This includes 40% of the world’s uranium reserves..
The situation is still ongoing and it is difficult to obtain reliable information, but beyond the controversy is the timing and rapid execution of Russia’s intervention, looking at the strategic opportunities in the previous Soviet universe. It emphasizes Putin’s determination to win. This is the fourth time Moscow has intervened in its west-leaning neighbors, Armenia, Belarus and Ukraine, in just two years. Like the other three.
Rumors are rampant In Kazakhstan, Russia’s role in what happened last week ranged from the possibility that it was a Russian-organized coup from the beginning to the conviction that Putin, who is always opportunistic, captured the moment. ..
What is clear is that Kazakhstan’s President Tokaev turned to Putin to ensure his political survival as his country was in turmoil and his leadership was at stake. It could bring lasting change to countries that have benefited from balancing relations with Moscow, Beijing, Washington, and perhaps other parts of Central Asia.
With the support of Moscow, Tokaev ordered to shoot and kill To the protesters and exiled Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, his former benefactor, and the country’s first president, as the head of Kazakhstan’s powerful Security Council.He also Exiled and arrested Karim Massimov, his intelligence director, was charged with treason.
Russian army I’m on the ground now In the first such military intervention since its inception in 1992, along with other soldiers from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the country’s most important airports and military, consisting of six countries from the former Soviet Union. Protect the facility.
As US Secretary of State Tony Blinken Said this week, “One lesson in recent history is that once Russians enter your home, it is sometimes very difficult to get them away.”
If there is a message from Kazakhstan to the US authorities that are negotiating with Russians this week, this is it. Whatever you want to negotiate, be aware that Putin is playing for maintenance, believe he is in control, are willing to take risks, and are ready to send troops. , The Biden administration-especially following the blunder in Afghanistan-and weakened, divided and indecisive of its partners.
The least likely scenario is when Putin withdraws his request to NATO or carries out a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Instead, note the darker and more subtle ones designed to divide the allies. Obtaining additional examples of Ukrainian territory, annexing Luhansk in Donbas, dominated by Russian separatists, or stirring Ukrainian internal drama with a hidden hand.
The question is whether the United States and its allies can avoid both appeasement and war. The future of Europe is once again balanced.
— —Frederick Kemp President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Council.
Biden faces an important week in standoffs with Putin
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