The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 28

relations with Russia and encouraging democracy and free-
dom throughout Eurasia. In principle, such policies should be
compatible, especially within a policy framework designed to
promote a Euro-Atlantic security community, including Rus-
sia, based on common values and a broad sense of a common
identity. This is a multigenerational strategy, as containment
was during the Cold War; but it is a positive, inclusionary vision,
worthy of the West.
If this strategy is pursued, the political changes that already
have appeared in “post-Soviet space” and those yet to come will
eventually succeed in transforming the frozen political land-
scape where heated emotions lie not far beneath the surface. The
interrupted march toward a Europe that is peaceful, undivided
and democratic will be resumed, and Russia ultimately will join
it. But this is not Putin’s vision of the future, and probably never
has been. He has left no doubt about this.
Preventive Diplomacy: Another Chance?
The optimism of the first years following the end of the Cold
War has given way to skepticism, even cynicism, about Russia’s
place in Europe. Disillusionment with the “reset” policy has
added to the sense of helplessness. To renew the interrupted
march toward a Euro-Atlantic community of democracies will
require a major act of Western and, yes, Russian statecraft. But
failure to rise to the occasion will mean that the turning point
in history that began with the Cold War’s end will become only
another sad story of frustrated hopes leading ultimately to catas-
trophe. An American strategic approach that correctly frames the
issues, and wields the tools best suited to strategic priorities, will
be essential to the successful exercise of preventive diplomacy.
Realism requires an understanding that internal conditions
in Russia, and Moscow’s policies toward its former dominions,
are likely to stand in the way of its full inclusion in a Euro-Atlan-
tic community for a long time to come. Events in Ukraine and
Putin’s crackdown on Russian dissent have underlined this.
So why pursue a vision that the present Russian govern-
ment almost certainly does not share? Because it provides a
magnetic north for a policy compass that easily could become
confused and directionless in the face of conflicting interests. In
addition, failure to seek Russia’s ultimate inclusion in a Euro-
Atlantic security community would slow down political change
across the region, erect new walls and weaken the international
response to global threats to humanity.
Preventive diplomacy, crisis management and order-building
diplomacy all need to be merged to meet the current chal-
lenges represented by Ukraine. Resorting to the mechanisms
established to support the undertakings of the Helsinki Final Act
will help. Reasserting the validity of the vision of Euro-Atlantic
relations held forth by the Final Act is an absolutely bedrock
policy for the United States, no matter what strategy Washington
chooses to pursue.
In current circumstances, managing the crisis over Ukraine
requires the West to rally around this vision and encourage Rus-
sia to honor it, as well. The agreement that created the organiza-
tional machinery of the OSCE provided for ministerial meetings
on a regular basis and also for summit meetings, to be held on
an as-needed basis. Pres. Obama would do well to invite the
OSCE heads of states or governments to convene early in 2015
to discuss the situation in Ukraine and, more fundamentally,
to reaffirm that all members of the OSCE intend to abide by its
principles of behavior as laid down in the Final Act. Possibly a
new high-level Euro-Atlantic security forum of the type recom-
mended by Ischinger, Browne, Ivanov and Nunn in their 2012
report could also be discussed in an OSCE summit meeting. That
forum could be a useful adjunct to the OSCE in a way analogous
to the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly.
The Challenge of Governance
As chief negotiator for the Nunn-Lugar program of coopera-
tive threat reduction, I had a direct hand in negotiating U.S.-
Ukrainian agreements that led to Kyiv’s decision to surrender
the nuclear weapons left on its territory after the breakup of the
Soviet Union. My counterpart was a highly competent Ukrainian
general-lieutenant. Before we appended our initials to each page
of the agreement that promised U.S. assistance in expediting
the destruction of nuclear delivery vehicles, my colleague spoke
very earnestly to me: “I lay awake last night wondering whether I
could trust you. I finally concluded that I could.”
His comment brought home to me the stakes for Ukraine
in initialing that agreement. I have thought of that moment
Russia is undergoing the trauma of a lost empire, not dissimilar to
the withdrawal pangs of other former imperialist powers.
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