How the West should respond to Putin

Putin has inadvertently trapped himself into a similar contest farther east

The Independent

А frozen conflict in Ukraine

The American Interest: “Joe Stalin occupied East Germany, and his successors (aided by the young Putin) tried to turn East Germany into a reliable ally and prop of Soviet power. The trouble, of course, was that compared to West Germany, East Germany was an ugly, poor police state and could only hold its people by literally building a wall across the frontier and shooting anybody who tried to escape. Now Putin has inadvertently trapped himself into a similar contest farther east. Our job is to make sure that West Ukraine becomes a beacon of freedom and prosperity.”

The Washington Post: “5. Play the long game of a frozen conflict in Ukraine. Yes, Ukraine is very important to Putin, and yes, Russia will be ready to inject more men treasure into the conflict to get its way. You know what, though? The West has a hell of a lot more resources than Russia. So beyond the IMF deal, take the necessary steps to ensure that Ukraine is on the right economic and political path. It is likely that Putin will counter with more efforts to subvert the Ukrainian state. But this is one dimension of statecraft where the West has an advantage. So press it.”

The Economist: “A better strategy is to eschew his methods and rely on an asset that he, in turn, cannot match: a way of life that people covet. If that seems wishy-washy beside his tanks, remember that the crisis began with Ukrainians’ desire to tilt towards the EU—and Mr Putin’s determination to stop them. Better than arms, the West must urgently give Ukraine as much aid as it needs to build a state and realise that dream (and as much advice as it takes to ensure the cash is not misspent or stolen). The IMF deal announced on February 12th should be only a start. Mr Putin wants Ukraine to be a lesson in the perils of leaning West. It should instead be an exemplar of the rewards.”


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