RM Picks: What to Read on the Kerch Strait Crisis
(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – RM Staff – November 30, 2018)
[Article also appeared, with different images, at russiamatters.org/blog/rm-picks-what-read-kerch-strait-crisis]
- “Why Putin Is Pressuring Ukraine. The United States needs to decide how much of a threat Moscow’s regional revision is to US interests,” Nikolas K. Gvosdev, The National Interest, 11.27.18: The author, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, writes: “Russia has a strategy for creating a new normal in the Black Sea. The United States needs to decide how much of a threat Moscow’s revision is to U.S. interests. It must weigh the means and ways it wishes to employ to deter the Kremlin, raise costs for Russia, or incentivize a change in course. More than ever, a comprehensive, and realistic, strategy for the Black Sea is needed.”
- “Russia and Ukraine Had a Short Naval Battle. Here’s what you need to know,” Dmitry Gorenburg and Michael Kofman, The Washington Post, 11.26.18: The authors, senior research scientists at CNA, write: “Neither side is likely to back down from its position on the Sea of Azov and passage through the Kerch Strait, so tensions will remain high and additional skirmishes in the coming months cannot be ruled out.”
- “Beware Sending Ukraine Down Georgia’s Path,” Letter to the editor by Tony Brenton, Financial Times, 11.28.18: The author, British Ambassador to Russia from 2004 to 2008, writes: “The west needs to be very careful. The clear precedent is Georgia. Encouraged by mistaken but understandable expectations of Western support, that country launched a disastrous attack on Russian forces in August 2008 and received the predictable bloody nose. A wise U.S. observer noted at the time that while the West did not give Georgia a green light, it did give it ‘an insufficiently red one.’ We need to be cautious that all our aid, military help and supportive rhetoric do not propel Ukraine down Georgia’s path. Unless of course we are ready this time to go to war with Russia to defend Ukraine.”
- “Martial Law in Ukraine: A Presidential Pyrrhic Victory?” Konstantin Skorkin, Carnegie Moscow Center, 11.28.18: The author, an independent journalist specializing in the Donbass, writes: “A temporary success could still turn into a Pyrrhic victory for Poroshenko. Speculation that the president was planning to use the crisis to postpone elections have already fostered suspicion of his intentions. His Western partners are also skeptical, insisting that nothing justifies a deviation from democratic norms. The paradox of the situation is that Poroshenko is more likely to succeed in that goal if Russia escalates tensions. An escalation will prove that martial law was the correct response. It will not be so good for Ukraine as a whole, however.”
- “Why Did Ukraine Impose Martial Law?” Keith Darden and Lucan Ahmad Way, The Washington Post, 11.29.18: The authors, professors of politics, write: “Rather than shoring up Ukraine’s territorial integrity, martial law could have the paradoxical effect of further alienating the citizens in Ukraine’s sensitive border regions. If that were the case, martial law could end up undermining national security against Russian aggression by potentially alienating those in the south and east that are most vulnerable to Russian expansion.”
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