Trump’s Reset with Russia will Again Fail

The unexpected election of Donald Trump as president has brought shockwaves in the US and throughout the world with headlines talking of a ‘crises in foreign policy’ (link). His victory is allegedly a ‘boost to Putin’ (link). Trump’s election campaign rhetoric certainly merits caution in his domestic policies.

During the election campaign, Trump was heavily criticised for having close ties to Russia and saying positive words for Russian President Vladimir Putin. US intelligence agencies accused Russia of hacking into Hilary Clinton’s campaign and working for Trump’s victory. Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell described Trump as an ‘unwitting agent of Russia’ (link). Russian State Duma deputies applauded his election (link).  Nevertheless, an improvement in relations between nuclear powers US and Russia is unlikely to take place for seven reasons.

“The Soviet roots of anti-fascism and antisemitism” in New Eastern Europe

Russian leaders and Donbas separatists use the term “fascist” to describe any Ukrainian who supported the EuroMaidan or to those who do not see Ukraine in the Russkiy Mir (Russian World). e roots of these designations, however, and their use by those in the West today can be traced much earlier than the recent crisis in Ukraine. In the Soviet Union, designations such as “bourgeois nationalist” and “Nazi” were applied to Ukrainians of every ideological persuasion, from national communist through liberal to nationalist and to both Ukrainian and Russian speakers. Similarly, the “anti-Zionism” the USSR promoted and Donbas separatists continue to promote is a camou aged form of antisemitism…

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Germans asked Poroshenko why he was ready to give away too much in Minsk 2

Nothing stays completely confidential in today’s world and conversations I have had in the last two months shed a different light on President Poroshenko’s signing of the Minsk 2 agreement. Ukrainians like to blame others for their misfortunes without seeking the explanation among their own kleptocratic “elites”.

National Security adviser Volodymyr Horbulin tld the US Ambassador to Ukraine in 2009 that “there “there are two Russian embassies in Kyiv; only one speaks German” (link). Serhiy Leshchenko writes Киев в каком‑то смысле поддался давлению Берлина: тогда канцелярия Ангелы Меркель остерегалась, что американцы подорвут эксклюзив Германии в роли европейского лидера (link)…

The UK academic journal Europe-Asia Studies declined to publish my letter commenting on a review of Richard Sakwa’s book FrontlineUkraine.

Dear Editors,

Richard Sakwa’s letter to the editor (Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 68, no. 6, August 2016, pp.1102 –1104) concerning his book Frontline Ukraine requires further commentary and discussion. Frontline Ukraine does not provide a new and intellectually challenging new approach to the study of contemporary Ukraine because of three reasons.

The first is that it is difficult to describe Frontline Ukraine as a scholarly work. It is more akin to an ideologically driven study whose premises are commonly found on the left (Stephen Cohen, Jonathan Steele, and others) and among right-wing realists (Henry Kissinger who Sakwa quotes, Rajan Menon and Eugene Rumer, John Mearsheimer, and others) that blames the West (US, NATO, EU, democracy promotion, etc.,) for the 2014 Russia-Ukraine crisis…

Ukraine’s Phoney War

The head of Ukraine’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said that Ukraine would not recognise any documents from the State Duma after this months elections which were also held in the Crimea. Ukraine would not henceforth not recognize any legislation adopted by the Russian State Duma.

During the same week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested against Russia taking over as head of the CIS at a time when it is blocking the work of Ukraine in the Council of Heads of State of the CIS. Ukraine declared that Russia could not be head of the CIS until Ukraine’s returns sovereign control over the Crimea and Donbas, Russian forces and equipment are withdrawn from Ukraine, Ukraine again controls its borders with Russia and Ukrainian prisoners are released from captivity in the separatist enclaves and in Russia…

Ukraine Needs a Policy of Strategic Ambiguity

One of the main premises of Vladimir Putin’s hybrid war is unpredictability with the West and Ukraine never clear as to his next step. This was clearly seen in the recent crisis over the Crimean border with Ukraine and the West pondering “Will he or will not invade?”

Putin’s unpredictability has allowed Russia to determine the course of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis with President Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine responding to Moscow’s initiatives, rhetoric, demands, and claims. The Ukrainian president never takes the initiative and wrong foots Putin…