May 15, 2022 3:34 am

What does each power seek to gain from the conflict in Ukraine?

PARIS.- Vladimir Putin themes a la OTAN. He knows perfectly well that it is not in the plans of the North Atlantic Organization to attack Russia or incorporate Ukraine. His aggressive military gestures on the border between the two countries serve another purpose: like Metternich at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, the head of the Kremlin tries to create the modern equivalent of a Holy Alliance in the service of a policy of spheres of influence. In other words, rewrite post-Cold War history in Europe.

Simple reflection of defense or much more ambitious form of revisionism? In any case, at the very moment when Moscow defends the dictatorships in Belarus and Kazakhstan against the will of their peoples, it rejects Ukraine’s right to freely choose its destiny.

A strategy that involves risks because, with his provocations, Putin pushes the Ukrainians further and further west. They are not – as Russia claims – the Westerners who advance their pawns with self-confidence in Ukraine despite the “implicit” agreements reached with Moscow after the fall of the USSR, which established that Kiev would never join NATO: it is the Ukrainians who are becoming increasingly anti-Russian because of Moscow’s aggressive behavior.

A sample of the presence of troops in UkraineInstagram @scene_photography

But, if the leader of the Kremlin feels strong enough from the military point of view to restore his sphere of influence in the so-called “near abroad”, that zone of physical and ideological security where the countries concerned are not free from their strategic orientations , What specifically do you want to achieve with your threats and gestures?

“Their great fear is that their neighbor to the south, Ukraine, the Slavic sister-nation, with a thousand years of common history, will install itself in a ‘Western-style’ democratic mould. The nightmare is not an attack from Kiev – frankly unimaginable, taking into account the abysmal difference between the two military capacities – but the ideological contamination, the installation of a counter-model at the gates of the mother nation”, points out the British historian Mark Galeotti.

Remake of the Brezhnev doctrine imposed by the USSR on Eastern Europe after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the minimum objective of the Kremlin is to force Kiev, in the name of protecting the pro-Russians in the east of the country, to recognize its right to interfere in its internal affairs. “For Moscow, Ukraine will only restore peace accepting limited sovereignty: that it wants to privilege its ties with the European Union (EU), with which it has established an economic association, is already an attack on the Kremlin”, adds Galeotti.

01-22-2022 Remittance of US military aid in Ukraine POLITICS EUROPE UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL UNITED STATES EMBASSY
01-22-2022 Remittance of US military aid in Ukraine POLITICS EUROPE UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL UNITED STATES EMBASSY

In that “near abroad”, Putin only tolerates regimes similar to his own, an increasingly brutal autocracy. In Belarus, as in Kazakhstan, the Kremlin keeps dictators in power for one reason only: because they remove the danger from democracy. In Ukraine, the Russian president is seeking a change of regime or at least a change of strategic orientation.

To calm the tension, Westerners offered this month negotiating the whole of European security, especially the issue of medium-range missiles. But at the end of three days of discussions, the Russians said they were not interested in the issue.

“Moscow intends to organize a Yalta bis in Europe. In other words, obtaining a formal commitment that NATO will not incorporate new countries, the withdrawal of forces from that organization from Poland and the Baltic countries and the cessation of Western military cooperation with Ukraine”, analyzes Gilles Andreani, a researcher at the International Institute of Strategic Studies of London (IISS).

Unacceptable to the United States and Europe, these demands were presented by the Kremlin as a demand. Failing this, Moscow implicitly threatens to make the weapons speak. To demonstrate this, Putin announced a campaign of “military-technical measures”, which began with the cyber attack on ten Ukrainian ministries after the failure of the meetings in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna.

In this image taken from a video distributed by the Russian Defense Ministry press office, Russian armored vehicles drive along a railway platform upon arrival in Belarus on January 19, 2022. (Defense Ministry Press Office from Russia via AP)
In this image taken from a video distributed by the Russian Defense Ministry press office, Russian armored vehicles drive along a railway platform upon arrival in Belarus on January 19, 2022. (Defense Ministry Press Office from Russia via AP)

This hardening shows thathe Russian president has no intention of making compromises that would allow him to claim a simple diplomatic success: Putin dreams of rebuilding the Soviet empire, for the better.

For the United States, the situation is not easy. What is the room for maneuver of the current president, when Many Republicans see the Democratic Party as a greater threat to the country than Russia.?

“Under current conditions, the White House cannot afford to open two simultaneous fronts of conflict: one with Moscow and the other with Beijing,” writes Jonathan Masters, a specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Indeed, how Joe Biden manages the Ukrainian crisis will be decisive not only for the region, but also for how his country will be perceived in the immediate future by the rest of the world, and in particular by autocratic regimes. Even without being directly involved in the Ukrainian conflict, Chinese President Xi Jinping studies with extreme attention the decisions of the White House. He, too, is trying to recapture Taiwan, making every effort to prevent the small island’s further rapprochement with the West. If Washington emerged weakened from its arm wrestling with Moscow, Xi could be encouraged to launch a major operation to recover Taiwan, thus endangering the security and stability of East Asia.

Biden warned Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would be "disastrous for Russia"
Biden warned Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would be ‘disastrous for Russia’

The Biden administration has so far succeeded in combining the firmness – threatening Moscow with harsh sanctions – and the diplomacy, opening the negotiations in Geneva. Nobody knows, however, if he will have the necessary qualities to manage the crisis to the end.

For their part, the Europeans, who adhere to the policy of economic sanctions against Moscow, have serious difficulties in making themselves heard in a world where geopolitics is increasingly important. However, the block – rather France and Germany – could help calm the tension. Both countries, which were the most hostile to NATO’s expansion into Ukraine, are also the godfathers of the Minsk agreements. Signed on September 5, 2014, that pact achieved an immediate ceasefire in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, although it failed in its objective of putting an end to all the fighting that still rages in that region.

Paris and Berlin could therefore help the United States revive that process in the hope of overcoming the worst international crisis since the end of the cold war.

But nothing is easy in Europe. While Emmanuel Macron and the new German chancellor, Olaf Scholz – like Angela Merkel before him – propose a “reset” with Moscow, defending the principle of a frank and open dialogue, many EU capitals -especially in the east of the continent – reject any opening towards Russia, and prefer to continue delegating their security to the United States and NATO.

Reference-www.lanacion.com.ar

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