The D-Day anniversary celebrations have marked a new quality of the West’s relations with Russia. Putin is obviously playing from a position of weakness vis-à-vis the joint forces of the West. The first round has shown it has a chance, but more difficult rounds lie ahead.
The first three months of U.S.-led sanctions did not cause yet deep-seated problems for Russian economy. Regardless, the stakes for Russia are very high. Like the proverbial ancient warrior, it is standing at a crossroads now.
A number of complex questions remain unresolved as negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program enter their final stage. The main question is whether the cooperation between Russia and the West would continue at the previous levels in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine.
The May 25 presidential vote has marked the end of the first phase of the Ukraine crisis, which will continue to reshape the global strategic landscape. For Russia important result of the crisis is pivot to Asia.
Germany is Europe’s sole emerging power, and potentially a power in Eurasia, and Ukraine is a good place to start working toward its new role. For starters, Germany needs to stop thinking of Ukraine as a U.S.-Russian issue, and assume responsibility there on behalf of the EU as a whole.
Since the 1990s, warnings from Russian liberals that Western pressure would push Russia toward China have failed to materialize. Now, however, faced with U.S.-led geopolitical pressure in Eastern Europe and East Asia, Russia and China are likely to cooperate more closely.