The United States seems intent to force Russia into capitulation over Ukraine, a situation caused by a poor understanding of economics on the part of Putin’s advisers. While low intensity battle will likely linger on, Russia remains in a more maneuverable position to offer a deal to the United States.
During the Cold War, both Washington and Moscow actively encouraged, financed, and supported proxy wars across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the eyes of many influential figures in Moscow, that is precisely what is happening in Ukraine today.
The Kremlin now sees the U.S. goal as the toppling of the Putin regime. That said, expecting Putin to back off betrays a lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation. It is no longer just a struggle for Ukraine, but a battle for Russia.
MH17 may well be a turning point in the Ukraine conflict, but President Putin remains unlikely to back down despite economic pressure from the West. Russians may look back to the summer of 2014 years from now as a game changer.
The downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane over Eastern Ukraine catapults the crisis there onto the global plane. The tragic and sudden loss of so many innocent lives should put a final point to the armed conflict—or it may put the international conflict over Ukraine on a much higher and more dangerous level.
The problems arising across the globe from militant radical Islam cannot be dealt with at a later date. Russia and the West have vital mutual interests, since they share this common enemy. Given the extent of its involvement, Russia should take the initiative.
President Shevardnadze belongs to the people of Georgia. At the same time, Foreign Minister Shevardnadze will forever remain a major figure in Russia’s history, because he helped wind down the Cold War.
This week the U.S. government has presented to Moscow the candidacy of its future envoy for customary prior approval by the host country. Then, at some point, the Russian government not objecting and the U.S. Senate willing, a small but important element of U.S.-Russian diplomatic normalcy will be restored.
The 25-year-long quest for Russia's integration with the West is off. A new normalcy is setting between Russia and the West resembles the Russo-British Great Game of the 19th century—this time between America and Russia.