[Aaus-list] Chicago Council on Global Affairs Events on Ukraine

Marta Farion marta at farion.org
Sat Mar 15 00:01:08 EDT 2014

Today I attended a briefing on Ukraine at the Chicago Council on Global
Affairs.  Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt was invited to speak in December but
could not leave his post after the beginning of the Maidan revolution.  His
presentation was rescheduled for today, but as expected, he was not able to
leave his post at this time of crisis in Ukraine.  Ambassador Ivo Daalder,
president of the Council, delivered an analysis of the situation in Ukraine.
The consuls general of Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Romania attended
the event, along with approximately 75 Chicago corporate and non-profit
leaders.  Ambassador Daalder spoke about the point of view of the United
States and of Europe.  Consul General of Ukraine Andriy Pravednyk commented
on the point of view and interests of Ukraine, emphasizing Russia's
violations of international laws, the choice made by the people of Ukraine
against tyranny and corruption, and referred to a comment apparently made by
Putin two days ago that the break-up of the Soviet Union was illegal.
Pravednyk reminded everyone of the 1991 meeting of Putin, Kravchuk and
Shuskevich of Belorus dissolving the Soviet Union and signing a binding
legal agreement to do so.  There were many questions and comments - all of
them condemning Russia's actions, all of them emphasizing economic sanctions
and isolation of Russia, and all of them acknowledging that military action
should not be used by the West directly, but that military troops should be
stationed in the NATO countries bordering and close to Ukraine, and that
ships should be sent to the Black Sea.  Below I share the summary of today's
presentation, and below that are links on the Council's other programs on
Ukraine.  The Council in Chicago has been following and reporting on events
in Ukraine closely. 

Marta Farion





Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs,
Former US Ambassador to NATO

Event Summary by Richard C. Longworth 

The Ukrainian crisis is turning into a zero-sum struggle for both Russia and
the West, with Ukraine's future at stake and the room for compromise
distressingly small, Chicago Council President Ivo Daalder told the
Council's President's Circle Friday. 

Daalder was sitting in for Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine who
was in Washington for talks on the crisis. But Daalder, an expert on US
foreign policy, was the American ambassador to NATO until last summer and
dealt first-hand with the West's efforts to shape an effective post-Cold War
policy toward Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. 

Partly, Daalder said, it's a question of whether Ukraine's future belongs in
closer ties with Europe-as NATO, the European Union, Washington, and the
protesters in the streets of Kiev see it-or with Russia within a
Moscow-dominated Eurasian Economic Union, as Putin sees it. 

More deeply, he said, Putin sees the struggle over Ukraine's future "as a
political survival strategy on his part. He fears that what's happening on
[Russia's] frontiers is what could happen in Russia," with the possibility
of Moscow protesters doing to him what the Kiev protesters did to the ousted
president there, Viktor Yanukovych. 

To Brussels and Washington, he said, the protests in Kiev meant that
Ukrainians really want to be Western. To Putin, they were the work of a
Western-financed cabal seeking to break Ukraine's historic ties with Russia.

"It's a totally different perspective," Daalder said. "We're dealing with
two very irreconcilable views of the situation. It's very hard to see how
fundamentally you solve this situation with a solution that's acceptable to
both sides." 

Daalder said the focus on Crimea, including the independence referendum
there on Sunday, misses the point. 

"What [Putin] is doing in Crimea has nothing to do with Crimea," he said,
and everything to do with his efforts to embrace Ukraine within the
Kremlin's sphere of influence. This means the West must keep its own
response focused on Ukraine, he said. 

"If our response is about Crimea," he said, "we will have fallen into that
trap. It's not about Crimea. It's about the future of Ukraine." A diplomatic
solution that defuses the immediate Crimean crisis "solves Crimea," he said,
"but.you haven't really solved the issue." 

Daalder stressed that the West holds most of the cards, at least in the long

"This is a game that [Putin] can't win," he said. The West is stronger
economically, militarily, and politically, and is winning the media battle
and the competition for support, with even China leaning away from Russia. 

The West itself, including the Europeans, is reacting with "amazing unity,"
Daalder said. 

"If Putin has done one thing, he's unified the Atlantic alliance in ways
that we haven't seen for a long time," Daalder said. "If this is a
short-term gain [for Putin], and I'm doubtful of this, it's a long-term

Western Europe's dependence on Russian oil and natural gas is already
dwindling, he said, and the Ukrainian crisis will speed up Europe's shift to
other sources. Europe still depends on these Russian resources, he said,
"but the Russians are a hell of a lot more dependent on the income" they get
from Europe. 

But it will be hard to find a more long-term solution to Ukraine's problems,
Daalder said. Since its independence, the country has suffered endemic
corruption and economic mismanagement, while its Western neighbors, such as
Poland, reformed their economies and truly joined the West. 

After all this time, true reform in Ukraine will be painful and politically
tortuous, he said. Poland and the other ex-Communist countries suffered
through this pain because they had been promised-and got-EU and NATO
membership. But neither NATO nor the EU may be willing to risk Russian wrath
by offering membership to Ukraine: Daalder himself said that, for either
alliance, this is a step too far into the former Soviet Union. 

This is a "fundamental question," he said. If true reform depends on NATO
and EU membership, and if this isn't politically possible, then reform
itself may not be possible. This, in turn, leaves an incompetent Ukraine on
Europe's eastern fringe, forever vulnerable to Russian revanchism. 

Putin's Ukrainian adventure has been a long time a-building, Daalder said.
The Russian president always deplored the breakup of the Soviet Union, and
the expansion of NATO and the EU. Then came the so-called Rose Revolution in
Georgia in 2003 and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004. Four years
later, the Bush administration backed NATO membership for both countries. 

This, Daalder said, was "a wake-up call" for Putin, who saw the two
revolutions as the work of "people on the street funded by Washington trying
up upset the power structure." 

Putin's push for a Eurasian Economic Union, his insistence that Ukraine join
it, and his current mobilization in the region all follow from this, he

Richard C. Longworth is a senior fellow at The Chicago Council on Global
Affairs. Read more of his
Longworth.aspx> program summaries and recent publications or
<http://globalmidwest.typepad.com/> follow his blog. 



Ukrainian Immigrants Respond to Crisis March 10, 2014 Chicago Council
Immigration Initiative Director Juliana Kerr on MidwestImmigration.org  -
See more at:


Putin's Big Mistake by Richard C. Longworth



Richard C. Longworth

Richard Longworth is a Senior Fellow at The Chicago Council on Global
Affairs. He is the author of Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in
the Age of Globalism, now out in paperback (Bloomsbury USA). He is a
longtime editor and foreign correspondent for theChicago Tribune and United
Press International, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, twice an Overseas
Press Club Award winner, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. More important, he
is an Iowa native and is a recognized expert and frequent speaker on the
Midwest and its place in a globalizing world.



Ivo H. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, former
US ambassador to NATO on Meet the Press.    





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