July 28, 2017

NATO membership, assassinations, political warfare

Print More

“Will Ukraine join NATO? A course for disappointment,” by Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution July 25 (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/07/25/will-ukraine-join-nato-a-course-for-disappointment/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm _content=54625936):

Following the visit to Kyiv by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg earlier this month, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine would seek to meet the alliance’s membership criteria by 2020. …

Ukraine today is involved in an undeclared, low-intensity conflict with Russia in the Donbas. That is not a conflict of Kyiv’s choosing, but one forced upon it by Moscow. The Kremlin has organized, led, funded, armed and otherwise supported – in some cases with regular units of the Russian army – violent separatism in Donetsk and Luhansk of a kind that Russia itself would never tolerate …

Even if the Donbas conflict were settled, there would remain the issue of Crimea and its illegal seizure, occupation and annexation by Russia.

Until the simmering conflict in the Donbas and frozen conflict in Crimea are resolved, Ukraine has little prospect of membership. Bringing Ukraine in with the ongoing disputes would mean that NATO would face an Article 5 contingency against Russia on day one of Kyiv’s membership. …

…the Ukrainian government needs to manage expectations, not fan them. Setting membership as a goal with a fixed near-term date sets a target that will not be met. …Kyiv should continue to deepen its cooperation with NATO and incorporate the reforms that it would undertake in a membership action plan in its annual action plans with the alliance. …instead of pressing NATO for an early membership signal, the Ukrainian government should urge that the alliance maintain its open door policy. Kyiv cannot get in now. It wants to ensure, however, that “not now” does not become “never.”…

“Flurry of Kiev [sic] assassinations a new Russian front in Ukraine,” by Hannah Thoburn, Hudson Institute, July 11 (https://www.hudson.org/research/ 13757-flurry-of-kiev-assassinations-a-new-russian-front-in-ukraine):

… Since July 2016, when the Belarusian-turned-Ukrainian investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a car bomb detonated in the middle of a Kyiv street, … two Ukrainian army colonels have been killed by car bombs and two pro-Ukrainian Russian nationals targeted for assassination. On June 27, Maksym Shapoval died when a bomb placed in his car exploded in Kyiv. His colleague Lieutenant Colonel Oleksander Kharaberiush perished similarly in March 2017 in the southeastern city of Mariupol. Both men worked in military intelligence.

March 2017 also saw the assassination of Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian lawmaker who had absconded to Kyiv and was helping Ukrainian authorities to prepare their case against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. He was shot down in central Kyiv despite having a bodyguard at his side.

…The murders are rather an offshoot of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. The war has increasingly left its cozy confines 350 miles away and is slowly creeping into the calm streets of the capital. The Ukrainian authorities have been powerless to stop the trend. And that might just be the point.

It is this weakness that the perpetrators of the killings – all are almost certainly done by or linked to agents of the Russian government – hope to highlight. …

“Here’s how to fight back against Russian political warfare,” by Alexander Vershbow, Atlantic Council, June 21 (http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/here-s-how-to-fight-back-against-russian-political-warfare):

Three and a half years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and launched its campaign to destabilize eastern Ukraine. …

Russia has also engaged in political aggression against our societies, using cyberattacks, disinformation, propaganda, and influence operations (what the Soviets called “active measures”) to affect the outcome of elections and to undermine confidence in our democratic institutions.

… Russia …wants to turn back the clock to a time when Russia dominated neighboring countries through force and coercion. Using cyberattacks, disinformation, economic warfare and “active measures,” it aims to weaken and divide NATO and the European Union (EU), which it sees as the main obstacles to its expanded power in Europe, and to reduce their attractiveness to other European nations. …

Our strategy for meeting the Russian challenge must begin with, but go beyond, bolstering our defense and deterrence against potential Russian military threats. We also need to support Russia’s neighbors in their efforts to build strong, resilient societies and defend their sovereignty. …

Multilaterally, we should urge our NATO allies to support a bigger alliance role in countering influence operations, disinformation and “active measures” by Russia. …defending our societies is just as important as defending our borders. Collaboration between NATO and the EU would make sense – in countering propaganda and disinformation, in sharing intelligence about cyber and other asymmetric threats, and in conducting joint exercises to ensure that “little green men” are not able to do to our countries what they did to Ukraine.

“The free world is still worth fighting for,” by Daniel Fried, The Washington Post, June 14 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/ 06/14/the-free-world-is-still-worth-fighting-for/?tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.324c0a 6349c5):

…The free world order is now challenged by a new nationalism, which rejects on principle an open, rules-based world; prefers zero-sum bilateral relations; and loathes transnational solidarity and cosmopolitan values. The nationalist idea has power and many powerful friends in Moscow, Europe and even Washington. …

What then must we, who believe in the free world, do? In the short run, we must turn back Russia aggression. We must help the Ukrainians defend themselves, maintaining and possibly intensifying sanctions while pushing for a settlement that restores Ukraine to the Ukrainians. And we must work through NATO and the European Union to resist Russian leverage, both military and energy, and to expose Russian propaganda, dirty money and election interference. …

We must also challenge the new nationalism with a new patriotism.… The West needs to make room for patriotism in this liberal form, bound to higher principles. And we should define the nation based on cultural, linguistic and civic, not ethno-tribal, terms. …

Most important, we need to recommit to the ideals of the free world. We must make the case that our interests are best served when our values advance; that these values include the rule of law at home and a rules-based world, human rights and democracy; that our nations’ successes depend on the success of others; and that the nation state, and the free world itself, are not ends in themselves but earn legitimacy as they serve these higher purposes.…

Comments are closed.