Matthew Kaminski, writing in the Wall Street Journal, suggests that while the West forgets history, Vladimir Putin is busy repeating it with his 19th century foreign policy, and leave it again to George Kennan to characterize the Russian mind: “Russia can have at its borders only vassals or enemies”. Kaminski’s response is that the problem is with Russia itself, not its neighbors; the Kennan rule will hold as long as a tyrant rules in Moscow, and he worries that a “muddled” compromise over Ukraine would be a moral and strategic calamity for Europe and America. I agree.
There are suggestions among many commentators that the level of current world instabilities is unequaled since at least the 1970s, and President Obama’s security team’s response is that the crisis spots are all independent of each other, that no single issue links them. I beg to differ. The common thread is Obama’s strategy of withdrawal and failure to lead.