by Soeren Kern
- The Russian demands, which effectively require NATO to commit suicide, are so obviously outrageous and unmeetable that Western analysts are split over interpreting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motives. Some say he is using the impossible list of demands as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Others think he is playing a weak hand to try to divide the West and reorder Europe’s security architecture in Russia’s favor.
- Germany appears to be the West’s weak link the face of Russian pressure. On January 3, the German newspaper Bild reported that Scholz is seeking “a new beginning” in relations with Moscow. This has alarmed smaller European countries which fear that Germany will reach an accommodation with Putin behind their backs.
- “The Russian leader… believes he has a window of opportunity to act. He is worried that the risk of Kiev joining NATO will increase if a stronger U.S. leader… comes to power…. Regretfully, the Biden administration’s ‘experts,’ like Obama’s before them who fecklessly sought a ‘reset’ with Russia, are likely to fall into Putin’s trap.” — Rebekah Koffler, a Russian-born U.S. intelligence expert.
- “A second Russian attack on Ukraine, should it happen, ought to serve as a long-overdue wake-up call for the West about Russia’s intentions to establish an exclusive sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and assert Moscow’s claims to exercising influence in Central Europe, within NATO’s perimeter…. Europe’s security would deteriorate dramatically. The zone of competition would shift from Eastern Europe to Central Europe and the Baltic states.” — Andrew Michta, geopolitical analyst
- “The West should immediately impose tough sanctions on Russia, provide serious defense assistance to Ukraine, demonstrate unambivalent support for Ukrainian sovereignty, and project moral and strategic resolve. Unfortunately, current trends and past behavior provide little cause for optimism that the ‘free world’ will rise to the challenge.” — Anne Pierce, foreign policy expert
- “Westerners do not seem to understand what is at stake. They think that only the fate of Ukraine is being decided, which is of less concern to them than that of Armenia…. They resemble those who in 1939 believed that Hitler’s demands would be limited to Danzig. However, one only has to look at the texts proposed by Moscow to understand that the stakes are quite different.” — Françoise Thom, French historian of Russia.
- “In 1946-7 we knew that freedom was worth dying for, something that is obviously forgotten today. After Munich in 1938, the West was ashamed to have abandoned Czechoslovakia into Hitler’s clutches. Today we are cowardly letting down Ukraine, but we do not even realize our dishonor, nor the danger of giving in to an aggressor. We are like the Byzantines who were discussing the sex of angels while the Ottoman forces were destroying the city walls.” — Françoise Thom.