The Quest for Hegemony

Russia Needs to Recognise the Independence of Ukraine

27 January 2020

Should the Western world and specifically its most powerful entity, the United States of America, abandon its support for Ukraine and acknowledge Russian hegemony over its western neighbours?

In September 2019, US diplomat John Evans wrote an eloquent article for National Interest that I found intriguing. Entitled “Understanding Vladimir Putin,” it argues that Putin is a normal Russian politician representing what long have been Russian interests. It considers that the expansion of NATO eastward after the collapse of the USSR was a disastrous policy and that the offer to Ukraine and Georgia to begin the process to join the alliance in 2008 was even worse.

Vladimir Putin

The author believes—correctly, I think— that it is a mistake to perceive Putin as the root of all United States’ problems with Russia. Earlier, he outlines his perceptions of Putin during his time as a diplomat in St. Petersburg. His comments here are relevant and important. His later comments, however, are more perturbing.

Russian red line

On Ukraine, he writes that “We must reckon with the fact that Crimea will not return to Ukrainian jurisdiction, and that Ukraine’s joining NATO would cross a Russian red line.”

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David Marples

A historian and Distinguished University Professor at the Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta as well as an expert at iSANS - the International Strategic Action Network for Security.

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