- - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When Russian forces crossed into the neighboring nation of Georgia in 2008, the moment arrived to acknowledge the return of the Cold War. However, the West refused to accept this.

Now comes wonder and outrage for Russia’s acts of aggression in Ukraine. Such confusion fails to recognize (as Cold-War-era diplomat George Kennan did) the traditional, neurotic insecurity of Russian ruling elites.

Throughout the time of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, rulers used power projection to overcome feelings of isolation and inferiority toward the West.

President Obama’s confidence in his Nobel Peace Prize and the West’s commitment to diplomacy and politics are misplaced. Russian President Vladimir Putin perceives only beleaguered feebleness, and he relishes the befuddled reaction to the chicaneries of his diplomacy.

There can be no lasting peaceful coexistence with authoritarian Russia, but neither is armed warfare inevitable.

Forceful initiatives require immediately curtailment of efforts to integrate the former republics of the Soviet Union into the economic, cultural and political life of the free world. Next should come serious military cooperation between NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries and Soviet republics.

The Cold War has resumed. Diplomacy must use overt and clandestine activities to exploit contradictions and tensions among Mr. Putin’s ruling elite, the Russian people and countries with which Russia needs alliances. Effective containment will again reveal the fragility of authoritarian rule and a command economy.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.


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