PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the massing of Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border have pushed a divided society into armed conflict. The big question now is what, if anything, can be done to prevent a full-fledged civil war.
At a minimum, Petro Poroshenko’s new government will have to exercise exceptional political and military leadership if Kiev is to reassert control without destroying all possibilities for rapprochement with the country’s Russian-speaking minority.
Putin still holds most, if not all, of the trump cards. He has also made it clear that Moscow’s preferred “solution” to Ukraine’s problems lies in federalization. Early in the crisis, Secretary of State Kerry seemed to concur, though recently Washington has stopped using the term.
Nonetheless, there is no shortage of Western politicians, pundits and scholars who see federalism as the only way for Ukraine to accommodate its linguistic, religious and regional differences.
This embrace of “Ukrainian Federalism” by Western observers is troubling, given the evidence that Putin is interested in a weak and divided Ukraine and not a just and functional one.
Read on »