News Release

Ukraine: Who Wins from War?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, kat at thenation.com, @KatrinaNation
Available for a limited number of interviews, Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of The Nation and just wrote the piece “An Arms Race Won’t Help Ukraine” in the Washington Post, which states: “Nearly 70 years ago, a group of Manhattan Project scientists, having seen the power of nuclear destruction, created what they called the ‘Doomsday Clock.’ It was a mechanism designed to warn the world of how imminent the threat of global catastrophe was becoming — the closer the clock moved to midnight, the closer we were to doomsday. Last month, the group of Nobel laureates charged with maintaining the clock changed its time to 11:57 p.m., denoting the closest we’ve been to doomsday in more than 30 years. Their reasoning is based not just on the world’s inaction on issues like climate change, but its provocative march toward a new Cold War.

“Indeed, as catastrophe engulfs eastern Ukraine, the United States continues to stoke tensions with Russia, most recently by considering providing lethal weapons assistance to the government in Kiev. The potential move is supported by a bipartisan chorus of hawkish voices, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and including, it appears, President Obama’s soon-to-be secretary of defense. At his confirmation hearing last week, nominee Ashton Carter testified that he is ‘very much inclined’ to support arms transfers, saying, ‘We need to support the Ukrainians in defending themselves.’ …”According to Jack F. Matlock, the former ambassador to the Soviet Union under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, the situation already ‘has begun to resemble a renewal of the Cold War with exchanges of harsh accusations, the application of economic sanctions, and — most dangerous — military muscle-flexing.’ Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader with whom Reagan and Bush worked to build trust and ultimately end the Cold War, is similarly troubled. ‘I can no longer say that this “cold war” will not lead to a “hot war,”‘ he said. ‘I fear [the U.S.] could risk it.’

“At nearly every critical juncture over the last year, military escalation has been to the detriment of the Ukrainian people and the government’s own survival. As a result of military action and escalation by both Russia and the West, Ukraine is now on the verge of financial and military collapse — with the currency falling by more than a third this past week and with foreign-exchange reserves down to a few weeks. Kiev knows it can only win by drawing NATO to fight by its side in a long, bloody civil war, bringing us closer to a real East-West crisis.”

GILBERT DOCTOROW, gdoctorow at yahoo.com
Doctorow recently wrote the piece “Federalism Will Not Solve the Ukraine Crisis” for Russia-Insider.com, which states: “Apart from the question of depth of decentralization represented by confederalism, any solution to the Ukrainian crisis will not be of long duration if it does not also deal with the language question, not just in Donbass but in all of Ukraine. Given the vehemence of the Ukrainian nationalists in control of Kiev, it is probably unrealistic to speak of two official state languages for Ukraine. But a country that aspires to European values must then implement the norms of Europe-wide and United Nations conventions on the rights of language minorities. This means in practice the right of minorities to run schools, to communicate with the government and to conduct their commerce in their own language wherever they constitute a significant percent of the population, not to mention where they hold a majority position.

“It is good that the New York Times editorial recognized the issue of neutrality, non-NATO status for Ukraine. But by and large such talk on the American side has always been time-limited, with the expectation that at some point in the future, when the present hot conflict cools off, NATO membership might once again be floated. Yet, for the Russians, face-saving compromises on this matter are not possible; the issue of NATO expansion has been the driving force in the whole East-West conflict. Any settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is imaginable only with a constitutionally mandated neutrality in Ukraine and a formal convention between the NATO states and Russia guaranteeing this neutrality.”

Doctorow is a noted “Russia watcher,” a Brussels-based journalists and founder of the European office of the Committee on East-West Accord. For 25 years he worked for U.S. and European multinationals in marketing and general management with regional responsibility. Now Doctorow regularly publishes analytical articles about international affairs on the portal of the Belgian daily La Libre Belgique and has recently been a contributor of op-ed articles on U.S.-Russian relations to the English-language Moscow Times. He is a research fellow of the American University in Moscow.