Henry Kissinger: To Settle the Ukraine crisis, Start at the End

HenryKissinger_lightbox

knew it…it was only a matter of time…only a few days…before the most senior figures from the Zombie Museum of Foreign Policy would pen Op-Eds, weighing in on the current developments in the Ukraine. A few days ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski was re-animated, today, we have none other than Henry Kissinger:

For the The Washington PostHenry Kissinger writes:  Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.

“Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.”

Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.

 [See Zbigniew Brzezinski Weighs in]

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.

The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil. The Black Sea Fleet — Russia’s means of projecting power in the Mediterranean — is based by long-term lease in Sevastopol, in Crimea. Even such famed dissidents as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky insisted that Ukraine was an integral part of Russian history and, indeed, of Russia.

The European Union must recognize that its bureaucratic dilatoriness and subordination of the strategic element to domestic politics in negotiating Ukraine’s relationship to Europe contributed to turning a negotiation into a crisis. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.

The Ukrainians are the decisive element. They live in a country with a complex history and a polyglot composition. The Western part was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1939 , when Stalin and Hitler divided up the spoils. Crimea, 60 percent of whose population is Russian , became part of Ukraine only in 1954 , when Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian by birth, awarded it as part of the 300th-year celebration of a Russian agreement with the Cossacks. The west is largely Catholic; the east largely Russian Orthodox. The west speaks Ukrainian; the east speaks mostly Russian. Any attempt by one wing of Ukraine to dominate the other — as has been the pattern — would lead eventually to civil war or break up. To treat Ukraine as part of an East-West confrontation would scuttle for decades any prospect to bring Russia and the West — especially Russia and Europe — into a cooperative international system.

Ukraine has been independent for only 23 years; it had previously been under some kind of foreign rule since the 14th century. Not surprisingly, its leaders have not learned the art of compromise, even less of historical perspective. The politics of post-independence Ukraine clearly demonstrates that the root of the problem lies in efforts by Ukrainian politicians to impose their will on recalcitrant parts of the country, first by one faction, then by the other. That is the essence of the conflict between Viktor Yanu­kovych and his principal political rival, Yulia Tymo­shenko. They represent the two wings of Ukraine and have not been willing to share power. A wise U.S. policy toward Ukraine would seek a way for the two parts of the country to cooperate with each other. We should seek reconciliation, not the domination of a faction….Read the rest >>>

Henry Kissinger: The Washington Post


2 Comments on “Henry Kissinger: To Settle the Ukraine crisis, Start at the End”

  1. Brittius says:

    I believe Ziggy might be off on this one. Kissinger, not enough on what he has said to determine.
    A single sided theory of not taking into account that involvement is believed to be including US, UK, and EU nations’ intelligence organizations to train, equip, and fund the troublemakers who rioted in Ukraine and caused the mess. So far, everyone is fortunate that the Russian Federation has not laid it out, on the line, but give it time, and the Russians will, as usual, serve it straight up and uncut. Attempting to have Russia bow down, will never work, and it may cause a sell off, of Russian held US debt. Obama would then be in a most uncomfortable position of watching helplessly as the US economy pops like an overwound spring releasing its pressure. Nothing will then undo the economic harm, and Russia does not need to fire one bullet. Obama is a rank amateur and a fool.


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