The Daily Beast has the article America’s Losing Russia Strategy: Confronting Putin isn’t enough to restore peace on Russia’s borders. What’s needed is Détente Plus. This article is by Leslie H. Gelb.
What should this new diplomacy look like? To begin with, diplomacy does not mean rolling back economic sanctions against Russia or halting the promised NATO buildup in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. These are essential elements of tough diplomacy. By themselves, however, they merely invite Russian toughness and intransigence. That’s the story of the last two years.
The aim of a new diplomatic strategy—I like to call it Détente Plus—is to explore seriously whether Russia is prepared to work with the U.S. in Europe and elsewhere to solve or mitigate genuine common problems based on genuine shared or overlapping interests.
I would much rather that this influential “progressive” would have left out the first paragraph above, and have just talked about the second. If he thinks that his stand is less hawkish than some others are taking, then that is only because the others’ stands are so hawkish, that by absolute standards, Gelb’s stand doesn’t even approach a middle ground.
Why on earth would diplomacy not include rolling back things that we did that never made any sense in the first place? We seem to have started this whole mess, but want to put the blame on Putin. Those who started it, and know they started it, are awfully cynical if they now claim that Putin shouldn’t fight us as aggressively as we are fighting him. Apparently there are too many ill-informed people to protect our country from falling for such nonsense.
When Gelb says about what we have done so far, “By themselves, however, they merely invite Russian toughness and intransigence”, he is tacitly admitting my point. If these policies have been so bad by themselves over the last two years, why can’t we just stop digging ever deeper the hole we are in? Maybe we should put some of the dirt we have been digging back into that hole.