Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Blowback: Why Getting Tough on Russia over Ukraine Might Backfire

| May 16, 2014

Since the Russian incursion into Crimea, U.S.-Russian relations—already shaky—have been in a downward spiral. The Obama administration has voiced strong criticism of Moscow's actions and blacklisted several officials and individuals with close contacts to President Vladimir Putin and Bank Rossiya. The president has recently announced that more comprehensive sanctions might be enacted, if Russian actions undermine Ukraine's upcoming elections. Simultaneously, however, Secretary Kerry has engaged Russia in negotiations over reducing tensions in eastern Ukraine. To many members of Congress and the strategic community, this approach is too weak.

The outrage over Putin's behavior is justified and understandable. Currently, pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine double down on the Ukrainian security forces with Moscow's help, leading to horrible clashes in the streets. However, every serious assessment of American interests must take into account that Russian cooperation—whether one likes it or not—is required on an array of global issues, including vital U.S. national-security concerns.

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Fikenscher, Sven-Eric.“Blowback: Why Getting Tough on Russia over Ukraine Might Backfire.” The National Interest, May 16, 2014.

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