by Kori Schake
May 06, 2014
Ukraine gained its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, squandering the subsequent twenty years by corruption and poor governance. The current unrest began when Ukrainian President Yanukovich unexpectedly rejected the Association Agreement in February, instead choosing a Russian offer of political alliance and economic assistance. U.S. and European policy since 1991 has been to consolidate countries of the West into NATO, encourage them into the EU, and create a sense of security in transitioning countries by involvement with them. With Russia, the U.S., and Europe have acted against Russia’s expressed concerns about NATO expansion, protecting Kosovo against Serbia, deploying missile defenses, while still cajoling Russia into a western cooperative security mindset. That policy has reached the end of its road. We now have to choose whether to try and conciliate Russia or protect countries from it.