West Can't Afford to Isolate Russia

UT San Diego -- As the Ukrainian crisis escalates, there is mounting pressure on President Obama to act tough as Russian consolidates its hold on Crimea. For deterrence to be successful in interstate politics, two conditions have to be met: the target has to believe that the costs of pursuing the “objectionable” action exceed the benefits; and the deterring power has to possess the capability to impose unacceptable costs on the target state.

Neither condition applies in this case. Russia’s influence in the post-Soviet space has deteriorated since the end of the Cold War. President Putin has sought to reverse this geopolitical slide.

Why is Crimea important? During Soviet times, Crimea was part of the Russian Republic until 1954 when Khrushchev transferred control to Ukraine. Back then, this was seen as a largely empty gesture celebrating Russian-Ukrainian friendship. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia, in the view of its leadership, unwittingly lost part of what should have been its territory.

Full Article - "West Can't Afford to Isolate Russia" by Vidya Nadkarni
Published on March 5, 2014

Vidya Nadkarni is a professor of political science at the University of San Diego.


Vidya Nadkarni, Ph.D.
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