Former NATO Commander Says US is Getting Ukraine About Right
Adm. James Stavridis, who left his post as the first Navy man to command NATO last year and is now the dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, thinks the Obama administration has gotten things about right in its response to Russia's military incursion into Ukraine's Crimea region.
Which is not to say he's sanguine about developments. Far from it. But in a brief interview yesterday, he stressed reducing international military tension over Ukraine while trying to find ways to isolate Russia over its current course.
Earlier this month, Stavridis wrote a short piece forForeign Policy with a list of suggestions for the US and NATO. He stressed the need for increased electronic and satellite surveillance of the area, information-sharing with the Ukrainian military, contingency planning for a possible full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, and moving NATO forces into the Black Sea, among other things.
Stavridis reckons most of that has been done since he wrote his piece. But the situation has grown more dangerous since, with the addition of Russian troops to Crimea and a buildup of Russian forces on the border with eastern Ukraine.
What are the next steps? We only spoke briefly, but he spoke of sanctions.
"Sanctions targeting individuals?" I asked. He responded that he'd start there, but said the US and its European partners should consider broader sanctions targeting the Russian economy, particularly focusing on the oil and gas industry that contributes about 25 percent of Russia's GDP (by comparison, the US, no energy slouch, obtains about 2.5 percent of its GDP from the oil and gas business).
He said the Russian economy, as a "one-trick pony," was vulnerable. He also said that he's worried about the precedent of Russia's moves to separate Crimea from Ukraine.
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