US President Barack Obama and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy address a joint news conference during a EU-US summit at the European Council in Brussels on March 2014. (Photo: Reuters/

by Alex Clarkson

Aug. 29, 2014 (TSR) – The ultra-establishment Foreign Affairs Magazine, published by the US Council on Foreign Relations, features an article in its latest issue arguing that the US and its European allies share most of the blame for the Ukraine crisis.

Written by John J. Mearsheimer, an American professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, it argues that the central mistake was NATO enlargement and the Western strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit, a strategic threat to Russia.  This echoes similar views from other American foreign policy heavyweights, Henry Kissinger and George Kennan (deceased).

Mearsheimer argues that Russia’s opposition to NATO expansion was consistently ignored. Instead of taking Russia’s interests into account, Washington, influenced by neo-con ideologues, decided to push forward in turning Ukraine into a pro-Western state, pumping more than $5 billion into anti-Russian political groups there, which eventually led to an irreparable political split inside Ukraine.

He goes on to say that those who believe Putin is aiming to “re-create a new Soviet Union” are completely misinterpreting events:  If Putin wanted to create a greater Russia, he would have laid the foundations for this long ago.  But there is no evidence that he was considering taking Crimea or other parts of Ukraine.  Instead, he argues that Russia is simply reacting to unprovoked aggression, looking after its core interest.

Mearsheimer then argues that to punish Russia with sanctions is the wrong approach.  History shows that to protect their core interests, countries are willing to endure great hardship.  H argues that instead, the US should abort their plan to “westernise” Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia. He calls for the West to publicly rule out NATO’s expansion into both Georgia and Ukraine.

Mearsheimer believes that current policy will exacerbate hostilities with Russia and devastate Ukraine in the process. The West should instead work to create a neutral Ukraine, one that does not threaten Russia and allows Western countries to repair their relations with Moscow.


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