Balanced approach needed to prevent possible new Cold War

Updated: 2014-12-19 13:56


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Although the prevailing wisdom in the West lays the blame of the Ukraine crisis entirely on Russia, John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, said the United States and its European allies shared most of the responsibility for the crisis.

According to Mearsheimer, the root causes of the crisis are America-led NATO enlargement and the eastward expansion of the European Union (EU), the central elements of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia's orbit and integrate it into the West.

In his book The Grand Chessboard, published right after the end of the Cold War, former US President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski argued that the United States had to control a number of strategic countries, including Ukraine.

The importance of Ukraine, Brzezinski said, is its very existence as a geopolitical pivot on the Eurasian chessboard, which can "stop Russia becoming a Eurasian empire."

Zhang Hong, an expert on Eurasian studies from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told Xinhua that the end of the Cold War more than two decades ago did not mean the West was ready to embrace Russia anytime soon.

On the contrary, in the face of the dual clamping mechanism of Europe-based missile defence system promoted by America, and NATO enlargement as well as the EU expansion, the Kremlin felt threatened geopolitically, said Zhang.

This remark was echoed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech after Crimea joined Russia. Accusing the military bloc NATO of seeking to squeeze Russia out of its historic security region in the Black Sea, Putin said Moscow would take steps in response "when the infrastructure of a military bloc is moving toward our borders."

In the same speech, Putin also said Russia's decision to adopt Crimea was partly due to concerns that if the Kremlin did nothing, NATO would further move eastward to incorporate Ukraine.