Vladimir Putin - 2006.jpgPresident Barack Obama.jpgCircle of 12 gold stars on a blue background
What kind of genuine agreement is reasonable, within the context of an escalating economic crisis in Russia, and to support the so important international coöperation between superpowers and other countries?
As the Russian rouble crisis may have a global fallout, affecting potentially the word’s financial markets, just a few words about this crisis. A crisis as a result of both many sanctions and dropping oil prices, within apparently unresolved issues in and around Ukraine.
For those who blame Russia for the current sanctions it is good to challenge their own perceptions against those of Russia.
Some would say that it is useless to speak of an agreement with Russia and lifting sanctions until Russia shows a more cultivated approach towards the status of Ukraine, which I hope they do….But they can be supported to do this as well..
An attitude however of allowing Russia going into an economic meltdown has repercussions for all Russian citizens and some may say this is almost reaching the point of economic warfare  at this stage, – with potential implications which can’t be underestimated.
What can we say about this?
Reaching  an attainable agreement can never be achieved by forcing a super power on its knees with economic sanctions, without offering a more genuine effort of solving problems, – the last being based on a practical and necessary process…. It is a matter of leadership to do so and looking further ahead….
Adopting an approach in 2014 of far-reaching economic confrontation without reasoning an acceptable deal on Ukraine, and some principles to be shared in international relationships, could lay down the seeds of a further military confrontation, – the last  in that case being evidence of the bankruptcy of the current perceptions being used, when short-sighted  and short-term policies are applied with the wrong propaganda and the wrong sentiments…
It is likely not to work out this way!
Like the Americans, the Russian people have an impressive culture with important accomplishments on a multi range of issues, success in science and space, achievements in economic and industrial growth, – even so when the last seems to have diminished lately… Neither Russia, nor the US or Europe have ever been at war with each other….. During the second World War the Soviet Union, as it was called at that stage, suffered more than any other nation.
For all nations, and for some more than others , is the challenge to refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, – the last being so important to keep the balance right… No country can be allowed to take over other countries which are free, and made the choice to be free… On the other hand, since the fall of the Berlin wall there has been no real justification in NATO’s eastwards expansion, – which has been clearly perceived by Russia as a potential threat. On the other hand Russia has not more than 2-3 military bases abroad, – whilst the US has many bases elsewhere…  The EU and the US have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow over the seizure of Crimea and because of Russia’s backing  pro-Russian separatists in  Ukraine, – during a conflict that has killed about 5000 people…. Russia’s economy is heading into recession as due to both induced pressure of low oil prices, western sanctions related with the Ukraine, besides some global economic fluctuations, – the last which is almost out of any countries control.
The economic pressure now is a real threat for Russia, and will hit all Russian people in sustained ways.
The recent Russian rouble’s “free fall” is hard to predict, hard to predict how matters will evolve from here as well, – but history shows that countries being cornered this way – like eg Germany after the 1st Word War in other ways, – may enter a process which could make the way free for nationalist hardliners to take over. .The propaganda has been started already, the relations between the superpowers and Europe are already deeply disturbed…
Had oil prices fallen as part of unpredictable market forces, Russia would have been able to turn to international financial markets, but the sanctions being in place closed this door.  It would almost seem that Russia has been really cornered now, and for sure they don’t like it.. It is feeding the wrong sentiments in this country, still being a super-power.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the world is closely watching on what is happening in Russia , referring to the rouble. But he defended the continued sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis as President Putin was invited to make a different set of choices with those sanctions being in place, indicating as well that what is happening now in Russia is not just related to the sanctions… However, it seems that oil prices are low at present due to significant background dynamics with the involvement of Saudi Arabia included, a trend to increase oil production with generalised dropping oil prices.  There is mention of making Russia as such see little revenue from their vital oil production, with reduced export as result of this.
The wisdom of such current policies being in place to get a deal within reason about Ukraine may be questionable and will prove to be possibly a very risky one. The relationship with Russia will be further eroded as a result of this, like it would have happened if the US or the EU would have been cornered when their status quo would have been a vulnerable one.
Whilst the principle of refraining from interfering in the self-determination of other countries is highly valued and accepted, an unequivocal peace deal with Ukraine and a withdrawal from Russian support to separatist should lead to an immediate lifting of all sanctions… The start then for a real process of improving dynamics and Russia eventually being incorporated as a participating non-member of NATO, in the first instance.  The last as cold-war dynamics “as a process” is a reflection of poor and inflated policies.  Policies reflecting too little real insight are the cornerstone at the background of the Ukraine and its related problems, – a dilemma which asks for a swift resolution and wider views, – without unhelpful propaganda, propaganda in Ukraine included.
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Despite failures of dogma in the past, the Soviet army, as well, liberated Europe  from fascism and Russia’s backyard is not free from fascistic elements, – the last which should be watched like all countries with those elements need to be watched….
Propaganda only works when it falls into fertile ground. We have seen this in the pre-second World War dynamics… One may blame Russia for this current crisis, as part of propaganda with narrow views, but fact is that when people say that Russia is trying to re-establish its level of influence towards the boundaries of the former Soviet Union, – it is clear as well that this may be well provoked by NATO’s eastward expansion since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both is or has not been sensible politics, – but the point is not who started this. The point is how to fix this  in a process of discussing a more positive outcome, and a far more constructive way forward. The last without prejudice on participating leaders being involved in this process. 
History, in retrospect, may say that the current adopted policy was an inflated policy and that the better option would have been to be more inclusive of Russia, like the US was inclusive to Germany after the second World War. Obviously the dynamics were different, but if Germany already after the 1st World War  was approached in a more inclusive way the nationalistic sentiments in those days which created the dynamics being fertile ground for persons like Hitler and the 2nd World War, would likely not have been taken place the way they did.
This was a 19th Century policy and we should not go back to this…After the fall of the Berlin wall and the USSR disintegration, a different European approach towards Russia would have been possible, – and is still possible.
One could say that President Putin should stop from meddling in the affairs from Ukraine, but a potential future Ukraine membership of NATO would be for Russia evidence of increasing NATO influence, – in its former backyard. They simply don’t want it as there is no need for this, – which is the Russian perception.
Anders Fogh Rassmussen, NATO’s Secretary-General said that the reality showed that Russia does not consider NATO as a partner, the question however is when did NATO  consider Russia as a partner after the fall of the Berlin Wall?.. Has there ever been a process in place to incorporate Russia in equal inclusive ways as shown to other countries in Europe?
The answer on those questions are not really in the affirmative, and the way matters evolve now only feed the Russian perception of “a conspiracy against Russia”.. This poorly progressing process, the result of many complex acts together, will feed nationalist sentiments in Russia with propaganda supporting that Russia is under threat, – which it is,  in  economical  ways.
Needless to say that Ukraine has legitimate interests, but the process leading up to the Ukraine becoming an issue of international concern has at least in part to do with NATO’s inconsiderate expansion to the east, without considering – as part of a process – Russia to be a partner as well...
Reversal of this process is in the hands of leaders with a true sense of genuine and positive historic perceptions, and,  a willingness to solve this problem now for the better before Russian sentiments will decide the long-term Russian response, – the last which may well  fire back if no swift resolution and support.
We need to think about what history is able to teach us, rather than returning to inflated politics at international level which proved not to work, – the last being dangerous for international stability….. Our interest lies on an international stable order among the world’s most powerful nations, – not rejection and isolation of each other out of fear, – but inclusion based on common interest, – provided no real threat is provoked effecting the international community.
If such process starts early, there is no need for derailment.
Russia, being cornered now in far-reaching economic ways,  with  the imposed sanctions, the forced dynamics in the oil price reductions, and the Russian rouble being rock bottom now,  including perhaps a potential change in leadership, – might become a more dangerous Russia as due to its isolation and nationalistic sentiments.
Like the US showed different styles of Presidential leadership in the past, Russia showed different Presidential styles as well… One may have different opinions on the 62 year old President Putin, but he neither provoked any major war nor is he be allowed to be compared with Hitler at this point in time… He is clearly a Russian nationalist and he is allowed to be so as part of the responsibilities to his country at present. He is clearly different than the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, but this  does not take away that one can reason a deal with President Putin and to invite him to play his role in international coöperation, but vice versa as well to stop NATO expansion to the east,  and include Russia more in the affairs of Europe.
Russia like the US are historic players on the word stage and need to be taken seriously, – not in a sentimental way but with recognition that historical national interests are not always the same.
Pushing Russia at the brink of economic collapse over the Ukraine crisis, after a longstanding increased NATO expansion closing slowly in on the borders of Russia – based on the wrong post Berlin Wall perception on European military defence expansion,  for so long already – will prove to be the wrong policy, as it is just this NATO policy of expanding its influence to the east, – which may have triggered Russia’s unfortunate policy towards the Ukraine.  However, – insight from both sides as how those dynamics work, the background of it, – is a starting point to discuss, to reason and to resolve those issues from a realistic and genuine perspective.
It’s time to re-evaluate ones perceptions on each other and to consider whether there is really any wisdom on an approach asking eventually for conflict. Both perceptions and perceived positions in Europe, the US and Russia, – are now getting more dogmatic and less flexible due to the cooling down of the relationships.
The question is who has the courage and the ability to embrace a more workable approach and change the line of history in those potential dangerous dynamics, following both relentless NATO expansion to the east for many years and finally the Russian response in the affairs of Ukraine as a result of this, – with all sanctions and reduced oil prices happening afterwards, and Russia as a result of this now economical in a vulnerable position.
This current process shows neither beneficiary nor victory for any party involved and asks for serious review on the positions being created.
Only free men can negotiate as free men, and we are all free men if we see our future to remain free. Leaders in Europe and Russia need to reason , to compromise for the survival and prosperity of their own people, – looking at broader perspectives and the last with the full support of the US, – this with the view to a good outcome, a solution which leaves nobody in the shadow.
All this is neither about seeking the Russian answer, nor about seeking only the European answer or the US answer. All of this is about finding the right answer, seeking the right way forward in ways not escalating the wrong direction.
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It is not about fixing the blame but fixing and accepting the responsibilities for the future, with enough things already going on without the domain of much influence or control…
As reasonable people, terror – as it may happen at times – is hard to control. But the issues around Ukraine and the financial crisis are to manage, – as it is within reason to solve them with the response of free men.
Bushfires and earthquakes are hard to control, only the after effects. But the after effects of escalating conflict are very hard to control, even as free men.
So let us control what we are able to control as part of our unified responsibilities. When we see a future we can make a future as free men. As long as we are creative and inventive, with neither being repetitive in our failures nor dogmatic in our perceptions as a people who lost the freedom to make both proactive and sincere choices. We have to conquer this freedom, in our imagination and actions, – day by day, – week by week, – and year by year. Conquer this freedom as mental slavery within the contest of war and economic downfall is not an option, not an option for those who are really free in both Russia, the US, Europe and the rest of the world


Paul Alexander Wolf

> http://paulalexanderwolf.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/ <