Transatlantic Relations Program Staffer Will Moreland writes for the Huffington Post to argue against the use of Cold War tensions to defend Russian intervention in Ukraine:
Tom Hayden’s July 21 article is quick to invoke historic Russo-Western Cold War tensions to explain, and excuse, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine today. Utilizing what amount to “dim and distorted” traces of the past, Mr. Hayden attempts to defend Moscow’s continuing intervention in Ukraine by asserting that the expansionism of “Western triumphalists” plunged East and West into a renewed global conflict. However, the transatlantic community neither began this crisis, nor perceives it to be the dawning of a global clash of ideologies or civilizations. Instead, this crisis reflects Vladimir Putin’s eleventh-hour endeavor to maintain his regional power by undermining Ukraine’s decision to pursue a European future based on democratic governance and the rule of law.
To begin, unfortunately, we cannot all agree that the West instigated a new Cold War by seeking to expand its “sphere of influence” across “the Ukraine.” (Nor can we even agree to the term “the Ukraine,” a phrase replete with connotations that Ukraine is a wayward region of Russia, not an independent state.) The mere visit of a Russian leader to Latin America during a Russo-Western clash does not indicate a conflict that is either global or ideological in nature. Russian nationalism is not an exportable doctrine to which other states will rally. While certain nations will embrace Moscow’s subversion of the inviolability of borders, no Russian-led anti-Western coalition will emerge.