“With the decision of Sweden and Finland to seek NATO membership, with the decision of other neutral states of the EU and Switzerland to impose full sanctions on Russia, they have de facto ceased to be neutral in this conflict.”
Ambassador Garčević and the Director of UMass’ Applied Ethics Center talk about what it means to diplomatically engage with Russia and whether it makes sense to think of it as a pariah state.
Ambassador Garčević’s presentation – part of Milton Academy’s Keyes Seminar Day – focused on the popular narrative that NATO enlargement provoked Russia to invade Ukraine.
Ambassador Garčević comments on the war in Ukraine, NATO and EU enlargement, relations between the EU and Russia, EU economic sanctions against Moscow, as well as recent European diplomatic visits to Kyiv.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine has united the EU more than ever in the last 20 years and confirmed the importance of close cooperation between European allies and the U.S.”
Professor Shifrinson discusses how the West and Russia may now be entering into the terminal stages of an insecurity spiral that could produce a larger European conflagration.
“Any government hesitation creates the impression that Montenegro does not have an attitude when it comes to events in Ukraine and is avoiding responsibility.”
“There is a legitimate point to say that the U.S. offered assurances to the Soviets that NATO would do something, but that is not the same thing as saying NATO offered an agreement.”
Why has Russia amassed troops around Ukraine? Why the threat of an invasion? Are there other ways to achieve objectives? How will this conflict end? Professor Olena Lennon of the University of New Haven addresses these and other questions on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
By trying to play “a neutral role” in the crisis in Ukraine, Ambassador Garčević believes that Montenegro is sending the wrong signal to its partners in the European Union and NATO.
“This conflict comes when for Biden’s domestic problems are much more important than international ones. The country is divided, the pandemic is not over yet, and high levels of inflation are worrying.”
Historically, NATO enlargement, “was a way of incentivizing liberalization in countries that had been in the Communist bloc, showing that the US still has a mission in Europe, and a way of the US projecting power and checking alternative systems like the European Union.”
Ambassador Garčević outlines how Moscow uses Ukraine as a bargaining chip in its relations with the West, highlighting that the current build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border may be an attempt to force the West to take Russia’s security demands seriously.
Ambassador Garčević said that the West often misunderstands Turkey’s interests in the Balkans and underestimates its strength. As it turns out, in the Balkans, Turkey and NATo are not in disagreement
In his interview, Ambassador Garčević highlighted the need for more robust involvement of the EU and United States in the Balkans but cast doubt about their political commitment, given their global priorities.
“The fact that we haven’t seen the castigation of U.S. credibility in an overt, dramatic way is a more telling indicator.”
Ambassador Garčević questions why the EU has been losing its soft power attraction in the Western Balkans despite two powerful tools at its hands, the EU membership perspective and intensive economic cooperation/the volume of FDIs.
“The world doesn’t need a second Cold War to get countries to be very much in one camp or another.”
“American strategists in the years ahead must be prepared to revisit the fundamentals of the U.S. presence in Europe and devolve authority to local actors.”
Prof. Shifrinson discusses U.S.’s historically mixed relationship with NATO and what the future may hold.