Michael Car­pen­ter calls for tougher sanc­tions on Rus­sia

Ukraine is Krem­lin's fi­nal bar­rier to res­ur­rect­ing its em­pire, so the West needs to stop im­i­tat­ing de­ter­rence and im­pose truly painful sanc­tions on Rus­sia's econ­omy.

Kyiv Post - - National -

Ed­i­tor’s Note: The fol­low­ing is a tran­script of the key­note speech by Michael Car­pen­ter, the se­nior direc­tor with the Penn Bi­den Cen­ter for Di­plo­macy and Global En­gage­ment, de­liv­ered at the Kyiv Post’s Tiger Con­fer­ence 2018 in Kyiv on Dec. 11, 2018.

What we are wit­ness­ing to­day is a war by the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion on the West, writ­ten large. Some­times it is a covert war, some­times it’s overt, but it is a war. And this war has been go­ing on for some time, and I think it is im­por­tant about the wider con­text, in which the par­tic­u­lar ki­netic war here in Ukraine has been waged. Be­cause this is an on­go­ing strug­gle that has hap­pened ap­prox­i­mately since the year 2000, the turn of the mil­len­nium and the rise of Vladimir Putin to power in Moscow.

This war has gone through what I think of as three dis­tinct stages, though they are not nec­es­sar­ily lin­ear in terms of one pro­gress­ing to the next.

But the­ses stage are be­gin­ning with an in­ter­nal war within Rus­sia, a war that Vladimir Putin and his en­tourage waged on demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions and free civil so­ci­ety in the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion it­self, im­me­di­ately upon as­sum­ing power.

This war was then ex­panded roughly in the mid­dle of the 2000s to Rus­sia’s demo­cratic neigh­bors, most vis­i­bly with Rus­sia’s in­va­sion in Ge­or­gia in 2008 and then of course with Rus­sia’s in­va­sion in Ukraine in 2014.

Now, over the course of the last five or six years, this war has ex­panded even fur­ther. It is no longer just the democ­ra­cies on Rus­sia’s pe­riph­ery, it is Western democ­racy it­self that Rus­sia is as­sault­ing in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent ways.

'Heart of this strug­gle' But Ukraine is re­ally at heart of this strug­gle, and this strug­gle is now ac­tu­ally be­com­ing larger than just sim­ply Rus­sia. This is a global strug­gle of klep­to­cratic au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism on the one hand, and lib­eral democ­racy on the other. And Ukraine, be­cause of Rus­sia’s war, is at the very heart and cen­ter. And I firmly be­lieve that the so­lu­tion, the vic­tory, even­tu­ally of lib­eral democ­racy over

klep­to­cratic au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism first and fore­most here in Ukraine, with Ukraine be­com­ing demo­cratic.”

Why is that? Be­cause if Putin suc­ceeds with his im­pe­rial project in Ukraine, he fans the flame of im­pe­ri­al­ism in Rus­sia for years, if not decades to come. Rus­sia right now is not re­ally a na­tion-state, nei­ther in terms of its bor­ders, nor in terms of its men­tal­ity. I be­lieve that U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity and great strate­gic thinker (Zbig­niew) Brzezin­ski was cor­rect when he said that with Ukraine sub­orned to Rus­sia, Rus­sia is an em­pire; with­out Ukraine, Rus­sia be­gins to lose its im­pe­rial am­bi­tions.

Flat-footed West

But un­for­tu­nately, in this war on Western democ­racy that we’ve wit­ness over this last roughly 20 years, the West has been caught flat-footed.

NATO has been able to aug­ment its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­fend and de­ter Rus­sian ag­gres­sion, but we have seen over the last cou­ple of years that the West is re­ally not placed to be able to counter a covert war on its in­sti­tu­tions that in­cludes in­for­ma­tion war­fare, pro­pa­ganda, cy­ber­at­tacks, the use of dark money to sub­vert pol­i­tics, and other means.”

And once again, Ukraine here is at the fore­front. What we have seen in the United States, in France with the Yel­low Vests move­ment, in Ger­many, pre­vi­ously in the UK with the Brexit ref­er­en­dum, those meth­ods we honed and be­gan here in Ukraine. And right now I think Putin is dou­bling down on those meth­ods. I’ll tell you why — be­cause of Putin’s per­spec­tive, his mil­i­tary strat­egy has failed in Ukraine.

He has in­vaded, has tried to annex the land in Crimea, and oc­cu­pies land in the Don­bas, he is now try­ing to annex the Sea of Azov. But ul­ti­mately he has failed in its stra- te­gic goal. Be­cause he has seen as Ukraini­ans pre­pared for To­mos — for the au­to­cephaly of the Ukrainian Or­tho­dox Church and its in­de­pen­dence af­ter al­most 360 years of sub­servience to Moscow and the Moscow Pa­tri­archy to as­sert its own in­de­pen­dence.

He has seen how Ukraini­ans have ex­pressed more and more of the de­sire to curve up their own sovereignty for them­selves, and not to be dic­tated to from out­side. And he has seen how the sup­port for the EU and NATO has grown im­mensely over the last al­most five years of war.”

So what he has done in re­sponse is to dou­ble-down on the sub­ver­sive mea­sures. Mil­i­tary at­tack us­ing new weapons like laser weapons, hy­per­baric weapons — the Don­bas is a test­ing ground for every con­ceiv­able form of Rus­sian mil­i­tary power.

Putin's doc­trine

He has now ex­tended cy­ber­at­tacks from power grids and crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture to the ju­di­ciary, to at­tack the heart of Ukraine’s po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions. He has dou­bled down on as­sas­si­na­tions of ex­iled Rus­sians, as well as Ukraini­ans, sab­o­tage, mas­sive dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns, money, es­pe­cially dirty money that is be­ing chan­neled into Ukrainian pol­i­tics as we en­ter a cru­cial elec­tion cy­cle next year.”

And now sanc­tions and eco­nomic war­fare. This is all in part a par­cel of what we some­times call the Gerasi­mov Doc­trine. To be hon­est, the (Gen­eral Valery) Gerasi­mov Doc­trine is a lit­tle bit of a mis­nomer. Be­cause it is Putin’s Doc­trine. And it is not so much a prod­uct of a dis­cov­ery on the part of the Rus­sian mil­i­tary that so-called hy­brid tools are ef­fec­tive, be­cause Rus­sia has been us­ing what we call hy­brid tools for decades and decades.

Rather, what makes the so-called Gerasi­mov Doc­trine, or Putin’s Doc­trine, orig­i­nal, if you like, is the dis­pen­sa­tion with the lin­ear no­tion of war­fare where you mo­bi­lize from a peace­ful state to a state of war, and that lin­ear pro­gres­sion of mil­i­tary buildup has been re­placed with the view that Rus­sia should be at­tack­ing its ad­ver­saries in every do­main, mil­i­tary and non-mil­i­tary, all the time, wher­ever it has an asym­met­ric ad­van­tage.

And that is what Rus­sia is do­ing. That is what we see with its at­tack, its am­bush of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait, it is an at­tempt to as­sert dom­i­nance in the Sea of Azov, not just from the mil­i­tary per­spec­tive, but also to be able to eco­nom­i­cally suf­fo­cate Ukraine, par­tic­u­larly east­ern Ukraine. Putin wants peo­ple in the east­ern part of the coun­try to think that there is no hope, demo­cratic Ukraine can­not de­liver them, can­not pro­vide the sorts of ser­vices, and eco­nomic well­be­ing, and se­cu­rity for their fam­i­lies that they de­pend on and hope for.

Why busi­ness as usual?

And he is try­ing to send the mes­sage: So long as Ukraine re­sists Rus­sian do­min­ion, there will be high con­se­quences to pay. And hence the de facto block­ade of the ports of Berdyansk and Mar­i­upol, and this most re­cent in­ci­dent near the Kerch Strait, and the im­pris­on­ment of 24 Ukrainian sailors.

Now the prob­lem is that the West does not un­der­stand, or maybe it un­der­stands but does not to in­ter­nal­ize and cope with the re­al­ity of this sit­u­a­tion. Be­cause you can­not con­front Mr. Putin’s ag­gres­sion in each of these var­i­ous dif­fer­ent do­mains, from mil­i­tary to in­forma-

tion, to cy­ber, to sab­o­tage, while con­duc­ing busi­ness as usual with the Rus­sian state.

And un­for­tu­nately that is ex­actly what we’ve seen. We’ve seen that Mr. Putin is very adap­tive at bat­tling Western in­sti­tu­tions in any num­ber of dif­fer­ent do­mains, but Western lead­ers want to com­part­men­tal­ize their op­po­si­tion to Mr. Putin just to sanc­tions. The so­lu­tion is al­ways sanc­tions.

Stop Nord Stream 2

An­gela Merkel, the chan­cel­lor of Ger­many, has been one of the most ar­dent pro­po­nents of in­creas­ing sanc­tions pres­sure on Mr. Putin. But at the same time she is pur­su­ing a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar, mas­sive eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment project called the Nord Stream II pipeline, whose sole aim is to by­pass Ukraine as a tran­sit route of Rus­sian nat­u­ral gas to Europe.

But not just An­gela Merkel. Em­manuel Macron, the Pres­i­dent of France whose own cam­paign was hacked by Rus­sian agents, and who is now fac­ing the Yel­low Vests protests that are be­ing am­pli­fied by Rus­sian provo­ca­teurs, he too ad­vo­cates for sanc­tions on Rus­sia on one hand while trav­el­ing to the Saint Peters­burg In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Fo­rum to drum up busi­ness be­tween France and Rus­sia.

Or my own pres­i­dent, Don­ald Trump, who has ap­plied new sanc­tions re­luc­tantly to Rus­sia, but at the same time, he called for Rus­sia to be read­mit­ted to the G8, and he has in­vited Pres­i­dent Putin to Wash­ing­ton for a White House sum­mit.

None of this is cop­ing with the prob­lem as it ex­ists. This is all an at­tempt to show Western publics that some­thing is be­ing done. But re­ally, it’s not.

What should West do?

So, how should the West be re­act­ing to Rus­sian ag­gres­sion across all of these dif­fer­ent do­mains and what should the West be do­ing here in Ukraine. It be­gins with sanc­tions — sanc­tions are not a throw-away, they are not in­signif­i­cant, but the ones that have been ap­plied so far, have been in­signif­i­cant. What Western lead­ers have not told you when they ap­ply sanc­tions is that they are play­ing a clever trick. They claim to im­pose sec­toral eco­nomic sanc­tions on Rus­sia, but they do not.

When Western coun­tries sanc­tioned Iran, they out in place as­set freezes against all Ira­nian banks, caus­ing the Ira­nian gross do­mes­tic prod­uct to de­cline by 9 per­cent for three straight years be­tween 2012 and 2015. Against Rus­sia, they have sanc­tioned only one bank with as­set freezes — Bank Ros­siya, it was the 26th largest bank by the time it was sanc­tioned. None of the main Rus­sian fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions has been sanc­tioned with as­sets freezes. It is time to do that now. Sec­ondly, we can­not counter Rus­sia’s hy­brid ag­gres­sion and build a mas­sive pipeline from Rus­sia to Ger­many. It is nec­es­sary to can­cel the Nord Stream II pipeline at a min­i­mum un­til Rus­sia with­draws troops from Ukraine. Ger­many can’t have it both ways. They can build the pipeline, when Rus­sian forces leave, when Crimea is again Ukrainian, they can build all the pipe­lines they want.

NATO must act

Thirdly, in ad­di­tion to im­pos­ing costs, NATO can also im­pose costs in a dif­fer­ent way, by in­creas­ing its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties and deny­ing Rus­sia some of its ob­jec­tives. First and fore­most, in re­sponse to the most re­cent events, I strongly ad­vo­cate for NATO lead­ers to take a look at putting in place a stand­ing NATO mar­itime pres­ence in the Black Sea.

Ukraine's home­work

We have three NATO al­lies who are lit­toral states of the Black Sea, two close NATO part­ners, Ge­or­gia and Ukraine. And it's past time that NATO started to as­sert it­self in this re­gion and not al­low Rus­sia to rein dom­i­nance the Black Sea basin.

Fourth, as we ap­ply greater lever- age to Rus­sia, the United States can no longer stand by the side­lines and out­source its di­plo­macy to other. The days when we could say that the Nor­mandy For­mat was the proper place for achiev­ing diplo­matic res­o­lu­tions should be over. I’m not say­ing Ger­many and France should be ex­cluded from the di­plo­macy, but the United States should tell our friends and al­lies in Paris and Ber­lin that we are join­ing the ta­ble and the dis­cus­sion, we will have a seat whether they like it or not, and we’ll be happy to work with them to ap­ply pres­sure to Mr. Putin to ac­tu­ally re­solve the con­flict.

Ukraine also has is home­work caught up for it.

The West can do a lot, but Rus­sia’s ag­gres­sion can­not be stopped ob­vi­ously with­out Ukraine be­ing in­volved. And they are in­volved in this fight — you have suf­fered more than any­one, close to 11,000 lives have been lost. But in ad­di­tion to brave Ukrainian men and women fight­ing for their coun­try, this coun­try also needs to fight in­ter­nally to be­come the lib­eral democ­racy that Putin doesn’t want it to be­come. You have to change your oli­garchic sys­tem of power in or­der to be able to re­form.

All those things…like de­cen­tral­iza­tion, cus­toms re­form, agri­cul­tural re­form, are nec­es­sary. None of those suc­ceeds un­til you from an oli­garchic-run po­lit­i­cal sys­tem to one that is de­cen­tral­ized and truly demo­cratic.

Michael Car­pen­ter, se­nior direc­tor with the Penn Bi­den Cen­ter for Di­plo­macy and Global En­gage­ment in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., de­liv­ers the key­note speech at the 7th Kyiv Post Tiger Con­fer­ence in Kyiv on Dec. 11, 2018. (Volodymyr Petrov)

Ukrainian para­troop­ers sa­lute at an air base Oz­erne in Zhy­to­myr Oblast, 130 kilo­me­ters west of Kyiv, on Dec. 6, 2018. (AFP)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ukraine

© PressReader. All rights reserved.