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DECISION NOTES

Putins Russia: Time for Containment?

THE DEBATE: On Tuesday, April 15th, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University hosted the debate: Putins Russia: Time for Containment? at the Burke Theater at the Navy Memorial, in Washington, DC. The debate centered on the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, Putins actions, and the right Western response to them. Although Western democracies are united in condemning Russias intervention in Ukraine, its destabilizing efforts in Eastern Europe, and the annexation of Crimea, there is no consensus regarding the appropriate policy to handle the situation. Supporters of containment argue that this is the only way to stop Putin, while critics say the that the United States cant go it alone in fashioning an effective policy responsetough sanctions will have harmful impacts on the West as well, and that rising to a confrontation with Russia shutting down the diplomatic channels and conversation will Russia will only escalate the situation, not resolve it. THE DEBATERS: The containersContainers: , arguing Arguing in support of containing Russia were David J. Kramer, President of Freedom House, and Anders slund, Senior Fellow at the Petersen Peterson Institute for International Economics, and David J. Kramer, President of Freedom House.. The engagersEngagers: , aArguing in support of a balanced approach to counter Russian aggression and intervention in Ukraineagainst containing Russia were Thomas Graham, Managing Director of Kissinger Associates, Inc., and Andrew S. Weiss, Vice President for Studies at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Elise Labott, CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter, moderated the debate. THE TAKE AWAY: Key Points Made in Support of Containing Russia: Putin poses the most serious threat to freedom, and democracy and international law the international community has seen in decades. The West cannot sit idly by, while Russia clamps down on democracy and human rights, annexes foreign territories, and violates international agreements. The Western powers must put principles before business interests or otherwise they risk allies not trusting them, and enemies not fearing them. The choice is between war or only severe sanctions. As long as the United States S and the EU do not show unity and act proactively and decisively, Putin feels like he has the upper hand. If Russia is not stopped, it will continue to threaten and destabilize countries that are vulnerable due to their geopolitical position, historical and cultural ties to Russia, and the considerable size of their Russian-speaking

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populations. Expansion of this crisisRussian subversion to the Baltics would also mean a threat to the European Union and NATO. Regardless of what the Russianits propaganda says, the Russiacountry is economically weak, vulnerable and is greatlyfar more dependent on the United States and Europe than vice versa. One of thePutin has overplayed his hand. A major reasons for Putins aggression against Ukraineforeign policy is to divert peoples attention from the domestic problems and economic hardships. The West has the leverage in this situation. , cContainment, hardhitting sanctions, and cutting Russia out from the international community would be the best way to undermine Putin.

Key Points Made Against Containing Russia: This situation is not the a re-play of the Cold War. T, the policy choices and tools that were right at that period would may not necessarily work today. We live in a different, more globalized world. today, Russia is part of the global economy, and Russia and the West share certain there are aligning, compliementary security economic, trade, and international regional interests, e.g., the fight against nuclear proliferation and radical extremism. , Russias cooperation is necessary in critical on issues like such as arms control or and the fight against terrorism and extremist forces. Due to this mutual dependency, and Russias economic and energy leverages, containment and hard sanctions could would bite back. The West is not united: ; tThere are huge differences between the potential consequences and repercussions for the United States and Europe. Yet uUnity between the United States asnd Europe is critical to any successful policy. and partnerships would be the critical first steps; Moreover, the United States cannot act alone, especially since after two wars, there is no domestic support for making new another long-term engagement open-ended security commitments throughout Russias neighborhood, including in places like Ukraine that are on the verge of armed conflictabroad. Ukraine is a deeply divided, and economically and politically unstable country. It needs time that would need time to discuss the address internal issues, develop democracy and lay down the foundations of a stable economy, but this can only be done in a peaceful environment. Due to Ukraines location, its geopolitical situation, it is a mistake to suggest that there can be a is no lasting solution to the crisis without Russias involvement, it so Russia must notcannot be completely alienated. Deliberately Provoking provoking Russia or shutting it out of the discussions would could inadvertently only escalate the situation, would play into Russias fears that the West is encircling and threatening it., thus these measures can be counterproductive.
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THE RECOMMENDATIONS: Anders slund argued that the United States should impose even much tougher sanctions on Russia, especially financial sanctions. As the United States S is the one who dominates the global US economy is nearly ten times larger than the Russian economy, and U.S.-Russian-US economic and trade relations are not relatively insignificant, the negative economic there is no truth to the arguments that there would be a financial impact or onbacklash on Americans would be very limited. David J. Kramer recommended hard sanctions on Russian state-owned enterprises, banks, and individuals. He also stressed that we must refuse to recognize Crimeas annexation by Russia, just as

we did with the Baltic States incorporation into the Soviet Union. Treating Crimea as if it were lost would be a huge mistake and could have serious repercussions for the Baltic regions future. He urged reassuring and preventive military deployments to NATO Allies near Ukraine. Andrew S. Weiss predicted that the crisis in Ukraine will go on for a long time and will remain deeply extremely complicated. He and argued that while dialog and engagement are by no means magic bullets, taking them out of consideration and declaring that there is no room for a diplomatic solution are gravewould be a grave mistakes. David J. Kramer recommended hard sanctions on Russian state-owned enterprises, banks, and individuals as well as declining to recognize the referendum in Crimea and pushing Russia out of Ukraine. Treating Crimea as if it were lost would be a huge mistake and could have serious repercussions for the Baltic regions future. Thomas Graham argued that it is necessary to open up channels of discussion and engagement and to resolve the crisis diplomatically, finding a way to advance U.S. interests.
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WHAT IS YOUR DECISION?

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