The new Minsk ceasefire: Avoiding Putin’s trap

Written by on February 12, 2015 in Perspectives - Comments Off on The new Minsk ceasefire: Avoiding Putin’s trap

Angela Merkel’s Monday visit to Washington made the gap between Europe and the United States even more obvious than had the recent transatlantic spat.

Forceful proponents – and strong arguments – favoured supplying arms to Ukrainian troops to enable them to better resist Russia-supported separatist forces. Strong arguments – and forceful opponents – were dead set against this course of action. US Congress members, along with many others, belong to the former group, while many European governments – including the German and the French – belong to the latter. President Barack Obama seems to stand somewhere in between.

But whether or not to supply arms is a question that concerns the Europeans more than anyone else. The price of a wrong decision will be paid not in the form of a mere setback in a strategy game played out on a Eurasian geopolitical board, but first and foremost, in Ukrainian blood.

To read the full article, please visit the website of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

(Photo: president.gov.ua)

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About the Author

Volker Stanzel joined ECFR as a Senior Adviser in the Fall of 2014. German-born Stanzel, with a PhD in Japanese, Chinese and Political Studies, was a German diplomat from 1979 until October 2013, having worked as Asia Director (2001-2), as Director General for Political Affairs, followed by three years as the German Ambassador to China (2004-7), two years as Political Director in the Foreign Office (2007-9), and finally as the German Ambassador to Japan. He also worked as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Social Democratic Party in the German Bundestag (1995-8), and was a Visiting Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington (1998/9). Stanzel joined ECFR after teaching IR as a Visiting Professor at California's Claremont McKenna College in Spring 2014 and at the University of California Santa Cruz in Fall 2014. Stanzel is also a Council Member of ECFR, a member of the German-Japanese Forum, a Member of the Board of the Academic Confucius Institute at Goettingen University, and a Member of the Board of the German-Japanese Industrial Cooperation Committee in Dusseldorf.