Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Putin’s War in Ukraine Forcing West to Think about What to Do with Russia and with Current World Order, Etkind Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 28 – Kremlin propaganda suggests that the West has always planned to dismember Russia and dominate the world, but in fact, neither is the cases, Aleksandr Etkind says. Instead, Putin by invading Ukraine is forcing the West to think seriously both about what to do with Russia and what kind of an international organization should now be created.

            The Russian historian who teaches at Vienna’s Central European University says that the West has only taken up the question of the possible dismemberment of Russia during wars. The rest of the time, it has been prepared to tolerate and even support Moscow’s rule (severreal.org/a/aleksandr-etkind-o-buduschem-rossii/32145201.html).

            By invading Ukraine, Etkind says, Putin has violated the international order and led ever more Western countries to be open to the possibility that Russia must not continue in its current arrangements. According to him, it is now likely that there will be several and possibly “more than ten” new states where Russia now is.

            Managing things so that wars won’t break out among them and preventing a repeat of the kind of revanchism now in evidence in the case of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are major tasks that the West is only beginning to think about but must address because the end of Putin’s regime and of Russia as a single entity could come suddenly.

            But the West faces a larger challenge than just coping with the end of Russia, the historian says. It must come up with a new international order and organization. After the two world wars, it took formed the League of Nations and the United Nations. The first failed and the second is failing, but they represented steps forward.

            Now is the time, Etkind says, to promote a new world organization one that will be able to address problems that neither of its predecessors did. Exactly what it will look like is unclear, but the task of coming up with it has been brought forward by the attack Putin has made on the existing international system by his invasion of Ukraine.

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