From Rwanda to Kosovo I believed in the ‘responsibility to protect’, but you can’t destroy a country to save it.
We all remember that moment: In March 2009, Hillary Clinton, Obama’s Secretary of State, handed over the tokenreset button
, which was supposed to “reset” US-Russia relations (in fact it was incorrectly translated into Russian: it said not “reset” but “extra cost” and is now in the Kremlin Museum). Anne Marie Slaughter, who chairs the think tank New AmericaHe remembers it well: he was there. Headed the political planning of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When he left, he was replaced by Jake Sullivan, now the national security adviser and one of Biden’s most trusted men.
Why did this attempt at convergence fail?
After the fall of the Wall, the history of relations between Russia, Europe and the United States became complicated by many factors, including the plunder of the Russian state. The export of capitalism transformed the Communist Party into an oligarchy. There was a mess: life expectancy decreased, alcohol consumption increased. Putin has restored respect and prosperity thanks to oil prices, but thieves’ rule benefits from amplifying outside threats. When Obama and Hillary Clinton arrived, we were able to sign the New Arms Treaty and cooperate on minor matters, but it’s also true that we were encouraged and certainly not discouraged by Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in their aspirations to join the newborn. The European Union was turning east, and there was the specter of a Western democratic government on the Russian border that Putin could not accept.”
“It is difficult to single out specific errors. The Obama administration has really tried to restore relations. When Medvedev was president we thought there was a way. I think that back in the 1990s, the decision to continue and expand the Cold War security architecture, rather than thinking about how to extend European security and prosperity from the Atlantic to the Urals, was a missed opportunity. But thirty years have passed. What I have to say now is that Putin is a corrupt and paranoid dictator and I don’t think any modern administration can do anything to stop him. But we will have to think again after Putin: Europe will play a decisive role. The United States remains committed to Europe but is becoming less and less European American from a demographic point of view and is increasingly looking south and west.”
What happened to the American liberal intervention?
“I was part of that group, even if I didn’t call it that: for me, at least, it was the ‘responsibility to protect.’ It’s something I believed very strongly after Rwanda and Kosovo. As Kofi Annan said when he founded the International Commission on State Intervention and Sovereignty, it was not Legal in Kosovo but legitimate, and in Rwanda legal but illegal. I think there is a way to intervene not in the name of state authority but to protect people, as in East Timor and Kosovo, and we believed that this was the goal of intervention in Libya. But without a plan and possibilities to help people In whose name you interfere in concrete terms, you can make things worse: Libya today is worse than it was under Gaddafi. I think we should have intervened in Syria by bombing Assad’s runways and planes without interfering in the war but preventing him from using chemical weapons and barrel bombs. But these experiences made us all “Be more careful. Destroying a country to try to save it is not right. Those who are now calling for a no-fly zone in Ukraine are basically neoconservatives.”
Even Democrats like Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota are in favor of considering sending planes.
“For a long time many did not support sending weapons to Kyiv for fear of further militarization of the conflict. Not anymore. I myself say that we should do everything in our power to help the Ukrainians defend themselves, but I fully agree with the administration in avoiding the dangers of all-out war, while We are trying to stop the conflict as soon as possible, to stop Putin. But on both sides, especially on the far left, there are also those who do not see the conflict from the perspective of the Cold War, and do not consider it very different from Syria or Ethiopia. Klobuchar hails from a country with a lot of Ukrainians and Europeans » .
Did Ukraine make Biden understand that, along with China, he would have to deal with Europe?
“I hope so. I can disagree on the broader issues, the administration has handled this crisis well. This will make a differenceAsia hub
? There are dominant figures in the government who say so far the focus on Asia should only be intensified. China’s role in this crisis is a serious one. But I always thought that a file Asia hub In the sense of moving away from Europe is a mistake. The White House does not have a great coordinator for Europe. We tend to see Europe in the twentieth century, not the world’s largest economy nor its distinct approach to security: yes, you need more military capabilities but Europe is already a civilian power that has done more than the United States to integrate. The former Soviet bloc countries have strong ties with China. We cannot re-propose the opposition between NATO and Russia for another century. Russia is in many ways part of Europe, and a common security architecture must be considered, which also means that Europe is less dependent on the United States. Not now: We can’t give in to Putin. But Putin will not be there forever. I think it’s time to Reset The way the United States sees Europe.”
Mar 18, 2022 (change on Mar 18, 2022 | 22:27)
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