Leading American Scholar John Mearsheimer: The West Blew It Big Time and Irreversibly Endangered European Security

  • Round Table on "Defining a new security architecture for Europe that brings Russia in from the cold" was held in Brussels on March 2.
  • The organizer of the event was the American committee for East West Accord.
  • Three key presenters were American scholars Professor John Mearsheimer and Professor Steve Cohen, and publisher-editor of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
  • Q&A session was conducted by VIP guest panel which included five Members of the European Parliament from Left, Center and Right party groupings, two ambassadors and other senior diplomats from several missions, a senior member of the EU External Action Service, and Professor Richard Sakwa, author of the recently published Frontline Ukraine.
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Professor John J. Mearsheimer is an American senior professor of political science at the University of Chicago. He is a leading international relations theorist. 

The key points of Mearsheimer's speech:

  • The best we can hope for is to return to the Status quo ante - the situation that existed in Europe before 2008. However it will be extremely difficulty to achieve this.
  • 1990-2008 was a golden period for Europe with no serious possibility of conflict between Russia ad the West.
  • This is because NATO remained intact and Americans served as a pacifier, ultimate arbiter, higher authority and NATO did not threaten Russia.
  • 2008 was a fateful year - NATO announced that both Georgia and Ukraine would become NATO member states. This was categorically unacceptable for Russians.
  • Furthermore, in May 2008, the EU announced its Eastern Partnership, thus, the EU too will be expanding to the east. 
  • Not surprisingly in August 2008 there was a war between Georgia and Russia with Georgians hoping for NATO support that didn't come.
  • Obama failed to reset the relationship with Russia because the West lead by the US continues to try to make Ukraine part of the West.
  • Democracy promotion, run by the US, actually means toppling leaders who are seen as anti-American and putting in their place leaders who are pro-American.
  • Major crises emerged with the toppling of Yanukovich and the rise of the pro-American regime. 
  • The solution is to return to the situation that existed before 2008.
  • Ukraine needs to be turned into a neutral, buffer state.
  • Putin is basically telling the West it has two choices: back off or we will use every means available to ensure Ukraine never joins the West.
  • NATO and EU expansion as well as "democracy promotion" must be explicitly taken off the table for Ukraine. However, it's unlikely this will happen. 
  • Western leaders are heavily invested in these post-2008 policies, and now Russia doesn't trust the West anymore and NATO itself is in trouble since US focus moved from Europe to Asia.
  • Fundamental transformation if China continues to rise: Asia is the most important area of the world for US, Persian Gulf second and Europe only a distant third place.
  • Europe had excellent security before 2008, and we (the West) blew it big time.
<figcaption>A voice of reason.</figcaption>
A voice of reason.
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