Germany Key to Reined-In Russia, a Stable Europe

By Cyr, Arthur I | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), February 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

Germany Key to Reined-In Russia, a Stable Europe


Cyr, Arthur I, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


'To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war,' said Winston Churchill in 1954, supporting the principle of nations negotiating. Those wise words from a great leader - who understood war - should be kept in mind regarding Ukraine, where Russia is stepping up aggressive support for rebel forces.

On Feb. 12, a Ukraine ceasefire was announced after all-night negotiation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in partnership with President Francois Hollande of France, has been spearheading efforts to contain and resolve the armed conflict in Ukraine. Simultaneously, she has been leading European Union efforts to maintain financial stability in the region, especially recently in Greece.

Churchill made the comment during the early years of the Cold War, after successful cooperation between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany had collapsed. Escalating discord over aspects of occupation of occupied Germany evolved into the Cold War.

That historic conflict was rooted essentially in different conceptions of society and relations among nations. Soviet leaders "are not like " us," wrote American diplomat George Kennan in his book "Realities of American Foreign Policy," published in the same year Churchill made his famous statement in favor of negotiation.

Kennan, expert on Germany and Russia, was among the most perceptive of American analysts of international relations, an always ardent student and writer. The containment policy he defined guided United States policies toward the Soviet Union and other communist powers from the administrations of Harry Truman through George H.W. Bush.

He focused on prudent realist diplomacy, which assumes conflict among national interests is inevitable. He emphasized Soviet and U.S. leaders vary markedly in experiences and outlook; particularly brutal total war informed Moscow's worldview. That fundamentally unproductive system - if restrained - would eventually collapse, and our relations with friendly nations were relatively more important.

Kennan headed the policy planning staff of the State Department during the Truman administration, when containment became formally established as the foundation of the U. …

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