Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crafting a strategy for deterring Putin

By David Ignatius Opinion writer August 19 at 8:03 PM, WashPost

ASPEN, Colo.

At the public kickoff of a discussion here about U.S. policy toward Russia and Ukraine, former defense secretary Robert Gates joked that his favorite definition of diplomacy was “petting a dog and saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

David Ignatius writes a twice-a-week foreign affairs column and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.

Sometimes, U.S. global strategy can be as haphazard as that. But something close to a coherent, consensus policy toward Russia emerged over four days of debate by the Aspen Strategy Group, a gathering of senior current and former officials, plus some think tank leaders and journalists. The discussions were off the record, but members were encouraged to share the contours of the debate and its conclusions.

The discussions converged on an approach that resists President Vladimir Putin’s push in Ukraine while continuing to engage Russia economically and politically. “Don’t give in to Putin, but don’t give up on Russia” is how one participant summed up the group’s conclusion.

(More here.)

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