viernes, 10 de marzo de 2017

Why the West – Not Putin – Is Responsible for the Ukraine Crisis, lecture by John Mearsheimer


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Publicado el 12 ene. 2016
Lecture by Professor Mearsheimer, Why the West – Not Putin – Is Responsible for the Ukraine Crisis, was held on 9th December in the Main Auditorium of Collegium Novum at the Jagiellonian University. It was organized by the Polish Society of International Studies and the Association of International and Area Studies of the Jagiellonian University. The lecture was opened by Professor Andrzej Mania, and then it was presided over by doctor Marcin Grabowski from the Chair in the History of Diplomacy and International Politics.

Our guest from the USA discussed the so-called Ukraine crisis from the perspective of offensive realism, a theory of international relations postulated by Professor Mearsheimer himself and quite influential around the world. The theory recognizes regional and world powers as the main actors shaping international relations and limiting the smaller states' and their nations' right to independence.

The first and most detailed part of the lecture was devoted to the roots of the Ukraine crisis. On the one hand, Professor said that the source of the current crisis lies in the long-term direct actions of the West to increase western influence in Ukraine by promising membership in the NATO and the EU and the support it had lent to pro-Western elites within Ukraine. On the other hand, the determination of the Russian Federation to keep exercising its influence in this state is another source of the problem.

Commenting on Russia's reaction to the shift of power in Ukraine, our guest indicated that Russia has on numerous occasions warned the West against the consequences of inviting Ukraine to join the Western institutions. At the same time, Professor Mearsheimer declared he did not agree with the common opinion that the Russian Federation's policy is a result of irrational actions of President Putin or the attempts at creating the great Russia. The professor from Chicago believes that the Russian leader acts logically and in tune with the tenets of realism. Additionally, Russia does not have the potential to rebuild its empire as it is weaker and weaker as a world power.

In conclusion of his lecture, Professor Mearsheimer gave a few recommendations how the crisis could be resolved. First of all, Ukraine should be declared a neutral state, outside of any military or economic alliances (NATO, EU). As a result, it could serve as a buffer state between the NATO and Russia and its allies. Secondly, a plan of economic aid for Ukraine should be prepared by the International Monetary Fund, Russia and the European Union. And thirdly, Ukraine should guarantee minority rights, including the right concerning minority languages.

After the lecture, Professor Mearsheimer answered a number of questions from the audience. They were mostly on the Ukrainians' right to autonomy as well as Poland's security. On the former issue, our guest stressed that he is not an adversary of the Ukrainian state, but he only presents recommendations that are necessary to end the conflict from the point of view of his theory. In relation to Poland, Professor deemed our country secure, mostly because the conflict in the East increased the US interest in the region and Russia itself will be getting weaker and weaker with time due to e.g. its demographics.

At the end, Julian Laufs from the Association of International and Area Studies of JU thanked Professor Mearsheimer and presented him with some gadgets with the AIAS logo.

The lecture gathered around 200 people who filled the Auditorium in Collegium Novum. After the official part, many students stayed to ask Professor some further questions.

Cameram: Andrzej Hytroś, Maciej Zborek
Editor: Maciej Zborek
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