Our Thoughts are with the Ukrainian People

Dear Friends,

The last few days have been searing to watch, especially for those of us who’ve spent so much of our careers focused on Russia and the former Soviet Union. All of us tried, over the years, to avert just such a calamity. The Russian attack on Ukraine is illegal, immoral, and unjustifiable. It is heartbreaking to see the photos of destruction and desperate people seeking shelter and escape from the unfolding disaster. My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people, as well as those in Russia who oppose such military action.

The history that serves as the backdrop of this crisis is long and complex, beginning nearly thirty years ago. The lost opportunities, the failure of imagination, the arrogance, and the absence of creativity all contributed to a set of events that could roil the international community for decades to come.

I will be writing more about this story and others in the coming months, with the relaunching of my commentary as The Longer View in the next few weeks. In it, I will offer observations, stories, and strategic principles related to the critical importance of thinking for the “long haul.”

For now, encourage your policymakers to find ways to bring this NATO-Russia-Ukraine crisis to an end. The potential for a wider war can occur not just by intent, but also by miscalculation.

Sending best regards,
Susan

10 thoughts on “Our Thoughts are with the Ukrainian People

  1. Words cannot adequately express the horror and pain of the Ukrainian people. But the words of ex-President Txxxx are in a despicable land all his own. I hope the actions of the UN and NATO against Putin and his key supporters will have a meaningful negative effect on them.

    Robert Hanfling Mobile – 303 941-9582

    >

  2. My guess and hope are that Putin’s defeat will come at the hands of his own people, who will not support this aggression or his vision of a restored Russian empire.

  3. Thank you Susan for your continued leadership and insights. I have shared your Blog with others, who also appreciate the opportunity to engage on important global issues that impact everyone.

  4. Here’s one of those lost opportunities, failures of imagination, and lack of creativity . . .

    June 2, 2015

    Dear President Obama:

    The greatest potential danger to our security and to world peace may not come from ISIS and the mayhem in the Middle East but from the amorphous situation in the Ukraine.

    Having myself witnessed at close range more than a dozen nuclear and thermonuclear explosions in the Bikini-Eniwetok proving grounds during my Navy days, I shudder to think what could result from continuing to up the ante in the Ukraine by both sides. Yet I am convinced that with bold policy initiatives the situation could still be retrieved — and perhaps become a more significant achievement of your presidency than any agreement with Iran or normalization of relations with Cuba.

    I applaud your foreign policy imperative “not to do anything stupid” as both strategy and overall policy. However, may I suggest an obverse policy imperative: do not miss doing something that is obviously smart. In this case, what should appear to be so obvious is that the one person uniquely qualified to successfully mediate the Ukrainian stand-off and establish a long-term framework for U.S.-Russian amity is Susan Eisenhower.

    Beyond Ms. Eisenhower’s expertise and previous personal involvement in Soviet/Russian life, the enduring public respect in Russia for the Eisenhower name would enable Mr. Putin to rationalize at home the concessions he may have to make abroad. Correspondingly, the Eisenhower name would help justify the concessions that may be necessary on our side. For who among your Republican adversaries would presume to criticize as less than patriotic whatever policies Ms. Eisenhower may find it necessary to propose or pursue? In fact, how many of the hundred members of the Senate would venture to oppose Ms. Eisenhower’s nomination as our special envoy for this task?

    Mr. President: your advisers were alert enough to take advantage of Susan Eisenhower’s name and talents to help you get elected. My hope is that they will now be alert enough to get this letter into your hands so that you can avail yourself of Ms. Eisenhower’s services for this potentially no less consequential task.

    Respectfully yours,

    Ernest Kolowrat

  5. Thank you for tis remarkable letter sent in 2015! This paragraph takes on ever-increasing importance as the Russian-Ukrainian crisis unfolds:

    Having myself witnessed at close range more than a dozen nuclear and thermonuclear explosions in the Bikini-Eniwetok proving grounds during my Navy days, I shudder to think what could result from continuing to up the ante in the Ukraine by both sides. Yet I am convinced that with bold policy initiatives the situation could still be retrieved — and perhaps become a more significant achievement of your presidency than any agreement with Iran or normalization of relations with Cuba.

    Yes, another loss of opportunity. I plan to write more on the list I have been keeping, but that crucial period–2014-2015–was indeed a pivot point.

  6. Chernobyl reactors are located in the Ukraine. At the time the Chernobyl accident occurred in 1986 it was part of the
    Soviet Union.. After the accident the teriritory in which the Chernobyl reactors were located became part of the Ukraine. Ukraine has shut down the Chernobyl reactors. Russia may be trying to recover jurisdiction of the reactors which still contain a great deal of radioiactive waste which must be dealt with.. I think the best solution would be to allow Russia to resume control over the part of the Ukraine that contains the Chernobyl reactors. Susanne E. Vandenbosch,Ph. D.

  7. Queen Elizabeth II was a very special person because she embodied the image of what the modern monarchy was.

    But she fit the role well.

    Her six visits to America in 1951, 1957, 1976, 1983, 1990 & 2007 forged ties more with America than George III did in the 18th & early 19th centuries.

    But she did this to United us both as friends & cousins.

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