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Ukraine-Russia Conflict | Munk Debates

SEASON TWO - EPISODE #57

Ukraine-Russia Conflict

Be it resolved, the West should intervene militarily to defend Ukraine from Russia.

Guests
Dov S. Zakheim
Anatol Lieven

About this episode

Russia has moved more than 100,000 troops close to disputed areas in Ukraine, setting up fears of a new Russian military intervention following their invasion of Crimea in 2014. US officials have responded by threatening Putin both with economic sanctions and the cancellation of a planned gas pipeline to Europe. Some security experts believe that the west must do more to defend Ukraine; standing by and allowing Russia to invade the country sends a message to other aggressive powers like China that their attacks on smaller countries like Taiwan will be met with similar weak responses. Geopolitically, an independent Ukraine creates an important buffer between Russia and Central Europe and prevents military buildup in the region.

Others argue that the US has no business in Ukraine. A string of failed military interventions overseas has left thousands of Americans dead and foreigners scrambling to deal with the mess left behind. Russia also has every right to feel threatened by western attempts to defend border territories and NATO’s alliances with border states. Furthermore, now is not the time to start a fight with Putin when conflicts are escalating with China and Iran. Russia’s fight is with Ukraine. The west, isolationists argue, need to stay out of this fight and away from this conflict.

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Guests

Dov S. Zakheim

“If Mr Putin is allowed to invade Ukraine, then everybody else is going to notice it. It will weaken the NATO alliance and the Chinese will see that perhaps we, the Americans, really are a paper tiger.”

Dov S. Zakheim

“If Mr Putin is allowed to invade Ukraine, then everybody else is going to notice it. It will weaken the NATO alliance and the Chinese will see that perhaps we, the Americans, really are a paper tiger.”

Dov S. Zakheim is Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Senior Fellow at the CNA Corporation, a federally funded think tank. Previously he was Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton where he led the Firm’s support of U.S. Combatant Commanders worldwide.
 
From 2001 to 2004 he was Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense, and from 2002-2004 he was also DOD’s coordinator of civilian programs in Afghanistan. From 1985 until 1987, Dr. Zakheim was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. He held other senior DOD posts from 1981-1985.
 
Dr. Zakheim has served on numerous government, corporate, non-profit and charitable boards. He is Vice Chairman of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Board of Trustees, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for The National Interest. He currently serves on the Board of Control of the United States Naval Academy Athletic Association and is an Executive Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations. He was a senior national security advisor in the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush (2000), Mitt Romney (2012) and Jeb Bush (2016).

Anatol Lieven

“If you try to defend everywhere, you end up defending nowhere, which is what America risks vis-a-vis China, when it comes to Ukraine.”

Anatol Lieven

“If you try to defend everywhere, you end up defending nowhere, which is what America risks vis-a-vis China, when it comes to Ukraine.”

Anatol Lieven is a professor in Georgetown University in Qatar. He is a visiting professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College London, a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC and a member of the academic board of the Valdai discussion club in Russia. He also serves on the advisory committee of the South Asia Department of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He holds a BA and PhD from Cambridge University in England. 

His latest book, Climate Change and the Nation State, was published in March 2019 by Penguin in the UK and Oxford University Press in the USA. His previous book, Pakistan: A Hard Country was published by Penguin and OUP in 2012.

​From 1985 to 1998, Anatol Lieven worked as a British journalist in South Asia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and is author of several books on Russia and its neighbours including Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power? and Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry
 

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