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The Daily Vertical: The Impossible Grand Bargain (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

There's a very simple reason why a new reset won't work.

There's a very simple reason why any grand bargain with Vladimir Putin's Kremlin regime is doomed to failure.

There's a very simple reason why a new detente with Moscow would probably make matters much worse.

And that's the simple fact that Russia wants something from the West that the West is simply incapable of giving it.

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Putin wants a sphere of influence in the former Soviet space, which is just a polite way of saying it wants imperial domination over his neighbors.

Now, even if it were morally acceptable, which it's not, and even if this were geopolitically wise, which it's not, the fact of the matter is it would be practically impossible.

It would be practically impossible because such thinking assumes that former Soviet countries like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova have no agency of their own.

It would be practically impossible because the futures of tens of millions of people are not peace offerings that can be served up to Russia on a silver platter in exchange for peace in our time.

It may come as a surprise to some that Ukrainians, Georgians, and Moldovans have their own ideas about their political futures.

And a not insignificant number of them would resist domination by Moscow, regardless of what kind of new Yalta or new Munich agreement is reached between Russia and the West.

And for that reason, any new reset, new detente, or new grand bargain is a recipe for conflict and instability on Europe's doorstep.

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