When Donald trump at the end of last week, spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the state Department announced the appointment of practical and sober former U.S. representative to NATO new special representative to Washington on Ukraine. His responsibilities include assisting in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Many believe Kurt Volker, the supremely gifted diplomat, but in Ukraine he will face a most serious challenge.
The last time Walker saw in the government in the first days of the Obama administration. For the position of representative to NATO, he was appointed by President George Bush. It took her over a month before Russia in August 2008 invaded Georgia. It is unclear whether this affects in some way the views of Volcker to the Kremlin, or just strengthened them. But for Washington and for Moscow there is no doubt that choosing Welker, Rex Tillerson made a bid for the hawk, who also believes in diplomacy. Such a mixture of beliefs will allow Volker to successfully overcome the disagreement between East and West, which was previously hampered by attempts at settlement. According to the Executive Director of the Center for the national interest (Center for the National Interest) and a former member of the Bush administration Paul Saunders (Paul Saunders), Kurt Volker “practical and experienced diplomat who knows how to combine principles and pragmatism with politics. He is well respected throughout the political spectrum.”
The new special envoy for Ukraine, responsible for the settlement negotiations, has an extensive resume. He worked at the national security Council, the CIA and the diplomatic service abroad. The Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center Matthew Rojansky (Rojansky Matthew) comments on Volker as follows: “Although the Russian side can count his hawk, our European allies and the Ukrainian government would welcome his appointment”. Tillerson, who last week however, trump participated in the summit “Big twenty”, the statement about the new appointment called Volcker “highly qualified” expert, able to guide the Ukrainian conflict to a peaceful conclusion.
According to Tillerson, during the Hamburg meeting with Sergey Lavrov, for many years occupying the post of Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia, the topic of Ukraine was raised only once, when talking about Volker.
Specially created for Volker the position of special representative not require the approval of the Senate, and so he can immediately get to work. The Secretary of state and his new representative visited Ukraine on Sunday, after which Tillerson went to Kuwait. In Kiev, the United States has promised to keep anti-Russian sanctions as long as Moscow “will not abandon their action” that caused their introduction, that is, support for Ukrainian separatists and the annexation of the Crimea, carried out in 2014.
“Russia is trying to change the order that emerged in Europe after the cold war, which redraw the boundaries with the use of military force. Russian troops occupied a part of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. And Moscow, brazenly showing off his strength, just annexed the Crimean Peninsula,” — said in April the Senate foreign Affairs Committee Volker, who worked at the time, the McCain Institute at Arizona state University.
Those articles and materials that were written by Walker during the period of work in the private sector, can also give a hint about how he’s going to work in a new way. In 2015, he called for stricter, more targeted sanctions against Russia than those that were approved by the Obama administration.
“The United States must continue to raise the stakes in the sanctions against Russia. At the moment, would be very appropriate measures such as financial sanctions against Putin and his family, wrote Walker in the pages of Foreign Policy. Only through relentless determination… we will be able to convince Putin that the costs to him personally and for Russia will be unbearable.”
The introduction of personal sanctions against Putin can be similar to how the United States treated North Korean leader Kim Jong-UN. In 2015, Walker urged the European Union to impose travel restrictions on Putin that the Russian leader was in practical isolation from the democratic West. Such measures had not been taken even during the cold war.
Putin himself seems satisfied with his first meeting with trump, which took place on Saturday. “Trump “television” is very different from a real person, — Putin said to reporters. — It is absolutely specific, adequately perceives the interlocutor, quickly analyzes and responds to the issues raised and arising in the course of the discussion elements”.
Meanwhile, trump weekend again expressed doubt that the Russian government in 2016 intervened in the American elections. “Putin is sharply denied, — wrote the President on Twitter. — I have an opinion on this matter have expressed.”
But Walker during his April speech in the Senate spoke about the fact that Russia conducts large-scale campaign to undermine Western democracies. In terms, he did not hesitate. According to him, Russia “across Europe is conducting a massive propaganda campaign” that uses “fake news”, hackers, and trolls “affecting views of Europeans about these issues and distorting public opinion”.
Now Volker will have to apply its rigidity in combination with diplomatic skills to help resolve the Ukrainian problem. According to Rojansky, the main problem for Walker is that “he will have to work together with the administration of the trump, including the White house, so that all sides saw him as a representative of the President.”
Kurt mills is a reporter for National Interest, covering international Affairs.