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Flashpoints: Is Peace Possible in Ukraine?
October 5, 2015 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm| $20,
On Monday, October 5th, our Flashpoints series hosted a discussion titled “Is Peace Possible in Ukraine?” We welcomed three experts who contributed with different perspectives about the conflict in Ukraine, the roles of Russia and the United States, and possible solutions.
First, Vice Admiral Charles W. Martoglio (ret) argued that there are no issues in the world today that can be decided in isolation. He explained that Ukraine is probably not the current top priority for the European Union, due to the ongoing refugee crisis as well as Greek financial worries and the dangers arising from returning foreign fighters. Mr. Martoglio explained that NATO is an alliance based on consensus – which takes strong leadership to achieve. In addition, he pointed out that Russia has a history of xenophobia derived from invasion by neighbors and, as a defensive response, had at times invaded neighboring countries to provide a buffer against major powers. He also discussed the role and dangers of nationalism in Russia, in light of Russia’s recent recidivist activity. Mr. Martoglio concluded that there is no military-only solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and that the United States has to work with NATO and the European Union to bolster Ukraine politically, diplomatically, and economically while deterring further Russian aggression against Europe.
Mr. Vojin Joksimovich started his comments by drawing a parallel between Yugoslavia and Ukraine’s history: the loss of independence, division among empires, war, independence. He argued that historically U.S. foreign policy has been beneficial, but that the post-Cold War American hegemony has not been positive for the world or the United States. Mr. Joksimovich concluded that peace is possible in Ukraine provided some conditions, for instance, that the United States and Russia reach an agreement precluding Ukraine’s participation in NATO, that war games near Russia’s heartland should be terminated, and that linkage to Syrian issues should be avoided. Mr. Joksimovich expressed his concern about the possibility of nuclear confrontation between Russia and the United States.
Finally, Prof. Mikhail Alexseev discussed the relationship between war and sociopolitical identities in Ukraine, explaining that civic national pride and the sense of national belonging increased since the beginning of the civil war in March 2014. Drawing on information from recent polls, he suggested that democracy is considered the best form of government by the majority of the population, with Ukrainians showing preference for democracy over stability.
After the expositions, Ambassador Reno Harnish III moderated a roundtable with questions from the audience.
What is the situation in Ukraine and what options do its people have?
What is the role of external actors?
What political leadership will emerge from the coming elections?
Three guest speakers join the San Diego World Affairs Council to discuss these current issues:
Vice Admiral Charles W. Martoglio, US Navy (retired)
Vojin Joksimovich, PhD
Professor Mikhail Alekseev, PhD
Moderator: Amb. Reno Harnish III
Mikhail Alexseev is a professor of political science at San Diego State University. He is an internationally recognized authority on migration, ethnopolitical conflict, and post-Soviet Russia. Alekseev has been the principal investigator of a multi-year international research project on migration and ethnoreligious violence in the Russian Federation funded by the National Science Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (Title VIII, U.S. Department of State). He is a member of the Carnegie/MacArthur sponsored Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS).
Vojin Joksimovich was born, raised and educated in Belgrade, Former Yugoslavia, now Serbia. He holds a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the Imperial College, London University, and has over 45 years of experience in the field of nuclear safety and over 25 years of management experience in the United States, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia. As a foreign affairs activist and analyst, he authored 125 papers presented at various international conferences, and published over 120 articles in various media. Two-term president of the Serbian Unity Congress during the civil wars in his native country, and member of the World Affairs Councils in the Orange County and SD North County for 23 years.
Charlie Martoglio is an advisor, speaker, lecturer, and mentor to a wide variety of activities. Drawing on his extensive background leading large elements of our U.S. military, Charlie’s focus is on national security affairs and leadership. Charlie spent half of his career developing strategy and policy, fostering international relations, and conducting operations, initially for the U.S. Navy then for all U.S. military forces. Charlie is recognized as one of the Defense Department’s preeminent strategic thinkers, and has served in Asia, the Middle East, and, most recently, in Europe as the Deputy Commander of all U.S. military forces in Europe, Eurasia, and Israel.