Toward a Long-Term Russia Policy
Plus, Finland and Sweden Deserve to Be in NATO Now.
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SHAY KHATIRI: Toward a Long-Term Russia Policy
With the war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has finally accepted that Russia is a problem, and that the U.S. government needs to develop strategies to weaken Vladimir Putin’s regime from within and without. Once the war is over—or if a stalemate is reached—it will be tempting to delude ourselves into thinking that Putin has learned his lesson and will behave himself. More likely, Putin will learn how to be aggressive more successfully next time. What the United States needs therefore is not just a strategy to make sure Russia loses this war but a strategy to ensure that, in the long run, it is diminished as a threat to the United States and its allies and interests. This requires strengthening America’s defenses, exacerbating the internal problems Putin faces, and blocking his access to funds and military technology and materials.
First and foremost, Russia needs to be contained militarily. Congress needs to restore conventional deterrence in Europe, which means paying for a military large, capable, and ready enough to prevent Russian aggression. American prosperity requires a stable, prosperous Europe, which requires a strong, democratic Ukraine, which in turn requires American support not just in the present crisis, but as long as its independence isn’t recognized in Moscow. Step one: Dismiss the administration’s ludicrous budget requests. Step two: Help develop the Ukrainian military, which has proven to be an effective first line of defense.
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ERIC S. EDELMAN: Finland and Sweden Deserve to Be in NATO Now
After months of anticipation, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Thursday their country’s intention to apply for membership in NATO, and neighboring Sweden is not far behind. In polling last fall, only about a fifth to a quarter of Finns and Swedes supported their respective countries joining NATO. After Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked, and highly scripted invasion of Ukraine on February 24, there has been a massive movement of public opinion towards joining the alliance. In Finland, the numbers supporting membership jumped to 53 percent, then 62 percent, and a poll earlier this week measured 76 percent support with only 12 percent in opposition. The swing in Swedish opinion has been less dramatic, but still emphatically shows a majority (57 percent in April) supporting NATO membership for the first time.
Niinsito is highly respected in Finald, and his careful leadership is one reason the NATO debate has progressed more quickly in there. The Finnish government published a white paper on the changing international security environment on April 13. Although it makes no explicit recommendation about whether or not Finland should seek NATO membership, it lays the predicate for that decision by highlighting the uncertainties created by Russia’s actions and highlights that Finnish policy has been predicated on close cooperation with NATO over the past 25 years. It also maintained the option to seek NATO membership—something Niinisto highlighted in his New Year’s address to the nation as the Ukraine crisis was heating up.
JONATHAN MARKS: Do We Really Need to Rethink Academic Freedom?
When the Higher Education Research Institute first surveyed professors at four-year colleges, the far right barely registered; just 0.4 percent of the respondents so identified themselves, compared to 5.7 percent who labeled themselves far left. While there were more conservative professors, 15.7 percent, they were dwarfed by self-described moderates, at 38.8 percent, and liberals, who had a plurality at 39.5 percent.
That was more than thirty years ago. In It’s Not Free Speech, Michael Bérubé, a professor of literature at Pennsylvania State University, and Jennifer Ruth, a professor of film at Portland State University, are asking whether academic freedom is being used as a refuge for white supremacists. Their answer is yes, an answer so damning that, they say, it should make us “rethink academic freedom.” So, what’s changed?
Not the share of far-right professors. That’s still 0.4 percent in the most recent survey.
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