The west should let Putin have eastern Ukraine

The incompetence of the United States and the EU, for that decade, has been breathtaking. If the EU and NATO had enough vision and competence, they might have been able to build up institutions in Ukraine so it could stand up to Russia, or at least be decisively moored to the Western bloc. But that ship has sailed.

And, like Iraq, the crisis will continue for another decade or more until the root cause is addressed: Ukraine is two nations in one. Both sides of the story really are true. There are many Ukrainians who would be more at home in Russia, just like there are many Ukrainians who want their country to become a part of the Euro-American West.

The answer, then, seems clear: The West should come to an agreement with Russia whereby Ukraine will be split in two, with the Russian-speaking areas annexed to Russia (as they should always have been). So that this is not viewed as a concession out of fear to Russia, what remains of Ukraine should join NATO and receive official EU candidate status (it is astonishing that Turkey was granted this before Ukraine), with Ukraine membership moved to one of the top concerns of EU leadership (with Washington frequently reminding the Eurocrats, lest they forget, which they will). Ukraine’s internal politics are deeply troubled, and in the other countries of Eastern Europe, EU candidacy has proven astonishingly successful at rooting out corruption and promoting rule of law, democracy, and economic growth. (We should just pray that Ukraine never adopts the euro, but that’s another topic altogether.)

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