Putin and the Ukrainian Crisis: What Did He Learn From Government 5?

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F0007NC Gov 5 Winter 2014 Based on his actions during the 2014 Ukraine crisis, Vladimir Putin would have earned an A in Government 5. The ongoing crisis is filled with power politics and the balance of power between Russia and Western Europe. The issue comes down to looking at the benefits and harms of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, and from the concepts we learned in Government 5 we can see that Putin is effectively minimizing harm while increasing his power showing how much he has learned from Government 5. In this paper, I will argue that Putin would have earned an A in Government 5 because he is protecting his country by acquiring more regional power, he is effectively using nuclear weapons theory to avoid war from major powers such as the US, and he is effectively using the concept of humanitarian intervention to justify his recent actions in Ukraine. I will then introduce counterarguments that argue why Putin would actually receive a D in Government 5 and I will show the problems with these arguments. First, Putin would earn an A in Government 5 because he is acquiring more regional power to assure the survival of his country. A theory in international politics called “realist” theory explains that countries look to their own survival by acquiring more power to ensure that they are stronger than their rivals and this relates to Putin’s actions because Putin is adapting realist theory in his foreign policy. Putin must have paid close to the works of John Mearsheimer because Mearsheimer explains that “Great powers”, such as the US, the EU, and Russia, fear each other and so they try to tip the balance of power in their favor in order to maximize their own security. Mearsheimer points out that countries pay close attent... ... middle of paper ... ...n the assumption that sanctions and other actions from the US, EU, etc. will significantly hurt Russia. The problem with this argument is that sanctions work both ways so the EU has little incentive to impose serious economic sanctions against Russia because it will hurt itself. This is why the EU has only been looking to travel and asset sanctions because this would hurt the EU’s economy less but that also means that Russia will not be significantly affected by these sanctions either. Also, as explained earlier, the US and NATO has no incentive to risk war with Russia so military intervention will be extremely limited. Putin’s actions in Russia have shown that he has learned a lot from Government 5 and he is using what he learned in an interesting way. We all may not agree with his actions but his actions do indicate that he indeed deserves an A in Government 5.

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