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By David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, Baker Hostetler LLP and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
Reviewed by John Handley, Vice President, American Diplomacy

Both authors served in the Reagan and G. H. W. Bush administrations in the Justice Department and are now partners in the D.C.-based Baker Hosteller law firm. Mr. Rivkin is a senior adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

This timely article challenges Russia’s “legal and institutional” justifications for its annexation of the Crimea and its provocative role in undermining Ukrainian authority in Eastern Ukraine. The authors enumerate three specific requirements Russia hopes to impose on Ukraine and then explain why each requirement, if undertaken, will be a severely weaken Ukrainian sovereignty, resulting in the “Finlandization” of Ukraine.

The authors also point out Russia’s specific violations of inter–national law including the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. The authors note that for Russia to get away with these violations of international law does not bode well for the entire international community. It implies that a country with a large military and nuclear power need not abide by its international commitments and thus may well encourage the second tier countries to enhance their military forces and acquire nuclear weapons so as not to be intimidated by the “Russias” of this world.

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