Near two-decades after the end of the Cold War, British Parliamentarians are re-visiting London’s relations with Moscow to try to determine whether dealings with the Russian state risk being predominantly on a confrontational basis.
The Parliament’s Defense Committee, February 24, began a series of hearings entitled “Russia: a new confrontation?” Initial witnesses included academics and journalists. Edward Lucas, a correspondent with The Economist – and author of “The New Cold War” – suggests that while Russia does not pose an “existential” threat to the UK – it does to some of its neighboring states.
“There is no doubt…Russia is in a position to do serious military damage to small neighboring countries…. We are not really endangered by this, it’s a nuisance, but it look’s jolly different if – say – you’re Estonia,” Lucas told the committee.
This capability, and its willingness to use it – as made clear by its Georgian incursion – pose challenges for the West.
Professor Margot Light, Professor Emeritus, International Relations Department, London School of Economics, and James Sherr, Head, Russia and Eurasia Program, Royal Institute of International Affairs both cautioned over Nato membership of Georgia and the Ukraine.
Light told the committee that neither country “fulfil the criteria”, and that Nato nations needed to consider “what the consequences would be” if one, or both, were to become Nato members.
Picture credit D.Barrie/AW&ST