Removing any of these pillars would have “a very, very serious effect in short order on the capacity of our troops to perform,” Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in August.
Faced with such limits, the U.S. and Europe have few options to counter Russia’s aggression — other than perhaps the export of energy.
“None of these things will have a near-term impact,” Ebinger says of oil and gas exports, yet “when you consider that we’ve previously had two crises over pricing with Ukraine, if these things had been done 10 years ago, we would be in a different position. And you don’t want to say that again 10 years from now.”
“The Russians have proven themselves to be unreliable diplomatic — and otherwise — partners from their recent activities,” he says. “The Russians will try, over the near term and medium term, to prove otherwise, and some might be willing to believe that. But you really don’t want to be attached to a country that is in the process of rebuilding an empire.”