CNN’s Piers Morgan speaks with Fareed about the latest developments in Ukraine, Russia’s deployment of troops and how the West should respond. Watch the video for more.
Vladimir Putin is clearly pretty paranoid about what he perceives has gone on here. He probably thinks the West has ganged up, and has been pretty duplicitous over this whole issue and therefore is perfectly justified in taking this action. What is your reaction to that if that is indeed what he is thinking?
I think that’s exactly right. But here’s Putin’s problem: Whether in Georgia or Ukraine, the West has not been particularly provocative in regard to Putin. They have been trying to deal with him. George W. Bush said he looked into his eyes and saw someone he could trust. Obama tried to reset the relationship with him…
…But the point is this – the people of Ukraine, the large majority of them, have wanted to move West, to have their destiny to be with Europe. They have wanted a modern future in the 21st century. It’s similar to what happened in Georgia. And that is the dynamic on the ground that Putin doesn’t know what to deal with. What you have in Ukraine surprised the West as much as it surprised Vladimir Putin.
…I readily admit it’s a complicated situation. But surely the way to respond to that is not to send in thuggish paramilitary troops who don’t have markings because you don’t even have the courage to admit that you have effectively invaded Crimea, and so you are doing it in this surreptitious way with gangs and paramilitary forces.
The best way to have dealt with this, I think, would have been to have negotiations, diplomacy, perhaps ask for a referendum in Crimea to see what the people there want. And if they want a special autonomous status, or even if they wanted secession, then maybe that’s possible. But surely no one would argue that this is a good principle of international life to argue that anytime the country next door is acting up then they go and gobble a piece of it up. If China were to do that with its neighbors, how would we feel? If other countries were to do that.
That is the principle that is at stake, not the fact that Ukraine is divided and complicated – that’s true. But surely the answer is not the men in ski masks.