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How should the West deal with Vladimir Putin? Show more Show less

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power for two decades. In that time he has rebuilt Russia's military, imprisoned and killed political opponents at home and abroad, annexed Crimea, gone to war with Georgia and Ukraine, deployed troops to Syria, and plundered the country. An increasingly authoritarian figure, Putin continues to divide Western countries, how should they deal with him?

The West should engage with Putin on a transactional basis Show more Show less

The West should appeal to Putin and Russia's self-interest.
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Treat Vladimir Putin the same as other world leaders

Putin is not dissimilar to other world leaders. The West should appeal to mutual self-interest and engage with him on a case by case basis.

(1 of 1 Argument)

Context

Since Vladimir Putin first became President of Russia in 2000 relations between Russia and Western countries have steadily deteriorated. Despite attempts at actively resetting relations between 2008-2010, tensions remain high, with many citing Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian style as the prime cause.

The Argument

Vladimir Putin is a rational actor and has proven in the past that he is willing to work with Western countries on a transactional basis, including engaging in recent peace talks hosted by Germany and Turkey on the current conflicts in Syria and Libya [1] , and signing the Paris Climate Change Accord. Far from cutting off trade with Western countries, Russia continues to export a significant portion of its natural gas to Western European countries helping them to meet their energy needs. While Russian scientists and astronauts work side by side with their Western counter-parts on the International Space Station and Russia continues to allow Western space agencies to use its spaceport as a launch pad for missions. French President Emmanuel Macron who is a keen advocate for re-engagement believes that Western Countries need to move away from seeing Russia as an enemy and start seeing it as a partner instead, particularly when it comes to areas of shared interest such as tackling international terrorism. Macron believes that this transactional engagement would be in Russia's self-interest as Putin ultimately would opt for a 'partnership with Europe' than risk becoming a 'vassal of China' [2] .

Counter arguments

Russia under Vladimir Putin shows no sign of wanting a new partnership with the West. Putin continues to advocate a foreign policy that is built upon undermining Western interests. There remain substantial differences between the West and Russia, including the long-term support of anti-Western regimes and the annexation of Crimea, which would make a transactional partnership difficult. Russia continues to deepen its relationship with China as an alternative to engagement with the West insert [3] . A transactional relationship would also have the added risk of undermining the West's commitment to human rights.

Framing

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Premises

[P1] Vladimir Putin is a rational actor. [P2] Vladimir Putin is interested in a transactional relationship with the West. [P3] Russia under Putin will continue to work with Western partners on a case by case basis.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Vladimir Putin is not a rational actor. [Rejecting P2] Vladimir Putin has no interest in a transactional relationship with the West, favouring China instead.

Proponents

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Further Reading

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References

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-51166247
  2. https://www.france24.com/en/20191208-russia-not-an-enemy-macron-s-moscow-strategy-faces-first-test
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/27/russia-and-chinas-relationship--how-deep-does-it-go.html
This page was last edited on Thursday, 6 Feb 2020 at 12:26 UTC