Russia and the Ukraine Crisis

McFaul, “Confronting Putin’s Russia”

  1. According to McFaul, what are the two key different political ideologies in contemporary Russia? Who exemplifies them? And what are their motivations?


  1. Who is Medvedev? What were his domestic policies like as president? How about his relations with the West?


  1. Who is Putin? What were his domestic policies like as president? How about his relations with the West?


  1. McFaul says that “Putin needed an enemy” (3). Why did Putin need an enemy? And whom did Putin cast as the enemy?


  1. What are McFaul’s four key policy recommendations? (4).


  1. What are the four key differences between Putin’s Russia and Soviet Russia that McFaul believes strengthens the American position?


  1. What are the two key differences that weaken the American position? How does McFaul recommend addressing these weaknesses?


  1. Is McFaul a realist or a liberal? Explain.



Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault”

  1. What is Mearsheimer’s central argument in this paper? In other words, what is his thesis?


  1. What is the West’s “triple package of policies”? And why does Mearsheimer believe these brought about today’s crisis?


  1. According to Mearsheimer, what was the rationale behind Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008? Behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?


  1. Who is Yanukovych? And how is Yanukovich tied to the crisis?


  1. What is “Geopolitics 101”? And what does Mearsheimer believe the United States would do in Russia’s position?


  1. “It is the Russians, not the West, who ultimately get to decide what counts as a threat to them” (4) Explain.


  1. What did Kennan say about NATO expansion in 1998? Was this the same prescription Kennan made fifty years earlier in his famous ‘X’ article? Why the similarity or difference?


  1. What does Mearsheimer mean when he says that the United States and Russia “have been operating with different playbooks”? (5).


  1. Does Mearsheimer believe that Putin is a revisionist/imperialist? Explain.


  1. Does Mearsheimer believe that backing down on Ukraine would damage American credibility? Explain.


  1. What are Mearsheimer’s key policy recommendations?


  1. “Abstract rights such as self-determination are largely meaningless when powerful states get into brawls with weaker states” (7-8). Does this sound familiar?


  1. Would Mearsheimer and Bismarck see eye to eye?


  1. Is Mearsheimer a realist or a liberal? Explain.
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