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May 26, 2022 100 min

By any measure, the Russian invasion of Ukraine represents a profound security risk for the world. It raises fundamental issues about the basic principles that underwrite the current international order and it threatens the specter of an entrenched, high-risk Great Power conflict. How is this fast-evolving crisis best addressed? Does it demand a resolute and relentless push by the West to punish, isolate and degrade Putin’s Russia economically, politically and militarily? Or is a solution to be found in acknowledging Russia’s security needs and finding ways to mutually de-escalate the war, sooner not later? Which of these different strategies stand the best chance of success? And how ultimately is this conflict best resolved?

Arguing in favour of the resolution are John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.

Arguing against the resolution are The Hon. Radosław Sikorski, member of the European Parliament and former defence minister of Poland, and Michael McFaul, who served as the US ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014.


JOHN MEARSHEIMER: "We in effect poked the Russian bear in the eye and then we left Ukraine defenceless. We have led the Ukrainians down the primrose path."

STEPHEN WALT: "If you want to bring this to an end, as quickly as possible, you have to start by recognizing Russia's security interests, the reasons they went to war."

RADEK SIKORSKI: "This is not a war about NATO membership, which is a hypothetical possibility. This is the last gasp of Russian imperialism."

MICHAEL MCFAUL :"The US, NATO and the West have recognized Russia's security interests for three decades. Yet, that did not prevent Putin from invading Ukraine."


The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg.  

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Senior Producer: Ricki Gurwitz

Editor: Adam Karch


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