Keynote speech by Professor Alexander Cooley at the Central Asia Annual Security Workshop at GW’s Central Asia Program, March 23, 2023
I think initially what stunned all of us was the unprecedented Western unity that we saw after Russia’s invasion. First of all, the Ukrainians surprised all of us, or maybe not all of us, but many so-called experts. Their heroic bravery and resilience in the fight to defend their lands. But I think it’s worth just thinking about some of these other dimensions, including the unprecedented condemnation and sequence of sanctions, and coordinated responses out of the West. The US Treasury and the European Central Bank together announced the freezing of Russian assets. A whole series of financial and individual sanctions were imposed, including the Nord Stream 2 cancellation; partners that had never imposed export controls before came on board – South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore. Even Switzerland joined the sanctions regime. Europe has embraced seven million Ukrainian refugees; but 10 years before, observers were foretelling the end of Europe as a project, specifically because of exogenous shocks generated by refugees from Syria and the Middle East. A range of Western countries individually announced military resupply for Ukraine with increasing sophistication in weaponry. NATO agreed to admit Finland and Sweden – just like that. And then we witnessed a mass corporate pullout of Russia.
You can read the full transcript of the speech here