The panel debate whether the West is provoking a new Cold War with Russia.
Arguing in favour of the motion are Alexey Pushkov, Anatole Kaletsky and Norman Stone.
Alexey Pushkov begins by arguing that Russia has been extremely supportive of the US since 9/11, yet the Americans have not reciprocated. He suggests that by encouraging other members to join NATO, pulling out of the ABM treaty and interfering in Moldavian politics the West has shown itself to be the aggressors.
Anatole Kaletsky argues Russia no longer believes it holds the moral high-ground, and it no longer wants to impose its values on the rest of the world. He believes that Russia’s issues are internal, and that its choice not to live by our political standards, whilst regrettable, is understandable, and should not be interpreted as a hostile act.
Norman Stone argues that in the late eighties, at the height of its failure, the West had no plan for Russia. Now, however, Russia is succeeding again, yet it is no longer oppressing other people. Furthermore, he believes that the West is constantly provoking and criticising Russia.
Arguing against the motion are Edward Lucas, Dr Lilia Shevtsova and Ronald D. Asmus.
Edward Lucas begins by describing a ‘thought experiment’ using the Third Reich as a model, to demonstrate the relationship between modern Russia and her neighbours. He suggests that eastern Europeans are rightly worried about their futures considering Russia’s desire to dominate its empire and divide and disrupt the Atlantic alliance.
Dr Lilia Shevtsova continues by suggesting that Russia wants the West to not meddle in their domestic affairs and endorse their regime, recognise their areas of influence and allow Russia to play according to its own rules. While recognising that both sides are responsible for a revival in Cold War attitudes, she suggests that Russians are not anti-Western – as demonstrated by the elite’s desire to ‘live in Kensington and send their children to Cambridge’.
Finally, Ronald D Asmus argues that the motion is based on a historical fallacy. He believes that the United States has not broken any of their promises to Russia. Arguing from his own experience in the Clinton administration, he believes that the US wants to consolidate democracy in central Europe, reach out to Russia and try to ‘pull it West’.
First Vote: 158 For, 359 Against, 236 Don't know
Final Vote: 181 For, 528 Against, 43 Don't know
The motion is defeated by 347 votes.