Start @ 10:01am in the Trinity United Church Sanctuary 32 Members in attendance
Past-President Julian Sale opened the meeting in the absence of President John Sneyd. Julian also provided double duty in setting up the computer video equipment in order to connect via Zoom to today’s guest speaker, Dr. Alexander Lanoszka.
While waiting to virtually connect with Dr. Lanoszka, Julian informed us a little about his recent road trip to Newfoundland in his new Tesla.
Bio: Alexander Lanoszka BA (Windsor), PhD (Princeton) Alexander Lanoszka is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Waterloo. He studies alliance politics, theories of war, and European security. His first book Atomic Assurance: The Alliance Politics of Nuclear Proliferation (Cornell University Press, 2018) examines the conditions under which states that receive formal security commitments begin, and sometimes stop, seeking their own nuclear weapons. His second book Military Alliances in the Twenty-First Century (Polity, 2022) offers a holistic overview of how alliances operate from their conception to their eventual demise. He has also co-written policy monographs on Baltic regional security and Taiwan’s defence posture as well as co-edited a volume on NATO's enhanced Forward Presence.
He sits on the editorial board of the journal Contemporary Security Policy and is the Ernest Bevin Associate Fellow in Euro-Atlantic Geopolitics at the UK-based think-tank Council on Geostrategy. He taught at City, University of London prior to coming to Waterloo and held fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and Dartmouth College. Presentation: Dr. Lanoszka will be presenting his views on the historical factors that contributed to the start of the war in Ukraine, the current status of the war, and possible outcomes.
Alexander Lanoszka Dr. Lanoszka spoke about the origin of the causes of the war between Ukraine and Russia which began back in 2014. At that time Ukraine was neutral and straddled the zone between the East and the West. There were protests in Ukraine. (Ukraine’s pro-European trajectory was abruptly halted in November 2013, when a planned association agreement with the EU was scuttled just days before it was scheduled to be signed. The accord would have more closely integrated political and economic ties between the EU and Ukraine, but Yanukovych bowed to intense pressure from Moscow.) -The current war is in an escalatory phase of what started in 2014. Up until that time the Ukrainian government was able to manage the war. Putin was trying to pull back Ukraine into Russia’s influence. - Why then did Russia decide to escalate the war on February 24, 2022 from a low intensity conflict? There are three different levels for the answer to this: 1) On the international level, in 2021-2022 the time seemed an advantageous moment because Russia had not been winning the war as it was at that time and Russia thought the West would be preoccupied with dealing with COVID-19. Also, Biden was dealing with pulling out of Afghanistan at that time. 2) On the political level in the Russian regime Putin needed to be seen as a strong leader at a time when his ratings had suffered domestically. 3) On the local political Ukrainian level, there were some Ukrainian local political leaders who maintained that part of Ukraine was a significant Russian speaking population who believed they should be should be within Russia. Putin believed there were would be little political resistance and many Russian people believed that Russian-speaking Ukrainians were really Russians. Needless to say, the Russian plan did not work out. Putin was attempting to create a Ukrainian regime change. This more or less ended the first phase of the war.
The second phase was to take the Oblast region where Russian language was spoken. The gains in this phase were very little because Ukraine has been able to protect itself. Ukraine is a very large country with a very large war front and Ukraine has been able to prevent Russia from supplying its war front. Ukraine has been using HIMARS military rockets to destroy the Russian war front but this territory is very large, however, Ukraine is starting to make gains. Russia has maintained that is will not use nuclear weapons. Whether Ukraine can take back territory that it has lost is open to question but ultimately Ukraine may be able to defend itself. Ukrainian residents have fled the Donbas region. Problems of military resistance is acute. Russia has not fought this war very well and Ukraine has fought at a tactical level but it would be difficult for Russia to fight this war on Ukrainian territory.
The presentation was followed by a question and answer period. Julian Sale thanked Dr. Lanoszka for his presentation.
Announcements Activities – Ken Marchant The night at the races has been scheduled at the Elora Raceway on Friday, September 2nd where we have reserved a room with a fixed menu at $25 + GST. A sign-up sheet is now available.
Warren Gregg informed the members of scheduled performance at the Drayton Hamilton Theater to see “Mamma Mia” on November 12th. A sign-up sheet is now available.
Next meeting: Thurs., September 1, 2022 with David Connelly on The Drayton Theatre Story.
Notice: All summer membership meetings will take place in the Church Sanctuary.