NTI board members Igor Ivanov and Malcolm Rifkind warn against unintended escalation between Russia and the West in Ukraine in a New York Times op-ed, titled, "The Risk of a New Cold War."
"Russian and Western perspectives on the crisis in Ukraine are bound to diverge, but the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 should bring us together. This is not only because we can appreciate and feel saddened by the scale of the human loss, but also because the incident is a harbinger of the wider danger we are in," they write.
To avoid escalation and work toward stability, Ivanov and Rifkind call for three sets of measures, backed by members of a task force set up by the European Leadership Network, the Russian International Affairs Council and other security think tanks in Europe. They call for political and military restraint among all relevant parties, improved military-to-military communication between NATO and Russia, and continued political dialogue between Russia and the West, especially in a time of crisis.
"If NATO partners and Russia do not act to steer events in the way we set out, our fear is that the future course of this crisis will be shaped by circumstances independent of our respective political wills," write Ivanov and Rifkind. "If we allow that to happen, it may be chance, rather than good judgment, that will decide our countries’ fates."