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Sometimes U.S. global strategy can be as haphazard as that. But something close to a coherent, consensus policy toward Russia emerged over four days of debate by the Aspen Strategy Group, a gathering of senior current and former officials, plus some think tank leaders and journalists. The discussions converged on an approach that resists President Vladimir Putin's push in Ukraine, while continuing to engage Russia economically and politically. The plan to send humanitarian aid, administered by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in Russian convoys across the border into eastern Ukraine was just taking shape as we met, with some arguing that this was a face-saving exit for Putin and others countering that it was a cover for Russian invasion.Putin had made three big mistakes in Ukraine, noted one commentator.As the Aspen discussions progressed, participants focused increasingly on positive steps the U.S. could take to complement the negative pressure of sanctions. Several also noted that the U.S. should quietly advise Ukraine on ways to make an invasion costly for Russia.
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