As Ukraine recoils from Russia's intense military pressure, I wonder whether democracy will indeed triumph when the history of the Cold War is written, or whether Russia specifically, and authoritarianism more generally, will prove the more powerful force.
People believe the nuttiest shit for no apparent reason. Photo by: Victor Bezrukov Perhaps an expression of our collective OCD, or our attempt at co...
The annexation of Crimea guaranteed the long-term security of the Sevastopol base. But that was only one of several concerns for Russia raised by the conduct and composition of the new Ukrainian government. Other equally important concerns remain, and until they are addressed, Russia will continue to apply pressure on Kiev. Given the current and likely future underrepresentation of eastern Ukraine in the central government, Russia insists that Ukraine be transformed from a highly centralized unitary state into a highly decentralized federal state in which the regions control their economy, taxes, culture, language and education.
A plethora of pundits, law makers and think tanks continue to criticize the Obama Administration for presiding over what appear to be persistent failures in the foreign policy arena. Opponents are quick to attack the perceived lack of meaningful progress.
Are we supposed to love or hate Russia right now? Yeah, they hosted a fabulous Olympics; then, less than three weeks later, decided to slice off a pie...
The pile-on by Republicans and the media on his foreign policy challenges is excessive. I mean, what would you have him do that is more sensible than what he's doing? Let's take the big issues one at a time. Russia: There is simply no good course of action against Vladimir Putin's grab of Eastern Ukraine. This is a majority-Russian region, and Putin has been both ruthless and deft at using thuggish locals as cats' paws for an eventual takeover. Obama is pursuing economic sanctions and threatening more sanctions, despite being undercut by our European allies. The U.S. is pursuing Containment II to try to isolate Russia that is not all that dependent on global trade, and the original Containment took more than four decades. Maybe there will yet be some kind of de facto compromise, in which Eastern Ukraine becomes a Russian protectorate and Western Ukraine is able to become part of Europe.
Assuming the Russians themselves don't decide to stop selling the RD-180s to ULA, Judge Braden's concerns should soon be alleviated and the sale of these engines should continue as normal.
Readers of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy will better understand Putins's behavior and his response to Western disapproval if they remember those 19th century authors' deep skepticism of the Enlightenment's emphasis on logic and reason.
Russian is neither a struggling country nor a non-entity in the international sphere. It is a strongly individualistic nation that is rounding the point of no return in its separation from European culture.
Again, the powerful prey on the powerless.
While commentators grow impatient with Kerry's Churchillian warnings about the consequences of failure in the Middle East peace process, the world might sadly witness how right Kerry is.
If America's goal is to force Putin to change his foreign policy, i.e. specially to direct Russian speaking Ukrainians to halt the violent actions they have taken; then West has to focus on what the benefit to Putin is if he does reverse his policy towards Ukraine.
As Obama accomplished something quite real in the Asia-Pacific his administration and the European Union pursued something unreal, announcing new sanctions against individual Russians for their involvement in Russia's strategy to foment discord in Ukraine and keep that nation, which is only a few hundred miles from Moscow, out of NATO.
The U.S. should tone down the rhetoric and concentrate on the core issues for worldwide peace and accept the Crimean reality. The solution will evolve slowly, if we let it.
Global demands and realities weaken the ineffective U.S. sanctions against Russia while Washington needs Moscow's cooperation on Afghanistan.