The West is threatening another round of sanctions against Russia in an effort to deter meddling in the May 25 presidential elections in Ukraine. The Obama administration and its allies are placing high hopes in the ability of sanctions to sway Russian actions and generally contest Russia's annexation of Crimea and meddling in the Ukraine.
"History is full of instances where a rising power, aggrieved and dissatisfied, acts aggressively to obtain new borders or other international concessions. In Russia today we see a much more unusual case: This increasingly menacing and ambitious geopolitical actor is a state in decline."
On April 17, 2014, Russia's Channel One in Russia hosted a question-and-answer session with Russian President Vladimir Putin, called Direct Line with Vladimir Putin. Russians asked questions primarily about Russia annexing Crimea from Ukraine.
In Project Syndicate, Richard Haass writes: "The strategy needed to resist Putin's efforts to expand Russia's influence beyond its borders – and to induce change within them – resembles nothing so much as the 'containment' doctrine that guided Western policy for the four decades of the Cold War."
Contrary to appearances, the crisis in Ukraine might be on the verge of resolution. The potentially crucial move came today when interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said that he would be open to changing the country's political system from a republic, with power centered in the capital Kiev, to a federation with considerable autonomy for the regional districts.
Former U.S. permanent representative to NATO Ivo H. Daalder and former supreme allied commander at NATO James G. Stavridis discuss Ukraine, the Russian presence in Crimea, and the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
"The troops in Crimea may be the elite of the new Russian military. But the Kremlin's investment, analysts said, has revived the military, which has now shown that it can field a competent and even formidable force, and both guard the nation and project power to neighboring states."
Reversing Russia's annexation of Crimea is not the most urgent goal of the Western nations. The bigger challenge is to deal with the emerging fractious nationalism and prevent further breakup of Ukraine from within, writes Stephen Sestanovich.
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