"Putin's reaction exceeded our worst expectations. These next days and weeks in Ukraine are bound to be frightening, and worse. There is not only the threat of widening Russian military force. The new Ukrainian leadership is worse than weak. It is unstable. It faces the burden of legitimacy."
"Although comparisons between Egypt's 2011 uprising and the recent turmoil in Ukraine are largely unwarranted, CFR's Steven A. Cook writes that there is an important lesson for Ukraine in the Egyptian experience: the need for simultaneous economic and democratic reforms to achieve both political stability and economic prosperity."
It remains to be seen whether Ukraine's new government can overcome the challenges of a divided population and weak institutional infrastructure to bring about national unity and socioeconomic stability, says CFR's Charles Kupchan.
"Rather than an opportunity to spread freedom in a part of the world long plagued by corruption and oppression, Mr. Obama sees Ukraine's crisis as a problem to be managed, ideally with a minimum of violence or geopolitical upheaval."
Experts discuss recent developments regarding uprisings in Ukraine. Over the past couple of months, there has been an increase in confrontation with the government which has resultred in violent protests in Ukraine, and specifically in Kiev. Stephen Sestanovich, Alexander Motyl, and Robert McMahon discuss Russia and Putin's role, the current state of Ukraine, and its future.
Stephen Sestanovich, Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and previously ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union, and Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University–Newark, discuss the consequences of the protests in Ukraine for the country, the region, and the United States.
"To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis."
Authors: Stephen Fidler, Laurence Norman, and Bertrand Benoit
"The deadly violence that exploded this week in Ukraine has another victim: Europe's foreign-policy credibility.
A few months ago Ukraine looked on course to be drawn into the Western orbit through a wide-ranging trade-and-aid agreement with the European Union. Today, Ukraine is advertising Europe's helplessness to influence events even in countries close to its borders."
"Sadly, [President] Yanukovych's ouster won't solve Ukraine's larger problem: Its Russian-dominated past exerts a powerful pull and Europe is nowhere near ready to help the country build a more peaceful and prosperous future."
The latest eruption of violence in Ukraine has brought its protracted political unrest—rooted in a dispute over strengthening ties with the European Union—to its bloodiest phase yet. This roundup of expert analysis examines the conflict and consequences for regional stability.
Asked by Isaiah Smith, from Birdville High School Author: Charles A. Kupchan
It is in the interests of the United States to see Ukraine emerge as a stable democracy with strong economic and political ties to the European Union. The United States sides with and supports the Ukrainian opposition—inas much as many of the demonstrators in Ukraine are protesting President Viktor Yanukovych's infringements on democratic practices, his government's use of violence against the demonstrations, and his decision to conclude an economic pact with Russia rather than with the EU.
"What caused the U-turn by the leadership of a country of 46 million people that occupies a strategic position between the EU and Russia? Public and private arm-twisting by Putin, including threats to Ukraine'seconomyand Yanukovich's political future, played a significant part. But the unwillingness of the EU and International Monetary Fund to be flexible in their demands of Ukraine also had an effect, making them less attractive partners."
With opposition to the Russian financial support gaining strength, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych faces a seemingly stark choice. He can bow to Moscow and its offer of cheap gas and easy money, or to the apparent will of Ukraine's people by resurrecting its agreement with the European Union and re-engaging with the International Monetary Fund. Muddling through—as Yanukovych has done for so long—is no longer an option, write Heidi Crebo-Rediker and Douglas A. Rediker.
"The crisis unleashed by Yanukovich's rejection of EU overtures in favour of closer ties with former master Moscow has cast fresh light on the intrigue and promiscuous politics of Ukraine's post-Orange Revolution elite; like all good businessmen, oligarchs hedge their bets."
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »