"As pro-Russia demonstrations in 11 cities have suddenly erupted where significant populations of ethnic Russians live, the apparent organization of the demonstrators, appearances of Russian citizens and reports of busloads of activists arriving from Russia itself suggest a high degree of coordination with Moscow."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Arch Puddington discusses the growing list of governments that are using the criminal justice system to punish former leaders, including Ukraine which recently sentenced former prime minister Yuliya Tymoshenko.
A deal to extend the stay of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea in exchange for up to $40 billion worth of gas discounts stops Ukraine's drift toward NATO, but political-military integration with Russia is not in the interests of the nation.
This paper from the German Marshall Fund of the United States notes Georgia's better performance compared to Ukraine in two key areas of reform: improving the rule of law and battling corruption. The paper says that Ukraine’s failure to capitalize on the hopes raised by the ‘Orange Revolution’ has been highlighted by the recent Nato summit in Riga, where it became plain that plans to fast track Ukraine’s NATO membership application have been shelved indefinitely.
Ambassador Blackwill and Mr. Simes discuss the stage currently being set for an even more dramatic confrontation between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The authors argue that President Obama must recognize the danger to U.S. national interests that the crisis may create and act accordingly.
In Ukraine, the United States seeks an outcome that may not be achievable; in Gaza, U.S. policy needs to transcend the immediate crisis and recast the basic dynamics of the conflict. Finding out whether these crises have seeds of opportunity within them is the purpose of foreign policy, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
In showing leadership on Ukraine, however, the president may be focusing on the wrong issue—on getting an honest investigation of the Malaysian Airlines crash rather than on the broader question of Russia's ongoing attempt to dismember a neighboring state.
Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich argue that accurately defending airspace is more complex than having the right equipment; it requires a well-functioning organization, something the Ukrainian separatists lack.
Writing in USA Today, Janine Davidson assesses the global impact of the MH17 tragedy. She argues that, in order to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, the United States must take a harder line against Russia. This will entail a mix of NATO response, economic sanctions, and international pressure.
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.
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.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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 »