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."
With oil supplies tight, regions most vulnerable to oil supply disruptions present a significant economic concern, particularly threats to the Strait of Hormuz and unrest in Nigeria, explains this Backgrounder.
The sentencing of former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko reflects her rivalry with President Viktor Yanukovych and could affect Ukraine's eurozone bid, says New York Times Moscow bureau chief Ellen Barry.
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 winter marks the fifth anniversary of Ukraine's Orange Revolution, when over one million citizens took to the streets of Kiev and succeeded in overturning the results of that country's presidential election. Steve York's documentary, Orange Revolution, follows the contest between opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko and his adversary Viktor Yanukovych, capturing the iconic images that defined the election and ensuing protests.
Here, after a screening of Orange Revolution, Peter Ackerman, David J. Kramer and Steve York discuss the significance of the Orange Revolution for Ukraine and nonviolent democracy movements elsewhere.
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 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.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
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 »