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Highlights From CFR

March 21, 2014

Crisis in Ukraine

What U.S. Sanctions Against Russia Will (Really) Do

James M. Lindsay

Instead of forcing Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine, U.S. sanctions against Russia will seek to accomplish less ambitious (but more realistic) goals: deterring that country from encroaching further into Ukraine and signaling to other foreign capitals that land grabs come with a price. Read the op-ed »

Possible Russian Servicemen

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, walk as they change shifts near a military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean city of Simferopol. (Baz Ratner/Courtesy Reuters)

A Post–Post–Cold War Era?

Richard N. Haass, Kimberly Marten, Thomas E. Graham

CFR President Richard N. Haass hosted the Charlie Rose program on PBS and discussed what is being described as the most serious and potentially dangerous crisis of the post-Cold War era with Kimberly Marten and Thomas E. Graham. Watch the video »

Stop Citing International Law and Condemn Expansionism

Stewart M. Patrick

Rather than condemn the referendum in Crimea by citing international law, it would be wiser if U.S. and European leaders shifted the terms of the debate away from the legal merits of Russian conduct and focused instead on the illegitimacy of Russia's annexation of Crimea and Moscow's clear aspirations to expand its territory. Read more on The Internationalist »

Why the Referendum Is Illegitimate

John B. Bellinger III

The March 16 vote violates both the Ukrainian constitution and the general principles of international law, which respect the territorial integrity of states. Just as the United States recognized the possible precedent set by Kosovo's secession, Russia may find that its support for Crimea's independence might trigger referenda or secession movements that it opposes, such as in Chechnya. Read the interview »

Thinking the Unthinkable in Ukraine

Janine A. Davidson

The use of overt military countermoves to prevent escalation is an uncomfortable reality. However, the United States and its NATO allies should do more to assure its allies and deter Russian president Vladimir Putin. Read the op-ed »

NATO's Next Moves

Christopher S. Chivvis

Russia's annexation of Crimea has brought into question if and how NATO should respond. A military response is unlikely, but NATO has a number of options that would check further Russian moves and reinforce its posture in Europe. Read the interview »

Ukraine’s Lessons for Democratization

Mark P. Lagon

Ukraine's transition to a pro-Western government and Crimea's pull toward Russian influence show good and democratic governance are closely linked, a strong civil society is important for democratization, and international support can make a difference. Watch the video »

The World Ahead

An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's audio preview, Lindsay and McMahon discuss the world powers' nuclear summit in The Hague; the Group of Seven's discussion on Ukraine; the resumption of EU-U.S. trade talks in Brussels; and President Barack Obama's visits to Italy and Saudi Arabia. Listen to the podcast »

Infrastructure Finance in America—How We Get Smarter

Heidi Crebo-Rediker

A generation of American roads, bridges, airports, and water and sewer pipes is nearing the end of its useful life. Yet traditional public resources are no longer substantial enough to foot the bill. The federal government should create a new unit to advise state and local governments on how best to use private investment to plug the infrastructure spending gap. Read the Policy Innovation Memorandum »

Can Malaysia Salvage its Public Image?

Joshua Kurlantzick

While Malaysia's fumbled response to the disappearance of Flight 370 has severely undermined its image, there are immediate steps it can take to regain trust. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Turkish Leader Still Standing

Steven A. Cook

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has weathered public protests, a corruption scandal, and mounting political pressure in the past year, and is tightening his grip on power. Read the interview »

Mexico's Energy Reform

Shannon K. O'Neil

Mexico's congress is drafting a second energy reform package, following up on December's historic reform, which has the potential to fundamentally transform the country's oil, gas, and electricity sectors. These will allow Mexico's energy sector to catch up to global developments. Read more on Latin America's Moment »

Iraq’s Do-Nothing Legacy

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Eleven years after the United States invaded Iraq, America's inability to remain engaged is showing consequences and has been a defining factor behind the White House's inaction in Syria. Read the op-ed »

An Un-Hollow Force

Russell Rumbaugh

The debate about the defense budget suffers a fundamental disconnect that stems from blurring the distinction between a smaller military force and a hollow force. President Obama's recently released budget request takes significant steps to prevent a hollow force. Read more on Defense in Depth »

Ask CFR Experts

Yijia Liang asks, How critical is Hamas to the success of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty? Senior Fellow Robert M. Danin says that because Hamas controls Gaza but refuses to recognize Israel in any form, the group would pose a major impediment to any Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. Read the full answer and submit your question »

World Events Calendar

March 24 - 25: March 24–25: Nuclear Security Summit, The Hague
CFR Resources on: Global Governance »

March 27 - 29: March 27–29: Arab League Summit, Baghdad
CFR Resources on: The Arab League »

View the Calendar »

Inside CFR

At CFR's New York headquarters, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, a top adviser to President Obama on defense and nuclear issues, discussed the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit with Robert Gallucci of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Watch the event »

Complex Issues, Succinctly Explained

CFR's website offers more than eight hundred primers on a range of foreign policy issues, from China's Environmental Crisis to Currency Crises in Emerging Markets. Browse the Backgrounders »


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