“We need leadership on a lot of different levels to get us out of some of the bad spots we’re in and maximize those opportunities that do exist,” said Burrows.
In a geopolitical climate defined by the increased risk of major conflict, according to Burrows, “it may not be likely yet, but war between US and Russia, US/NATO and Russia, US and China, Iran and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states is no longer unthinkable.”
In its previous programs, Ukraine was quick to abandon the difficult IMF-prescribed reforms soon after its economic crises became less acute.
Russian aggression toward the United States, underscored by the recent instance of a Russian jet buzzing a US carrier, requires the immediate attention of US defense capabilities.
“We’ve seen the Russians launch [long-range] cruise missiles into Syria. We could be on the receiving end of that someday,” said Barno, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. The United States this week blamed Russia for attacking a United Nations aid convoy in Syria.
While oil markets agonize over the possibility of a “production freeze” agreement among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members facing political and economic distress from lower oil prices, much larger and strategic data points are receiving less attention. These data points, while too early to suggest are certain, would create a far greater set of problems for oil producers if they become structural trends—particularly for companies with higher cost resources and governments with unsustainable levels of petro-dollar spending. In short, these data points can be categorized as signposts of a potential world of “peak demand,” or when forms of demand destruction will curtail and even begin to reverse global oil demand growth much earlier than anticipated.
Unsurprisingly, Russia’s leading party, United Russia, swept the floor in Crimea, with United Russia candidates winning all three single-mandate seats in Crimea, capturing over 65 percent of the vote, and the single-mandate seat in Sevastopol.
To Nefyodov this spectacle looked amusing. “Why would anyone live like this to be so afraid?” he thought.
A chance encounter with Yanukovych’s close ally made Nefyodov think again about Ukraine’s macroeconomic indicators, which had especially worried the firm’s partners in the past year.
Just six months prior to this encounter, Icon decided to exit from Ukraine’s private sector. The firm’s portfolio was 40 percent invested in domestic companies.
To put it mildly, the country was moving in the wrong direction. "The figures were illustrating this vividly,” Nefyodov said. [He is now Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade.] Three years later, he’s displaying figures from a public procurement website on his iPhone. He’s delighted with these figures.
“Just look, the ProZorro e-public procurement system has already saved 3.17 billion hryvnias (approximately $120,000,000) while hosting over 170,000 tenders,” he beams and takes a sip of beer. We’re meeting late in the evening at one of Kyiv’s restaurants.
The new public procurement system is considered to be one of the landmark reforms in Ukraine during the last two and a half years.
“The odds do not favor the ceasefire being salvaged, sad to say,” said Hof, who served in the Obama administration as a special adviser for transition in Syria.
“The Assad regime and Russia seem to be greeting the apparent collapse of the John Kerry initiative with palpable relief,” he added.
Despite the adamant tone, such statements do not show Russia’s confidence but instead reveal the Kremlin’s vulnerability on this issue. The concept Krym nash (Crimea is ours) is an illusion and a propaganda meme which lacks structural meaning. Russia believes that its tactical victory will become its strategic victory, and Crimea will stay part of Russia forever. But they shouldn’t think that. Ukraine’s stance on returning the annexed territory, defending the rights of the Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people of Crimea, and fighting for Ukraine’s sovereignty have strategically better prospects for success than Russia’s stance.