Ukraine has secured a $40 billion bailout from the IMF and other creditors. The agreement, which spans four years and includes $17.5 billion from the Fund, â€ścan represent a turning point for Ukraine,â€ť said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Kirilenko, a Professor of the Practice of Finance at MITâ€™s Sloan School of Management, said the package is not designed to â€śstimulate sustainable economic growth,â€ť but to â€śclose a bleeding wound in the underbelly of Europe.â€ť
The package is more realistic than the one it replaces, but it still â€śseverely underestimatesâ€ť the needs of the banking sector, which requires â€śprobably about five times this much money,â€ť said Kirilenko.
â€śThe other area where the program is completely unrealistic is the amount of government expenditure allocated to security and defense, which includes financing of the army, national guard, border guards, and the police and security apparatus,â€ť he added.
Passive Responses to Putin Darken the Future for Ukraineâ€”and for Russia
The professional killing of Boris Nemtsov February 27 confronts us with two facts that Western policymakers ignore at great cost in the Russia-Ukraine war. First, Mr. Putinâ€™s war in Ukraine is potentially a great domestic political liability for him. Second, it is central to his campaign to crush all democratic inclinations so as to force Russia back under into the authoritarian rule it bore for centuries under tsars and Soviet commissars.
Neither development would spur the United States to draw down its presence in the region or overhaul its current approach, according to participants in a war game conducted by the Atlantic Council on February 25.
This response would be grounded in the realities of domestic politics as well as the challenge of balancing the interests of allies and partners, especially those in the region.
â€śWe donâ€™t know how this will play out or whether it will precipitate a deeper crisis, but one thing is for sure and that is this is a direction in which you do not want things to go,â€ť said Bharath Gopalaswamy, Acting Director of the Atlantic Councilâ€™s South Asia Center.
â€śIf you want to defuse the political crisis and get the parties to the table you have to work behind the scenes. Issuing a public arrest warrant certainly doesnâ€™t help,â€ť he added.
Truce Buys Ukraine Time to Get a Little Real Help From Its Friends
Ukraine and its allies hope this monthâ€™s cease-fire deal agreed with Russia and Russian-backed rebels brings relative calm to southeastern Ukraine. But the Minsk agreement is deeply flawed, and there is every chance it may yet unravel, even if it holds for the short term.
The accordâ€™s greatest flaw is in letting Russia maintain unsupervised control of Ukraineâ€™s border in the Donbas region until the end of the year. This will mean Russia can freely continue supplying weapons and equipment to locally controlled â€śpeopleâ€™s militias," armed formations that will now expressly be permitted under the agreement. Moreover, while the accord calls for the withdrawal of â€śforeign armed formations, military equipment, and mercenaries,â€ť it creates no effective regime for enforcing a pullout of those Russian military assets from the Kremlin-engineered separatist enclave in the Donbas.
Somali terror group has sympathizers, but no active sleeper cell in United States, says Atlantic Council's PhamAl-Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked militant group in Somalia, has sympathizers in the United States, but likely does not have the ability to strike targets in the West, despite its recent threat to do so, according to Atlantic Council analyst J. Peter Pham.
â€śShabaab has always had a transnational reach, but it has never struck transnationally beyond the region,â€ť Pham, Director of the Atlantic Councilâ€™s Africa Center, said in an interview.
â€śThere has also been no evidence of an active sleeper cell, but there has been more than sufficient evidence of sympathizers,â€ť he added.
Atlantic Council analysts say both Washington and Havana have incentives to see progressThe second round of talks between the United States and Cuba on February 27 will be marked by tough negotiations, but both sides have incentives to work toward a breakthrough, according to Atlantic Council analysts.
â€śThe United States wants to do a lot of things very fast. The Cubans want to do everything very slow,â€ť said Peter Schechter, Director of the Atlantic Councilâ€™s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
But Political Squabbling Yields a Minority Government, Strengthens Russiaâ€™s Hand
Moldovaâ€™s three-month-long political last week produced a surprise prime minister, Chiril Gaburici, who promised every effort "to ensure that by 2018 the country can qualify to sign an agreement on associate membershipâ€ť in the European Union.
But as Gaburici, a cellular telephone company executive, takes up his first political post in replacing former Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, his real political mandate is unclear, according to Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Brian Mefford and other analysts. After Leanca failed to win a parliament majority last week for a new term, his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition ally, the Democratic Party, got help from the Communists to elect Gaburici with 60 votes in the 101-seat chamber.
Atlantic Council analyst says creditors want to know how Athens will fight corruptionGreeceâ€™s creditors will scrutinize its reforms plan, which is aimed at securing a financial lifeline, for details on how the new government in Athens will tackle endemic problems such as corruption and tax evasion, according to Atlantic Council analyst Andrea Montanino.
Greece on February 24 cleared its first hurdle toward getting a four-month extension of its bailout when euro zone finance ministers approved the package of reforms submitted by the Greek government.
Venezuela, which has suffered political turmoil since protests broke out in February of 2014, has been thrust into a new political crisis following the February 19 arrest of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma. Supporters of Ledezma, a prominent critic of Maduro, took to the street to protest his arrest.
"The ChĂˇvez-Maduro government has always followed the same MO: when they are under severe stress they go on the attack,â€ť said Peter Schechter, Director of the Atlantic Councilâ€™s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
Ledezmaâ€™s arrest is â€śsymptomatic of a feeling inside the PSUV that things are going very badly for them. They need to shore up their most radical and loyal base, which has historically responded extremely well to conspiracy messages that link foreign powers with domestic opposition groups accused of creating havoc to damage the image of the chavista government,â€ť he added.