Report documents rights abuses; Kremlin ‘greatest security challenge,’ says Atlantic Council’s HerbstThe apparent US indifference toward the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in February 2014 amounts to giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a green light to commit similar acts of aggression against other countries, panelists warned during a March 6 conference at the Atlantic Council.
“The Obama administration refuses to call what Putin is doing an invasion. They use the word incursion,” said John E. Herbst, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.
Herbst, who served as the US Ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, criticized current White House policy for focusing too much on the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the terrorist group that controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, at the expense of the worsening crisis in Eastern Europe.
“The greatest security challenge on the planet today is not that ragtag bunch of terrorists, ISIS, but the Kremlin,” he said. “Mr. Putin’s ardent wish is for the world to forget about the Crimean Peninsula.”
A Vice News Documentary Shows What Russia Is Hiding—and How
Since last summer, when President Vladimir Putin’s government first deployed major units of Russian conventional army troops to fight in its war against Ukraine, the Kremlin has used state secrecy, propaganda, intimidation, and violence to conceal the story.
Police have obstructed journalists, arrested them—and in one case, thugs beat a local newspaper publisher so badly he had to be hospitalized. That publisher, Lev Shlosberg, who also is a local legislator in the oblast (province) of Pskov, is undeterred, appearing this week among other Russians courageous enough to tell reporters from the US-based Vice News about Putin’s secret war.
Wilson: Only the US Can Lead in Defending Europe Against Putin’s Rising Ambition
The United States and its allies must confront the aggressive actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin because failing to do so will escalate his ambitions—perhaps to the point of forcing a war with NATO, the Atlantic Council’s Damon Wilson told the US Senate this week.
And the United States must lead, because no European country is strong enough to do so against a Kremlin that increasingly targets not just Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbors but the democracy and unity of Europe, Wilson said. The US government should galvanize a strategy including tightened economic sanctions on Russia, arms supplies for Ukraine’s defense, and a financial commitment similar to those for other major crises such as the Ebola outbreak and the ISIS war in the Middle East, he said.
Burns: Give Arms to Ukraine, More NATO Cover to Baltics—and Leadership for Europe
President Barack Obama has given space for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to lead recently in the Western response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. But it's now time for the US president to take the reins back, writes former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.
The evidence is in the results of the cease-fire deal that Chancellor Merkel led in negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin promptly violated this second truce, as he did the first one, five months earlier. Again, he used the "cease-fire" as cover to seize new territory with his proxy forces in Donbas.
Political divisions at the top are key drivers of today’s uncertainty, and they include acrimony among party leaders, frictions created by institutional and government changes, and impending personnel turnover. Bickering over monetary policy not only reveals disunity, but also undermines the economic success that has greatly bolstered the party’s fortunes at the polls. Regional and international risks round out the picture. While no one doubts that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will remain Turkey’s head of state, and that the AK Party he founded will remain in power, the country’s ride over the coming year will be a rough one.
Rivals and international community lack political will to end crisis, says Atlantic Council’s PhamSouth Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar failed to resolve their differences by the March 5 deadline not only because they lack the political will to do so, but also because the international community lacks the will to make them, says J. Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s lead Africa analyst.
Kiir and Machar signed a ceasefire deal in February that was intended to be a step toward a power-sharing agreement.
The two sides faced a March 5 deadline to work out the details of that agreement, which was supposed to pave the way for setting up a transitional government. The deadline passed with no deal.
“The whole agreement was nothing more than kicking the can down the road. Well, we’ve reached the end of the road and now they’re going to try to kick it farther,” Pham, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said in an interview with the New Atlanticist.
“At the end of the day, there is no political will,” he added.
Did NATO Provoke a War By Trying to ‘Take’ Ukraine From Russia?
Much Western thinking about the causes of the Russo-Ukrainian War is rooted in a myth. It posits that the West—or, more specifically, NATO—attempted to wrest Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence, thereby forcing Vladimir Putin to defend Russia’s legitimate strategic interests by going to war with Ukraine.
The logic is impeccable. The only problem is that there isn’t a shred of truth to this claim.
Atlantic Council analyst says ISIS threat must galvanize political foesRival factions in Libya must come together for talks in Morocco this week to take on the threat posed by an affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), says Atlantic Council analyst Fadel Lamen.
An ISIS affiliate has exploited the political and security vacuum in Libya by putting down roots in the eastern part of the country.
In January, ISIS-affiliated militants attacked Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel. They shocked the world in February by beheading twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya.
“This should galvanize everybody to come together to fight an existential threat,” Lamen, who is a Nonresident Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said in an interview.
Lamen will participate in the talks in Morocco on March 5 as a civil society representative and Chairman of the National Dialogue Commission.
Atlantic Council analyst says US, NATO lack adequate nuclear deterrence policyThe United States and NATO lack an adequate nuclear deterrence policy even as Russia has put the nuclear option at the center of its national security strategy, according to Atlantic Council analyst Matthew Kroenig.
“NATO should strengthen its nuclear declaratory policy and develop new, more tailored nuclear capabilities to provide a credible response to a limited Russian nuclear strike,” Kroenig, a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said in an interview.