For one year, Russia has pursued a long, costly war of aggression against Ukraine. Its objective is obvious: to destabilize Ukraine so that the new democratic regime fails. Therefore, the West should adjust its goals accordingly to offer Ukraine financial support.

The Kremlin has presented one false objective after the other for this aggression. On February 27, 2014, "little green men"—that is, Russian special forces in Russian uniforms but without insignia—occupied the Crimean regional parliament. The next day, they took over the peninsula's two international airports. Within two weeks, these troops had skillfully occupied all of Crimea.

Read More

Leading up to the seventieth anniversary of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany on May 9, seemingly every Russian media outlet buzzed about the unveiling of the country's new premier tank, the Armata T-14. Outfitted with an advanced remote-controlled armed turret, a new 125-mm 2A82-1M smoothbore cannon, the new tank was rumored to come with a specially developed 152-mm gun—the most powerful cannon ever to be mounted on a battle tank. Images of the new tank led some to write that the Russian military-industrial complex had finally "leapfrogged into the next generation of design."

While the tank was impressive—when it worked—it pales in comparison to Russia's other main weapon: its own history. Throughout the Ukraine conflict, Russia has weaponized its own history to suit its purposes. These range from absurd announcements, such as the recent proclamation by the Russian prosecutor general's office that it began investigating the legality of the 1991 independence of the three Baltic republics to its reliance on historically dubious ideologies like Novorossiya to justify the Donbas insurgency.

Read More

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has wrapped up her historic visit to the United States and is heading back home, where a shrinking economy and a growing corruption scandal at state-owned oil giant Petrobras have made her deeply unpopular among Brazilians.

In fact, it's that scandal—not the one involving spying by the National Security Agency two years ago—that's grabbing all the headlines in Brazil today. Back in 2013, the NSA's unauthorized eavesdropping of Rousseff's phone calls and emails led the Brazilian head of state to cancel her planned US visit.

Read More

On June 30, Greece defaulted on a €1.5 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund, raising concerns about a Greek exit from the nineteen-member Eurozone. Despite a flurry of new proposals from the Tsipras government, its creditors—the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the other Eurozone countries—have agreed to delay further talks until after the July 5 referendum, when Greeks will decide whether to accept or reject terms of the latest bailout offer.

The Global Business and Economics Program will be monitoring and analyzing the situation closely, and will regularly update this page.

Read More

The war in eastern Ukraine is a Kremlin-manufactured conflict. The arrival of "little green men" in Crimea in February 2014 transformed the conflict from a domestic altercation between citizens and their government to an international crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly acknowledged in a government-sponsored documentary that he carefully planned and orchestrated the military takeover of the Crimean peninsula. No such admissions have been made about the war in the Donbas. From the outbreak of fighting in the east, the official Kremlin narrative has framed the Ukrainian crisis as a civil war between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists. In reality, for the first six months of the conflict, from March to August 2014, the Ukrainian civil war was a myth concocted by Russian state-sponsored media, reiterated by Russian officials, and then picked up by Western media outlets eager for objectivity and balance. But with the continued influx of Russian weapons, soldiers, and Russian recruitment and training of local Ukrainian forces, that myth is swiftly becoming a reality.

Read More

On July 20, the Stars and Stripes will rise over a US Embassy in Havana for the first time in fifty-four years—and the Cuban flag will flutter over the newly reconstituted Cuban Embassy in Washington.

If all goes according to plan, US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana to witness the historic event. That follows President Barack Obama's July 1 announcement that embassies would re-open in each other's capitals after half a century of hostilities.

Read More

Five Washington-based foreign ambassadors shared the stage with US officials June 29 to discuss the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR)—a report that deals with complex issues such as the rise of non-state actors.

Thomas Perriello, QDDR Special Representative since his February 2014 appointment by Secretary of State John Kerry, unveiled the study at an event moderated by Barry Pavel, Director of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scrowcroft Center on International Security.

Read More

After US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Sochi on May 12, a barrage of articles urged Western leaders to provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with an off-ramp for his various Ukrainian adventures. Even more disheartening than the volume was the growing diversity of reasons for giving Putin a pass. At least three arguments were made.

Read More

Amid multiple signs of an impending battle in Ukraine, NATO and Ukraine have stepped up their response. But so has Russia. Ukrainian officials claim to have 60,000 troops in the field against an estimated 54,000 Russian forces in the Donbas. A large-scale conventional theater in the Donbas is a real danger this summer. But Moscow is not merely focused on Ukraine. Russia has made numerous nuclear threats, buzzed US and NATO ships in the Black Sea, moved Iskander missiles to Crimea and Kaliningrad, built up a formidable anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) force along the Russian border, conducted major Arctic exercises, and continued its probes against northern European and US targets.

Read More

Listen to the proclamations of Ukraine's political leaders and you might think the country is in the midst of rapid change. On June 4, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared that "reforms are the key word...The countdown of the period of reforms has started."

There is much talk of reform, but the reality is less impressive. No one doubts that the country's institutions desperately need restructuring. Even before Russian forces annexed Crimea and invaded the Donbas, the country stood on the brink of bankruptcy. After a painful currency devaluation, it is now the poorest in Europe. It is also the most corrupt. The parliament is controlled by oligarchs, and the police are as crooked as the mafia.

Read More