Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow

  • An Olympic Thaw on the Korean Peninsula. But for How Long?

    Even as it supports the Olympic thaw between North and South Korea, US President Donald J. Trump’s administration is keeping up pressure on Pyongyang, evidenced by US Vice President Mike Pence’s promise that the “toughest and most aggressive” sanctions on North Korea are imminent.

    On February 7, two days ahead of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Pence described North Korea as having the “most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.” He insisted that the United States will continue to intensify the heat of sanctions until North Korea takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

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  • How to Bring Peace to the Donbas. (Yes, It’s Possible)

    Last month Vladimir Putin reopened the door to the creation of a peacekeeping force in Eastern Ukraine. Deploying such a force, if done properly, could bring peace to a conflict that has dragged on for nearly four years. Without it, the conflict could return to a boil, jeopardizing Ukraine’s stability and destroying any basis for reducing tensions between Russia and the West.
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  • People Are Wrong about the War in the Donbas, Says US Envoy

    2017 has been the most violent year of the conflict in eastern Ukraine since it began, according to Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.

    "A lot of people think that this has somehow turned into a sleepy, frozen conflict and it’s stable and now we have...a ceasefire,” Volker said on December 19 during an event on peace in the Donbas at the Atlantic Council. “That’s completely wrong. It’s a crisis.”

    But negotiating an end to the conflict is difficult because of the role that Russia plays.

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  • Will North Korea Lash Out Over State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation?

    The decision by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration to designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, while of questionable efficacy, marks a justified increase of pressure from Washington on Pyongyang, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

    In the latest move in an ongoing diplomatic crisis between the United States and North Korea over the latter’s growing nuclear arsenal, North Korea was placed back on the US Department of State’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list on November 20. North Korea joins Iran, Sudan, and Syria on the list.

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  • Vershbow Joins Bloomberg to Discuss Trump's South Korea Visit


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  • Vershow Quoted in ABC on Nuclear Crisis in North Korea


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  • Vershbow Quoted in Stars and Stripes on Trump's Asia Visit


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  • Asia Trip Seen as Opportunity for Trump to Articulate Policy

    US President Donald J. Trump’s upcoming trip to Asia presents him with an opportunity to articulate his policy toward the region and “dispel the uncertainty about US engagement that has haunted the region since January,” according to a former US official.

    “It is about time,” said David Shear, who served as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs in the Obama administration, while noting that formulating such a policy will allow Trump to solidify ties with allies in the region and promote US interests on a range of political, security, and economic issues.

    Trump leaves for Asia on November 3 on a trip that will include stops in China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

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  • Vershbow Joins TRT World to Discuss US - Russia Disputes


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  • Should the United States Arm Ukraine?

    While analysts agree that diplomacy is the ideal route to ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, they disagree on whether the United States sending defensive weapons to Ukraine will achieve that end.

    On September 22, the Atlantic Council, in collaboration with the Charles Koch Institute, hosted a debate between experts: Should the United States Arm Ukraine?

    The divisive prospect of sending US weapons to Ukraine as further defense against Russian aggression in the Donbas could, according to those in favor, defend US interests on the world stage. Alternatively, countered those opposed to the idea, it could escalate the conflict in a manner detrimental to US national security.

    Analysts both for and against sending weapons to Ukraine argued that a decision must be predicated on a consideration of what is in the best interests of the United States, yet the opposing sides diverged on how to achieve those ends.

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