• How Will Brexit Impact Intelligence Sharing?

    As the United Kingdom (UK) proceeds with negotiations to leave the European Union (EU), it must account for mounting security concerns regarding the potential drop-off in shared intelligence with EU countries.

    A recent report published by the UK’s House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee concluded there will be a “barrier” to security if data transfers between EU nations and the UK are obstructed after Brexit, which would negatively impact the national security and counter terrorism efforts of not only the UK, but EU member states as well.  

    In recent years, especially after the attacks in Brussels, Paris, Nice, and Berlin, there has been more cooperation within the EU to keep European citizens safe, highlighting both the growing importance and validity of intelligence sharing. The most recent attack in Barcelona on August 17, when a vehicle driven through crowds of pedestrians killed twelve and injured eighty, only underscores the growing need for collaboration in counterterrorism efforts throughout Europe. As a result, the UK needs to make the reconciliation between its security system and that of the EU a priority in the Brexit negotiations, working hard to secure the best UK-EU intelligence-sharing arrangement possible.

    Read More
  • The Challenge Ahead in Eastern Ukraine

    Bloody fighting between government troops and pro-Kremlin separatists and Russian regulars has continued for three years in Ukraine’s east. Meanwhile, an equally fierce battle is being waged for the hearts and minds of civilians on the Ukrainian side, many of whose loyalties hover between Kyiv and Moscow.
    Read More
  • How to Fix Ukraine’s Economy

    It’s been more than three years since Ukrainians were driven in large measure by the rampant corruption in Ukraine to retake their country. Yet state-owned enterprises (SOEs)—the organs of systemic corruption and deterrence for western investment—remain in the hands of the same elites who drain these state treasures of their financial and material resources. Even worse, this unwritten system scares away further capital, expertise, and technology required to restart an economy which is moving away from Russia. At the same time, the Ukrainian economy is starved for capital and the GDP growth required to support its population.

    Privatizing Ukraine’s state enterprises would send a powerful signal to corrupt elites and foreign investors.

    Read More
  • Ullman in UPI: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

    Read More
  • Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Trends Bode Badly for Ukraine

    A recent increase in illiberal trends in a number of Eastern European countries threatens to erode support for Ukraine in the region. Just as important, it may lead to disillusionment inside Ukraine, where reformers have drawn on the region’s democracy building experience as guidance for Ukraine’s own reforms.

    Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries launched profound pro-market, pro-democratic, and pro-European transformations, quickly becoming members of NATO and the European Union. These young EU members were a source of inspiration for Ukraine’s pro-European activists and reformers at a time when Ukraine was perceived as “stuck in transition”—captured in the vicious cycle of an oligarchic economic model and corrupt political decision-making. Following the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine made important progress in energy pricing, procurement, and increased public service transparency by introducing electronic declarations, but is still striving to catch up in areas like the rule of law and protection of property rights.

    But Eastern Europe may no longer serve as a model for Ukraine’s reforms: some of these countries’ own democratic institutions are now under threat.

    Read More
  • Correction Unnecessary

    Bloomberg View columnist Leonid Bershidsky is unhappy and he has been tweeting.  Specifically, he demands a correction to my August 8 post that criticized some of the points in his opinion piece arguing against sending defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine. He claims that he “did not argue” what I said; he has “no idea how” I could have “read that stuff into” his piece; and he politely requests that I “either change that paragraph or remove the inaccurate reference to” his column.

    Mr. Bershidsky doth protest too much.  You can decide whether or not I misconstrued what he was saying.  Here is what I wrote:

    Read More
  • Stanford Program Turns Theory into Practice in Ukraine and Beyond

    Victor Liakh and Olena Sotnyk are returning from California to Kyiv bursting with new ideas and energy. They just participated in Stanford University’s 2017 Draper Hills Summer Fellowship, which brings together leaders who are advancing democracy in some of the most challenging corners of the world. This was the first year the program included two participants from Ukraine since 2009. Liakh, 43, is the president of East Europe Foundation, a nongovernmental organization in Kyiv, and Sotnyk, 34, is a member of parliament and lawyer.

    Sponsored by Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, the fellows studied with top experts on democracy, including Larry Diamond and Francis Fukuyama. Fellows also met former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, as well as representatives from technology firms in Silicon Valley. Liakh and Sotnyk also spent an evening with the Ukrainian community in San Francisco.

    The three-week program was organized around readings and intensive discussions. This year’s program included twenty-eight activists, lawyers, parliamentarians, and one judge, from twenty-one different countries.

    Both Liakh and Sotnyk praised the program. Sotnyk called it “the most powerful moment in my life,” in an August 9 telephone interview. She said her conversations with Fukuyama in particular were helpful as she prepares for the fall parliamentary session. Fukuyama closely follows reform in Ukraine and has urged reformers to focus on building institutions.

    Read More
  • Why the Case Against Arming Ukraine Doesn’t Hold Water

    Armchair strategists have come out of the woodwork to explain why it would be a mistake for the United States to arm Ukraine. They argue that Russia is stronger than Ukraine and can outmatch any escalation, Moscow has a greater interest in Ukraine than Washington, and Ukraine’s government is corrupt and undeserving of such support.

    These arguments are based on hoary myths, outdated analyses, and an incomplete understanding of Kremlin policy and American interests.

    In “Don’t Arm Ukraine,” Michael Brendan Dougherty claims that “Ukraine is a deeply divided country,” echoing the infamous CIA National Intelligence Estimate from the 1990s that said Ukraine might split in two. But that prediction proved false and, while differences between east and west Ukraine have not disappeared, they have lessened considerably since 2014.

    Dougherty wrongly asserts that “Russian-speaking Ukrainians see the United States as complicit in overturning a democratic result in 2015.” First, he probably meant 2014, when President Viktor Yanukovych fled following massive protests. Second, the vast majority of Ukrainians speak Russian and the vast majority of Ukrainians welcomed Yanukovych’s departure after he either ordered or permitted the use of snipers against demonstrators.

    Read More
  • Putin Still in Denial over the Loss of Ukraine

    When Kremlin proxies in eastern Ukraine declared the foundation of “Malorossia” in mid-July, most people laughed. This bizarre attempt to replace Ukraine with a “Little Russian” vassal state was seen as one more indication of how hopelessly out of touch Russian policymakers are with Ukrainian public opinion. However, at least one man in Moscow failed to see the funny side. Key Putin aide and Ukraine curator Vladislav Surkov called it a way of sparking debate within Ukraine while emphasizing that the Donbas is not fighting to separate from Ukraine but for the country’s future. “Kyiv wants a pro-European utopia,” he commented. “The Donbas responds with Malorossia.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced similarly optimistic sentiments during the July G20 summit in Hamburg, where he accused the Ukrainian leadership of “trading in Russophobia” and blamed a handful of Kyiv politicians for driving an artificial wedge between Russia and Ukraine. “I am absolutely convinced the interests of Ukraine and Russia, of the Ukrainian and Russian people, fully match,” he claimed, before accusing the West of preventing Ukraine and Russia from moving closer together “at any cost.”

    These developments provide insight into Moscow’s apparent delusions over the catastrophic loss of Russian influence in Ukraine since 2014.

    Read More
  • Five Ways We Have Changed the World’s Perception of Ukraine

    Ukraine has continued to face many challenges but something has changed in the last year. The country started scoring targeted and powerful public relations goals abroad. At Ukraine Crisis Media Center, where I am a co-founder, we have actively sought to change how Ukraine is perceived. Here’s five creative ways that we’ve tried to change the way others view us.

    1. Drew attention to Russian aggression at the G20 with a billboard

    During the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8, Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) secured a major billboard 10 meters away from the official entrance to remind world leaders about the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. We popularized the heroic faces of Ukraine’s service members, volunteers, and medics, who are defending the country from Russian aggression, as we did in 2016 with an ad in The Washington Post.

    20170808 billboard

    The billboard went up a few days prior to the G20 meeting. After the meeting between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin, the ad was suddenly taken down before our contract had expired. The local advertising company finally admitted that they had received a call from an official who demanded that they take it down. Since they couldn’t fulfill the contract, they gave us a refund.

    However, the campaign was a huge success: soaring media attention, zero cost, and an eyesore for Putin.

    Read More