The notion of a cooperative U.S.-Chinese economic relationship, balanced by security hedging, has run aground.
Just a year ago, presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping met in California and, in shirtsleeves, proclaimed a "new type of major-power relationship." A noble aspiration, perhaps. But in the interim, such stage-managed optimism has been dangerously overtaken by a cascade of troubling events.
The Maidan popular uprising of 2014 lasted 93 days between November 21, 2013 and February 21, 2014. It was during 88 days of the revolution that protesters engaged in nonviolent mobilization and various forms of nonviolent action. Despite five days of spectacular violence between demonstrators and regime security forces, the logic of nonviolent conflict helps explain why Yanukovych was forced to flee. However, the success of this phase of people power was quickly followed by new external aggression that is now testing the limits of the Ukrainian nonviolent resistance.
The West Point lecture was classic Obama: the president was calm and reasonable. And he took an in-between Goldilocks stance designed to differentiate him from the extremes. The latter he characterized simplistically to supplement the rhetorical force, if not the persuasiveness, of his case.
On the surface, the European Parliament election results in France and the United Kingdom look quite similar. In both, a maverick right-wing Euroskeptic party won a comfortable quarter of the votes, polling ahead of the leading opposition party and leaving the party in power in third place. In both, gains by those nationalist protest parties were also reflected in local elections. In both, a senior opposition political figure has been compelled to resign. In both, the national leader has declared that the European Union—“Brussels”—must show more respect for national preferences and national prerogatives.