Why America Should Care About Ukraine

Written on March 18, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in News

In this age of instantaneous global communications, people don’t give a second thought to finding out what is happening on the other side of the world. A missing plane in Asia, a gory murder trial in Africa: It’s all there with one click of the mouse or turn of the page.

Knowing, however, is not the same as caring, and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is the latest test of whether or not Americans can, or should, care about events far from home. War-weary and debt-saddled, it would appear that America has good reasons to sit out a conflict where it is hard to find vital national interests.

There are many easy excuses for not intervening, and in recent days here in my adopted home of New York City, I’ve heard them all:

“Let the Europeans handle it, it’s their backyard.” “Why mess with Vladimir Putin over Crimea, what’s it to us?” “There’s not much we can do anyway.”

It’s hard to argue with that first one, actually. The European Union has more at stake, has more leverage over Russia and has more responsibility as a neighbor to Ukraine.

But this doesn’t mean the United States should stay out, and it has been good to hear President Obama and John Kerry in recent days sending the message that America is ready to take action to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

As for American interests and responsibilities, I should first say that my perspective is partly born from looking at America from where I was raised in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union.

The United States of America as the “shining city upon a hill,” a Biblical phrase popularized by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, may seem like tired political rhetoric to many Americans, or as dangerous imperialistic American exceptionalism to others, but it was quite real to many of us behind the Iron Curtain.

It mattered to know someone outside cared about our plight and was fighting for us. It mattered when Reagan called the USSR out as the evil empire we knew it to be. His uncompromising approach to negotiations with the Soviets led to the fall of the Iron Curtain and freedom for many millions of people, a legacy that every American should be proud of.

It is an inheritance to embrace, not discard.

Trying to ignore the world’s dangers and dictators never works for long, and the situation in Ukraine will be harder to deal with the longer strong measures are delayed.

Vladimir Putin is not someone who can or should be ignored. Last Thursday, the largest opposition news websites in Russia were shut down by the Kremlin in the blink of an eye.

With television and print under strict control, the Internet has long been the last refuge of free speech in Putin’s police state, so despite the many warning signs this sudden blackout came as shock.

The news site run by my organization, Kasparov.ru, is included on the list of sites blocked for, to use the censor’s exact language, “information containing appeals to mass riots, extremist activities, and participation in mass (public) actions held with infringement of the established order.”

Translation: Telling the truth and reporting the facts about Putin’s Russia will not be tolerated.

The timing of these shutdowns could not be more ominous. Russian troops invaded Crimea, part of Ukraine, last week, and Russian forces have been massing on the border of eastern Ukraine. Internal Russian propaganda about the need to “protect” ethnic Russians inside Ukraine has reached fever pitch.

Putin is preparing for war and once again raising the stakes in his decade-long confrontation with the United States and Europe over his attempt to patch together a Frankenstein version of the Soviet Union by using bribery, extortion and brute force.

Every politician knows that banging the war drums can do wonders for a sagging approval rating, and you could say that Putin’s career was launched with this technique. An undistinguished Yeltsin administration functionary from the security services with no public profile, Putin came to prominence and power in 1999 after being put in charge of the second war in Chechnya, which he carried out with astonishing viciousness.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/stop-man-article-1.1722280#ixzz2wD0ezFfJ


By Garry Kasparov. Published on Mar. 16, 2014 in NY Daily News; Kasparov is the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, based in New York City. He was the 13th world chess champion.


Trade agreements are a subject that can cause the eyes to glaze over, but we should all be paying attention. Right now, there are trade proposals in the works that threaten to put most Americans on the wrong side of globalization.

The conflicting views about the agreements are actually tearing at the fabric of the Democratic Party, though you wouldn’t know it from President Obama’s rhetoric. In his State of the Union address, for example, he blandly referred to “new trade partnerships” that would “create more jobs.” Most immediately at issue is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which would bring together 12 countries along the Pacific Rim in what would be the largest free trade area in the world.

Negotiations for the TPP began in 2010, for the purpose, according to the United States Trade Representative, of increasing trade and investment, through lowering tariffs and other trade barriers among participating countries. But the TPP negotiations have been taking place in secret, forcing us to rely on leaked drafts to guess at the proposed provisions. At the same time, Congress introduced a billthis year that would grant the White House filibuster-proof fast-track authority, under which Congress simply approves or rejects whatever trade agreement is put before it, without revisions or amendments.

Controversy has erupted, and justifiably so. Based on the leaks — and the history of arrangements in past trade pacts — it is easy to infer the shape of the whole TPP, and it doesn’t look good. There is a real risk that it will benefit the wealthiest sliver of the American and global elite at the expense of everyone else. The fact that such a plan is under consideration at all is testament to how deeply inequality reverberates through our economic policies.

Worse, agreements like the TPP are only one aspect of a larger problem: our gross mismanagement of globalization.

Let’s tackle the history first. In general, trade deals today are markedly different from those made in the decades following World War II, when negotiations focused on lowering tariffs. As tariffs came down on all sides, trade expanded, and each country could develop the sectors in which it had strengths and as a result, standards of living would rise. Some jobs would be lost, but new jobs would be created. Read more…


By Joseph Stiglitz, Mar. 15, 2014; Published in The New York Times


Though it would wish otherwise, Turkey cannot avoid being implicated in the Crimean crisis. The peninsula’s 260,000-strong Tatar population, roughly 15 percent of total Crimean population, creates a strong bond. Ethnically, linguistically and by way of religion (Sunni Islam) Tatars are very close to Turks. Several millions of Turkish citizens can claim Tatar roots thanks to the successive migratory waves since the Russian Empire took over the Crimean Khanate, an Ottoman vassal, in 1783. Yusuf Akçura, one of the founding father of Turkish nationalism, was a Tatar too, (though coming from the Volga region rather than Crimea). These days, the Turkish press abounds with articles and op-eds calling for the government to take a tough stance and protect the Tatar minority, largely favourable to the new government in Kyiv, from Russia‘s incursion. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu heeded the call pledging to extend protection.

The second reason Ankara takes interest in the ongoing crisis is Turkey’s sense of belonging the Black Sea region, however blurry it might be. Although its foreign policy has been firmly tied with the Middle East for the past five years or so, Ukraine is seen as a neighbouring country. A change of the territorial status quo in the area is not to be taken light heartedly. It’s not solely the long-standing concern about its own territorial integrity which is at stake but potentially other tension points across the post-Soviet space such as Nagorno-Karabakh. As the independence referendum tabled by the Crimean Parliament for 16 March draws near, prospects for secession are becoming all too real. Turkey will no doubt have to respond and denounce the outcome of the referendum. The question is how far it is prepared to go in a concerted push-back action against Russia. Read more….


By Dimitar Bechev, Published on Mar. 13, 2014 in the European Council on Foreign Relations http://ecfr.eu/blog


Obama Needs a New National Security Strategy

Written on March 12, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Americas, Foreign Policy, News

US President Barack Obama pauses while s

When you work on the president’s national security staff, you never feel like there are enough hours in the day. Whether you are managing Ukraine, Syria, South Sudan or the South China Sea, even a 15-hour day leaves you feeling like a slacker. But every few years, the White House staff piles one more task on its overflowing agenda: draft, debate and vet a National Security Strategy, a hefty document that explains the president’s foreign policy vision to a demanding Congress, not to mention America’s allies and adversaries around the world.

The task feels overwhelming for any administration. The drafters have to summarize all of the national security concerns of the United States, outline how the administration will address them and then secure buy-in from interagency colleagues — while simultaneously juggling real-time crises all over the globe.

This year’s drafters, as they prepare for this month’s release of the 2014 NSS, have a particularly steep hill to climb. Virtually all of the threats we face have evolved significantly since the administration’s last version in 2010. Polling suggests Americans on the right and the left, tired from over a decade of war and recognizing the limits to U.S. power and resources, increasingly want to focus inward.

How then should the administration craft a strategy to secure and advance U.S. global interests in an increasingly complex world — a world perhaps no more dangerous than in the past but whose dangers manifest in newer, trickier ways? How can the United States reshape its commitments to allow for renewal of the domestic roots of American power without succumbing to the counterproductive and dangerous siren song of “Come home, America”?

The need for a new strategy stems in part from the success of the previous one: The United States has left Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is ending and Osama bin Laden is dead. President Barack Obama and Russian then-President Dmitry Medvedev signed a new nuclear treaty, and the U.S. economy is on the mend. But nobody’s feeling like patting themselves on the back, as this year’s NSS drafters face a long list of intractable problems for which there are no easy answers. Here are six issues that will be especially tough to tackle.

1. Rebalancing

The administration made rebalancing to Asia one of its signature foreign policy initiatives in the first term. That wise and overdue shift has concrete policy attached to it, including bolstering the U.S. military posture in the region, a major trade initiative in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and broader diplomatic ties through programs like the expanded strategic and economic dialogues with China. Those initial moves herald a shift that will take a generation to fully mature — the rebalance should be evaluated over years, not weeks or months.

Now officials must figure out how to devote increasing attention to Asia while simultaneously focusing on the administration’s top three priorities in the Middle East: Iran, Syria and Middle East peace. Adding to the challenge, the recent crisis in Ukraine has forced the administration to review some of its core assumptions about stability in Europe, a region most believed was moving inexorably toward stability and prosperity. Will Russian aggression force the administration to spend more time and money reassuring skittish allies in Central and Eastern Europe going forward? Officials are already hinting, as did the Quadrennial Defense Review, that the rebalancing concept actually applies to more than how the administration balances its resources and attention across various regions. It also applies to a rebalancing of the tools of national power and how the United States will approach problems globally.

2. Counterterrorism

Though the administration has wound down the wars and decimated core Al Qaeda, the terrorist threat has morphed to pose new challenges. Splinter groups have proliferated across the Middle East and North Africa. Syria has become a vast training ground for extremists much like Afghanistan in the 1980s, with more than 5,000 foreign fighters.

None of this is what the administration wanted or expected to be facing in its sixth year in office. The aim has always been to move America off of a permanent war footing and clarify the legal structures that will guide counterterror efforts going forward, from the use of drones to the status of detainees. Both of those goals have proved elusive. The challenge for the administration now will be noting its progress in combating core Al Qaeda but then quickly acknowledging the quantity, potency and geographic dispersion of new affiliates. The NSS will have to reassure the American public and the world that the United States possesses a strategy and the tools to combat today’s threats as well as a renewed commitment to craft a more sustainable counterterror framework. Right now, that’s not so clear.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/white-house-national-security-strategy-104491.html#ixzz2vlUbyhWt

Julianne Smith is senior fellow and director of the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security. Previously, she served as deputy national security advisor to the vice president.

 Jacob Stokes is a research associate at CNAS.

As published on March 10th, 2014 in http://www.politico.com


International Relations


IE School of International Relations tiene el honor de invitarle a la presentación del libro “Sin medias tintas” de D. Diego Sánchez de la Cruz, el miércoles 19 de Marzo a las 19h.

“Sin Medias Tintas” (Unión Editorial) es un libro de ámbito económico. Su autor se reunió con veinte destacados economistas y politólogos para hablar de la Gran Recesión y de la esperada recuperación. Entre los entrevistados se encuentran personalidades como Luis Garicano, Carlos Rodríguez Braun, Daniel Lacalle, Ignacio de la Torre, Pedro Schwartz, Juan Ramón Rallo, Peter Schiff o Juergen Donges.

Participarán en la presentación: D. Diego Sánchez de la Cruz, autor de la obra, periodista y antiguo alumno del Master en Relaciones Internacionales del IE, D. Carlos Rodríguez Braun, Catedrático de Historia del Pensamiento Económico en la Universidad Complutense, D. Manuel Llamas, Director de Libre Mercado y Dña. Arantza de Areilza, Decana de IE School of International Relations.

La presentación tendrá lugar en el Aula F-001 de IE Business School situada en c/ María de Molina 2.

En caso de ser de su interés, ruego confirme su asistencia en International.Relations@ie.edu


1 67 68 69 70 71 222

We use both our own and third-party cookies to enhance our services and to offer you the content that most suits your preferences by analysing your browsing habits. Your continued use of the site means that you accept these cookies. You may change your settings and obtain more information here. Accept