Russia’s relations with its global counterparts have sunk to new lows as Moscow appears to have refused an olive branch from one of its biggest trading partners, Germany. On Thursday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations should allow Russia back into the group in the longer term.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday that Russia should never be allowed back in the Group of 7 as long as Vladimir Putin is president. Harper said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press that he expects the group won’t ever let Putin back in. He made the remarks ahead of his trip to Ukraine and the Group of 7 meeting in Germany this week.
The Obama administration is weighing a range of aggressive responses to Russia’s alleged violation of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, including deploying land-based missiles in Europe that could pre-emptively destroy the Russian weapons. This “counterforce” option is among possibilities the administration is considering as it reviews its entire policy toward Russia in light of Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, its annexation of Crimea and other actions the U.S. deems confrontational in Europe and beyond.
What to make of the ongoing ceasefire violations and the constant remobilization and deployment of Russian forces along the border? Some have suggested that the same mindset that pushed for the rapid annexation of Crimea will inform the suggestion that Russia needs to consolidate the separatist territories in eastern Ukraine now before Ukraine has the ability to field better military forces.
This December, the world will witness the 70th anniversary of a publication best known for tracking the end of the world. Founded in 1945 by veterans of the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was launched in the wake of the devastating nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the goal of informing the public about nuclear policy. But since 1947, it has been known largely for a metaphorical device it introduced in June of that year: the Doomsday Clock, which measures how close humanity is to extinction.
BRUSSELS—The European Union is, in the coming weeks, looking to roll over its broad economic and targeted sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis until late January, according to a number of senior officials and diplomats. The continuation of the sanctions are part of an effort to maximize the bloc’s leverage in pushing the Kremlin to fully implement its side of the Minsk cease-fire agreement, the officials say.
In 2014, history returned to Europe with a vengeance. The crisis over Ukraine brought back not only the spectre but the reality of war, on the 100th anniversary of a conflict that had been spoken of as the war to end all war. The great powers lined up, amid a barrage of propaganda and informational warfare, while many of the smaller powers made their contribution to the festival of irresponsibility.
AFTER THE Soviet Union collapsed, Richard Nixon observed that the United States had won the Cold War, but had not yet won the peace. Since then, three American presidents—representing both political parties—have not yet accomplished that task. On the contrary, peace seems increasingly out of reach as threats to U.S. security and prosperity multiply both at the systemic level, where dissatisfied major powers are increasingly challenging the international order, and at the state and substate level, where dissatisfied ethnic, tribal, religious and other groups are destabilizing key countries and even entire regions.
According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.
My activities are in two locations: Brussels, the capital of the European Institutions – EU Commission, Parliament and European Council – and Berlin, which exercises the preponderant political will within those Institutions.
The activities themselves are of two kinds:
- Fact-finding, through face to face meetings with representatives of all political parties, right, left and center, in order to determine on the ground the voting calculus in the European Parliament/German Bundestag on Russia and Ukraine related issues
- Seeking co-sponsors and jointly organizing panels and debates before mixed audiences of parliamentarians, journalists, think tank officers, academics and the general public devoted to the Ukraine crisis and East-West relations.