Sovereignty rests with the people; leaders come and go.

The Editors:

There is an American saying that neatly encapsulates the American approach to politics, or at least what used to be the American approach to politics: “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” It is an expression of the essential pragmatism of Americans – the desire to see government make things better; not perfect – just better.

There have of course always been exceptions; 2015 might be another. But in general this is one of the reasons why the U.S. political system has been so stable for so long.

In Ukraine, by contrast the electorate seems more often to be looking for a savior – someone who will fix what’s wrong with society. And of course there have been profound things wrong with Ukrainian society.

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published 14 December 2015: Democracy, Europe, History, Reform, Security

Letter to Congress on ongoing crisis in Ukraine

Guest Contributor:

October 29, 2015

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C., 20510

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published 30 October 2015: Democracy, Economics, EU, Europe, NATO, Reform, Russia, Security

European Regional Security Damaged: Back to Realpolitik?

Guest Contributor:

Mykola Kapitonenko

Along with possible future implications, which are so actively speculated about, Russia’s active revisionist policy in Europe and beyond is generating a new reality on the ground in real-time mode. It turns out not so much that President Putin has lost touch with reality, but rather that his vision and perception of reality is being actively imposed on Europe’s political agenda. Politics is not only about material factors, but also ideas and perceptions. The ability to shape agenda and reframe values is an important power asset and the way this asset is being currently used by Putin undermines European security.

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published 27 October 2015: Democracy, EU, History, Military, NATO, Russia, Security

Russians, Ukrainians, and the Deficiencies of Western Analysis

Guest Contributor:

Kirk Bennett

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, there has been an admirable effort in Western analysis to understand the Russian perspective. Unfortunately, this effort has not proceeded nearly far enough. Most analysts have confined themselves to Russian perceptions of the West, ignoring the far more pertinent question regarding Russian perceptions of Ukraine. An even more glaring shortcoming has been the failure, by and large, to recognize that there is any Ukrainian perspective whatsoever, let alone to grasp what that perspective might be.

This deficiency is well-nigh universal in the numerous Western accounts that examine the Russo-Ukrainian War through the prism of post-Cold War developments. The calls for a “new détente,” a grand East-West deal, or a new European security architecture as a means to resolve the conflict in Ukraine ignore the seemingly obvious fact that the West is not even one of the protagonists in the actual fighting. The Ukrainian perspective is not even so much discounted as simply ignored.

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published 6 August 2015: Democracy, EU, Europe, History, Reform, Russia, Security

Russian Sanctions, Those Who Should be Ashamed, and What You Can do About It

The Editors:

Greece is much in the news these days — for obvious reasons. The country is melting down economically and threatening to damage the global economy is the process.

Whether you agree with the EU’s emphasis on austerity or not it is still hard to see Greece and especially its combative Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as the victim here. Greece lived well above its means for years off of loans, much of it from other European countries, and when the Great Recession exposed their profligacy they were obliged to adopt austerity measures in order to receive bailout funds from a troika of creditors: the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the IMF.

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published 19 July 2015: Democracy, Economics, EU, Europe, Reform, Russia, Security