"The new Ukrainian exceptionalism comes at a high price for Ukrainian civil society and for the international community focused on helping Ukraine," write Matthew Rojansky and Mykhailo Minakov.
"The Kremlin's future direction on Ukraine will inevitably have either a positive or negative impact on economic ties with the West. Turning to a positive page will not only allow consideration of lifting Western-imposed sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions, but also could set the stage for renewed positive economic engagement," writes Jan H. Kalicki.
In many ways the undeclared war between Russia and Ukraine has triggered seismic shifts in the religious landscape in the two countries. Although united by a common Eastern Christian faith tradition, Russia and Ukraine are increasingly separated by the same. After more than twenty years of an independent Ukrainian state that has adopted its own legislative policies toward religious institutions and the means of regulating the exchange of peoples, goods and ideas, a growing number of differences in terms of cultural values and political orientations are now manifest between the two countries.
The fluctuating intensity of warfare in the Donbas region should be seen neither as a step toward freezing the conflict nor toward achieving a lasting peace. While Russia remains nominally unrecognized as party to the conflict by the West, the Minsk II agreement may well share the ineffectual fate of its predecessor, Minsk I. To avoid this fate, the West, and the U.S. in particular, must recognize Russia a party to the conflict. There are several reasons for this.
"At this critical moment for the future of Ukrainian, European and U.S. interests in the region, the U.S.-Ukraine strategic partnership lacks both strategy and partnership," write Matthew Rojansky, Thomas Graham and Michael Kofman.
"The incursion in Ukraine is modest compared with that of Afghanistan, and the number of Russian deaths is far smaller. Yet once again a limited number of Kremlin leaders, without benefit of public debate, may make a fateful decision about using force against a neighbor. The leaders should bear in mind the lesson of Afghanistan and exercise caution," write Denis Corboy, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz.
China and Russia have options to forge an essentially cooperative relationship. However, limits to their partnership could grow over time given the two nations’ differing trajectories and historical grievances.
"If we look at some of the Kremlin’s domestic policy initiatives, we see a country struggling to become less “Soviet” in its actions and reform its decrepit institutions before it’s too late," writes Maxim Trudolyubov.
"For all of President Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric about Russian nationalism and economic self-reliance, he finds himself surprisingly constrained in his ability to respond to the European Commission’s action against Gazprom. Yet Putin will have to respond at a time when the country’s energy and economic options are limited. He also has to swallow the European Union’s reminder that even after Ukraine, Russia is not an international rule maker," writes William E. Pomeranz.
A veteran foreign policy practitioner and analyst, Richard Perle, provides insight into the history and current application of sanctions as a tool of U.S.statecraft. Do they work? What are the conditions necessary to make them effective? And are we getting it right in the cases of Iran and Russia? These are just some of the questions addressed in this episode of CONTEXT.