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Friends and family members mourn a soldier killed in fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels near the town of Avdiivka earlier this week. (Sergey Dolzhenko/European Pressphoto Agency)

The citizens of Ukraine have never had any illusions about the international community’s willingness to take their side in their bloody conflict with Russia. Ukrainians collectively roll their eyes whenever one of their well-meaning friends abroad expresses “grave concern” about Moscow’s aggression, because those fine-sounding words are so rarely followed by concrete actions.

But at least they knew they could count on the Americans. Ukraine and the United States have enjoyed friendly relations for a good 25 years now. And over for the past two years — ever since Moscow seized and occupied the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, and then launched its invasion of the country’s eastern territories shortly thereafter — Ukrainians always saw Washington as their most important diplomatic ally.…  Seguir leyendo »

American and European stock markets have been jumpy for weeks as they contemplate possible armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Inside Ukraine, certainly, Kiev's forces have been pushing back separatists supported by Moscow , and they've been surprisingly successful in the eyes of many, perhaps including Moscow, and have thus increased fears of a more direct Russian intervention. But while rumors of clashes last week contributed to the latest burst of market volatility, evidence of actual hostilities between national armies is scarce.

Ironically, while Western capital markets remain attentive to Ukraine's future, President Obama seems detached and uninterested. Indeed, the president appears removed not only from Ukraine, but from the chaos across the Middle East.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man inspects wreckage inside a damaged building following what locals say was shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk August 7, 2014. The Ukrainian government said on Thursday it was suspending a ceasefire with separatist rebels at the crash site of the Malaysian airliner after an international recovery mission had been halted. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

The United States is working to increase sanctions against Russia for its destabilization of Ukraine and is trying to extend a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. But activity in and of itself is not a strategy. In both instances, the question arises: activity toward what end?

The answers are not obvious. In Ukraine, the United States seeks an outcome that may not be achievable; in Gaza, U.S. policy needs to transcend the immediate crisis and recast the basic dynamics of the conflict.

The goal of U.S. policy vis-a-vis Russia appears to be to increase the economic pain until President Vladi­mir Putin backs down.…  Seguir leyendo »

Durante una generación, las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Rusia se circunscribieron  esencialmente a la esfera histórica. Desde el fin de la Guerra Fría, Rusia ante los ojos de EE.UU. y de gran parte del resto del mundo se tornó en una nación cada vez más periférica; es decir, aparentemente, su importancia y su poder internacional se encontraban relegados al pasado. Hoy en día dichos tiempos han terminado.

Sin duda, el actual conflicto entre EE.UU. y Rusia sobre Ucrania es disparejo, dada la disparidad de poder entre las dos partes. Rusia no es, y ni siquiera puede pretender ser, un competidor por el dominio del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »