Damon Wilson

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Vladimir Putin has done this before. When he invaded Georgia in August 2008, Western diplomacy and pressure denied him his ultimate goal: marching to Tbilisi and deposing Georgia’s democratically elected government. But Putin seized two areas, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that Russian troops occupy to this day.

The United States and its European allies imposed diplomatic and considered economic sanctions on Russia. The goal was to convince Putin that the strategic costs of his action outweighed the tactical benefits and to deter him from similar actions. These measures were reversed in the “reset” of relations with Russia that began in 2009.…  Seguir leyendo »

The long-term need for stronger political leadership is NATO's most important challenge. The eurozone debt crisis and substantial reductions in defense spending have badly weakened Europe's military capabilities and sapped its ambitions for global leadership. The decline is so severe that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned of a "dim, if not dismal" future for NATO. Meanwhile, the United States has identified Asia and the Middle East as its top foreign policy priorities, leaving many NATO allies skeptical of Washington's enduring commitment to Europe's security.

Chicago presents a chance for President Barack Obama and NATO leaders to push back on this gloom and doom.…  Seguir leyendo »

Diplomats recently initialed a landmark agreement intended to draw Ukraine closer to the European Union, but the continued imprisonment of two major opposition leaders is pushing Ukraine further from its European aspirations.

In the coming months, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych must choose between consolidating power through undemocratic means and advancing his nation’s European aspirations. By ending selective prosecutions, pardoning imprisoned political leaders without conditions, and ensuring free and fair elections this fall, Yanukovych could become the leader who anchors Ukraine to Europe. If he fails to do so, he will be yet another politician to disappoint Ukrainians.

As part of a Freedom House mission of American and Ukrainian analysts to examine the state of democracy in Ukraine, I visited former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko in Kachanivska and Lukyanivska prisons, respectively, this month.…  Seguir leyendo »