Mark Kramer

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The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine last week, most likely after being struck with a missile fired by pro-Russian rebel forces, was followed this week by the rebels' shoot-down of two Su-25 attack aircraft deployed by the Ukrainian Air Force.

These incidents reflect a typical pattern in insurgencies and counterinsurgency operations. Air power is often crucial in fighting insurgents, as it has been recently in Ukraine. The Ukrainian air force has made up for the poor performance of Ukrainian ground units by driving rebel forces into retreat. The Su-25 ground-attack planes that were shot down this week were part of a renewed Ukrainian air offensive against rebel positions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Forty years ago The Who recorded “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” with the memorable lines “Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.” The song came to mind with the events in Russia last weekend.

Despite years of indications that Vladimir Putin would return as Russia’s president in 2012 after a four-year interregnum as prime minister, many commentators and public officials in Russia and the United States got “fooled again.” They had been hoping that Dmitri Medvedev would stay on as president. Medvedev, they believed, was a more liberal and open-minded figure than Putin, whose initial eight years as Russian president from 2000 to 2008 brought Russia back to a much more authoritarian system.…  Seguir leyendo »