In reacting to Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, President Obama has reassured exposed NATO members Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of firm U.S. support, but he has shown little inclination to show needed leadership by putting another integral element of NATO policy on the agenda of September’s Cardiff summit: enlargement of the alliance. Obama’s hesitation, which has allowed NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to put off the question of enlargement until next year, is unwise and unnecessary.
NATO enlargement, a bipartisan effort that has spanned the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, has been one of the most successful U.S. foreign policy achievements of the past two decades.… Seguir leyendo »
Western leaders have been largely silent while President Vladimir Putin unleashes a campaign of police-state tactics against Russians who voice opposition to him. Yet by emphasizing human rights, the West can inspire those in Russia who seek more freedom, without putting at risk most other important goals with Russia.
Russia is not a totalitarian Soviet Union redux. But the measures Putin has employed since large demonstrations against his rule began appearing in late 2011 suggest a Soviet-like arrogance of power. On the defensive, Putin is shoring up his political base by mobilizing nationalists and xenophobes.
Independent groups such as Golos, which monitors elections, and Memorial, which promotes human rights and honest history, may soon close because they refuse to register as “foreign agents,” a term that in Russian connotes spies.… Seguir leyendo »
While the United States understandably focuses on the Middle East and Central Asia, democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, once considered a rare transatlantic success story, is in danger of unraveling.
The 1995 Dayton accords that ended Bosnia’s three-year bloody war did not quell the virulent disagreements among the country’s three largest nationalities: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. Moreover, Dayton bequeathed Bosnia a dysfunctional and excessively redundant constitutional structure. The international community’s representative to Bosnia noted a few years ago that the country of 4 million people has “two entities [for] three constituent peoples; five presidents, four vice presidents, 13 prime ministers, 14 parliaments, 147 ministers and 700 members of Parliament.”… Seguir leyendo »