Paula J. Dobriansky

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Russia’s grab for its neighbors

A bipartisan consensus is emerging that the United States should do more to address Russia’s continuing aggression against Ukraine. But Russian revanchism does not begin or end with Ukraine, nor are “little green men” its only foreign policy instrument. Moscow is actively engaged in subversive activities along Europe’s eastern flank, targeting the region’s economic and political stability. As Central European capitals grow increasingly concerned, Washington urgently needs to demonstrate its robust commitment not just to the region’s security but to its democratic future.

Moscow has long demanded that Western nations not encroach on its “sphere of influence,” defined by the borders of the old Iron Curtain.…  Seguir leyendo »

Two men look at a broken window in an appartment in Donetsk, on February 12, 2015. (Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images)

An enduring diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis has eluded negotiators. But even if the Minsk peace talks’ newly announced cease-fire were to hold, there is widespread agreement in the West that Russia has engaged in a quasi-war in Ukraine. Moscow has acted with some circumspection, employing intelligence agents and plainclothes special forces (the so-called little green men), but in the past several months, it has become much more brazen, deploying thousands of regular troops, backed up by artillery and armor. There is also consensus that Russian activities in Ukraine are destabilizing European security and have violated numerous international legal norms.…  Seguir leyendo »

By treating Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as a discrete problem, the West has overlooked the broader strategic and moral dimensions of Moscow’s behavior. A new Western strategy encompassing these dimensions and drawing on the Cold War lessons is urgently needed. Only such a strategy — articulated through a presidential speech and subsequent communications by senior Western officials — can rally needed domestic support, be sustainable and succeed.

During the Cold War, the West had a strong moral narrative explaining why Soviet behavior was wrong and what the United States and its allies stood for. Winston Churchill defined it in his 1946 speech in Fulton, Mo.…  Seguir leyendo »

While it is very late in the game, it is not too late to return Ukraine to the path of European integration.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, enraged by President Viktor Yanu­kovych’s recent rejection of painstakingly negotiated trade agreements with the European Union, continue to protest Yanukovych’s apparent turn toward Moscow and the corruption and cronyism of his government. There is a clear danger that the demonstrations will escalate, bloodshed will ensue and Ukraine’s fragile democracy will unravel.

The Obama administration is doing a good job of crisis management — stressing the need to respect the right of peaceful assembly and urging calm — but that is not enough.…  Seguir leyendo »

After five decades of brutal military rule, hopeful signs have emerged in Burma. The military has partially opened up the political system and released Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic leader of the country’s democracy movement, after 15 years of house arrest. Since September 2011, cease-fire agreements have been signed with 11 ethnic groups, contributing to national political reconciliation.

Yet, ending the military’s dominance is just one challenge. The daunting task is constructing a durable democracy in a country with limited civil society traditions and a complex ethnic and religious mix. The difficulty is underscored by the experiences of other multiethnic and multi-religious societies that have struggled to build democratic institutions after overthrowing a military dictatorship, with democratically elected leaders disregarding the rule of law.…  Seguir leyendo »

When I meet with the Dalai Lama today, I fully expect him to reaffirm his strong commitment to engaging Chinese officials in dialogue. President Bush has repeatedly expressed his own steadfast support for dialogue between the Dalai Lama and China's leadership. Meaningful dialogue presents the only viable way forward.

In March, demonstrations in Lhasa that began peacefully escalated into violence and quickly spread to other Tibetan areas of China. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has expressed deep concern regarding these events, has called on all sides to refrain from violence, and has strongly urged China to exercise restraint in dealing with the protesters and to respect the fundamental right of all people to peacefully express their religious and political views.…  Seguir leyendo »