In the midst of the damage to public health and the global economy, the COVID-19 crisis could present an unexpected opportunity both to resolve the only hot war in Europe and to address Russian President Vladimir Putin's assault on international norms of behavior.
Ukrainians rode a wild roller coaster in March. President Volodymyr Zelensky began the month by firing the prime minister and reshuffling the cabinet, prompting concern that oligarchs were reasserting their influence. COVID-19 and its dire economic implications, however, refocused attention. At the end of the month, the Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) passed on first reading legislation key to securing low-interest credits from the International Monetary Fund.
NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting this week at a time when global institutions are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some institutions are even fighting for their lives, uncertain whether their missions and functions can emerge intact from this crisis. NATO does not have that problem—its focus as a military alliance is squarely on deterrence and defense against external threats, whether they flow from terrorists or state actors. Its job is to defend its member states, and it will stay ready to do so.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, good news often goes missing. It’s worth highlighting that today, March 27, NATO has a new member, the Republic of North Macedonia. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted the news from NATO HQ in Brussels, and Skopje, the capital, was ecstatic: "The Republic of North Macedonia is officially the new, 30th NATO member," the government said in a statement. "We have fulfilled the dream of generations."
In a Lawfare post earlier this year, I questioned the wisdom of referring to cyber operations as psychological operations. These campaigns are the bread and butter of U.S. Cyber Command’s operational activities.
In the budding days of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump idled his days away, launching random tweets about unrelated issues. One such issue was nuclear waste disposal: “Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain…my Administration is committed to exploring innovative approaches – I’m confident we can get it done!”
On Feb. 12, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced that the U.S. government has “evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world.” This represents the latest attempt by the Trump administration to support an argument that allied governments—and the businesses they oversee—should purge certain telecommunications networks of Huawei equipment.
We are turning the world inside-out. Massive mining operations rip into rock, unearthing lithium, coltan and hundreds of other minerals to feed our gargantuan appetite for electronic stuff. Sand dredged from riverbeds and ocean floors becomes concrete; so far, there’s enough to cover the globe in a 2mm-thick shell. Oil sucked up from the seabed powers locomotion and manufacturing, and serves as the chemical base for our plasticised lives. We could easily wrap our concrete replica in plastic wrap.
The Trump administration’s proposal for trilateral arms control negotiations appears to be gaining little traction in Moscow and Beijing, and the era of traditional nuclear arms control may be coming to an end just as new challenges emerge. This is not to say that arms control should be an end in it itself. It provides a tool that, along with the right combination of deterrence and defense forces and proper doctrine, can enhance U.S. and allied security and promote stability.
March 18 marks the sixth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Attention now focuses on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Donbas, a conflict that has taken some 14,000 lives, but Moscow’s seizure of Crimea—the biggest land-grab in Europe since World War II—has arguably done as much or more damage to Europe’s post-Cold War security order.
In the most sweeping reshuffle of his government since he took office last May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired his Cabinet and appointed a new prime minister earlier this month. The announcement comes at a tricky time, as the government is considering several reform measures that are seen as important to winning much-needed investor confidence.
On Wednesday night, U.S.-led coalition forces based out of Camp Taji north of Baghdad came under intense rocket fire. The attack killed three coalition personnel, two American and one British. It also injured nearly a dozen more personnel.
The coronavirus — officially known as COVID-19 — has infected more than 75,000 people and killed more than 2,000 since it was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late December. Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) experts Karen Eggleston and David Relman joined host Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast to discuss what you should know about the virus, its impact on China and the world, and whether there is any truth to the rumors about its origins.
February 21 marks the sixth anniversary of the end of Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution. Three months of largely peaceful protests concluded in a spasm of deadly violence. President Victor Yanukovych fled Kyiv and later Ukraine, prompting the Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) to appoint acting leaders pending early elections.
The United States must at some point depart from Afghanistan and bring this costly “forever war” to a conclusion. With over 2,400 U.S. servicemembers killed, many more wounded, and nearly a trillion dollars spent to date, America’s leaders are under an obligation to design and execute a plan that stops a decades-long hemorrhaging of American blood and treasure.
Ukraine unhappily found itself at the center of the impeachment drama that played out in Washington last fall and during the first weeks of 2020. That threatened the resiliency of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, a relationship that serves the interests of both countries.
With Donald Trump’s impeachment trial now in the past, Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainians undoubtedly hope that their country will no longer feature so prominently in U.S. domestic politics. That would be good, but it may not happen.
The 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) expires in one year. Unfortunately, President Trump’s attitude seems to reflect disinterest, if not antipathy. Last April he asked for a proposal to involve Russia and China and cover all nuclear arms, but it has yet to emerge. Neither Moscow nor Beijing has shown any real interest in the concept.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spent January 31 in Kyiv underscoring American support for Ukraine, including in its struggle against Russian aggression. While Pompeo brought no major deliverables, just showing up proved enough for the Ukrainians.
The U.S. government should now follow up with steps to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, which has been stressed by President Donald Trump’s bid to drag Ukraine’s leadership into U.S. politics.
Speaking on Monday about Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Ukraine’s foreign minister said “please don’t drag us into your [America’s] internal political processes.” Unfortunately, Republicans appear intent on doing precisely that, as they repeat the false Russian claim that the Ukrainian government interfered in the 2016 US election.
Republicans see this as part of their effort to defend President Trump. In doing so, they put at risk America’s long-standing support for its Ukrainian partner.