The conventional view in Washington is that Mr. Putin is a belligerent authoritarian intent upon expanding Russia's borders and confronting the West. What the White House refuses to acknowledge, however, is that the Russian leader is simply acting in what he believes to be his country's best interest.
Friends School students take a trip to Russia in the midst of geopolitical turmoil and find the Russian people to be kind of blase about Crime and the Ukraine, compared to the hyperbole in Western media. The most nerve-wracking part of the trip came at the end, when a pilot strike delayed their departure for a day and a half, and they had to switch from Lufthansa to the Emirates airline.
In the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a still stagnant economy, President Obama faces two important questions on energy transmission: a decision on the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and the question of increasing American natural gas exports. These are choices that will resonate from Crimea to Cove Point. In my judgment, the president should reject Keystone and step up natural gas exports.
Amid the storm created by Russian President Vladimir Putin's extralegal incursion into the Crimean peninsula, the U.S. and Europe risk allowing an event equally important to Ukraine's future to fall out of focus: the May 25 election in which the divided country is set to select a new president. The credibility, inclusivity and peacefulness of this event are vital to U.S. and European interests.
The Ukrainians are always fighting — so says my mother. And she should know, having grown up in a Ukrainian immigrant family in New Jersey.. The roots of these troubles didn't just sprout last year, or 10 years ago, or even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The troubles today are manifestations of much older historical dynamics. And they have no neat, clean, fix-all solution.