America awoke this morning to yet another Twitter Storm from the Tweeter in Chief. In this case, the subject was his claim that President Obama had tapped his phones. This is an explosive allegation about which we are certain to hear more and on which I will expect to comment further in a future blog. For the[…]
The Republican and Democratic conventions each produced historic results: the Democrats were the first major party ever to nominate a woman for President and the Republicans produced the most stunningly unfit candidate ever to be nominated by a major party. Now that the conventions have come and gone, we are left with a momentary sense of relief, but also foreboding as to the the next three months of charges and counter-charges and, ultimately, the election in November. […]
Blog No. 102, “Brexit: Arguments, Consequences and the Trump Factor,” expressed our view that, while the burdens on Britain of membership in the EU were genuine, they were far less than the costs and risks of leaving. Our tone, however, was cautionary rather than alarmist:
The Brexit proposal will be put to the voters in a referendum on June 23, and to the questions “What will happen?” and “What will it mean?” there is clearly only one answer: no one really knows. Without attempting predictions, our view is that if the vote is to leave the EU, the risks to Britain, the EU, and ultimately the United States, could be significant.
Well, we now know what happened, and to some extent why, but what it will mean—for Britain, the EU, global markets and the United States–is something that still no one really knows. […]
Part II. Ukraine and the Search for a Strategy
Back on June 4, we posted Part I, “The Islamic State and the Search for a Strategy” and promised that Part II would deal with Ukraine and Eastern Europe. After a somewhat longer interval than anticipated, we turn now to Part II. As it happens, little appears to have changed with respect to Ukraine and Eastern Europe since our previous post. Ukraine, and more broadly Eastern Europe, seems to have slid largely out of political and public consciousness. Yet that part of the world continues, in our view, to represent a highly dangerous situation that is almost certain to appear as a new crisis at some point. […]
Part II: Ukraine
In Part I of this blog, which dealt primarily with the Islamic State, we urged readers to take their own look at the National Security Strategy (NSS). In Part II, addressing Ukraine (and the Russian threat to Eastern Europe and the preparedness of NATO), we renew that suggestion although the portions of the document relating to the issues discussed here are relatively brief. Indeed, it is one of the most notable features of the NSS that Ukraine, the broader Russian threat and NATO are given surprisingly little attention.
For several days, the media was awash in stories about the dismissal (half-heartedly disguised as a resignation) of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In the usual blend of reporting from anonymous sources and outright speculation, various theories were advanced as the reasons for his departure. While such theories commanded a certain amount of gossipy interest, they were largely beside the point. We often see things rather differently from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but this time we think they each had it right. […]
A period of relative calm had pushed Ukraine out of the center of media and public attention for a brief time when President Petro Poroshenko addressed Congress on September 18. It is, however, a situation that we dare not lose sight of for very long. President Poroshenko gave an eloquent speech that drew several standing ovations. He may be Ukraine’s most important single asset: a leader of vision, courage and pragmatism. While it is doubtful that Ukraine will receive the weaponry that he seeks, Poroshenko gave the impression that he will find a way for Ukraine to survive. […]
RINOcracy.com has been reluctant to add its voice to the cacophony of comment and opinion on the Ukraine crisis, much of it from sources far more knowledgeable than we. Yet it seemed there might be a point to putting down in one place what seem to be the principal issues:
1. Is the annexation of Crimea reversible?
2. Does the occupation and subsequent annexation of Crimea foreshadow a similar incursion into, and possible annexation of, eastern Ukraine?
3. Does Ukraine have the military capacity to resist a Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine or beyond? Should the United States and NATO provide military assistance to Ukraine and, if so, what kind?
4. How serious a threat do the Russian actions in Ukraine represent to other nations of eastern Europe?
5. What is the purpose of economic sanctions and what effect will they have?
6. What is the likelihood of our being drawn into direct involvement in an armed conflict in Europe? If that should occur, are we sufficiently prepared militarily and politically?
The ultimate question is suggested by the statement of NATO Secretary Rasmussen, in Washington on March 19. Calling the Ukraine crisis a wake-up call for NATO, he observed that, “We live in a different world than we did less than a month ago.” The question is whether we are prepared to deal with that different world.