As Russia threatens Ukraine and intervenes in Kazakhstan, its other neighbors are looking on. Russia’s words toward NATO have been accompanied by warnings to Sweden and Finland not to join NATO.
Russia is presented with a conundrum of its own making. It would like to have friendly or neutral neighbors, but, when they don’t toe that line, as particularly in the case of Ukraine, Russia argues it has no choice but to attack them. This does not encourage a friendly attitude in the neighbors.
Russia’s grab of Crimea and its attack on the Donbas alerted other neighbors to prepare for the worst, now amplified by the Russian military buildup around Ukraine and Russia’s demands on NATO and the United States. The neighbors must respond to Russia’s renewed demand for an explicit sphere of influence.
This story goes back to 2007, when Israel bombed a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria. It’s a detailed account from Michael Hayden, who was director of the CIA at the time. The uncertainties and the complexity of the story are normal for international affairs, and thus the story is a good example of the kind of thing President Donald Trump will face. Short version: Syria builds a nuclear reactor to produce bomb material. Israel wants America to destroy it. America refuses, Israel bombs the site. The world learns it was a reactor. But the whole thing is worth reading. Photo: The reactor before it was bombed. Read More
Benjamin Wittes: “But this election is a different kettle of fish, one that pits a normal candidate—that is, a woman with flaws, virtues and policy ideas—against a man who menaces American democracy.” This is the sense I’ve had every time someone wants to talk about policy in the election. I love a good policy discussion as much as anyone, but that’s not the point in this election. Read More