Request a briefing from intelligence agencies on allegations of Russian and Iranian financial or other support of European far-right parties and whether the Kremlin is attempting to use such parties to undermine the European Union or thwart further NATO expansion.
. . . but the fact remains that if Princip had hesitated, if he had missed, if he had not wandered to seek a sandwich at Moritz Schiller’s delicatessen when Franz Ferdinand’s driver had taken the wrong turn, the Great War might not have happened.
And neither would have the swift collapse of four empires . . . .
“For 23 years after 1991, Russia has been treated consciously or subconsciously as defeated in the Cold War,” said Dmitry Kosyrev, a writer and political commentator with the RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow. “Russia has not accepted this mentality. We have something to say. We have not only interest, but experience. We are not a defeated country in the Cold War; we are something separate like India, like China.”
Mr. Kosyrev added, “Not talking to us, not accepting our point of view, that’s exactly what brought Europe and the United States to the crisis in Ukraine.”
As Turkey was grabbing Cyprus, Morocco snatched the massive and resource-rich Western Sahara — like Russia’s Crimea move, in a swift action that did not result in the firing of a shot.
Sovietology may be as defunct as the Soviet Union itself. But the need for a dedicated and deep understanding of Russia — especially the motives and machinations emanating from the Kremlin — is as critical as ever.
The Syrian government is acting with new assurance as its ally Russia moves to take over the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, dismissing American objections and signaling growing assertiveness against the West. Russia has been the Syrian government’s most powerful backer, vetoing measures against Mr. Assad that the United States has supported in the United Nations Security Council. And now, Syrian analysts close to the government say, that seems less and less likely to change.
The prospect of a compromise brokered by Russian and American officials to end the Syrian war seems increasingly remote, with no date set for the resumption of talks in Geneva.
A dozen or so years ago I was thrilled to find myself as a professional in the service of the first Jewish Federation in North America to provide a funding grant for a program in Israel that included both Jewish and Arab children. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the decision of the Jewish Federation of San Francisco to offer financial assistance to a Jerusalem based pre-school program that accepted both, Jewish and Palestinian children touched a nerve in a few people.
I myself fielded a phone call from a local Holocaust survivor who to this day still writes and pays to have anti-Arab diatribes published in Jewish newspapers across the U.S.: “Why is the Federation giving my money to the enemy of the Jewish people?” he demanded. “We’re not giving money to any enemy of the Jewish people. We’re helping to fund a pre-school program that includes both Jewish and non-Jewish…
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Reforms that successive governments have failed to introduce will not be made easier by the huge economic challenges the country now faces, the lingering menace of further Russian intervention in the east and the motley crew of far-right nationalists that played their part in bringing down the government and who have reaped their reward with important posts in the new administration. They will have to work hard to ensure that all Ukrainians feel they have an equal share in their country’s future.