The U.S. and NATO response to Russia's more assertive policy in Europe since 2014 has focused heavily on deterring possible Russian threats to the Baltic region. As allies take steps to strengthen defense of the Baltic region, they need to pay increased attention to enhancing security and deterrence in the Black Sea area.
Seeking relief from Western sanctions, the Kremlin is waging a campaign of public distortion and intimidation to split Europe from America, and Europeans from each other. But many of its tactics are clumsy and self-defeating.
The Donbas occupation is straining Russia's economy, world power status, and relationship with the West. Only by pulling out of eastern Ukraine and reforming its economy can Russia gain broader acceptance and reach its potential as a great power.
Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling are jeopardizing the very global nonproliferation efforts that this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington seeks to further. Moscow's actions deserve a stronger response than they have received.
Russia is losing ground in domestic politics, economics, and foreign policy. It could take steps to strengthen its position, such as withdrawing from Ukraine, privatizing inefficient state enterprises, and improving the investment climate.
Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is consistent with historical Russian (and Soviet) thinking about security interests and foreign policy. But these patterns are only a starting point for understanding recent events.
The Russia that the United States faces today is more assertive and more unpredictable—and thus, in many ways, more dangerous—than the Russia that the U.S. confronted during the latter part of the Cold War.
Russia's aggression abroad and repression at home have altered the basic assumptions of earlier Western policy. By misjudging the tolerance for aggression in Europe, Moscow is bringing on the encirclement it fears. The West is now better prepared to deal with any further aggression and more confident that Ukraine's future will be as part of an enlarged Europe.
If the Department of Defense is tasked with helping NATO build a more robust deterrence and defense posture in Eastern Europe, the U.S. Army and Air Force will need to revisit planning assumptions that have minimized U.S. military commitments to that region since the end of the Cold War.
Russia's intervention in Ukraine has shattered the vision of a stable, secure, and economically healthy Europe that's guided NATO and EU policy for two decades. NATO, working closely with the EU, needs to regain the initiative to proactively seek peace and stability in Europe and find a coherent, cohesive way forward.
Ukraine's struggle to keep afloat economically has been daunting, as its parliament has fallen into disarray and failed to enact major economic reforms. Ukrainian lawmakers could help by dealing better with the national budget but their recent deliberations inspired little public confidence.
The West's most pressing task is to help Ukraine defend itself and survive economic catastrophe. But the West also needs a broader strategy to discourage future Russian coercion of neighbors, help them protect themselves, and counter President Vladimir Putin's false narrative about Western intentions and lack of political will.
A cease-fire agreement could stop the fighting in Ukraine by Sunday. RAND experts William Courtney and Olga Oliker discuss what was accomplished during the summit in Minsk, whether the U.S. should arm Ukraine, and what other options exist for supporting Ukraine.
As Russia's relations with the U.S. and Europe have deteriorated following Moscow's aggression in Ukraine, fly-bys of European neighbors by Russian aircraft have taken on new urgency. How should the West think about these provocative flights in light of understanding Russia's nuclear threat?
The ruble's fragility presents an opportunity for American and European diplomats to offer Putin a deal that de-escalates the war in Ukraine, provides Russia sanctions relief, and revitalizes Moscow's economic ties with the West.