- New Issue
- Books & Reviews
- About Us
- Page 1of 13
For the first time since 1989, Europe is transforming. The primary protagonists, by most accounts, are Russia and the West. The bit of territory that they are clawing at -- Ukraine -- has largely been eclipsed. Yet inattention to Ukraine’s internal demons reflects a dangerous misreading of current events.
In the run up to this spring's parliamentary elections, Iraqis are debating a new personal status law. Supporters claim that the law will give Shia more freedom to practice their religion. Opponents argue that it would promote sectarianism and seriously undermine the rights of women and children by permitting unfettered polygamy, a Taliban-like restriction on women’s movement, child marriage for girls as young as nine, unequal divorce and custody, and an end to interreligious marriage.
To deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the West has to assume that he is rational and will respond to carrots and sticks. Accordingly, it should take him up on his proposal to form a working group on Ukraine, which would at least force everyone to take a deep breath and survey the situation with a measure of calm.
Officials have proposed speeding up U.S. natural gas exports to Europe to help shield the continent from the Ukraine crisis, which could disrupt Russian gas deliveries to the region. But Ukraine is not Europe's biggest problem. More troubling are its unhelpful energy policies and insufficient pipeline system, which prevent it from using the extra gas it already has.
At this point, it is still too soon to call events in Crimea anything other than a domestically led coup with Russian support. But that could change. If Putin launches a full-scale Russian invasion, he risks provoking battle with the relatively strong Ukrainian military, ethnic Ukrainian militias, and a furious Crimean Tatar minority group.
Ukraine's prime minister resigned on Tuesday. It might have seemed like a perfect opportunity for Ukraine’s three opposition leaders to step in and take his place. Instead, it put them in a difficult situation.
When it comes to Japan, China seems torn. On security issues, it is increasingly hawkish. But on economic ties -- from Japanese imports to Japanese investments -- it has become downright dovish. At the heart of China’s reversal is the economic reality that China needs Japan just as much as Japan needs China.
The demonstrators’ slogan that “Ukraine is Europe!” signifies much more than a desire to join the EU. For them, as for most Ukrainians, Europe is a symbol of democracy, national dignity, human rights, and freedom -- everything they believe, correctly, the Yanukovych regime opposes.
Yanukovych's decision to snub the EU has made his job a lot harder. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens have taken to the streets in support of European values, his own political base has lost trust in him, and Russia may soon decide it prefers to work with a less toxic partner. The EU might just come out of all of this a winner.
- Page 1of 13