April 11, 2014 |
BERLIN - My husband, Alan, and I were on our way from L.A. to Budapest, Hungary - our first trip to Eastern Europe. We had to change planes somewhere, and that somewhere happened to be Berlin, a frequent hub for travel to Northern and Eastern European destinations. We had heard that Berlin was an up-and-coming artists' community, often compared with L.A. Instead of sentencing ourselves to a long layover at the airport, we decided to spend a long weekend in Berlin. We expected three days of prowling contemporary art galleries mixed with sobering visits to historical sites (the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a glimpse of where the Berlin Wall once stood)
March 30, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - In speeches and remarks last week in Europe, President Obama made it clear that he considers Russia's annexation of Crimea a very big deal. But he also defined what it's not: an overwhelming national security threat, such as the U.S.-Soviet rivalry in the Cold War, that would trump all other foreign policy priorities. In appearances before European Union leaders, Obama called for a sustained effort to isolate Russia to discourage further encroachment on its neighbors, but emphasized that Russia is not the West's top geopolitical challenge.
March 30, 2014 |
Russian troops are massing menacingly on Ukraine's eastern border. The civil war in Syria is still raging, and 33,000 American troops fight on in Afghanistan. So where is Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel headed this week? To Hawaii - for a meeting with defense ministers from Asia, the region the Obama administration still considers its top foreign policy priority. "Asia is one of the great success stories of the world," Hagel told me in an interview in his Pentagon office last week.
March 21, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - In their response to Russia's seizure of Crimea, Western officials are working out a division of labor: Washington is taking the lead on tough sanctions, while Europe focuses on drawing Ukraine away from Moscow's political orbit. This approach has become apparent this week, say Western officials and analysts, as Western governments have huddled to figure out how to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from grabbing the remainder of Ukraine and encroaching on other countries in Eastern Europe.
March 19, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Frustrated by the failure of Western sanctions and diplomacy to stop Russia from seizing Crimea, the Obama administration and its allies scrambled Wednesday to devise new and tougher economic penalties in hope of preventing President Vladimir Putin from moving forces into Ukraine's eastern territory. A day after Putin signed a treaty to annex Crimea, U.S. officials acknowledged that Ukraine has lost the region. Pro-Russia forces seized control of two Ukrainian naval bases in the Black Sea peninsula on Wednesday, including the naval headquarters in Sevastopol.
March 6, 2014 |
There are heated debates here and abroad about what exact policies should be put in place in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to violate Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by sending Russian troops to Crimea. And although that debate is obviously important, we shouldn't ignore the lessons from the past that brought us to this point and, in turn, should help guide policies going forward. The first is that Putin paid no price for the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008.