FROM Anders Aslund
The Temperature Rises in Europe's Latest Hot Spot Russian troops are poised on the Eastern Ukrainian border as the US and Russia trade charges of manufacturing political crises in that troubled country. Pro-Russian demonstrators are holding government buildings in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, and a crackdown by the interim government could be the pretext for an invasion. Vladimir Putin has been scornful of economic sanctions imposed by the US and Europe after Russia annexed Crimea. How has such tension developed over Ukraine's industrial heartland? If Russia resorts to military action, what could the US do then? How dangerous is the situation?
The World Waits for Crimeans to Go to the Polls Today, the White House and all of Washington are embracing Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk — chosen by revolutionaries who overturned an elected government. But Vladimir Putin insists Ukraine's new leaders are not legitimate and he's encouraging the Crimean region to break away with a vote this coming Sunday. Arguments about self-determination and national sovereignty are being used by each side in its own interest. Can Putin be isolated by the US and Europe? Is it too late for him to turn back? With the looming deadline of Sunday's vote, is some compromise possible?
Ukraine: the Man in the Middle Geographically, Ukraine is midway between the liberal democracies of the European Union and the authoritarian oligarchies of the former Soviet Union. It's also in-between economically and politically and, in recent weeks, tensions have led to increasingly violent protests. Over the weekend elected President Victor Yanukovich made strategic concessions , but they weren't good enough for angry demonstrators, who are calling on him to step down. In Kiev and other cities around the country, they've occupied government buildings, and police seem unable to enforce new laws designed to crackdown on dissenters. How long can it last? Is there a risk of civil war? What are the stakes for Russia's Vladimir Putin? What about the US and the consequences for the global economy?
Nationalism's appeal on both sides of the Atlantic Nationalism, Populism, concerns about immigration and outright racism are part of election campaigns from the US to Europe. We hear how today's election in Holland reflects the recent past and may forecast the future.
'Do-or-die' time on healthcare bill President Trump has demanded a House vote today on replacing Obamacare…whatever the details might be. Despite his campaign promise that nobody would lose health insurance, that's possible for 24 million people if he were finally to sign this bill into law.
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
Cover-up or witch hunt?: The latest on the WH ties to Russia Less than two months into his Presidency, Donald Trump is struggling to get his agenda under way, making it harder himself with tweets that dominate public attention. Meanwhile, important questions are going unanswered: why have staff members and the Attorney General lied about contacts with Russian officials?