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?
Healthcare debate now shifts to the Senate Both parties are celebrating yesterday's House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Republicans are cheering because they were able to pass it. Democrats are happy because they think it's so bad. We look at the details… and the politics.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?