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?
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.