While the conflict in Ukraine’s coverage overshadows Russian coverage in Western media, a new theater may be reopening within the region. Georgia, a key American ally in the Caucuses, is facing internal protests and economic punishments from Russia, and could very well become the next epicenter in the clash between Russian and Western interests.
In the same way that the US cannot let China have de facto control over the South China Sea, the US cannot permit the NSR to become a waterway over which Russia exercises unilateral jurisdiction.
Saudi Arabia appointed their first female ambassador in late February. Princess Reema bint Bandar al Saud has been appointed as ambassador to the United States, while the Crown Prince has undergone a series of meetings with leaders throughout Asia. These actions, as a whole, demonstrate an attempted global soft power campaign which the West must now respond to.
Although the first round of the Ukrainian Presidential elections occur Sunday March 31, many people outside of Eastern Europe are unaware of the issues surrounding the elections or who is running. This elections appears to be a referendum on the ‘ultra-nationalist’ policies and ideology Kiev has condoned—most often at the expense of ethnic Russians. The ultimate question, however, may not be the results of the election but whether the international community will be able to understand what is transpiring within Ukraine.
President Biya continues to preside over Cameroon, a key ally in the West’s fight with ISIS. However, recent elections have left Cameroon in a state of unrest and possible civil war as Biya uses American-trained soldiers to violently suppress the English-speaking minority.
While Congress argues over the border wall, President Trump and Kim Jong-Un are beginning to forge a stronger bond in order to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. Despite the gridlock at home Trump proclaims that “This is more than has ever been accomplished with North Korea!”… Is this a new round of false promises or has the President made real headway with the Korean Regime?
On September 7, the citizens of Basra, Iraq, poured into the streets chanting “Iran, out!” while targeting the Iranian consulate with several rockets. These protests have, in fact, been stirring for several months, with this most recent eruption of violence in Basra serving as a microcosm of the issues Iraq, if not the rest of the Middle East, faces as the result of Iranian militarism.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko announced… a new plan to seek European leadership in war-stricken areas of the nation still in government hands… “establishing a kind of patronage by certain countries over certain cities and towns of Donbass, let Germany take responsibility for Kramatorsk, let Greece for Mariupol, let Great Britain for Volnovaha, let other countries take Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, Avdeevka”
A former counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, William C. Triplet, even went so far as to say that “the Ukrainians are getting away with taking the U.S. taxpayers’ money in the one hand while stabbing the U.S. Navy in the back with the other.”…the threat to American security stemming from Ukraine must be responded to; the U.S. ought to pressure an ally who may be betraying its interests.
Given the inherent tension between support for Israel and aversion to military action in the Middle East, the United States must find ways to support Israel without engaging in military conflict. One soft power approach to consider would be supporting Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights.