Janusz Bugajski

Janusz Bugajski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC. His recent book, co-authored with Margarita Assenova, is entitled Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks, Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC.
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sarbiya-kosovo

  The victory of Vetevendosje, the Movement for Self-Determination, in Kosova’s October elections has generated concern about the future of the planned talks with Serbia. However, the new government in Prishtina may actually provide much needed realism in the revived American approach to the most persistent frozen dispute.   The White House is seeking results in the Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue before the 2020 presidential elections. President Donald Trump wants to claim a historic foreign policy success in the Balkans and lay the groundwork for the withdrawal of remaining American soldiers. Together with troop evacuations from Syria and Afghanistan, he can then declare during the election campaign that he is finally ending America’s “endless wars.”   In addition to the responsibilities of Matt Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the West

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Eurasian Economic Union : Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan

  Unlike the United States, Russia has few genuine allies. The handful of countries that enter Moscow-led organizations or engage in joint military exercises are either intimidated or enticed to participate. Washington needs to take a closer look at these fragile alliances to see where it can develop ties with countries that seek closer Western links and diminish Russia’s onslaught on their sovereignty.   Moscow projects its regional power through two main organizations – the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The EEU includes five states (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan) and is depicted as an alternative to the EU. Its real purpose is to prevent neighbors from qualifying for the EU while intensifying Russia’s economic dominance.   The CSTO consists of six members (Russia,

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trump

  The contrast between President Donald Trump’s meetings in Warsaw and his encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg could not be starker. The first was a reunion with one of America’s closest allies that supports US leadership to keep Europe secure. The second was a session with America’s primary adversary whose aims are to undercut US links with Europe and open up the continent to predominant Russian influence.   Both the US and Polish administrations stood to benefit from Trump’s visit to Poland before the President headed to Germany for the G20 Summit. For the White House, it demonstrated and clarified US commitments to the NATO alliance and to its article 5 guarantees of common defense in the event of attack.   Trump’s speech in Warsaw and his meeting with several Central

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The aircraft that was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  Moscow is not a reliable partner for Washington in combating international terrorism. On the contrary, the Kremlin supports forces in the Middle East and elsewhere that oppose the US. It aims to deflect violent jihadism toward the West both to shield Russia from being targeted and to weaken America’s global influence. Vladimir Putin’s Russia possesses all the attributes of a terrorist sponsor, by engaging in terrorist attacks against its own population and playing a significant role in developing terrorist networks outside its borders. Russia’s security services have engaged in domestic terrorism both to subdue and manipulate public opinion. The most notorious outrage occurred in September 1999 shortly before Putin was appointed President. John Dunlop, a distinguished scholar at the Hoover Institution, in his landmark book The Moscow Bombings of

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jb-march-2012-1

  By launching cruise missile strikes on government forces in Syria, successfully obliterating dozens of ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan, and dispatching a military flotilla to confront the North Korean regime, the Trump administration has sent four strong messages: to dictators, allies, Russia, and Western populists. Trump’s moves overturn several years of fruitless diplomacy and empty threats by the Obama administration and appear to be working.   Although the cruise military strike in Syria only involved one airfield, it was swift and decisive, thereby demonstrating to dictators such as Bashar al-Assad that the new White House values hard deeds above tough words. White House action was in stark contrast with the previous administration, which warned of consequences for war crimes and the use of prohibited chemical weapons but did not deliver

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merkel_trump

    The future of the European Union remains in question. Crucial national elections during 2017 in Germany and France will help determine whether the crisis is existential. In this uncertain context, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought a clearer position from the White House regarding US-EU relations during her visit to Washington in March, especially as America’s support for the European project lies at the core of trans-Atlanticism.     Thus far, President Donald Trump’s administration has sent mixed messages: both Euroskeptic and Eurosupportive. Trump’s criticisms of the EU and his backing for “Brexit” unsettled Europe’s leaders amid concerns that America was less dedicated to a trans-Atlantic partnership. However, members of Trump’s cabinet have also reassured their EU counterparts that the US remains committed to an integrated Europe. It appears

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Michael Vadon

Throughout the election campaign, candidate Donald Trump was berated for suggesting that NATO was redundant and for implying that the US would pull its forces out of Europe. In stark contrast, President Trump has already made moves to strengthen NATO and significantly boost Western security.   Trump’s statements on NATO appeared to be contradictory and may have misled both Europeans and Russians into thinking that the White House would move to disband the Alliance and terminate US commitments to the defense of Europe. In retrospect, it transpires that his strong criticism of NATO was intended to refocus attention on Alliance missions and capabilities.   Two main factors can enable Trump to revive the Alliance: his warnings about NATO’s future and his selection of a strong security team. Trump’s main indignation

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russia

  The future of economic sanctions against Russia for its ongoing attack on Ukraine has become a litmus test for the foreign policy effectiveness of President Donald Trump. Lifting sanctions without any tangible benefits to US and Allied security would make it more likely that Washington becomes embroiled in a future confrontation with Moscow Putin is bound to interpret such a move as weakness and may miscalculate the US stance in his next foreign adventure.   The new US administration has yet to be tested internationally. Cancelling free trade agreements and talking tough with foreign leaders is the relatively easy part. Responding to armed conflict, including a potential Russian attack on an independent neighboring state, will demonstrate the intentions and capabilities of the White House.   The easing of any

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fakenews

In the era of fake news, democracies need to protect themselves from a deluge of disinformation. False facts and unsubstantiated rumors not only provide fertile ground for political extremists to fool the public, they can also discredit and undermine the legitimacy of democratic institutions.   European countries facing general elections this year have become particularly vulnerable and concerned about fake news that can influence the outcome. Officials and analysts are looking at the conduct of the US elections as a negative precedent. American intelligence sources are convinced that Russian professionals created false stories to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump. Fake news was sent through Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media outlets, although no one can accurately measure how it swayed voters.   With Germany facing general

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balkanite

  Although seventeen years have elapsed since NATO’s military intervention, policy makers should not assume that all conflicts in the Western Balkans have been assigned to history. Disputes continue to fester over statehood, territory, and political authority, compounded by the uncertainties of international integration.   The promise of EU and NATO membership has been the key incentive to democratize each state and promote inter-ethnic co-existence. Without that prospect reforms falter and local disputes are revived. In the wake of the EU’s existential crisis and preoccupation with “Brexit,” enlargement is not high on the Union’s agenda. It seems unlikely that any country can be considered for accession for at least a decade. Such receding opportunities for membership will undermine Balkan commitments to the rule of law and can result in democratic reversals.