Alexander Motyl

Alexander Motyl is professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark and a specialist on the USSR, Russia, and Ukraine. Photo by Aleksandr Chekmenev
epa05761375 The newly appointed leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, addresses the media during a news conference at the SPD's headquarters in Berlin, Germany, 30 January 2017. Seen in background (R) is a statue of former SPD party leader and Social Democratic Chancellor Willy Brandt.  EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

  German Socialists have lately been in the throes of two very socialist contradictions that help explain why they are likely to lose in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.   The left-wing violence that accompanied the recent G-20 meeting in Hamburg shocked Germans, who had come to expect their young people to focus on their studies, jobs, and careers, but it also unleashed a debate about the degree to which the violence may be characterized as left-wing. Conservatives asserted that German socialists had too long given priority to right-wing violence and thereby enabled left-wingers to mobilize for the Hamburg meeting undeterred. Many socialists argued that the left and violence are incompatible. Some intellectuals tried to find a middle ground by suggesting that left and right were anachronistic terms.   In fact,


  John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt make a powerful case for offshore balancing as a grand strategy for the United States, but, when it comes to Russia and Europe, they refuse to draw the logical consequences of their own framework. As a result, their analysis implodes.   Here’s how Mearsheimer and Walt define offshore balancing: Washington would forgo ambitious efforts to remake other societies and concentrate on what really matters: pre­serving U.S. dominance in the Western Hemisphere and countering potential hegemons in Europe, Northeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf. Instead of policing the world, the United States would encourage other countries to take the lead in checking rising powers, intervening itself only when necessary.   “How would it work?” they ask. Here’s the answer: the United States should


For 25 years, Ukraine has been the pupil and Europe the teacher. Now, the roles have reversed, and it’s time for Europe to learn from Ukraine.   These are tough times for Europe. The United Kingdom has separated, and several other countries may soon join it. The Eurozone is a mess, and the economies of many EU states remain sluggish. Political violence is becoming almost quotidian, corruption is on the rise, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia is flexing its muscles, rattling sabers, and threatening to use its nuclear weapons.   These are all threats that Ukraine has experienced, and coped with, in the last three years. Indeed, since 2014’s Euromaidan Revolution, which swept the corrupt Yanukovych regime from power, Ukraine has had to deal with several simultaneous crises — war with

Russia flag.

  President-elect Donald Trump may desire a rapprochement with Russia, but his foreign policy could have the unintended consequence of destroying it. Here’s how.   Start with the assumption that Trump truly has serious “doubts about the usefulness of NATO” and would abandon U.S security guarantees to Europe. As François Heisbourg puts it, Europe would then likely “hedge against possible Russian pressure by enacting pro-Russian policies…. In such a Europe, Russia would have plenty of room to go well beyond the bounds of the post – Cold War Commonwealth of Independent States in trying to wield influence.”   Heisbourg doesn’t go into the details of Russia’s going “well beyond the bounds,” but it’s not unreasonable to assume that the Kremlin would go beyond exerting indirect influence over most of the