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After months of failed policy from the West, it is clear that economic sanctions and international condemnation alone are not enough to force Vladimir Putin to abandon his support of Ukrainian “separatists”. Such measures matter little to Putin in comparison to the ideological, geopolitical, and domestic political imperatives that push him to pursue a total victory in Ukraine. Unless the West can convince Putin that a belligerent policy towards Russia’s near abroad is not worth pursuing—by drastically increasing the domestic rather than international cost of his aggression—Moscow’s actions in Ukraine are likely to serve as a precedent for future confrontations with the West in the region.

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NATO needs a new strategy for aspirant countries like Georgia and Ukraine. The “made in Moscow” alternative means damaged American credibility, fewer US allies, and more broken destinies for nations that have surely suffered enough.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, August 5, 2015. Reuters

Only a forward-leaning US policy designed to revitalize the transatlantic relationship will slow Putin’s ambitions in Europe.

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Russian propaganda is especially effective because the West’s political, media, and cultural elites are already prepared by postmodern attitudes.

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Putin’s strategic direction may be traced by marking the evolution of domestic imperatives—economic, ideological, political—that have molded his behavior and will almost certainly continue to do so.

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Should President Obama’s successors follow the administration’s lead in its basic sanguinity about Putin’s Russia – or are there grounds for serious and long-term concern?

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Five questions about Europe that each presidential candidate should be able to answer.

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A wholesale rejection of any active role for American foreign policy is unwise and reckless, and would ultimately jeopardize libertarian principles of individual freedom.

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An employee turns a valve at a gas compressor station in the village of Boyarka, outside Kiev, April 22, 2015. Russian natural gas producer Gazprom said on Wednesday Kiev owed it $174.2 million for gas supplied to eastern Ukraine since the beginning of the year.  Reuters

While Russia depends on its gas exports to Europe, the frantic efforts to build alternative gas routes to Europe have little to do with economics or energy security.

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Leon Aron sat down with Sergei Guriev to discuss a range of issues including the state of and prospects for the Russian economy, the tactics of modern autocrats, and why he has no plans to return to Russia.

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NATO, military_Shutterstock_500x307

According to Pew, although the public in eight sampled NATO nations largely blame Russia, Putin, and the Ukrainian separatists for the security crisis in Eastern Europe, only the United States and Canada register a majority who would support responding with military force were Russia to attack a NATO ally.

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