• Pompeo Explains the Trump Administration’s Vision for America’s Role in the World

    KYIV, Ukraine—America’s post-9/11 global fight against terrorism is another year older. After 18 years, American troops are still deployed around the world combatting terrorism; a fight in which they will likely remain engaged for another generation, or more.

    Yet, even as America’s counterterrorism campaigns go on and on, and casualties continue to mount slowly, the country’s foreign policy challenges have become far more diverse—and arguably far more dangerous—than they were when dawn broke on Sept. 11, 2001.

    After a generational focus on counterterrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. policymakers are adapting to a new reality in which so-called strategic competition between nation-states and the specter of major conflicts are once again driving world events. 

    This new era requires a top-to-bottom rethinking of how America should exercise its role as the world’s top power.… Read More...

  • A Memorial Day Reminder From Iraq

    ERBIL, Iraq—A quick story about the meaning of Memorial Day from the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    On my way to dinner, I hailed one of the city’s ubiquitous beige taxis and hopped in the front seat. Having been in Kurdistan before, I’ve learned to sit in the front seat. The taxi drivers act a little weird if you sit in back.

    My driver was a handsome man in his mid 30s—about my age. I gave my destination in English, and he softly replied in Kurdish-accented English, “No problem.”

    Off we went.

    A moment later, I asked, “So you speak English?”

    “Yes,” the driver said.… Read More...

  • Ukraine’s New President-Elect Stands Up to Putin

    Ukraine’s New President-Elect Stands Up to Putin

    KYIV, Ukraine—Less than a week after he won Ukraine’s presidential election, 41-year-old comedian Volodymyr Zelensky proved he has the chops to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the world stage.

    Putin signed a decree on April 24 that expedited Russian passport applications for Ukrainians living in the two war-torn, Russian-sponsored breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine. Then, on April 27, Putin upped the ante, floating the possible extension of the passport offer to all Ukrainians.

    With the ball in his court, Zelensky—a TV star with no political experienc —responded to the Russian president with a zinger.

    “We are perfectly aware of what a Russian passport actually provides.… Read More...

  • Will California College Health Centers Become Abortion Clinics?

    As the UK Struggles to Leave the EU, Ukraine Fights to Get In

    KYIV, Ukraine—Painted white body outlines cover the ground at the intersection of Mykhaila Hrushevskoho Street and Petrivs’ka Alley in Kyiv’s city center; a grim reminder of where protesters died during Ukraine’s 2014, pro-European revolution.

    Nearby, a building that overlooks the intersection bears the mural of a girl peering through binoculars. Representing Ukraine’s national colors, the blue and yellow scarf around the girl’s neck is blown backward by the wind in her face. The binoculars’ glass reflects an image of what the girl is looking at from a distance—it is the EU’s flag.

    “While the United Kingdom has supposedly learned the price of staying in the EU, Ukraine is willing to pay it, no matter how high it is, just to escape the long-term grasp of Russia,” Ukrainian diplomat Markian Lubkivskyi told The Daily Signal.… Read More...

  • Ukrainian Voters Elect an Untested Comedian to Be President

    Ukrainian Voters Elect an Untested Comedian to Be President

    KYIV, Ukraine—Comedian and political dark horse Volodymyr Zelensky won Ukraine’s presidential election by a landslide on Sunday, dealing a blunt rebuke to the country’s post-Soviet political establishment.

    “I promise I will never let any of you down,” Zelensky said during a Sunday night victory speech.

    Sunday’s runoff election followed a first round vote in March, in which incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and Zelensky emerged as the two front-runners from a crowded field of dozens of other candidates.

    With exit polls forecasting his decisive victory on Sunday night, Zelensky’s campaign headquarters in Kyiv erupted in celebration. The newly minted president-elect promised to shake up Ukraine’s government and declared that his victory would unite Ukrainians.… Read More...

  • US, Russian Bombers Square Off Over Europe

    US, Russian Bombers Square Off Over Europe

    KYIV, Ukraine—A task force of U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bombers conducted air combat exercises Monday across Europe. That same day, Russia announced it had deployed supersonic, long-range Tu-22M3 bombers to Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that Russia invaded and seized in March 2014.

    The parallel timing of the moves highlights how the ongoing war in Ukraine has rattled the relationship between U.S. and Russian military forces in Europe, spurring both camps to conduct exercises more frequently and deploy their forces closer to each other.

    Mutual distrust is increasing—so is the danger of an accidental conflict, experts say.

    “While a direct military conflict between Russia … and the U.S.… Read More...

  • The US Strikes Back Against Russia’s European Gas Empire

    The US Strikes Back Against Russia’s European Gas Empire

    KYIV, Ukraine—With the Kremlin tightening its grip on the
    European energy market, the U.S. has hardened its opposition to a controversial Russian gas pipeline, which is currently under construction through the Baltic Sea to Germany.

    For months, U.S. officials have said Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline is part of a broader Kremlin gambit to bypass Ukrainian transit pipelines, which have delivered the lion’s share of Russian natural gas exports to Europe for decades.

    Yet, despite U.S. protests, construction hasn’t stopped, and the 750-mile-long pipeline is about one-third complete as of this article’s publication. The U.S., for its part, escalated its resistance to the project this month, when U.S.

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  • Ukraine’s Leap of Faith Is a Step Toward Ditching Russian Influence

    Ukraine’s Leap of Faith Is a Step Toward Ditching Russian Influence

    KYIV, Ukraine—Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Jan. 7, according to the Julian calendar. This year’s holiday was the first for Ukraine’s newly unified, national Orthodox Church, independent from Russian control for the first time since the 17th century.

    Monday’s milestone marked a major step forward in Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to diminish Russian influence, highlighting an intractable cultural divorce between the two erstwhile Soviet allies.

    “Russia uses the church as one of the tools to influence Ukraine’s domestic politics,” said Julia Kazdobina, head of the Ukrainian Foundation for Security Studies.

    By establishing an independent Ukrainian church with support from the Ukrainian government, Ukraine has shown its resolve in defying one of the most potent institutions in Russia,” Kazdobina said.

    Read More...
  • An Embattled Ukrainian Port City Braces for Russian ‘Economic Warfare’

    MARIUPOL, Ukraine—The world is finally paying attention to Galina Odnorog.

    On behalf of the port of Mariupol, the 50-year-old Ukrainian volunteer activist has been coordinating a media outreach campaign since August 2017, trying to alert Western countries to the threat posed by Russia to Ukraine-bound shipping traffic in the Sea of Azov.

    “Russia has blockaded our Sea of Azov ports. It’s an act of economic warfare, and we want the world to pay attention,” Odnorog said during an interview in Mariupol, a Ukrainian port city of half a million people on the Sea of Azov, which is within earshot of the ongoing land war in eastern Ukraine.

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  • Trump Scraps Putin Meeting as US, UK Back Ukraine After Naval Attack

    Trump Scraps Putin Meeting as US, UK Back Ukraine After Naval Attack

    KYIV, Ukraine—Ukraine got a valuable boost Thursday from its Western allies when ambassadors from the U.S. and Britain both condemned Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian navy vessels and pledged their countries would do more to build up Ukraine’s naval forces.

    “We call on Russia to de-escalate the tension that Russia has created,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said in a speech before a packed hall at the International Maritime Security Conference here in Ukraine’s capital.

    In a pair of tweets hours later, citing the incident, President Donald Trump said he is canceling a scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.

    Read More...
  • Ukraine Braces for a Full-On Russian Invasion

    Ukraine Braces for a Full-On Russian Invasion

    KYIV, Ukraine—Sunday’s Kerch Strait crisis underscored how quickly Russia’s simmering, 4.5-year-old, low-intensity war against Ukraine could escalate into a historic catastrophe.

    “Yesterday we were close to war. In fact, war happened,” Capt. Andrii Ryzhenko, the Ukrainian navy’s deputy chief of staff for Euro-Atlantic integration, told The Daily Signal on Monday.

    On Sunday, Russian ships fired on and captured three Ukrainian navy vessels approaching the Kerch Strait, a narrow waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The three Ukrainian vessels, two artillery boats and a tugboat, were in transit from Odesa to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

    Read More...
  • What I Saw at the Migrant Caravan

    What I Saw at the Migrant Caravan

    MEXICO CITY—The migrant caravan has its own de facto government, and on this night the travelers from Central America gathered at the behest of a few leaders to discuss issues of the day as well as the big picture—such as what route to take to the U.S. border.

    “It’s your right to go to the U.S.,” Milton Benitez, a political analyst and sociologist who hosts the Honduran TV show “El Perro Amarillo,” implored the impassioned crowd.

    In a scene not unlike when a coach rallies his players before a big game, the Honduran media figure pressed the encircling migrants on the night of Nov.

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  • If Russia Invades, US Special Operations Forces Have an Unconventional Plan to Liberate the Baltics

    If Russia Invades, US Special Operations Forces Have an Unconventional Plan to Liberate the Baltics

    DOLASZEWO, Poland—In less than 72 hours, U.S. special operations forces transformed a nondescript reserve base at this village in the bucolic Polish countryside into the headquarters of a simulated, special operations war to liberate NATO’s three Baltic countries from a land invasion.

    Looking in from outside the perimeter wire, however, you’d never know it.

    Only a few, unassuming radio antennas dot the area around an old warehouse inside of which U.S. special operations personnel have set up their operations center.

    Some soldiers mill about within the base grounds. A few have noticeably athletic builds, beards, and a way of looking through you, not at you, that is common among U.S.

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  • Russia Makes Bold Move to Try to Solidify Control Over Crimea

    Russia Makes Bold Move to Try to Solidify Control Over Crimea

    KYIV, Ukraine—On Tuesday, Russia’s ongoing conflict against Ukraine flared up once again.

    This time, however, it wasn’t another Russian artillery or rocket barrage in eastern Ukraine’s embattled Donbas region. Rather, the latest escalation was evidenced by the completion of a bridge across the Kerch Strait connecting the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, true to form, got behind the wheel of a big-rig truck on Tuesday and lead a convoy across the newly opened Kerch Strait bridge.

    “This bridge is not just a bridge. This is a tool for economic and political pressure on Ukraine,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said during a May 16 Cabinet meeting, Ukrainian agencies reported.

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  • NATO Braces for Putin’s Next Military Move in Eastern Europe

    NATO Braces for Putin’s Next Military Move in Eastern Europe

    KYIV, Ukraine—Since 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine has rearranged the national defense chessboards of countries across Eastern Europe.

    In turn, the NATO military alliance has deployed weapons and troops eastward, to “make clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance,” said NATO’s website. And the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has approved delivery of American anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

    Yet, U.S. and NATO military leaders may have it wrong when it comes to anticipating Russia’s next military move in the region, a U.S. think tank says.

    “The Russian military is well-positioned to launch a short-notice conventional war in Ukraine and a hybrid war in the Baltic states, the opposite of what Western leaders seem to expect in each theater,” Catherine Harris and Frederick Kagan wrote in a March joint report for the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project.

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