Cool Things I’ve Read This Week

I know some people post Friday link reading list of sorts on their blogs, so I thought I’d join in, at least for this week. I read two outstanding articles this week (and many more that were not so outstanding), so I will share.

First, this fascinating analysis of Ukraine over at the American Spectator, written by Lilia Shevtsova and David J. Kramer. An excerpt:

Nearly twenty years ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski famously said, “Russia can be either an empire or a democracy, but it cannot be both. . . . Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” Uninterested in becoming a democracy, today’s Kremlin has not given up the hope of regaining a facsimile of its old empire, with Ukraine at its core. To be sure, the Kremlin today is pragmatic enough to understand that it can’t revive the corpse of the USSR (though Georgians may beg to differ), but it would like to create the Eurasian Union—a new version of “satellites along its periphery.”


Of all the states in Eurasia, Ukraine is the most important test of the Kremlin’s neo-imperialistic longings and of Russia’s readiness (or not) to be a modern state. It is also is a test of the West’s interest in expanding its normative principles eastward, which can best be advanced if Ukraine itself demonstrates a desire for deeper integration based on a democratic path.

I’d highly recommend reading the entire thing.

Second, some advice for college students interested in foreign policy. Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt writes what students of foreign policy ought to study. A fascinating list, no doubt, but four years too late for me! Of the top ten things, I am most lacking in statistics (and economics, to an extent, but I have learned quite a bit of that subject outside of school). I suppose I ought to start learning statistics soon…