Where Congress falls short, and where it doesn’t

by PSA Staff | April 11th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Where Congress falls short, and where it doesn’t

At a public gathering this year, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question, because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.

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Achieving Long-term Stability in Ukraine Is Key to Navigating Watershed Moment in East-West Relations

by PSA Staff | April 7th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Lee Hamilton is a member of PSA’s Advisory Board and the director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. This article was originally published on Huffington Post.

Achieving Long-term Stability in Ukraine Is Key to Navigating Watershed Moment in East-West Relations

In recent days, there has been no shortage of opinions about Ukraine, the escalating crisis over that country’s future and the international community’s response to Russia’s bold takeover of Crimea.

The conversation thus far has largely centered on how the U.S. and its European allies can ease the standoff over Ukraine, convince Russia to scale back the tens of thousands of troops it has reportedly amassed near Ukraine’s border and prevent a prolonged crisis in this important part of the world.

Missing from much of the discussion, though, is a frank assessment of what exactly the U.S. and its European allies seek to accomplish outside the more immediate aim of keeping the Russians out of Ukraine. That is, what is our long-term objective with regard to this troubled nation and, if there is one, is it attainable?

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Common Core will benefit NJ students (Opinion)

by PSA Staff | April 2nd, 2014 | |Subscribe

Former Gov. Tom Kean is currently a member of PSA’s Advisory Board. He is also co-chair of the nonprofit education research and advocacy organization JerseyCAN: The New Jersey Campaign for Achievement Now. This article was originally published at NJ.com.

Common Core will benefit NJ students 

When it comes to education, New Jersey has consistently been a leader. It’s something on which we pride ourselves.

A critical part of being a great leader, however, is regularly seeking ways to do better, and this is exactly what we did in June 2010, when New Jersey adopted the Common Core State Standards, a set of benchmarks for what students should know at each grade level so they all graduate high school prepared for college and careers.

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How to deal with Russia without reigniting a full-fledged Cold War psychology

by PSA Staff | March 31st, 2014 | |Subscribe

George P. Shultz, a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, was secretary of state from 1982 to 1989. Sam Nunn, a former U.S. senator from Georgia and chairman of the Armed Services Committee from 1987 to 1995, is co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Both Nunn and Lugar serve as members of PSA’s Advisory Board. This article was originally published at the Washington Post.

How to deal with Russia without reigniting a full-fledged Cold War psychology

Russia has taken over Crimea and threatens further aggression. Now is the time to act but also to think strategically. What basic strategic approach should the United States and its allies take, and how can that approach be implemented over time so that the tactical moves benefit our long-term interests? Is it possible to avoid the reemergence of a full-fledged Cold War psychology, which is encouraged by Russia developing an “I can get away with it” mentality?

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Ghost Port

by PSA Staff | March 26th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Gary Hart served as US Senator of Colorado from 1975-1987 and is currently a member of PSA’s Advisory BoardThis article was originally published on Huffington Post Blog

Ghost Port

Twenty-five years ago or thereabouts I brought together an international consortium to build a new seaport at Novorossiysk, north of Sochi on the Russian Black Sea coast. There was already a small port at Novorossiysk on the natural Tsemes Bay (due East of Sevastapol). Needless to say, the proposed world class port never got built. But if it had, it might have changed history.

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Ukraine, a Tale of Two Countries

by PSA Staff | March 24th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Tara Sonenshine is a former member of PSA’s Board of Directors. She also served as U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and is currently a distinguished fellow at George Washington University. This article was originally published in the Washington Times.

Ukraine, a Tale of Two Countries

Ukraine’s real-life page-turning novel is getting complicated with new characters and scenes. America’s part in the story is a big one.

Interim President Arseniy Yatsenyuk came to Washington to see President Obama this week.

Ousted President Victor Yanukovych went to Moscow to give a speech.

In next week’s episode, citizens in Crimea will vote on a referendum on whether to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is playing good-cop, bad-cop with America and Russia and may be the only one with real sway. Mrs. Merkel has alternated between suggesting to President Obama that Vladimir Putin is “in another world,” to rapping Mr. Putin on the knuckles for illegal behavior.

Which power will emerge as the real hero in this tale of two countries? My money is on Ukraine — because of one word: culture.

You can’t stop culture with military might. Culture creates societal change and is rarely motivated by the butt of a rifle or the barrel of a gun.

Visiting Ukraine last April, I saw the range of influences that make up the cultural diversity of this unique country. Every facet of Ukrainian life is a reminder of shared traditions.

I came in the season of Easter when children dye Easter eggs for the holiday. I attended a Jewish Shabbat service the same week.

I found museums in Kiev alive with paintings — Ukrainian art and Russian works co-existing in the National Art Museum in Kiev, from David Burliuk to Maria Sinyakova to Mikhail Boichuk and others.

Music in Ukraine ranges from Polissa pop to Kolomiya rap, from Cossack songs to Russian ballads. Even the cuisine is varied —from borshch to ukha, blyntsi to Paska. Its dishes and ingredients hail from Russia, Poland, Germany and Turkey.

Literature in Ukraine is translated around the world into German, English, Russian and other languages. Ukrainian poets and authors are often on display at Germany’s Leipzig Book Fair taking place this week.

Culture is a durable good and fortifies a nation.

What makes this tale so tragic is that even with a strong culture, Ukraine will pay a heavy price for Russia’s intervention. The Russian assault on Ukrainian life will drain the country of necessary resources at a time when the economy is terrible — one of the issues that Mr. Obama and Mr. Yatsenyuk discussed.

In addition to the positive sides of Ukrainian life, I saw, firsthand, an educational system in dire need of support. I visited School No. 168, bringing together students of diverse backgrounds including Ukrainian youth with disabilities. Like many educational institutions, School No. 168 needs funding, more books and computers so that young minds can be nourished and nurtured — so that they can produce more great writers and artists.

That’s where America and the West come in. We have to provide resources to keep Ukraine sturdy. The International Monetary Fund and congressional money is helpful but won’t immediately change circumstances on the ground. We need a public diplomacy campaign to raise money for Ukraine and to raise the rhetorical outrage. Let’s adopt Ukraine as a cause. The Ukrainian people have the right to choose their own diverse narrative — to write their own story.

As for the referendum, the Crimea is part of Ukraine and no referendum will be considered legal or binding by a 2014 global community. The Russian government can’t tell Ukrainians they are not part of Ukraine just as you can’t tell Ukrainian-Americans residing in Pennsylvania that they are not part of the United States.

Ukraine will emerge from this crisis stronger because of its culture and citizens. We have not read the last chapter.

Ukraine Must Not Become a New Berlin Wall

by PSA Staff | March 13th, 2014 | |Subscribe
Sam Nunn is currently a member of PSA’s Board of Advisors and is the CEO and co-chairman of NTI. He previously served as a U.S. Senator. The article was co-authored by Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, and Adam Daniel Rotfeld. The article originally appeared in NTI News

Ukraine Must Not Become a New Berlin Wall

On Friday, March 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in London to discuss the Ukrainian crisis. The situation that we now see in Ukraine graphically demonstrates the inadequacies of the current Euro-Atlantic security system. More than twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the states of the Euro-Atlantic region have yet to define, agree, or implement an approach to security that can ensure peace, independence, and freedom from fear of violence for all nations.

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To reach the top, girls need financial literacy

by PSA Staff | March 10th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Tara Sonenshine advises World Learning and is currently a Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University. She served as a member of PSA’s Board of Directors and as  former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.. The article was co-written by Patrice Hirsch Feinstein. The article was originally posted in Newsday.

To reach the top, girls need financial literacy

Women, take note. You are 50 percent of the population, but in America’s wealthiest companies you have only 18 percent of the top executive jobs.

That’s one eye-opener from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School of business and the IE Business School in Madrid, published recently in the Harvard Business Review. To make us feel better, the study underscores that in 1980, female representation was zero — so 18 percent is an improvement.

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Still No Sanity in Nuclear Budgeting

by PSA Staff | March 7th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Erica Fein is currently working with Women’s Action for New Directions as a nuclear weapons policy officer. She is an alumnus of PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program. This piece originally appeared on WAND’s tumblr page. 

Still No Sanity in Nuclear Budgeting

The President’s budget release is a perfect time to think about our national priorities over the coming years: Do we want to invest in programs to keep America vibrant, well-educated, and healthy, or do we want a hollowed-out America where spending on expensive and unworkable weapons systems take precedent?

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Ukraine a Victim of Weak Western Allies

by PSA Staff | March 7th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Paula J. Dobriansky, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was under secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration. She is also a former member of PSA’s Board of Directors. This article was co-authored by David Rivkin. The article was originally published in USAToday.

Ukraine Must Wish it Had Kept its Nukes

The world seems to have forgotten that Ukraine began its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 as a major nuclear power, possessing the world’s third largest nuclear force, more powerful than Chinese, British and French forces combined. That capability gave Ukraine great foreign policy leverage with Russia and other countries.

No doubt, Ukraine probably wishes that leverage was still available today to resist the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.