The Crisis in Ukraine: Possible Next Steps for the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the International Community
Since protests first started in November, the crisis in Ukraine has riveted and confused the world. After months of domestic unrest, a new government based in Kyiv finally emerged in February but was immediately threatened with the loss of control over Crimea to Russian or Russian-inspired forces. Now, amid all of the claims and counterclaims, Russia and Ukraine stand on the brink of a war that could threaten the stability of the entire region and Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe.
On March 7, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion on the crisis in Ukraine, looking at where the crisis might go next and how the U.S. and Europe might respond to and defuse the standoff between Ukraine and Russia. Brookings Senior Fellow Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe, was joined by Senior Fellows Michael O’Hanlon and Steven Pifer to discuss the crisis. Brookings Visiting Fellow Jeremy Shapiro moderated the discussion.
On March 7, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion on the crisis in Ukraine, looking at where the crisis might go next and how the U.S. and Europe might respond to and defuse the standoff between Ukraine and Russia.
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President López Obrador's extension of the term of Supreme Court chief Arturo Zaldívar is part of his strong effort to recentralize power in the Mexican presidency and hollow out the independence and power of other Mexican institutions. His other moves to bend the justice system to his will include a reform that lowered the salary of judges but did not improve the quality of prosecutors and his unwillingness to allow an independent selection of the attorney general, with López Obrador himself retaining the power of appointment. His latest move with the two-year extension of Zaldívar’s term is especially worrisome. Zaldívar is also the president of the powerful Federal Judiciary Council. The council appoints and dismisses judges, sets career advancement rules and disciplines judges. Zaldívar will be setting the council’s and, thus, the whole judiciary’s, agenda and priorities for two years. This allows López Obrador to influence how courts will rule in cases regarding the executive branch, what cases they take up and the legality of new policies. These moves are taking place when the effectiveness of the judiciary in Mexico remains limited and deeply concerning. The attorney general’s office has proven weak, unwilling to take up key cases such as against the suspects in the brazen attack on Mexico City’s security minister, Omar García Harfuch—an event that symbolized the impunity with which Mexican criminal groups operate. Mexico’s justice system showed itself equally meek and disappointing in inadequately investigating the alleged complicity of former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and dismissing the case, potentially the most significant case of corruption and criminal collusion charges against a high-ranking Mexican official in two decades. A decade and a half after Mexico initiated its justice system reforms, 95 percent of federal cases still go unpunished. President López Obrador has scored some points, but the already precariously weak rule of law in Mexico, and thus the Mexican people, will suffer.