SOURCE ALERT: USC Experts on the Crisis in Ukraine

March 4, 2014

How has the Syrian crisis fueled unrest in Ukraine? Is Ukraine destined for Russia or Europe?What will the financial cost of sanctions be?

Contact: Andrew Good at 213-740-8606 or

Hearts and Minds: Is Ukraine destined for Russia or Europe?

Robert English is director of the USC School of International Relations and an expert on the politics of Russia and the former Soviet Union. He worked as a reporter in the Soviet Union during the Cold War and perestroika, and can discuss Ukrainian ethnicity and identity.

“We’ve stumbled into a tragedy that can have no winners. Ukraine ‘belongs’ neither to Russia nor the European Union. It is too culturally and politically diverse to fit neatly in either camp, and the only solution is one that preserves ties with both.”

Contact at: (626) 372-4161 or

How Syria led to Ukraine; Obama vs. Putin

Patrick James is director of USC’s Center for International Studies and an expert in American foreign policy, international conflict, and American domestic politics. He can discuss how western response to Syria has encouraged Russian aggression, and the leadership styles of President Obama and President Putin.

“This is a by-product of the ‘red line’ error with Syria. Threatening to act in light of a WMD violation and then doing nothing encourages more aggressive behavior from the other side. Obama and Putin are utterly mismatched. Obama is comfortable around intellectuals, not someone with a predatory nature and a lot of experience at in-fighting.  It is not likely that either one has much use for the other and it won’t be getting better after the Ukraine crisis.”

Contact at: (213) 821-4114 or

The financial cost of sanctions

Benjamin Graham is an expert on fragile states and foreign direct investment at the USC School of International Relations. He can discuss investments in Ukraine by both Russia and the European Union. He can also discuss the economic costs of sanctions against Russia.

“Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has already cost them financially – witness the huge selloff in the Russian stock market. The U.S. and Europe have the ability to ratchet those costs far higher. Unfortunately, sanctions are costly to the countries imposing them as well as to the target country, so there is a free-rider problem. Everyone would prefer that someone else impose the sanctions.”

Contact: (858) 699-6306 or

What impact will pulling out of the G8 Summit in Sochi have?

Edwin Smith is an expert on international peacekeeping, war powers and asylum requests at the USC Gould School of Law. He can discuss efforts to contain Russian incursions into Ukraine and the proposed pull-out of several nations from the upcoming G8 Summit in Sochi.

“Members of the G8, countries representing more than 40% of the world’s GDP, will attempt to support political and economic cooperation by sending signals of their disapproval by refusing to participate in the G8 summit.  Cancellation of a head-of-state visit is a resounding diplomatic snub.  Unfortunately, it may be the full extent of any feasible immediate collective response.”

Contact at: (213) 740-2563 or

“The greatest international crisis since President Obama took office”

Josh Lockman is an expert on U.S. foreign policy and international law at the USC Gould School of Law. He can discuss U.S.-Russia relations and how U.S. foreign policy will impact the situation in Ukraine.

“The crisis in Ukraine now represents the greatest international crisis since President Obama took office, and it is critical that the U.S. exert diplomatic, political and economic pressure to isolate Putin and prevent any Russian takeover or partition of Ukraine.”

Contact at: (310) 995-1819 or