Getting it Right in Iran and Ukraine

Mitchell, Lincoln A.

The recent election in Ukraine seems, at first glance, to have little in common with the 2009 election in Iran. The former was a relatively orderly election which was viewed as both free and fair leading to a transition of power in Ukraine, while the second was a flawed election leading to widespread demonstrations, a violent crackdown and an Iranian regime relying more heavily on coercion to maintain its grip on power. These two elections were, however, among the most important foreign elections which have occurred since President Obama came into office. In both cases the administration responded to these elections and their outcomes very well, revealing a thoughtful and effective, if low key and understated approach to some of the less visible, but still important, foreign policy challenges facing the U.S. In both cases, the approach was consistent with the overall Obama approach which, in a major reversal from the Bush administration, prioritizes outcomes over bluster. This is a frustrating way of doing foreign policy, but in both Ukraine and Iran, it was the right way.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Harriman Institute
Published Here
October 13, 2011