Ukraine’s Foreign Policy: Losing its Balance

Reuben W. Hills Conference Room
  • Steve Pifer

This talk will address a primary foreign policy challenge for independent Ukraine which has been to strike a proper balance between its relations with the West and those with Russia.  Today, democratic backsliding is upsetting the balance, which will undermine President Yanukovych’s ability to achieve his professed foreign policy aims.

Steven Pifer
is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe and director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative.  He focuses on nuclear arms control, Russia and Ukraine.  He has offered commentary on these issues on CNN, Fox News, BBC, National Public Radio and VOA, and his articles have run in the International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Washington Post and Moscow Times, among others.

A retired Foreign Service officer, his more than 25 years with the State Department focused on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe, as well as arms control and security issues.  He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for Russia and Ukraine (2001-2004), U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000), and special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council (1996-1997).

His publications include “Ukraine’s Perilous Balancing Act,” Current History (March 2012), “NATO, Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control,” Brookings Arms Control Series (July 2011); “The Next Round:  The United States and Nuclear Arms Reductions After New START,” Brookings Arms Control Series (November 2010); “Ukraine’s Geopolitical Choice, 2009,” Eurasian Geography and Economics (July 2009); and “Reversing the Decline:  An Agenda for U.S.-Russian Relations in 2009,” Brookings Foreign Policy Paper (January 2009).

Ambassador Pifer is a 1976 graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in Economics.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies