Friday, February 6, 2015

Ukraine Crisis Sparks Brookings War

Brookings seems to have the fighting spirit these days.

First it was the Think Tank Fight Club that started last year at the think tank, and now it seems there is a heated debate among Brookings scholars that is "fracturing" the world's top think tank (NYT words, not ours).

Here is what Peter Baker of The New York Times wrote in a piece titled "Debate on Arming Ukraine Fractures Washington Think Tank":
Ukraine isn’t the only place consumed by civil war thanks to Russia. The venerable Brookings Institution, long one of Washington’s most prestigious research centers, has fractured very publicly this week over Russia as well.
The institution’s president, Strobe Talbott, and one of his scholars, Steven Pifer, joined six other national security figures in a report on Monday calling on the Obama administration to provide arms to Ukraine’s government to help it battle pro-Russian separatists. But ever since, other Brookings scholars have excoriated the idea.
Jeremy Shapiro, a former State Department official now at Brookings, wrote on the institution’s website that arming Ukrainians “will lead only to further violence and instability, and possibly a dangerous confrontation.” Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, two other Brookings scholars, added in The Washington Post that following their boss’s advice would mean that “the Ukrainians won’t be the only ones caught in an escalating military conflict.”

The full story can be read here.  Some have already complained about the NYT headline being too dramatic (indeed, we chose the softer, gentler sounding "war").

Personally, Think Tank Watch thinks that the various sides of the Ukraine argument within Brookings should solve this dispute with an official Brookings Fight Club challenge.