The Role of Expert Community in American Foreign Policy toward Ukraine (19902010s)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-3-84-93
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article describes the role of the think tank community in shaping the U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine during Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama administrations. The research shows that the Ukrainian factor played an important role in American foreign policy since the country’s independence. While Ukraine was still a republic within the Soviet Union, think tank scholars and American officials were closely monitoring its internal development, looking for alternative voices among both the opposition and the country’s elite. Those efforts have helped to establish the basis for future American policymakers. As the second most important and influential republic in the USSR, Ukraine was seen by all U.S. administrations as an important counterpart to the Russian dominance in the near abroad, regardless of the ruling party. Influential American think tanks and leading experts who helped to make an impact on the Ukrainian political class since the Ronald Reagan era have been shaping the U.S. policy toward Ukraine. The article is focused on the system analysis of ideological stances taken by different groups of American experts, regarding the development of political process in Ukraine in 1990–2010s. While the strategy to bring Ukraine into NATO was the main goal for all of the American administrations during this period, officials alone did not pursue it. Various scholars and experts from leading American think tanks took an active part in preparing various policy ideas and provided their expertise to foreign policy officials. Their motives were both scholarly and ideological, and their ties to administration officials promoted their ideas to senior foreign policy levels. However, they would have never been able to succeed in case they would not find a very receptive Ukrainian administration, inspired by desires to counter Russia’s influence. One of the study’s objectives was to identify prerequisites for the formation of Washington’s position in the Ukrainian crisis. It covers the main international and domestic factors shaping the conceptual agenda of Washington’s Ukrainian policy. The article might help those who study American policy toward Ukraine and other republics of the former Soviet Union. 

Keywords: Ukraine, U.S. foreign policy, expert community, think tanks, Russia–Ukraine relations, Ukrainian crisis 


1. Goldgeier J., McFaul M. Power and Purpose: U. S. Policy toward Russia after the Cold War. Washington D.C., Brookings Institution Press, 2003. 23 p.

2. Brzezinski Z. Velikaya shakhmatnaya doska [The Grand Chessboard]. Moscow, Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 1998. 280 p.

3. Åslund A., De Menil G. Economic Reform in Ukraine: The Unfinished Agenda. New York, M.E. Sharpe, 2000. 287 p.

4. Voitolovskii F.G. NATO v organizatsionno-politicheskoi strukture transatlanticheskogo prostranstva [NATO within the Organized Political Structure of the Transatlantic Area]. Transnatsionalnoe politicheskoe prostranstvo: novye realnosti mezhdunarodnogo razvitiya [Transnational Political Space: New Realities of International Development]. Strezhneva M.V., ed. Moscow, IMEMO, 2010, pp. 69-93.

5. The National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. Available at: (accessed 18.10.16).

6. Carter A.B., Miller S. E. Fulfilling the Promise: Building an Enduring Security Partnership between Ukraine and NATO. Preventive Defense Project Report. Stanford-Harvard, 1999. Available at: (accessed 12.11.16).

7. Åslund A. How Ukraine Became Market Economy and Democracy. Washington D.C., Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2009. 312 p.

8. Åslund A., Lieven A. Kuchmagate: Political Crises in Ukraine. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D. C. Available at (accessed 12.10.16).

9. Dobryansky P. Ukraine: The Question of Survival. The National Interest, Summer 1994. Available at: (accessed 09.07.16).

10. Dobryansky P. Nationalism and Democracy in Ukraine. George Washington University, Washington D. C. Available at: (accessed 12.10.16).

11. Wallander C. A. Ukraine’s Election: The Role of One International NGO. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Washington D. C. March 1, 2005. Available at: (accessed 10.07.16).

12. Dobransky P. J. The Orange Revolution: One Year Later. Remarks to the American Enterprise Institute. Washington D. C. December 5, 2005. Available at: (accessed 08.09.16).

13. Vice-President Richard Cheney Remarks at 2006 Vilnius Conference. The White House, May 2006. Available at: (accessed 06.09.2016).

14. US Congress Votes to Back Ukraine, Georgia`s NATO Bid. Available at: (accessed 10.01.2016).

15. Hunter R. Georgia: Breakdown of Vision the West Had for a New Europe. RAND Corporation. August 28, 2008. Available at: (accessed 04.11.2016).

16. Pifer S., Åslund A. Elkind Engaging Ukraine in 2009. Foreign Policy in Brookings. Policy Paper, March 2009. Available at: (accessed 04.10.16).

17. The Right Direction for US Policy toward Russia: A Report from the Commission on US Policy toward Russia. March 2009. Available at: (accessed 08.11.2016).

18. Jackson B. Why We Need a Reset. The German Marshall Fund of the United States. Foreign Policy and Civil Society Program. March 19, 2010. Available at: file:///C:/Users/Asus%20home/Desktop/%D0%BC%D0%BE%D1%8F%20%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BF%D0%BA%D0%B0/%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%B9%D1%82/ForeignPolicyJacksonSherrOnWiderEuropeUkraineElections.pdf (accessed 09.10.2016).

19. Pifer S. Understanding Ukraine’s Foreign Policy. Brookings, 13.04.2010. Available at: (accessed 07.09.2016).

20. Cohen A. The U. S. Should Lead on Ukraine. Heritage Foundation. December, 2013. Available at: (accessed 23.10.2016).

21. Dobransky P. Turn Ukraine Back toward the European Union. Kiev Post, 15.12.2013. Available at: (accessed 08.01.2016).

22. Pifer S. The U. S. Approach to Ukraine in Turmoil. Brookings Institution. December 6, 2013. Available at: (accessed 12.01.2016).

23. Gardiner N., Spencer J. L. Beyond the Crimea Crisis: Comprehensive Next Steps in U.S. – Russian Relations. Heritage Foundation. March 25, 2014. Available at: (accessed 01.02.2016).

24. Brookings Scholars on the Crises in Ukraine. Brookings Institution, Washington D. C. Available at: (accessed 03.08.16).

25. Rumer E., Weiss A. The Unraveling in Ukraine. Politico, 14.05.2014. Available at: (accessed 09.10.2016).

26. Rumer E. It Would Be Better to Split Ukraine than to Tear It Apart. Financial Times, May 2014. Available at: (accessed 13.10.2016).

27. Chorap S. Ukraine’s Festering Divisions. New York Times, 02.06.2014. Available at: (accessed 11.01.2016).

28. Borisova A. R. Reaktsiya expertnogo soobshestva I SMI SCHA, ES I Ukranii na predlzhenya Gruppi Boisto [Reaction of the Expert Community and Media in the U.S, EU and Ukraine over the Boisto Group Proposals] Available at: (ccessed 11.06.2016). 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Alexander B. The Role of Expert Community in American Foreign Policy toward Ukraine (19902010s). World Eonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 84-93.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.