By Simon Johnson
The rhetoric of confrontation with Russia seems to be escalating, including with the remarkable suggestion – from Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – that the US provide “small arms and radio equipment” to Ukraine.
Encouragement for a military confrontation is not what Ukraine needs. As Peter Boone and I have argued in a pair of recent columns for the NYT.com’s Economix blog, Ukraine needs economic reform (with a massive reduction in corruption as the top priority). This reform requires, above all, a massive and immediate reduction in – or elimination of – corruption.
Throwing a lot of external financial assistance at Ukraine’s government, for example with a very large loan from the International Monetary Fund, is unlikely to prove helpful. Based on recent prior experience, such lending may even prove counterproductive.
And this seems to be exactly the path that our foreign policy elite has placed us on.