Russia

Kremlin Human Rights Watchdog’s New Master

May 5, 2012 by

In two days, Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated for this third term as the President of the Russian Federation. And with his reentry into the nation’s chief position, the issue of human rights and the development of civil society, a touted reform in the past four years under current President Medvedev, face an uncertain future. Earlier this week President Medvedev’s held his final meeting with the Kremlin’s Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights.

Emerging Powers vie for Influence in Africa

May 4, 2012 by

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa. They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West interacted with the continent in a different way. This change permitted an opening for a variety of emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.

Latin America Delivers A Swift Kick

April 30, 2012 by

On one level, April’s hemispheric summit meeting was an old fashioned butt kicking for Washington’s policies in the region. The White House found itself virtually alone—Dudley Do Right Canada its sole ally—on everything from Cuba to the war on drugs. But the differences go deeper than the exclusion of Havana and the growing body count in Washington’s failed anti-narcotics strategy. They reflect profound disagreements on how to build economies, confront inequity, and reflect a new balance of power in world affairs.

Hidden Hands behind Sudan’s Oil War

April 27, 2012 by

Once again Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir waved his walking stick in the air. Once again he spoke of splendid victories over his enemies as thousands of jubilant supporters danced and cheered. But this time around the stakes are too high. An all out war against newly independent South Sudan might not be in Sudan’s best interest.

Africa Needs its Own BRICS aka KENSA

April 23, 2012 by

The recent BRICS summit at the end of March 2012 led to a substantial amount of controversy surrounding South Africa’s membership. Various political analysts were seen on television and in newspapers all answering a similar question to this one: Given its economic, military and population numbers, is South Africa really worthy to be part of such a group? When analyzing the facts and figures, the blunt answer is no.

What Syria is Teaching the West

April 22, 2012 by

It should come as little surprise to anyone that the fragile cease-fire in Syria has failed and is evidence that - contrary to what many pundits contend - the tide continues to be on Mr. Assad’s side, given the time that has passed, the fractured nature of the opposition, and the bungled manner in which the West has addressed the subject. As Syria demonstrates, with each passing month the Arab Awakening evolves in new and unexpected ways.

A Party Without Putin

April 19, 2012 by

In addition to swapping government posts, the political tandem of Putin and Medvedev, which has dominated Russian politics for the past half decade, may be configuring yet another switch. According to the Russian newspaper, Vedomosti, President-elect Vladimir Putin and soon-to-be Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are set to separately meet with leading members of the ruling United Russia Party in late May.

Profiting from Patience: Why Israel Should Not Act Unilaterally Against Iran

April 16, 2012 by

Even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage at the 2012 AIPAC conference, the crowd of more than 13,000 participants knew what the topic of his speech would be: Iran. Speaking with passion unmatched by any of the other notable speakers, including US President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres, PM Netanyahu used biblical quotes, touching personal stories, and unbridled rhetoric to ensure that those in attendance understood that Israel would no longer stand by as Iran developed a nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang Tries – and Fails – to Intimidate the World

April 14, 2012 by

North Korea has failed to do in 2012 what the USSR successfully did way back in 1957, when it launched the world’s first artificial satellite. The country’s much-hyped ballistic missile fell apart just minutes after launch, and its debris fell into the sea. So what conclusions can we draw about the international diplomatic standoff sparked by the launch?

The Revolution on a Laptop: YouTube Journeys through the Arab Spring

April 12, 2012 by

I chose to be here and now I want to leave. But I’m actually already at home, sitting in my living room. Yet what I saw was real. I just saw a Syrian protester moments after he’d been shot in the neck. I’d heard the shots that might be delivering the same fate to others. I’d felt the adrenaline of the survivors running over to do what they could for a boy whose blood trailed thirty feet into a ditch.

Why Iran will Compromise This Time

April 12, 2012 by

As we inch closer to the crucial nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers, the so-called P5+1, the primordial question is whether this time will be different: Is Tehran willing to make necessary compromises – from greater nuclear transparency to more stringent restrictions on its enrichment activities - to reverse the economic siege that is bringing the country close to the edge? Is she going to use the talks as a delaying tactic or will she finally strike a mutually-acceptable deal with the West?

Analysis: Putin’s Port Project to Divert Russia Urals Oil to Baltic

April 12, 2012 by

In a move to further expand Russia’s market into the world system, Moscow commissioned a port to be constructed on the Baltic Sea, thus creating a route in which oil from the Urals could be traded more easily in the European market. Concerns over expected future production levels—Russia’s current volume has been deemed unsustainable when compared to overall project cost—have been leveled against Moscow.

Russia Unlikely to see Reforms Post-Medvedev

April 9, 2012 by

There is a Russian proverb, “Не пеняй на зеркало, коли рожа крива,” which loosely translates as, “Don’t blame the mirror for your ugly face”. Ironically, Russia’s ruling elite are not blaming themselves for the shortcomings of the so-called, Putin-Medvedev tandem.

See You in Nuclear Tehran

April 6, 2012 by

If someone wanted to back out of the April 13-14 meeting between Iran and the P5+1 group of international mediators to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, here is an excuse – Tehran has suddenly asked to move the venue from Istanbul to Baghdad. Now the question is whether the key participant in the talks, the United States, wants talks to go forward and why. On the one hand, one gets the impression that the Obama administration considers any form of communication with Tehran to be distasteful and would like to have an excuse to back out of talks. But, on the other hand, failing to produce any results is no good either.

GOP and Putin Find Common Ground: The Cold War

April 3, 2012 by

Republican Presidential primary front-runner Mitt Romney declared Russia “without question, [is] our No. 1 geopolitical foe.” This statement accompanied a larger criticism lobbied against President Obama and his hot mic slip last week with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev at the Seoul Nuclear Summit.

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