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.

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.

The Foreign Policy President?

April 3, 2012 by

Elections are decided by economics. Voters respond to pocketbook issues and are swayed by the huge sums that candidates lavish on advertising. Foreign policy issues, by contrast, are what the British call “noises off,” those sounds from off-stage that you hear occasionally to punctuate the main actions, sounds like exploding bombs and the distant cries of suffering people. According to recent polling, global issues barely register at all with Americans right now.

Romney’s Foreign Policy and Russia

March 30, 2012 by

Obama’s recently concluded trip to South Korea to liaise with world leaders to address nuclear security and the Iranian nuclear saga went according to schedule, until an “open mic” caught Obama making rather casual comments to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stating he believed he would have more flexibility to address lingering issues related to nuclear arms reduction after the November election.

Russia, America, and the Best Three Years

March 27, 2012 by

During a meeting with his American counterpart Barack Obama in Seoul, President Dmitry Medvedev made a striking comment, calling the past three years “probably the best three years in Russian-U.S. relations in the past decade.” What made these years so remarkable? Perhaps it was that, for the first time in a long time, Russian and American diplomats made a genuine effort to bring their countries closer together. And it doesn’t matter that the results were mixed.

Grasping the Syrian Quagmire

March 7, 2012 by

One of the most significant and enduring consequences of the Arab Spring has been the bloody uprising in Syria. For almost a year cities across the Levant have been defying the iron grip of the Assad regime and challenging the police state of the Ba’ath party. Of all the countries engulfed by the revolutionary fever encompassing the Arab World, Syria, a country of 23 million, epitomizes the toughest case.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Ratchet Up Pressure on Assad

March 3, 2012 by

Running counter to the wishes of the United States and other western nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently announced that they are taking steps to arm the Free Syria Army (FSA). Despite the significance of this step, it is unlikely to shift the civil war in favor of the rebels. The FSA, armed with light weapons, suffered a number of strategic setbacks. Their tactical retreat from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs paints a picture of a rebel group that lacks the operational capacity to challenge the Assad regime directly.

No Winners in a War in Iran

March 2, 2012 by

At a meeting with editors of leading Western newspapers Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia will do all it can to prevent war in Iran. But is this war already inevitable? This is the question on the minds of many in Russia and abroad. A fresh outbreak of violence in the Middle East could destabilize the South Caucasus and other post-Soviet regions. There is no such thing as a foreign war.

Is Putin Capable of Crafting a Pragmatic Foreign Policy?

February 26, 2012 by

The soon to be re-elected president of Russia, Vladimir Putin’s glorious ‘great power pragmatism’ will quickly be put to the test. Russia finds itself in the center of the convulsing Eurasian landscape and has also placed itself at the heart of the Iran and Syrian quagmires.

The Post-WWI Years and the 21st Century

February 24, 2012 by

The world today and the world immediately before the Second World War are strikingly similar. The military and foreign policy of the United States today is comparable to the close-minded introversion of isolationism. European countries are teetering on the brink of economic collapse. The German industrial juggernaut has reignited. The announced rearmament of Russia resembles that of the former Soviet Union, during and immediately after the First World War.

International Redistribution of Wealth

February 8, 2012 by

The past year of stops and starts by the United States on the international stage highlights that the Obama Administration has yet to establish a comprehensive foreign policy. The administration has seemingly decided how to handle matters abroad like a shortstop fielding ground balls: single-gloving them one time, two handed catching another, and letting the ball into the outfield yet another. There is no consistency nor rhyme or reason.

The Kremlin’s Version of Russia Without Fools

January 26, 2012 by

It’s a new website that seems befitting of the angry mood amongst Russians over the last month’s Duma elections and the coming March Presidential elections, which have all but promised the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin. Called “Russia Without Fools” (Rossia bez durakov), the website begins with the following words: Friends, everyday we are faced with stupid standards and laws, decisions far from elementary logic, and complex regulations and unexplainable restrictions…And so we personally offer to you a real opportunity to find and destroy specific stupidities.

Kazakhstan: National Elections and Regional Security

January 15, 2012 by

For the past two decades, President Nursultan Nazarbayev sculpted Kazakhstan into a bastion of economic development in Central Asia; an image the autocrat valued to entice in foreign investment. Focusing domestic policies on market reforms, rather than democratic advancement, afforded the nation the foundation necessary to become the region’s strongest economy and largest oil producer.

Russia and the War on Terror: The Multiplicity of Roles

January 9, 2012 by

The current geopolitical situation is quite different from that during the Cold War. One of the salient characteristics of the period is that there are few stable geopolitical marriages, so to speak. During the Cold War, global alignments were clearly divided between the West, with the USA as leader, and the USSR, with its proxies and allies.

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