July is a quiet time in international politics, which gives us a chance to tally the results of the most recent season in Russian foreign policy.
For some Russians economic movement towards Asia spells deviation from the European way of development and closer relations with Europe.
An early withdrawal of foreign troops can destabilize the situation in Afghanistan and radicalize the entire region. On the other hand, NATO’s continued presence will strain Washington’s relations with Moscow, Beijing and Tehran. Worse still, if the present situation of uncertainty persists, it will prevent all the players involved from working out an effective pattern of behavior.
References to the Moslem periphery of the former Soviet empire sprang up during the peak of events in Tunisia and Egypt. All of the characteristics of North African countries – authoritarian (at best, but in most cases totalitarian) regimes that have ruled for decades; nepotism, corruption and contempt for human rights; extreme poverty, unemployment and the lack of a social security net – can be easily applied to Central Asian reality.
The culture of tolerance and respect for the rights of minorities is much more important than a democratic form of government and the related procedures, such as free multiparty elections. However, such a liberal political culture is absent from the Arab-Muslim world – and the introduction of a new, formally democratic form of government will not lead to the triumph of liberal values.
There is no greater joy for a Russian intellectual than to speculate about a decline of America. The problem is that the Russians still do not see any other worthy role for their country in the 21st century than the role of a superpower, as a state that realizes itself primarily through influence on global processes.
The 2012 guessing game about the future of the so-called tandem of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin is beginning to dominate the political debate in Russia.
In 2010 Russia made a psychological break with its past and its former status as an empire.
Russian geopolitics of the 21st century will be different from the days of empire and conflict of the nineteenth and twentieth. The increased accessibility of the Arctic, with its energy and mineral resources, new fisheries, shortened sea routes and shipping along the rivers between the Arctic coast and the Eurasian heartland, is both enabling and propelling Russia to become a major maritime state.
The world system is in motion, and relations between countries are changing rapidly, as evidenced by the current developments in the post-Soviet space.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.