Russian foreign policy in the region has benefited from a steady, non-ideological focus, as well as the missteps and neglect of other powers.
All ratings are constructs which reflect not so much the real state of affairs as their compilers’ perception of it.
The view on national development and foreign policy has been firmly mixed in the minds of Iranians with a skeptical, and one can even say ironical, perception of the West’s attempts to portray its way of life and values as the only “civilized system.”
The Americans are confused. They do not understand what to do, but they see the use of force as the solution to every problem, even when the consequences are unknown. Russia does not know how to work with such a partner.
If the Arab Spring were to bring about meaningful changes to Arab societies, what is needed is a political order that is not only democratic but also inclusive. To be credible, the Arab world, including its Islamists, will have to tread the long and painful path of consensus building. This method is inclusive and hence more enduring than electoral democracy.
The main impact of the Arab Spring has not been to increase, but to diminish the importance of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for the broader politics of the Arab World.
The Arab Spring and the crisis in Syria merely aggravated contradictions that had formed a gap between Realpolitik and the observance of the de jure intact norms of international law. Today’s question is this: Is the international community able to take concerted actions or will inflated ambitions of regional centers of power gain the upper hand?
The time must come for the Middle East to witness the dawn of a new era – that of common sense, when all of us finally understand that this long-suffering region can and must be turned from a place of hostility and rivalry into a site for building a new, fairer, and lasting peace. A conflict of civilizations would be the sole alternative to that scenario.
The geopolitical changes brought about by the Arab Uprising showed that there is a rivalry between regional actors (Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel) and international actors and great powers (United States, Russia, China and the European Union) to bridge geopolitical and ideological gaps.
The tight knot of contradictions surrounding the Iranian nuclear program and Tehran’s policy in general has affected so profound international policies that any attempt to cut it may blow up peace already in the short term, and not only in the Greater Middle East.
Many analysts believe the dramatic changes that the global international system is undergoing now are a continuation of a long-term reconfiguration of the world that started back in the 1980s.
The past year in global politics offered plenty of fodder for conspiracy theorists.
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.
The fallout from the turbulent events of the winter and spring of 2011 is gradually subsiding.
The unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has not stopped, but the feeling of sensational novelty it created in winter is fading.
The vote in the UN Security Council that sanctioned military intervention in Libya may have serious consequences for European politics.
With growing presence of China, India and Iran the composition of players and the alignment of forces in the Middle East in the 21st century will look more like that in the 17th century than the 20th. This fits in perfectly with the theory of historical cycles, although it may appear disappointing, if looked at from the positions of Paris, London, Brussels or Washington.
The bombing of Libya has already had unexpected consequences: an unprecedented split between Russia’s ruling tandem.
Global politics seems to have been going slightly mad for quite a while now, but the past few months have seen this outbreak rise to critical levels.
The revolutionary fervor that has gripped the Middle East has not yet spread to the relatively stable former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
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.