On July 14, 2015, the United States, Russia, China, France, UK, Germany, the European Union and Iran concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the “Iran deal,” with the goal of ending the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program.
As Russia begins to wind down its military operation in Syria, it is time to assess what it has taught us about how the Russian military operates.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union created a decade-long illusion that the era of ideologies and ideological struggle was over and the world was moving towards a single system of values based on Western liberal democracy and capitalism. Europe and America fascinated the world with their freedom and winning political system...
When it comes to Russia’s geopolitics, the international community has a lot to grumble about.
The strategic partnership with China began in 1996 (just in time when this form of bilateral cooperation first became available), and it was considered by the leaders of Russia and China as a geopolitical rather than economic project.
Due in part to the legacy of the Soviet system, in which the state allocated housing to families and individuals on the basis of non-market principles, and in part to endemic housing shortages in the post-Soviet era, housing concerns are an important potential source of political grievances in post-Soviet states.
Many observers of Russian political life have noted a shift in President Vladimir Putin’s language toward greater “ethnonationalism.”
It could well be that the once stable, cooperative multilateral framework of the IMF, like many international institutions inspired and led by the advanced economies, has become afflicted by a democratic and growing call for voice and representation of other states and non-state actors.
The hackneyed saying “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” is as relevant today as never before, but there is no stopping to the audacious flight of imagination. Popular as it is, extrapolation of current trends to future periods does not work as something always gets in the way, while attempts to draw a completely different picture look like imaginative writing. And still we have taken the risk.
Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia plays a leading role.
The very idea of “the national” takes a peculiar form in Russia. The nation’s intellectual and political elites obstinately look away from grassroots concerns and demands, and focus instead on a set of “eternal Russian questions”.
The Russian military campaign in Syria has been a major military and political event with significant regional and global consequences. It is post-Soviet Russia’s first openly-conducted full-scale military operation abroad.
The problem is not rooted in Islam, it is rooted in the intractable economic and social problems faced by the majority of Third World countries. Moreover, the problem is multiplied by unprecedented population growth and an inevitable transformation of demographic processes.
Whereas the short conflict with Georgia in 2008 resulted in a radical reform of Russia’s Air Force, the participation of Russian military aviation in the Syrian campaign will have even more far-reaching effects since the experience acquired during it is immeasurably greater.
Cooperation between China and Russia in the Arctic does not envision military build-up in the region, rather it guarantees mutual benefits from neutralizing U.S. influence and reanimating Arctic economic activity, which slumped after the Ukrainian crisis.
The fast build-up of China’s military power is a natural and inevitable process, albeit belated. China is only bringing its military capability into line with the scale of its economy, territory and population. More importantly, it is taking systematic and very costly efforts to make its armed forces ready for active combat operations in remote regions of the world.
In the American discourse concerning relations with Russia the realists’ calls for interaction with it run counter to the alarmists’ stubborn mantra that Russia’s attempts to question U.S. omnipotence should not be left without a harsh response.
U.S.-Russian relations begin to resemble the Cold War, as the U.S. institutes containment policies in preparation for a long-term showdown. The issue then becomes who can hold out longer to demonstrate the resolve necessary to get the other side to back down.
Neither Ukraine nor Syria has eased psychological tension so far. The United States and partly Russia do not think they have reached the dangerous point. Apparently they still need a bigger crisis to finally settle their issues.
The principle stated by George Orwell that all are equal but some are more equal than others seems to have been adopted at the international level. This is vividly borne out by the outcome of American interference in the Middle East countries and elsewhere. Russia will continue to espouse the principles of law and justice in international affairs.
In the fall of 2015, Russia resolved to raise the stakes in Syria by launching an air campaign at the request of Damascus.
President Putin's decision to start pulling Russian troops out of Syria made headlines around the world this week. But if one recalls official statements at the start of the operation and after it was in full force, the decision was to be expected.
Material for discussion at the middle east dialogue of the Valdai discussion club, Moscow, February 25-26, 2016
Why no new world order has been built since the end of the Cold War
Faced with a crisis, the Russian authorities are trying to convince their people that all of Russia’s troubles come from abroad, but its main battles are also won there.
They agree on key points. And no one wants to see the region in chaos or run by the Islamic State.
Russia’s active involvement in the Syrian conflict and, specifically, employment of its Caspian Flotilla for destroying Islamic State targets, has changed the balance of power in the Caspian region significantly, and highlighted the need to re-examine its legal status and security.
A scenario similar to the Euromaidan protests may again take place and threaten to turn into an international crisis. It is in our common interest to stop making Ukraine a battlefield between Russia and the West, and encourage it to become a bridge between them.
Information underpins global economic growth and opportunity. It both rides on, and fuels, the growth of the Network (the Internet, social media, and all digital information devices). That is why it is so important to make the Network, and the world it intermediates, safer and more secure.
Propaganda attracts friends, repels doubters, and hardens opponents. However, prolonged self-communication, endless self-presentation, and the fanning of tensions, which are typical of trolling, result in mutual isolation and the collapse of the international relations system.
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.