№ 2 April/June 2011
Russian Crossroads and International Dead-Ends
  • After the Tandem: Russian Foreign Policy Guidelines

    (1)

    The new configuration of power after the 2011 and 2012 elections will not so much determine a radical change in Russian foreign policy (which is unlikely), but indicate whether or not Russia will become a new source of global turbulence. In the end it is the election, not the winner, that matters, i.e. its ability or inability to secure the legitimacy of the next president.

  • The Island of Russia

    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.

  • What Does Russia Want?

    The bottom strategic line could not be clearer: Russia is no longer a superpower, even if some in the Kremlin hanker after such standing. Consequently, Russia must recognize the nature of its decline (just like Britain) and better prepare for today’s challenges rather than re-fighting the old ones.

  • Russia’s Accession to the WTO: External Implications

    (1)

    Many Russians today, as they try to assess the role and place of their country in the international community, often proceed not from the global realities of the 21st century, but rather from nostalgia for that “once-mighty power, the Soviet Union,” a country “everyone feared and respected.”

  • The Labyrinths of Historical Policy

    History will likely become an important, if not decisive, ideological element in reformatting the entire social and political sphere in Russia – something that is practically inevitable twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and because the related emotions and images are gradually disappearing from most peoples’ short-term memories.

Seeking Strategic Change
  • A European Missile Defense System to Replace the Great Game

    The transformation of strategic relations between Russia and America along the lines of arms control is impossible in principle. The most realistic way to transform U.S.-Russian relations is to build a security community in the Euro-Atlantic area, within which relations between North American and European states, including Russia, would be demilitarized.

  • Between MAD and Flexible Response

    The priority of U.S.-Russian relations once again, as in the 1970s, is the development of stabilizing rules of conduct in case of an unauthorized military clash or conflict with third countries. The situation, however, may change. Will Moscow and Washington be able to keep the logic of mutual assured destruction, which for half a century has ensured peaceful bilateral relations?

After the “Arab Spring”
  • When Dreams “Come True”

    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 Last Mirage of Durability

    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.

  • Should the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Be Enlarged?

    It is a matter of whether the SCO will evolve as just a club of states, or whether it will become a serious international mechanism comparable in influence to ASEAN or APEC or, perhaps, even excelling them. Considering the unpredictable situation in Central Asia, which may see yet events similar to the “Arab Awakening,” the SCO may soon prove to be very essential.

    Tags
  • Afghanistan: Trapped in Uncertainty

    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.

Messages from the Far East
  • Nuclear Power After Tsunami

    Fukushima has demonstrated that the days when a country hit by a nuclear accident deals with the consequences on its own are gone. The internationalization of challenges facing the world nuclear power industry requires that the nuclear community internationalize the response – the more so in security matters and, in particular, in such emergencies as nuclear accidents.

  • Transforming the Face of the Korean Peninsula?

    It would be counter-productive for Russia to quarrel with its neighbor, let alone to press for its downfall, no matter how much the public might not agree. The bloodshed and misery that the unification of Korea in this way would entail will hardly be excused by North Korea’s far-off future prosperity, or even by Russia’s cooperation with a friendly, neutral and influential country.

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