polar bear

In the nearly two decades since the end of the Cold War, various ideas have been offered up to define the structure of the international system. With the end of the bipolar world as the USSR dissolved, it was fashionable to bandy about the idea of a unipolar world, as Charles Krauthammer dubbed it in a 1990 Foreign Affairs essay. This not just an academic question: your sense of how international affairs work guides your approach to foreign policy.

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Since April 9, some Georgians have taken to the streets of Tbilisi calling upon President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign.  Their numbers have dwindled, but a dedicated few still block major thoroughfares, populate tents outside the presidential residence and rally bigger crowds in front of Parliament.

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Russian troops are a mere "25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Georgian capital, in violation of the European Union-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's brief war," Lynn Berry reports for AP.  All indications are that Moscow is increasing pressure on President Mikheil Saakashvili amidst a protest movement.

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The round of political protests in Bangkok following the violent shut-down of the ASEAN-Plus-Three meeting have abated after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva issued an emergency decree, which is still in effect.

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Kazakhstan has pulled out of an annual NATO training exercise following Russia's demand that it be canceled. A founding member of the Partnership with Peace, Astana is carefully balancing its relations with the West and its former overlord.

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Clive Crook pokes fun of President Obama for being perhaps a wee bit overly ambitious on both domestic and foreign affairs but admires his enthusiasm.  He wonders, however, whether the various efforts to reset America's relations with the world constitute an "Obama Doctrine."

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Russia has finally declared an end to its decade-long anti-terrorism campaign in Chechnya, leaving more power in the hands of the republic's President Ramzan Kadyrov.  Yet the decision, while perhaps symbolic, does not mean Chechnya's troubles are over.

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NATO Somali Pirates

NATO forces thwarted two pirate attacks over the weekend. BBC reports that an attempted attack on a Norwegian tanker was "foiled by NATO warships and helicopters after an overnight pursuit in the Gulf of Aden."  Dutch commandos also freed 20 Yemeni fishermen who had been taken hostage, Reuters reports. 

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Michael Tomasky, using the occasion of a new biography of Ronald Reagan, revisits the old Gipper v. Gorby debate of "Who Won the Cold War" and rejects the thesis:

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Instability along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is making alternative supply routes for NATO troops increasingly necessary.

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