March 4th was apparently one of those days when everyone concerned with gas supply from Russia across Ukraine to the EU could rejoice and put any concerns to rest: the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) raided at gunpoint the headquarters of Ukraine’s oil and gas company, Naftogaz.

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A prominent Russian scholar is making a bold prediction:

If you're inclined to believe Igor Panarin, and the Kremlin wouldn't mind if you did, then President Barack Obama will order martial law this year, the U.S. will split into six rump-states before 2011, and Russia and China will become the backbones of a new world order.

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A letter from Obama offering to shelve the planned U.S. missile defense system in return for Russian cooperation in stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons was hand-delivered to Medvedev three weeks ago by U.S. diplomatic officials, the NYT reported.  Although fervently objecting to the missile defense shield, Russia's reception of the letter was lukewarm.  Obama too sought to downplay the specifics of its content.

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Our most recent poll on efforts to "push the reset button" on relations with Russia shows substantially more optimism among Europeans than Americans. 

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“Congratulations, Mr. President.”  With those words from US Chief Justice John Roberts, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States.  Under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, this orderly transfer of power happened at 12 noon on January 20 — no sooner and no later. 

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Senator James M. Inhofe is the second ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee and is a former chairman of (and now ranking Republican on) the Environment and Public Works Committee.  I had the opportunity to get his thoughts on some key issues of interest to the Atlantic Council community.

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The Spectator's Alex Massie comments on President Obama's "snub" of British PM Gordon Brown by failing to engage in a joint press conference with him on the White House lawn.

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Turkey flag

Turkey has once again been rebuffed by Europe:

The European Court of Human Rights Tuesday ruled Turkey had violated the property rights of a Greek Orthodox foundation by seizing its land and ordered the government to pay damages.

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Russia held local elections Sunday but most observers are crying Foul!

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party has swept local elections that other parties and independent observers said were awash with voting irregularities.

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In a new essay at The National Interest, Richard Betts makes a point I've been making since before this blog started: 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is one of the most successful alliances of all time, but after the cold war and the successful completion of its mission, NATO suffered an identity crisis. It now has three main functions and self-images that compete with each other.

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