Russia

  • Special Edition: Saving Democracy

    This week’s mini-drama over President Trump’s Fourth of July speech, with all its military accompaniment, shouldn’t distract anyone from the far more significant story of global democratic decline on this 243rd anniversary of American Independence.
     
    Dangers are accelerating to the democratic ideals that the American Revolution inspired. If no unanticipated shock disrupts current trajectories – say a democratic uprising in China, a Russian regime change or, still significant, a Venezuelan dictator’s decline – autocratic powers will surpass democracies in their economic size and influence within the coming decade. 

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  • How NATO Can Adapt for the Future

    Seventy years since it was founded, NATO remains the foundation for the security of North America and Europe. However, the Alliance is now confronting new threats and challenges from within and without that require it to adapt to a new world. “People and institutions at seventy need to have a little refurbishing” and the transatlantic alliance is no different, former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said at an Atlantic Council event on the future of NATO on June 27, in partnership with the NATO Defense College Foundation.

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  • Putin Finally Tells Russians the Truth (Sort Of)

    In his annual television marathon “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin” on June 20, the Russian president did something unusual. To my knowledge, this is the first time he specified the impact of Western sanctions on Russia, which he usually presents as having a positive effect on the Russian economy because of import substitution.


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  • Trilateral Tribulations: The Upcoming Israeli Advisers Meeting

    Iran and its role in Syria are likely to be the main agenda item at the June 24-26 trilateral meeting of the US, Russian, and Israeli national security advisers in Israel. What US National Security Adviser John Bolton and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, want from Russia is clear: Moscow’s in reducing or even eliminating the Iranian presence in Syria. Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev, though, is unlikely to meet their demands on this score.

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  • US Senator Condemns Putin's Complicit Role in Venezuela

    US Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, saying on June 20 that the Russian president is a "co-conspirator" in Maduro's human rights abuses.

    Maduro has led Venezuela since his election as president in 2013, when he took over from Hugo Chavez. On his watch Venezuela has become mired in an economic and humanitarian crisis marked by widespread unemployment, food and medicine shortages, and hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have left country. After Maduro was inaugurated for a second term on January 10, following elections deemed fraudulent by many international observers, National Assembly President Juan Guaidó was selected as interim president by the National Assembly and recognized by the United States and more than fifty other countries. Guaidó attempted to rally support from the Venezuelan military to depose Maduro in his “Operation Freedom” on April 30, but has been so far unable to force Maduro to step aside.


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  • Putin Muscles into Africa

    Russian leader Vladimir Putin recently bought himself into an African country for a relative pittance, working through Yevgeny Prigozhin, his favorite contractor for such special projects, which have ranged from tipping US elections to saving Syria’s dictator.
     
    With that partner, he won an insider’s influence over the strategically placed Central African Republic (CAR) and priority access to its oil, diamonds, gold and uranium resources. At least that’s how one US government official, with years of experience tracking such matters, explains this bargain basement price of geopolitical cunning.

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  • Mark Katz quoted in Lobe Log: Will US And Israel Convince Russia To Alter Its Syria Policy?


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  • A Close Call: US and Russian Ships Avoid Collision

    The near collision of US and Russian warships in the Philippine Sea on June 7 is just the latest close call between the two nations’ militaries that have increasingly found themselves in tense encounters around the globe. While a crisis was averted, the next time may be different.

    Barry Pavel, senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair and director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, said with close calls like the one on June 7 “the risks of escalation are very significant.”


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  • Nader Uskowi quoted in Ahval: Turkey and Russia tussle in Syria’s Idlib


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  • Senior Pentagon Official Warns of Moscow’s Ambitions in the Middle East

    Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is just the beginning of Moscow’s designs on the wider Middle East, Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, warned on May 30.

    “Syria is a prime example of Moscow’s efforts to influence world events for its own advantage and prestige in a manner that contributes nothing but additional instability to the region and beyond,” Wheelbarger said in remarks at the Atlantic Council in Washington. In addition to rebuffing US efforts to support the political opposition to Assad, Russia’s actions in Syria provided Moscow an “opportunity to reestablish its great power status in the region, assert its pragmatic brand of security cooperation and assistance, demonstrate and improve its military capabilities, and expand its access to hold NATO’s southern flank at risk,” she explained.


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