From Russia With Conspiracy Theories
August 03, 2009
Ellen Barry has a terrific piece in The New York Times on the Russian reaction to Joe Biden's off-the-cuff remarks about Russian-American relations. Within hours, a top Kremlin aide had released a barbed statement comparing Mr. Biden to Dick Cheney. Commentators announced Mr. Biden’s emergence as Washington’s new “gray cardinal” — the figure who, from the shadows, makes all the decisions that matter... For anyone subordinate to the president to allow themselves that freedom is inconceivable, said Vladimir V. Pozner, the host of a talk show on state television. “If it’s not the No.
Iran And The Politics Of Pipelines
July 10, 2009
Why care about what happens in Iran? There's the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the region--and of Israel initiating a war with Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. There's also Iran's major role in Iraq and somewhat less important but still significant role in Afghanistan. Iran could be a force for stability or instability in the most volatile region in the world stretching from Israel and Lebanon on the west to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east.
Obama's Russia Gamble
July 07, 2009
Joshua A. Tucker, an associate professor of politics at NYU, is a National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project and a co-author of the political science and policy blog The Monkey Cage. One of the most interesting/confusing features about contemporary Russian politics is the question of who is really in charge of the executive branch of the government, which for the most part is really the only branch in Russia that matters these days.
Now We Know
June 17, 2009
Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev (Yale University Press, 637 pp., $35) If one were trying to define the lowest point in the long and venerable tradition of American anti-communism, surely it came in 2003, with the publication of Ann Coulter's Treason.
The Shah of Venezuela
April 01, 2009
The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power.
From Obama With Love
March 05, 2009
It’s not often that a journalist manages to provoke immediate responses from the presidents of both the United States and Russia, but Peter Baker pulled it off Tuesday. Writing in The New York Times, Baker revealed the existence of a “secret letter” in which Barack Obama suggested that if Russia helped prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States might abandon its planned missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Both presidents denied that the letter offered an explicit quid pro quo, but interestingly both noted that such a trade could be a good one.
Pravda on the Potomac
February 18, 2009
RAMZAN KADYROV, one would assume, is hardly the sort of man the Russian government would want to show off to a group of foreign dignitaries. The Moscow-appointed president of Chechnya has been accused of deploying his several-thousand-man-strong personal militia—since absorbed into the Chechen government—to torture and murder his opponents, and many suspect that he played a role in the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist who exposed Russia’s brutal repression of separatists.
November 19, 2008
Why did Russia really invade Georgia? In late September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and offered a rather stunning explanation. Lavrov--who previously spent a decade as Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, where he mastered the body of international precedents and U.N.
Russia Isn't Being "provoked." So Maybe We Ought To Provoke Them
September 27, 2008
One of the topics not covered last night (but alluded to by Barack Obama) was the emergence of by a front of anti-American and populist tyrannies in the Southern half of the Western hemisphere. Their ideological models are Castroite and their symbol is Che Guevara. But no one really believes they are building a new world. Cuba has been too much a bust for official optimism to really capture the minds and hearts of the people elsewhere. You can see this already in Venezuela where the government is wildly unpopular.
Notes On An Invasion
September 01, 2008
The future of Russia's excursion in Georgia remains to be determined. But some conclusions can already be drawn: 1. Russian power is extraordinarily brutal in the post-Soviet era, as we have already seen in Chechnya. This brutality has been confirmed -- although on a smaller scale -- in the spectacle of the Russian army occupying a sovereign country, moving through it as it pleases, advancing and retreating at will, and casually destroying the military and civilian infrastructures of a young democracy as an astonished world watches. Today it is Georgia. Tomorrow will it be Ukraine?