Time For The President To Press "The Reset Button" Between His Administration And The C.I.A.
September 18, 2009
The FT yesterday used President Obama's own metaphor from Washington's relations with Moscow. He has, that is, resolved to press "the reset button" with Vladimir Putin's Russia But, of course, he can do so only from our side. Putin has sent him a big mazal tov but no reciprocal gift. Quite to the contrary. As the Financial Times points out, Russia has embarked on an aggressive foreign policy in Latin America, partnering with Hugo Chavez, the wild man of the region. Russia is also now doing military exercises with Belarus.
Maybe Russia's Not So Thrilled With Global Warming
August 03, 2009
Last week, I noted a story in the Abu Dhabi National about how many Russians appear to be remarkably nonchalant, or even sanguine, about the potential impacts of global warming on their country. There were even quotes to this effect from high-ranking officials in Moscow, including Vladimir Putin, who, back in 2003, was daydreaming of a time when Russians could shed their fur coats. It didn't exactly bode well for global climate talks.
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.
Putin Beat Obama To The Interscape
March 26, 2009
Julia Ioffe is a writer living in New York. Today, Obama revolutionizes the way the country communicates with its leadership and conducts town hall meetings. It's worth remembering, however, that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin beat him to the format nearly three years ago. On July 6, 2006, back when Putin was still president, he agreed to participate in a Q&A session with Russian web users, which aired live on BBC Russia. The Kremlin had originally demanded a standard, scripted event, with both questions and answers prepared and vetted in advance.
Did Putin Also Make A Cameo In An 80s Movie?
March 20, 2009
White House photographer Pete Souza has a fascinating find: a picture of Ronald Reagan visiting Moscow as president, talking to a tourist who looks an awful lot like Vladimir Putin. We can't be sure it's Putin.
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.
Michael Idov argues that the "election" of Dmitri Medvedev was not really an election at all, but rather a further extension of Vladimir Putin's power in an increasingly complacent Russia: Putin's historic achievement is the creation, in eight short years, of what the chief Kremlin ideologist Vladislav Surkov terms suverennaya demokratiya ("sovereign democracy") and what's been rechristened, in liberal circles, suvenirnaya demokratiya: "souvenir democracy." In brief, this system consists of a narrow executive silo--about 50 Putin insiders spread out among government agencies--through which al
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.
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?
August 23, 2008
I have long been on record in support of Hillary Clinton for v.p., but it is clear that was never in the offing. Clinton aside, Joe Biden was the best possible pick for Senator Obama. Here's why: The fighting in Georgia underscored the need to bring some foreign policy experience to the ticket. No one does that better than Biden. Absent the situation in Georgia, Virginia Governor Kaine might have been the pick--in effect Vladimir Putin vetoed him. It's critical that the veep be willing and able to take an axe or at least an icepick to the presidential candidate of the other party.