US Opinion and Commentary

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Russia Is a Poor, Drunk Soccer Hooligan

Posted June 22nd, 2016 at 3:20 pm (UTC-4)
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According to the International Monetary Fund’s most recent data, the Russian economy is approximately the same size as Australia and slightly smaller than South Korea. As an exporter, it is now less important than Belgium, Mexico, and Singapore. And it is poor.

Putin’s Choice

Posted June 16th, 2016 at 3:25 pm (UTC-4)
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Putin has fallen into the same trap that lured Brezhnev, then left Gorbachev to pick up the pieces. The Russian system is vulnerable to shocks, both internal and external….it is becoming more obvious that, facing problems at home and pressures abroad, Russians in and out of government are starting to consider the country’s next stage.

The West Must Respond to Russia’s Increasing Cyber Aggression

Posted June 15th, 2016 at 4:03 pm (UTC-4)
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Russia´s greatest cyber advantage is its wealth of the most important cyber asset:  skilled and well-educated people. The government recruits and harnesses individuals with innovation and aplomb — for example, allowing its intelligence services to offer employment to hackers convicted of cyber crimes in lieu of prison.

Why the West Misunderstands Russia’s Challenge

Posted June 14th, 2016 at 10:34 am (UTC-4)
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Rather than contemplating the actual nature, real risks and final purposes of Russia’s demonstratively aggressive posture, NATO’s generals are fighting the last war – the Cold one – over again….NATO’s/EU’s resulting incomplete and misconceived rebuttals are serving, rather than containing, the Kremlin. And they are increasing insecurity in Eastern Europe, rather than decreasing it.

Why the U.S. Needs Russian Rocket Engines to Spy on Russia

Posted June 7th, 2016 at 9:27 am (UTC-4)
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For years, many Republicans and Democrats were optimistic that partnerships with aggressive states could tame them over time. Now the U.S. is paying the price for this optimism, as it relies on Russian engines to launch the satellites that keep tabs on Russian aggression.

The Resolve Behind Russia Sanctions Is Weakening

Posted May 31st, 2016 at 11:33 am (UTC-4)
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Each time the European Union’s sanctions against Russia come up for renewal, there’s speculation that some countries might break ranks and vote against the trade and financing restrictions. There will probably be no deserters this time around either; but a softening of the sanctions is on the cards in the near future.

Why Iran Should Focus on Turkey, not Russia, for Syria Cooperation

Posted May 19th, 2016 at 9:02 am (UTC-4)
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Iran and Turkey are most interested in the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity…. Moreover, Turkey and Iran’s other interests in Syria — preserving a level of influence, maintaining stability in their neighboring regions and containing Kurdish centrifugal tendencies in the wider region — can only be served by preserving its unity and territorial integrity.

Business Values are Democratic Values

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 9:17 am (UTC-4)
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This battle for democratic values is also a battle for business values. The concepts that underpin a free society are fundamental to free markets, too: values like transparency, open competition, and the rule of law.

Climate, Russia on U.S.-Nordic Summit Agenda

Posted May 13th, 2016 at 1:08 pm (UTC-4)
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Geography and the shared values of democracy and human rights shapes the agenda for Friday’s U.S.-Nordic summit at the White House.
During his welcoming remarks, President Barack Obama referred to Nordic nations’ welcoming of refugees and humanitarian aid contributions. He praised their dedication to slowing climate change. And he referred to the Nordic countries’ as reliable allies when it comes to security.
It took the president of Finland to mention the biggest security issue for the Nordic countries: Russia. They see what happened in Ukraine and are concerned that the same thing might happen to their neighbors across the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Ties between the United States and the Nordic countries go back 1,000 years, when the Vikings were Europe’s first to find the North America. And now there are about 11-million Scandinavian-Americans in the U.S. President Obama said he invited the leaders to the White House because “sometimes we have a tendency to take our best friends for granted.” They have a lot of work ahead of them.

Karabakh: A Renewed Conflict in the Caucausas

Posted April 27th, 2016 at 1:05 pm (UTC-4)
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Karabakh is one of the world’s least-discussed and most intractable quarrels….Russia is opportunistically in the middle. Moscow says it wants to broker a lasting peace deal, but it has also been arming both sides. The United States also hopes to prevent a wider conflict but has little diplomatic leverage.

Russia’s Submarine Program: How Big a Threat?

Posted April 27th, 2016 at 12:56 pm (UTC-4)
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Russia’s existing Soviet-built nuclear attack submarines are being refurbished and modernized, increasingly able to go back out on patrol again. Meanwhile, new generations of ballistic missile submarines are being deployed to its Northern and Pacific fleets, revitalizing Russia’s aging sea-based nuclear deterrent.

Toward a Global Realignment

Posted April 19th, 2016 at 4:38 pm (UTC-4)
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Since the next twenty years may well be the last phase of the more traditional and familiar political alignments…the response needs to be shaped now. During the rest of this century, humanity will also have to be increasingly preoccupied with survival as such on account of a confluence of environmental challenges.

Kerry & Lavrov: The Odd Couple of the New Cold War

Posted April 19th, 2016 at 4:30 pm (UTC-4)
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The two are “on very good terms,” Lavrov said last month, “but that does not mean that we should smile from ear to ear and express joy during each and every meeting to please Russian, American, and other journalists.”

A Pivotal Time for Ukraine: The U.S. Should Redouble Its Support

Posted April 18th, 2016 at 2:41 pm (UTC-4)
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Russia’s goals in Ukraine are both geopolitical and imperial. Without Ukraine, or at least without considerable influence in Ukraine, Russia sees itself only as an Asian power, not as a European power. Now is not the time for the United States to abandon the people of Ukraine.

Putin Fills Another Leadership Void in Nagorno-Karabakh

Posted April 12th, 2016 at 4:09 pm (UTC-4)
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The overstretched Obama White House may view Putin’s gains as a price worth paying to quell the current violence and keep an additional crisis off its plate. Such benign neglect, however, creates opportunities for Kremlin exploitation in a region that connects Turkey, Russia, Iran, Central Asia and Caspian energy supplies.