Almost undetected, Russia is regaining much of the influence that it lost in the Middle East after the Soviet Union collapsed. Ever since Russia invaded Georgia in August, Arab satellite television and websites have been rife with talk about the region's role in an emerging "new cold war." Is the Arab world's cold war patron really back, and, if so, what will it mean for peace in the region?
The next president of the United States will inherit the challenge of persuading the Pakistani leadership that it needs to continue prosecuting an unpopular, but necessary, war. Two fundamental changes need to be made by the next administration - it will have to strengthen the civilian government in Islamabad, while still maintaining a cooperative relationship with the Pakistani military.
<P>Iran’s tests of long-range missiles this week deepens already strained tensions with the U.S. and Israel. Karim Sadjapour explains to the BBC’s Newshour that Iran is signaling it will not modify its behavior under pressure from the international community.</P>
<P>The small steps achieved in the last year and a half through negotiations with North Korea in dismantling its nuclear program prove that, at least in the North Korean case, diplomacy and the path toward normalization should be given a chance.</P>
On my way out of Moscow on the day when George Bush and Vladimir Putin met for the last time in Sochi, Russian blogs were alight with complaints about how Putin had lost big at the NATO summit meeting in Bucharest the day before. As I flew across the ocean a few hours later, I sat next to a well-placed Washington operative on his way back from Bucharest. "Bush lost big at the summit," he said."
Carnegie President Jessica T. Mathews appeared on BBC Radio 4’s <EM>The World Tonight</EM> to discuss the effectiveness of the “surge” in meeting its objectives in Iraq. Mathews argues that while a departure of U.S. troops from Iraq would likely increase violence in the short-term, it remains unclear whether the consequences of staying are better for the U.S. and Iraq in the medium- and long-term.
About a year ago Fidel Castro started blogging. Every week or so he posted his “Reflections of the Commander in Chief”. While not strictly a blog, in his internet musings “El Comandante” does what bloggers do: he comments on the news, chastises enemies (Bush, Aznar), extols friends (Hugo!) or rambles on subjects he cares about (sport and politics).
Since communism failed as an economic system, Russia and China have had to embrace free markets. But hopes that reform of communist economies would produce western-style democracies have been shaken.
Carnegie Senior Associate Michael McFaul takes on the conventional wisdom that Vladimir Putin's tight-fisted rule has been behind the economic growth and stability over the past seven years. "The emergence of Russian democracy in the 1990s did indeed coincide with state breakdown and economic decline, but it did not cause either," McFaul writes.
The intense personal conflict between Putin and Belarussian President Lukashenko has deepened. The underlying causes have existed for some time. There are two explanations as to why problems have erupted now. One is that the Kremlin lost patience with Lukashenko's insolence. The second is that Russian leaders want to eliminate this obstacle before Putin's successor comes to power.