New Cold War


From Isolation to the Board of Directors: Why Russia Supported the United States at the UN

The goal was to return to the club where the destiny of the world is being discussed, not as an ally (because given the current economic disparity, one could only be a subordinate ally) but as a “partner”—a word that is invariably spoken in Russia with phonetic quotation marks: a disobedient, sometimes blunt neighbor with whom considerations of the world order must be shared.

Russia Needs a Plan C

In the middle of a prolonged confrontation with the West, Russia cannot revive its Western-oriented or Eurasianist foreign policy concepts. In foreign relations, crisis-avoidance mechanisms must be the priority while Russia seeks a new strategic concept. That rethink must be underpinned by domestic reform; otherwise, the Russian state could share the fate of the Romanov regime in World War I.

The Montenegro Gambit: NATO, Russia, and the Balkans

Montenegro’s veteran leader has maneuvered his country into NATO. Russia is upset, but unlikely to respond in a serious manner.

The First Strike Trap

A first strike with nuclear weapons in a conflict between the great powers is bound to be catastrophic. At a time when speculation on nuclear weapons use has increased Russia and the United States should restate their commitment to the nuclear war prevention on which they had agreed in the Cold War era.

The Concert of Vienna: Russia’s New Strategy

Russia sees the renewal of diplomacy on Syria as a chance to lose the status of international pariah. It has found relevance by getting involved in a crisis where Western strategy is full of holes.

Warriors vs Merchants: Russia’s Foreign Policy Rivals

Vladimir Putin takes advice from three distinct groups of foreign policy ideologists who can be labeled warriors, merchants, and pious believers. Each of them serves a role, but they have very different views of how Russia should develop.

Russia’s System of Managed Chaos

In Syria, as elsewhere, Russia is acting according to a system whereby it escalates a crisis so as to claim a role in the world and challenge “American leadership.” This pattern of behavior dangerously simplifies the complexities of world politics. When one intervention ends, Russia is forced to look for a new one.

Putin’s Rhetorical Call to Arms

Vladimir Putin is making a bid to regain global respectability by leading a fight against ISIS and evoking the anti-Hitler coalition of World War II. The West is yet to be convinced that the appeal to be “brothers-in-arms” is serious.

Destroy at Any Cost: The Political Rationale Behind Russia’s Food Burnings

The Russian government provoked controversy with mass destruction of European food. The government could not allow its counter-sanctions policy to be seen to be failing and is exploiting different attitudes to banned Western products amongst the opposition and the general public.

Myths and Realities of Sanctions in Russia

The Russian elite and public are propagating certain myths that Western sanctions are not hurting or are even helping Russia's economy. The reality is much bleaker: sanctions are here to stay for a long time and there can be no healthy economic development while they are in place.
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