Moscow is likely to come to grips with the idea that a political solution for the Syrian conflict would include a post-Assad Syria. But the real question may be whether outside players can join diplomatic forces with Moscow to finally end the crisis.
Russia’s involvement in Syria helps Vladimir Putin distract Russians from their country’s economic woes. However, Russian power seems to lack any long-term vision.
As Islam expands in the Ural Federal District, religious and political life there is evolving. Much of this expansion is due to the arrival of Muslim migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus, and some migrants bring with them religious radicalism—a challenge that requires a more effective official response.
The increase of Russian supplies and presence in support of the Bashar al-Assad’s regime is part of the Russian plan to start negotiations on the ground to resolve the Syrian crisis.
The current nuclear hysteria resides first and foremost in the minds of Russian and U.S. government officials. Fears of a nonnuclear, armed confrontation between Russia, on the one hand, and the United States and NATO, on the other, are also unfounded.
Following the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the Russian public has embraced an increasingly conservative and nationalistic ideology.
Moscow does not want to escalate confrontation with the West over Syria beyond the current level without what it sees as good reason. In general, Russia’s behavior in the Middle East has been largely defensive, with only isolated and mostly inept attempts to inflict harm on the West.
The world powers agree that the Islamic State must be defeated, even though they disagree on how to do it. In spite of Washington’s anger with Russian activism in Syria, a degree of coordination is advisable.
To the Kremlin, Assad is not the source of the problem in Syria—he is actually the way to solve it.
Russia’s political elites and, particularly, its president have no strategic vision of the future and no adequate assessment of reality. The authorities are seeking to prolong the inertia model until the presidential elections in 2018, but afterwards the Kremlin will need strategic decisions.
The fact that the Kremlin has stepped up its military assistance to Syria demonstrates that Moscow has no intention of withdrawing its support from Assad.
The U.S.-China relationship involves both cooperation and competition, but because of the new global changes to the relationship, more must be done to balance these two dimensions.
Once a nuclear deal is in place, the United States must focus on holding Tehran accountable.
While the Kremlin continues to score plenty of tactical victories in the political sphere, the regime has demonstrated no ability to think strategically. The lack of strategic thinking stems from the elites’ desire to preserve their own power and the whims of an authoritarian political system.
Putin’s recent theatrics indicate a plan to run for re-election in 2018. But despite his lack of opponents, Russia’s current problems make the path to re-election more complicated this time around.
The symbolic affinity between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin represents not only a shared outlook on the current world, but also a shared view of history.
Chaos in China’s financial markets could have dire implications for the Kremlin’s plans.
A Russian attack on NATO’s eastern member states was never likely. At the same time, the threat of escalation in eastern Ukraine and the potential for more direct Russian and NATO involvement in the fighting there is a clear and present danger.
Three organizing principles to guide the use of American power in a fragmented world.
Excessive intrusions by the Chinese state to shore up confidence in the country’s financial markets are precisely what led to overheating.
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