While the proxy war in Syria does hold the potential for a clash between U.S. and Russian forces, it is only one of several theaters in which a larger conflict between the two countries is playing out.
The One World of Pax Americana that has existed since the end of the Cold War is already history. US global dominance is still in place, but the peace has been shattered again. The new era is not a replay of the 20th century contest. It may be equally dangerous, but in its own way.
Policymakers need to learn from their military subordinates: They should keep their heads cool and think of the consequences of their actions, both intended and unintended.
China and Russia have been cooperating closely over the past three decades. But since the Ukraine crisis, the process has become more dynamic. Moscow and Beijing are now coordinating their policies on a wider range of issues.
With US-Russian relations already confrontational and Sino-US relations becoming visibly more tense, the context for major power interaction on the North Korean nuclear issue has substantially changed from what it was only five years ago.
Carnegie Moscow Center’s Director Dmitri Trenin and Rethinking Russia discussed his new book “What Is Russia Up To in the Middle East?”, Moscow’s role and place in the region, the future of Syria and the Islamic State as well as Russia’s Syria collaboration with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the U.S.
Russia seeks to exploit divisions in the West. But how big is the threat?
Today, Moscow militates against the global order dominated by a single power – the United States of America.
Russian banking system needs a supervisory authority independent of the central bank. Retail banks should be prohibited from investing in non-liquid assets, while the liquid securities market should be saved for investors
The establishment of independent Ukrainian and Belarusian statehood facilitates the development of Russia’s own national project, which is oriented towards the future, rather than towards the restoration of the past. Its key foreign policy feature is real sovereignty and the freedom of geopolitical maneuvering.
As it aspires to join the elite world club of equal sovereigns, Russia cannot but notice an important fact that no such club actually exists. The simple reason is that the club’s membership is conditioned on mutual transparency and permeability of sovereignties and correlation of sovereign actions with the values understood as the red lines in what one says and does.
Russia realizes that with the war waning and reconstruction looming, others will begin to step forward in Syria, including China, Europe, and Japan. Moscow will seek to partner with them to secure a piece of the lucrative reconstruction effort.
Setting aside the shortcomings of the Belt and Road concept, the “OBOR hype’ around the world points to a real and fundamental trend — the ascent of China as a truly global economic and military power.
The ban on Russia taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics is a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin. For Putin, this is perfect fuel for the besieged fortress concept, which is one of the mainstays of his personal legitimacy and popularity.
Russia’s interference in American and European elections constitutes a serious offense. But by treating Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies as an existential threat, Western leaders are playing directly into the Kremlin’s hands, and validating its false narrative about Russia’s place in the world.
Moscow’s new grand strategy is still in gestation. It seeks to maximize connectivity with all, while putting Russia’s own interests first. Managing a large number of very different partners is difficult, but not impossible, as Moscow’s recent experience in the Middle East shows.
Supporters of a free Russia have long dreamed of a day when the Orthodox Church is separate from the state and when elected officials are unafraid to oppose Kremlin ministers. The latter is certainly happening, but among those who are taking advantage of this new freedom first are zealots who speak in a language of aggressive and intimidating conservatism.
Time is on Navalny’s side. If he doesn’t commit a blunder that disenchants potential voters, and if the authorities don’t take the brute force approach of locking him away for a number of years, he could emerge as a key opposition figure between 2018 and 2024.
Chinese and Russian leaders won’t always agree, but their deepening cooperation and mistrust of the U.S. is here to stay. Unfortunately, American leaders have shown few signs that they know how to navigate this new reality, let alone manage the competition among great powers as non-Western countries grown in stature.
Washington and Pyongyang will eventually need to resume direct talks. With neither party ready for that yet, at first secret contacts will have to be organized in third countries. In the meantime, de-escalation is the order of the day, and Russia one of its unlikely brokers.