This podcast episode focuses on Russia’s new National Security Strategy and the vision of the world presented in it.
The Biden-Putin summit has elicited hopes for a new status quo in relations between Russia and the West, marked by guardrails and the prevention of further destabilization. Yet this momentum will be short-lived if it is not backed up by coordination between the United States and Europe, and commitment from Moscow.
For now, India’s role in the Western Pacific region remains symbolic, and in the Indo-Pacific context, confined to the Indian Ocean Region.
Stalin stands in for the lack of modern heroes, and overshadows all the most important historical events of the twentieth century, symbolically compensating for the failures, defeats, and setbacks of more recent years.
The U.S.-Russia standoff has escalated so much in recent years that other countries find it almost impossible to maintain good relations with both Washington and Moscow. Those who manage to tread that line successfully include South Korea.
Russia and India’s divergence toward the two global centers of power—China and the United States—is gradually burning the bridges of Russian-Indian friendship.
The nature of the Afghan problem for Central Asia and Russia lies in Afghanistan becoming a source of instability for the region.
If Moscow and the West manage to de-escalate their confrontation, Lukashenko’s main currency—his demonstrative anti-Western stance—will be devalued in the eyes of the Kremlin.
The CSTO still has a chance to prove itself—if it can demonstrate effective and coordinated work after the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The central feature of the new strategy is its focus on Russia itself. The Russian leadership has every reason right now to turn homeward to address the glaring weaknesses, imbalances, and inequalities of the country’s internal situation.
For now, there is no public discussion of exploiting Antarctic mineral deposits, but in 2048, the Madrid protocol banning mining is due to be reviewed, and it’s unlikely the status quo will remain in place.
The Iran nuclear deal is important not just because of what it achieves, but also as a model for potential future agreements. It tests an approach whereby the United States concludes an agreement with a rogue state, while the implementation of that agreement is secured by a multilateral format.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics are moving on from the wild days of economic piracy to more orderly exploitation schemes. The prospects of reintegrating the region under the Minsk accords are growing more illusory.
Fresh attempts to expose Russian “red line” deterrence as hollow—whether on the ground, in the air, or at sea—would push Moscow to defend what it cannot give up without losing its self-respect. This would almost inevitably lead to clashes and casualties, which would carry the risk of further escalation.
Aware of his new reputation as “Baku’s candidate,” Pashinyan will likely try to negotiate small victories, such as getting more prisoners of war released, and pass these off as the results of his firm position. Building on that, he will promise bigger victories soon to come, such as the transit of goods to Russia via Azerbaijan.
What Moscow is proposing is a renewed format of Cold War–era relations, when the two sides operated in full recognition of their obvious differences, contained each other’s expansion, and together wrote the rules needed to avoid a fatal collision.
Putin will probably be interested in assessing where Biden’s real concerns lie; where the sensitive areas may be in which mutual restraint, rather than unattainable compromise arrangements, may be the best way forward for now; and how the United States might act and respond under different scenarios.
The following is based on remarks that James Acton gave to journalists on June 10, 2021 ahead of the summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
The Duma electoral campaign will lock in the inertia of parliamentary party dynamics. The regime will arrive at the 2024 presidential elections with a solid parliamentary majority.
The changes of 2020–2021 have proven so sweeping and profound that the Russian regime is undergoing a renaissance. Everything is now either pro-regime or anti-regime—i.e., criminal.