The Kremlin will face a new Navalny, protected by a force field of Western public opinion.
Israel’s “anonymous” nuclear arsenal will remain the most important component of the military balance in the Middle East for the foreseeable future, and a significant driver of discord between Tel Aviv and other states in the region, complicating prospects for strengthening the non-proliferation regime in the Middle East
Moscow has repeatedly rejected any responsibility for its most contentious actions. As a result, Berlin’s trust and willingness to invest in the relationship with Russia has been wearing down for years.
What is the current state of Russia’s relations with China and the Indo-Pacific? And what are the prospects for Russia as an Indo-Pacific power? For a perspective on these matters, Jongsoo Lee interviews Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and chair of the Center’s Foreign and Security Policy Program.
From an overripe apple that looked sure to drop into Moscow’s lap all on its own, the Belarusian regime is increasingly coming to resemble a toxic asset that’s as difficult to engage with as it is to get rid of.
Berlin is ending the era launched by Gorbachev of a trusting and friendly relationship with Moscow. Russia, for its part, no longer expects anything from Germany, and therefore does not feel obliged to take into account its opinion or interests.
Russia has been newly assertive on the world stage, but confronting its many challenges at home and abroad may require a new foreign policy equilibrium.
Far from a purely internal or external affair, Alexei Navalny’s poisoning has shaken Russia’s domestic politics as well as its foreign relations. Although it is closer to its beginning than its end, the affair sheds light on the degradation of authoritarianism in Russia, the dynamic between Moscow and an embattled Alexander Lukashenko, and the difficult relations between Russia and the West, especially Germany.
Courted by Alexander Lukashenko since the 2000s, China has gradually expanded its presence, economic and otherwise, in Belarus. However, its strengthening position there has not come at Russia’s expense, and, as unrest spreads following last month’s presidential election, there is little reason to expect China to step in to rescue the embattled president.
A new cold war is being waged without rules and without any kind of visible desire from the Russian side to initiate a new “détente,” or at least a “reset”.
Massive and persistent, protests in the usually quiet country of Belarus have taken the world by surprise and suddenly brought the country to the centre of Europe's attention.
Any internal political activity is becoming conclusively geopoliticized. Elections in Belarus or Russia, for example, are not an expression of feedback between the public and the government, but an act of defensive foreign policy.
At some level, Russia’s approach to the war in Libya seems successful. Yet Russia can only achieve so much without a clear idea of what its interests in Libya are and what the country is good for beyond a demonstration of the influence Moscow has gained by intervening militarily in Syria—possibilities that are shrinking as the United States turns its attention anew to the country’s years-long war.
The formation of a “protection services” market is a dangerous trend for the Russian power system. Navalny may have been poisoned by people who believe that the regime is no longer capable of dealing with threats itself.
China’s emerging sea-based nuclear capability is going to be increasingly important for the country’s overall nuclear deterrent. But with this growing capability, China also faces a wide range of new challenges. The perception of an increasing threat from conventional weapons to China’s nuclear deterrent is forcing it to face a new reality in which the interaction between conventional and nuclear weapons becomes more complicated.
Lukashenko faced the classic autocrat’s dilemma: avoid a revolution by making compromises and introducing elements of real democracy, or—regardless of the growing price of hanging on to power—fall back on costly repression with costly consequences.
Friends of Belarus need to recognize that a revolution is not the end, but merely the beginning of what is certain to be a long and difficult road toward making it a “normal country.”
The Kremlin has had enough of Lukashenko, but it cannot allow Belarus to follow the path of Ukraine and become another anti-Russian, NATO-leaning bulwark on its borders.
The impending collapse of the Belarusian regime and whatever comes next reveal a lot more than events in Ukraine did about possible political transformation in Russia.
It’s not yet clear how the country will emerge from this political crisis, but it’s safe to say things won’t go back to the way they were.