Oil derricks on the Caspian Sea beyond the Bibi Heybat Mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3, 2006 (AP photo by Mikhail Metzel).

Russia’s assertive approach to reclaiming a sphere of interest in the post-Soviet space has highlighted the security dilemmas facing Eurasian countries that find themselves outside of any regional military alliance. Although recent attention has focused on Georgia and Ukraine, the Caspian littoral countries have for several years considered themselves vulnerable to renewed Russian assertiveness and have complained about declining U.S. and European engagement in their region. In response to these challenges, as well as in pursuit of new opportunities for regional energy cooperation, Azerbaijan has partnered with Turkey and, at various times, Georgia, Iran and Turkmenistan in recent years to […]

Tourist walk among flowers and the ancient Temple of Zeus, Athens, Greece, March 31, 2015 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

Despite marathon talks over the weekend, Greece and its creditors—the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission—failed to agree on a list of reforms that Athens must implement before the next $7.8 billion tranche of its bailout package is released. Greece could run out of money before next week if those bailout funds are not dispersed. The government must repay about $482 million to the IMF on April 9, but given the current situation, that seems unlikely. Though it looks like there won’t be a deal before the end of the week, both sides […]

Khalid Toukan, chairman of the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission, meets with Sergei Kiriyenko, of the Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom, Amman, Jordan, March 24, 2015 (AP photo by Sam McNeil).

Last week, Jordan signed a $10 billion deal with Russia to build its first nuclear power plant. In an email interview, David Schenker, director of the program on Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, discussed Jordan’s nuclear energy policy. WPR: What are Jordan’s current power needs, how does it meet them, and how are they projected to change moving forward? David Schenker: Jordan has 3,380-megawatts (MW) of installed electricity-generation capacity—by comparison, Israel has 14,000-MW—but will need to boost this number significantly to meet growing domestic requirements. Rapid increases in the kingdom’s population—including 1 million Syrian refugees—as […]

New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, March 23, 2012 (photo by Flickr user yuwenmemon licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license).

Earlier this month, a professor from New York University was barred from entering the United Arab Emirates, where the school recently opened a new campus, after he criticized the country’s labor practices. In an email interview, Stephen Wilkins, director of the integrated doctoral program in business and management at Plymouth University and the former director for professional management programs at Dubai University College, discussed the challenges facing satellite campuses of Western universities. WPR: What are the motivations for establishing satellite campuses of Western universities in places like China and the Persian Gulf, both for the schools and the host countries? […]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif walks into another negotiating meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran’s nuclear program, Lausanne, Switzerland, March 18, 2015 (AP photo by Brian Snyder).

As negotiators in the Iran nuclear talks strive to meet the March 31 deadline for a framework agreement, which is supposed to be followed by a more detailed implementation package by June, critical external players like Israel and the U.S. Congress have been expressing loud opposition to a deal that they perceive as too lenient on Tehran. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ expression last week of similar concerns highlights the fact that differences exist even among the six powers—the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China—that are negotiating with Iran. In this context, the quiet if conditional support offered by […]

Migrants shout behind an iron fence at the Foreigners Detention Center in Amygdaleza, Greece, Feb. 14, 2015 (AP Photo/InTime News/Nikos Halkiopoulos).

Earlier this month, the European Commission launched the European Agenda on Migration, intended to be a comprehensive new policy approach to trafficking, labor migration, border security and asylum issues. As European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos has put it, “We need more legal routes for people to arrive to Europe safely, and to avoid deaths in the Mediterranean and other irregular migrant routes. We need more resettlement places.” The announcement comes as the migration crisis in Europe continues unabated. The same day the European Union launched the European Agenda on Migration, Italy rescued over 1,000 refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, […]

The Arctic oil-drilling rig Kulluk sits at the Vigor Shipyards in Seattle, May 25, 2012 (AP photo by Ted S. Warren).

The U.S. Department of the Interior is due to decide this week if Royal Dutch Shell can restart drilling for oil off the coast of Alaska after it was forced to shut down operations in 2012 over safety and environmental concerns. In an email interview, Robert Huebert, an associate professor at the University of Calgary, discussed Arctic drilling amid the slump in global oil prices. WPR: Who are the main parties interested in exploring Arctic hydrocarbon resources, and what projects are currently underway? Robert Huebert: Hydrocarbon development and exploration is occurring in the northern land and maritime regions of Canada, […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting, Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

How do the crisis in Ukraine and the political situation in Russia look when viewed through the prism of Chinese media? The familiar Western narrative of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a dictator responsible for destabilizing Ukraine and snuffing out domestic dissent takes on a far different coloring. The appeal of the Chinese version of events elsewhere in the world could help explain why U.S. and Western efforts to marginalize Putin and Russia on the world stage have met with little success. At the Naval War College on Monday, Christopher Marsh, professor of national security and strategic studies at the […]

Frimmersdorf Power Station, Grevenbroich, Germany, Jan. 16, 2012 (photo by Flickr user Bert Kaufmann licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).

With the next stage of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process set for November and December of this year in Paris, there has been a recent flurry of political and diplomatic activity from the European Union and its 28 member-states regarding their plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Their pledges have come alongside ambitious designs for future joint electricity generation continent-wide, given geopolitical tensions with Russia, which remains “Europe’s largest single foreign supplier of not only gas, but also oil, coal and nuclear fuel.” While there are still critical challenges to realizing the milestones set down […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Victory Day parade in Sevastopol, Crimea, May 9, 2014 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

On March 10, at a regular session of the Joint Consultative Group of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, the Russian delegation declared that Moscow was suspending its further participation in the group’s meetings. With the declaration, Russia completed its de facto withdrawal from the most comprehensive conventional arms control treaty in history—one that took decades to negotiate and was a symbol of the end of the Cold War. But the effects of that withdrawal are mostly symbolic, since the treaty has been doubly overtaken by events: The Cold War is long over, and Russia already stopped complying with […]

Samantha Power, United States Permanent Representative to the U.N., briefs the press, United Nations, New York, Sept. 30, 2014 (U.N. photo by Kim Haughton).

The United States sent its European allies some stern signals about their obligations to the American-led international order last week. On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power visited Brussels, where she warned NATO members to halt their “dangerous” defense cuts and called on European powers to offer more troops to United Nations peace operations. Power argued that European armies, which currently provide less than 10 percent of all U.N. peacekeepers worldwide, could have a “momentum-shifting” impact on beleaguered blue helmet missions in trouble spots such as South Sudan. Instead, she underlined, “European countries have drawn back from peacekeeping,” […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atanbayev in the Konstantin Palace outside St. Petersburg, Russia, March 16, 2015 (AP photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service).

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atanbayev in St. Petersburg today, his first public appearance since March 5, when he held a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Moscow. Between then and now, Putin canceled several important meetings, including one intended to mend relations with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and another with representatives of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia. Putin offered no explanation for his lengthiest absence since 2012, saying only, “It would be dull without gossip.” Atanbayev also made a point of telling the media that Putin had personally driven him […]

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the launch of a consultation on the future of the European Neighborhood Policy, Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2015 (European Commission photo).

Last week, the European Union launched a review of its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), its instrument for engaging with non-member states along the bloc’s edge from Eastern Europe to North Africa. Announced by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the commissioner responsible for ENP and enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, the consultation process will review the ENP’s underlying principles and scope as well as the tools at its disposal. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had promised a review of the policy within his first year in office. The ENP, established in 2004, governs the EU’s relations with 16 countries […]

Titan 2 intercontinental ballistic missile, Titan Missile Museum, Arizona, May 7, 2007 (photo by Flickr user kingdafy, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

The Ninth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which begins next month, promises to be much more contentious than the previous 5-year review conference held in 2010. However, with a good game plan both before and during the conference, U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration can limit the damage to U.S. interests and the nonproliferation regime. Such a game plan should include reaffirming Washington’s commitment to eventual nuclear disarmament; highlighting the United States’ NPT-related achievements in some areas, even if admittedly limited; focusing attention on long-term future possibilities rather than past failures; blaming the relevant responsible actors for missed […]

Bayterek Tower, Astana, Kazakhstan, June 7, 2012 (photo by Flickr user Mariusz Kluzniak licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

A little over a year ago, Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, weighed in on the most pressing political challenge facing Astana at the time: whether or not to change the country’s name. Before any consensus could be reached, however, unidentified men cropped up in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, saying little and admitting less. Twelve months later, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and amid an intermittent war in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and the central government in Kiev, it’s clear that the status quo ante will not return. In just a year, Kazakhstan’s geopolitical environs have shifted more rapidly than at any […]

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a news conference after their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 5, 2015 (AP photo by Sergei Karpukhin).

Here is a modest proposal to resolve the Ukrainian crisis: NATO should invite the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Boko Haram to send fighters to assist Kiev’s battered military. Die-hard IS and Boko Haram extremists would surely be happy to battle the Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine and their Orthodox Christian-nationalist creed. For veteran Islamists, it would bring back memories of past glories in Afghanistan and Chechnya. This whole idea is clearly bonkers. But does it make more sense to ask Russia to help fight threats to Europe from IS and its affiliates in Africa and the Middle East? Last […]

People walk past the Greek parliament in Athens, Greece, March 4, 2015 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

For all the frustration and anger surrounding the recent negotiations between Greece and its international creditors, the parties reached a temporary, four-month accommodation that provides a clear sign that both sides still want a durable agreement. They all have good reason to do so, too. Not only does each nation have narrow interests that favor an intact eurozone, but, despite more sanguine accounts of the situation, they all realize how failure risks a destructive financial contagion. That is because the primary risks across the eurozone have shifted from the borrowing costs on sovereign debt to the danger of capital flight […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 211 2 Last