Despite fist fights and smoke bombs within the parliament building as well as protests outside the Supreme Rada, Ukrainian legislators yesterday ratified the controversial Russian-Ukraine base-for-gas agreement. According to the deal’s provisions, in exchange for Moscow accepting lower prices for Ukraine’s gas purchases, the Russian Navy can remain at its Sevastopol base in the Crimea for another 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017. Ukrainian protesters attacked the new government under President Viktor Yanukovych for allegedly “trading sovereignty for gas.” While the precise amount of revenues that Russia will forego by subsidizing gas sales to Ukraine will depend […]

At a meeting last week in Tallinn, Estonia, the foreign ministers of NATO’s member states began addressing the question of what to do about the estimated 200 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The missiles’ controversial presence is shaping up to be the most important issue facing the alliance’s heads of state during their November 2010 summit in Lisbon. Many critics argue that these weapons have no plausible military purpose. In a World Politics Review briefing early last month, Johan Bergenäs offered a variety of reasons why the Obama administration should unilaterally withdraw […]

The summit meetings held last week in Brasilia — of both the India-Brazil-South Africa forum (IBSA) and the Brazil-Russia-India-China group (BRIC) — seem to confirm that any Iran sanctions resolution likely to secure passage in the United Nations Security Council will not live up to the Obama administration’s expectations. The leaders of the emerging “world without the West” — who all traveled to the Brazilian capital after attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington — were able to compare notes from their bilateral meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama as well as from other communications with senior U.S. officials. Indian […]

Now that the Nuclear Security Summit will become a recurring event, with the next one scheduled for 2012 in Seoul, national governments will need to integrate this new mechanism with the existing major multinational efforts designed to counter nuclear terrorism. Despite differences in membership, emphasis, and other dimensions, three prominent initiatives directly support the summit’s objective of enhancing international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism: the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Mass Destruction, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Last week’s summit documents endorsed their activities, without specifying how the […]

Russian officials have recently accused U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan of “conniving with drug producers” and urged the coalition to pursue aggressive aerial eradication operations against Afghanistan’s opium poppy crops. Despite having spent over $1 billion on counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan since 2002, including eradication efforts, the U.S. and the U.K. have failed to curb the illicit drug industry there. Moscow’s tough stance on narcotics stems from its own internal consumption levels, which have steadily reached epidemic proportions. According to 2008 records, up to 21 percent of the world’s production of illicit opiates ended up in Russia, resulting in […]

article card

Remarks by Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns on”U.S.-Russia Relations in a New Era: One Year After the ‘Reset,’” atthe Center for American Progress. Burns walks attendees through thecomplicated history of U.S.-Russia relations, a period mired inmisconceptions and disagreements. He then goes on to discuss thestrengthening of this relationship that he believes still has a longway to go, but has many areas in which the two nations can focus on.

article card

Walter Russell Mead has some typically thoughtful things to say on the persistence of American power and influence. But if Mead is right that this week’s Nuclear Security Summit is an illustration of the ways in which America still sets the global agenda, it seems that he might not have paid as close attention to the BRIC and IBSA summits that followed it. In addition to both summits articulating alternatives to the Obama administration’s Iran policy, the BRIC summit also produced a joint declaration setting a 2010 deadline for reforming the IMF and World Bank to better reflect the shifting […]

article card

I could have included this in my previous post on President Barack Obama’s nuclear nonproliferation agenda, but it’s significant enough to warrant its own post. As Obama has pushed for UNSC sanctions against Iran, there’s been a lot of tea-leaf reading going on about Russia and China’s willingness to come on board. Parallel to that, there’s been a lesser amount of attention given to the “bad” UNSC that a sanctions resolution faces, and most notably Brazil and Turkey’s opposition to sanctions. But this week demonstrated how those tracks are far from parallel. So even while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and […]

After months of speculation over whether Russia and China would come on board for a new round of sanctions against Iran, the parameters of a new United Nations Security Council resolution appear to be taking shape. Conversations between President Barack Obama and his Russian and Chinese counterparts, Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao, at this week’s Nuclear Security Summit seem to have produced a consensus among the “permanent five” Security Council members. Two obstacles remain: the actual crafting of any resolution — and whether the final product will pass muster with the U.S. Congress. Up to now, the Obama administration has […]

TBILISI, Georgia — Despite disagreeing over whether France should sell four Mistral-classamphibious vessels to Russia, most Western defense analysts seem tobelieve that the deal will not only happen, but is an item of overblownconcern. However, prevailing opinion in Washington and Brussels standsin sharp contrast to Eastern European capitals, where unease over thesale remains strong and is rooted in very different assumptions overMoscow’s intentions. Many in the West simply do not believethe vessels would significantly alter the balance of power in theregion, pointing to the relatively minor combat capability they wouldadd compared to existing capabilities in Russia’s fleet. Proponents andthose indifferent […]

article card

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, tellsCharlie Rose that Russia is really pushing for a diplomatic solution tothe Iran impasse. He says that Russia sees sanctions as a last resort,but at this point he says “we are all quite discouraged.”

article card

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev talks to ABC News on issues rangingfrom the Moscow metro bombings to sanctions with Iran to hisrelationship with Prime Minister Putin. Medvedev shows confidence inhis American counterpart Barack Obama and says that he believes thefollow-on to the START treaty is a sound agreement.

Kyrgyzstan will certainly be discussed in various side meetings during today’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. When the issue is raised, the United States must be careful not to engage in any backroom deals over the country’s fate. Such an approach would damage the U.S. position in the region, while at best creating only the illusion of stability in Kyrgyzstan and more generally in Central Asia. Both Russia and the U.S. have a real stake in the outcome of the current political standoff in the Kyrgyz Republic. The U.S. transit center at Manas Airport is the major military transfer point […]

For those wondering how President Barack Obama planned to justify his Nobel Peace Prize, two developments last week strongly suggest that it will be by way of his dream of a “world without nuclear weapons.” The first was his successful conclusion of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, which takes almost a third off the top of both sides’ massive nuclear arsenals. The second was Obama’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which declared that “preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism” was the nation’s No. 1 strategic priority. At the same time, the review offers a striking new pledge […]

Last month’s terrorist bombings of the Moscow Metro along with other indicators of surging Islamic-inspired violence in southern Russia suggest that the Kremlin has yet to overcome longstanding Muslim hostility to Moscow’s control of the North Caucasus. Although the Russian federal government adopted a new strategy a year ago that might eventually overcome some persistent problems, the Moscow massacre risks triggering another wave of escalating reciprocal violence. Throughout the past year, the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia have experienced increasing terrorist violence (.pdf). In Chechnya, for example, the number of violent deaths nearly doubled in 2009 compared […]

France’s decision to negotiate the sale of four Mistral-class Amphibious Transport Docks to Russia has been met with harsh criticism in the United States and among some NATO allies. Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili was particularly brutal, declaring of the sale, “It’s not even appeasement of Russia. It’s a reward for Russia.” There is no question that the acquisition of the four amphibious warships will substantially enhance Russia’s power-projection capabilities. However, Russia is not the only state to have committed to the construction of large-deck amphibious warships. In fact, Moscow’s purchase of the Mistrals comes in the context of a […]

NEW DELHI — The short-but-fruitful visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to India last month has resulted in a rich economic and diplomatic haul for the two countries. Moscow and New Delhi signed a raft of deals — predominantly in defense (to the tune of $4 billion) and civil nuclear cooperation — in hopes of boosting annual bilateral trade from the current $7.5 billion to $20 billion by 2015. The agreements will facilitate the construction of 16 Russian-designed nuclear reactors in India, and lead to greater cooperation in the fields of gas, oil and hydrocarbons. India will also work […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last