On Nov. 23, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO that it needs to address Moscow’s security concerns over its plans for European ballistic missile defense (BMD) or face renewed confrontation. Although Medvedev’s declaration, made in a special televised announcement, may have been designed to boost his party’s fortunes in next week’s parliamentary elections, his position is a widely held one within the Russian government. And since he listed a series of demands that, while not unreasonable, cannot be met by NATO governments, the next Russian and American presidential terms will probably see renewed battling over the BMD issue. Medvedev recalled […]

In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington last Friday, Viktor Ivanov, the director of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), laid out an ambitious agenda for increased Russia-U.S. cooperation in several counternarcotics areas, characterized by “new thinking” on a variety of issues. Ivanov, who stopped in Washington after attending the fifth meeting of the Counternarcotics Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission in Chicago, proposed creating an integrated command for counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan that would include representatives from the FSKN, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force […]

Despite expectations, the 10th Meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 7, 2011, did not announce the addition of any new full members or full observers. The SCO governments have repeatedly claimed that they need more time to establish the rules and procedures to govern new members. In reality, the existing members have proven unable to overcome their differences regarding which countries should receive membership or observer status. Indeed, some appear to fear that membership enlargement would weaken rather than strengthen the organization. Clearly the SCO remains stuck in […]

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The successful launch this week of a Russian spacecraft carrying an American and two Russians to the International Space Station may have eased anxieties about the future of U.S. and Russian space programs. But the reprieve is likely temporary, since it followed two recent Russian space failures — the August crash of an unmanned cargo ship and the malfunction last week of an unmanned Mars probe — as well as a string of failed satellite launches. The failures are attracting mounting scrutiny, since the U.S., which scrapped its Space Shuttle program earlier this year, now depends on Russia to ferry […]

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A report to U.S. Congress says cyber espionage from China and Russia is happening on a massive scale. The report comes in response to growing complaints from the business community that their networks are coming under regular attack.

Power is the ability to affect others to obtain preferred outcomes, and that can be done through coercion and payment or attraction and persuasion. Generally, people associate coercion with military power resources, but that is too reductive. After all, economic power resources can also be used for coercion. Even in terms of what is considered “normal” economic behavior, the boundaries are not always so clear. As Thomas Schelling has argued, “The difference between a threat and a promise, between coercion and compensation, sometimes depends on where the baseline is located.” After all, once compensation becomes an expectation, withholding it for […]

The sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March 2010 reignited global concerns over the proliferation of submarine technology. Although the total number of submarines in service worldwide has declined since the end of the Cold War, largely because of the disappearance of the Soviet navy and a reduction in U.S. forces, the number of countries operating relatively advanced submarines has increased. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in particular has expanded the size and sophistication of its undersea armada. At the same time, capabilities for fighting submarines have atrophied. Altogether, these trends suggest an alarming degree of uncertainty […]