European Union officials are putting on a brave face as the bloc approves a plan to ration natural gas this winter to avoid an energy crisis should Russia make additional cuts to its exports. But the discussions leading up to the plan’s approval revealed cracks in their public display of solidarity.
Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Istanbul for what he described as “probably the most important” event of his tenure at the U.N. to date. He visited Turkey for the signing of agreements by Russia and Ukraine that are meant to allow agricultural shipments to resume from Black Sea ports, helping to alleviate a growing global food crisis. While Turkish officials played a major part in these talks, Guterres has been personally involved in the negotiations “every day” since April. This initiative may come to be considered a turning point in his career as the U.N.’s top official. […]
Three days after U.S. President Joe Biden returned to Washington from a controversial visit to Saudi Arabia, Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Tehran with a complex set of goals of his own. Much like Biden, who aimed to strengthen Washington’s ties in the region, Putin sought to bolster Russia’s relations in the Middle East. The meeting in Iran showcased the awkward relationship between these two dictatorial regimes and their oil-rich nations, both of which have been subjected to Western economic sanctions. By embracing one another, Putin and Iran’s supreme leader aimed to show that they are not pariahs.
Just days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Europe still reeled in shock, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared that it was time for what he called a Zeitenwende, or sea change, in how the country approaches national and collective defense. Announcing huge increases in Germany’s defense budget, Scholz’s speech to the Bundestag—the German Parliament—on Feb. 27 represented an epochal shift in Germany’s strategic priorities. But it also reflected a wider reassessment across the European Union over how to respond to military threats facing Europe’s neighborhood. The dilemmas that rapid rearmament has raised for Germany are vast. Having been worn down through […]
In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many military analysts found that their prewar predictions about the Russian military’s performance were wildly off the mark. Even if many had expressed doubts about Russia’s ability to sustainably achieve its strategic objectives in Ukraine, most experts shared the widespread expectation that the superior firepower and mobility of Russian forces’ combined arms operations would quickly overwhelm the Ukrainian military. In the months since then, endless post-mortems have dissected the particular Russian blunders and Ukrainian successes that determined the course of the war’s first weeks, and why military analysts were unable to […]
In May of this year, Costa Rica’s newly elected President Rodrigo Chaves declared, “We are at war.” It was significant considering that Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a military. Also atypical is Costa Rica’s opponent in this war: a nonstate hacking organization based in Russia. The organization, Conti ransomware, had taken significant portions of the Costa Rican government’s computer systems offline, threatening the economy and state operations. While the attack likely took months of preparation and planning, it wasn’t revealed until early 2022, when the Conti ransomware group announced that it had […]
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, headlines spread claiming that a new iron curtain had fallen across Europe. Russia’s economic and political isolation, they claimed, had come hand-in-hand with digital isolation. As the United States and its allies introduced technological sanctions against Russia, numerous Western tech companies also stopped doing business there, making their products and services unavailable to Russians. At the same time, the Russian state had moved quickly to block any websites that offered information about the war, especially those that criticized the Kremlin’s actions. It is well-known that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees an open and […]
In what were hailed as the “two most productive summits in years,” the Group of 7 and NATO held their annual leaders’ meetings last week in Germany and Spain, respectively. The G-7 summit concluded with the leaders emphasizing and enhancing their support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, agreeing on measures to combat climate change and announcing a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, seen as a direct counter to China’s development program, the Belt and Road Initiative. As for the NATO summit, it witnessed the entry into the alliance of two new members, Finland and Sweden, as well […]
In the days before Ukraine’s European Union candidate status was confirmed on June 23, a satirical clip from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s previous career as a comic actor began to circulate on social media. In a scene from the television series “Servant of the People”—in which Zelenskyy played a schoolteacher who accidentally becomes Ukrainian president, not long before Zelenskyy himself became president in real life—he takes a call from then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After initially congratulating Zelenskyy’s character for Ukraine’s accession to the EU, Merkel—who remains an off-screen voice heard only through the phone—suddenly apologizes, realizing she’s made an error: […]