Speculation is heating up in Brussels over this week’s attack on the Nord Stream pipelines carrying Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea. Many in the West suspect Russia to be behind the sabotage of the pipelines, but Moscow has denied any involvement, pointing the finger at the U.S. or Ukraine instead.
Alarm over a potential Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine has reawakened debate in the U.S. between those who favor continued military assistance to Kyiv and those who argue for seeking to end the war to head off the risks of escalation. At the root of the debate is a fundamental question: What’s at stake for the U.S. in Ukraine?
The sudden regime failures of the Shah of Iran and the USSR should be kept in mind when examining the self-inflicted disasters that Moscow and Tehran are currently struggling with. The West should remain cautious before making firm predictions that either will collapse, but prepare for a range of outcomes if they do.
For anyone wondering how Russian President Vladimir Putin would respond to the Ukrainian military’s recent gains, this week offered a clarifying and horrifying answer. In a speech Wednesday, Putin announced a partial mobilization of Russia’s military reserves in an effort to shore up the Russian army’s collapsing front lines.
One of the most important exercises in any war is also one of the most difficult: assessing its progress. The war in Ukraine is no exception, but with the lightning gains of Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive having slowed somewhat, it seems like a good time to make a cautious attempt to take stock of where things stand.
A renewed round of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan marks an alarming escalation of tensions between the historical enemies since the end of their war in November 2020. The attack is closely related to recent shifts in the regional balance of power, which even before 2020 had already become lopsided in Baku’s favor.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, observers have been keeping a close eye on how much support China might lend its isolated partner. Though China has offered a much-needed diplomatic lifeline to Vladimir Putin in the face of Western efforts to make him a global pariah, Xi Jinping’s patience now seems to have worn thin.
The war in Ukraine took a dramatic turn last weekend when the Ukrainian military launched a massive counteroffensive, crystallizing what has been a gradual transformation of the war into a multilateral conflict between Russia and a Western coalition that has supplied arms, training and intelligence to Ukraine.
The IAEA has found itself in the thick of two global political crises—securing a Ukrainian nuclear power plant and enforcing oversight of Iran’s nuclear program. Its chief, Rafael Grossi, has managed both files with dexterity, but his ongoing success will depend on his ability to avoid alienating any of the parties involved.
In the aftermath of Mikhail Gorbachev’s death last week, many observers wondered if another Gorbachev-like figure could reverse Russia’s course after President Vladimir Putin leaves power, like Gorbachev did for the Soviet Union. But that’s unlikely. And the image of Gorbachev that guides such hopes is less than accurate.
Documents are flying around Brussels with various proposals to resolve Europe’s energy crisis, ahead of a pivotal emergency meeting of the EU’s energy ministers scheduled for tomorrow. But there remain several unanswered questions, including whether those proposals will be durable or sustainable in the long term.
There is nothing more depressing than seeing policymakers surprised by a crisis that informed observers have been predicting for many years. A case in point is the way the EU and the U.K. have lurched into furious action after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to address their energy dependence on Russia and other autocracies.
European Union bureaucrats are busy figuring out how to implement the agreement reached this week in Prague by EU foreign ministers to end visa facilitation for Russian tourists visiting the union. But many of the bloc’s members fear that the policy could strengthen Putin’s hand and hurt ethnic Russians living in the union.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s tour of Central Asia in July highlighted Beijing’s growing influence in the region. China has become a top trade partner and investor, surpassing Russia, its silent rival there. With Moscow now preoccupied with the war in Ukraine, Beijing is poised to secure its lead once and for all.