Putin and Other ‘Irreplaceable People’

I was delighted with the wide distribution given to my last essay on the ‘Tereshkova Amendment’ to the Russian Constitution which, when the reform of the Basic Law is approved by nationwide referendum, as widely anticipated, will set the presidential terms served up to now by Vladimir Putin back to zero so that he may … Continue reading “Putin and Other ‘Irreplaceable People’”

Making Sense of Russia’s New Cabinet

Tuesday evening, 21 January, the composition of Russia’s new cabinet was announced to the nation and the world. Russian state television was caught as unawares as any of us in the broad public when the names of the departing ministers, the names and biographical details of arriving ministers and the few changes in reporting lines … Continue reading “Making Sense of Russia’s New Cabinet”

Vladimir Putin Prepares His Succession

January 15, 2020 will be remembered as the start of the transition to a new political configuration in Russia that Vladimir Putin will leave behind when his term in office ends four years hence. The prospective changes were announced in the last third of Putin’s 75-minute annual Address to the Federal Assembly, Russia’s bicameral legislature. … Continue reading “Vladimir Putin Prepares His Succession”

Western Media Coverage of Russia as an Exercise in Propaganda

The notion of “fake news” has entered our vocabulary as a pejorative term for dissemination of bogus information, usually by social media, sometimes by traditional print and electronic channels which happen to hold positions contradicting the tenets of our conventional wisdom, i.e., liberal democracy. The term has been applied to Russian state owned media such … Continue reading “Western Media Coverage of Russia as an Exercise in Propaganda”

Donald Trump’s Withdrawal of US Forces From Syria

In the days immediately following Donald Trump’s announcement on 13 October that he had ordered the withdrawal of the contingent of approximately 1,500 U.S. special forces stationed in the Kurdish controlled territory of northeast Syria bordering on Turkey, I understood that this momentous decision deserved close analysis and comment. However, I held back, because the … Continue reading “Donald Trump’s Withdrawal of US Forces From Syria”

Who Is Edward Snowden? A Review of His Autobiography, Permanent Record

Edward Snowden’s recently published autobiography Permanent Record became a bestseller instantly, before any critical reviews in major media, thanks to the author’s notoriety. The reviews followed and they make for curious reading as I look over The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker. Though the reviewers … Continue reading “Who Is Edward Snowden? A Review of His Autobiography, Permanent Record

The INF Treaty Dies: What Happens Next?

Today’s media have duly noted that yesterday, 2 August marked the definitive withdrawal of the USA from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty dating from 1987, about which they had given advance warning months ago in keeping with the provisions of that document. In particular, our television news and newspapers of record carried the … Continue reading “The INF Treaty Dies: What Happens Next?”

The 2019 European Parliamentary Election: Prospects for Peace

During the run-up to the continent-wide elections to the European Parliament that just took place, our European press and electronic media sounded the alarm over the threat of a populist, nationalist, Euroskeptic tide overwhelming the “peace project” that the European Union is said to be. The great fear was that the Center would not hold, … Continue reading “The 2019 European Parliamentary Election: Prospects for Peace”

Foreign Affairs Magazine at a Turning Point on US Global Hegemony?

I have not critiqued articles in Foreign Affairs magazine for at least two years because it seemed pointless to whip a dead horse. Dead intellectually I mean. I regretted the loss of a sparring partner given that FA was and remains broadly representative of the US foreign policy establishment. FA was for a long time … Continue readingForeign Affairs Magazine at a Turning Point on US Global Hegemony?”

At Its 70th Birthday, NATO Is Militarily America’s Fifth Wheel

As the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization approaches on April 4th, Belgium’s Royal Higher Institute of Defense has published an article which will bring little cheer to staff at the luxurious NATO headquarters situated on the outskirts of Brussels, 15 kilometers away from my home office downtown. The birthday … Continue reading “At Its 70th Birthday, NATO Is Militarily America’s Fifth Wheel”