Turkey, Russia, and the Fallacy of ‘Collective Security’

Blackadder: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent war in Europe, two superblocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side, and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast opposing armies, each acting as the other’s deterrent. That way there could never be a war. Baldrick: … Continue reading “Turkey, Russia, and the Fallacy of ‘Collective Security’”

A Foreign Enemy is a Tyrant’s Best Friend

The recent Iran nuclear deal represents a thaw in the American cold war against that country. It is a welcome sequel to the Obama administration’s partial normalization with Cuba announced late last year. Hardliners denounce these policies as “going soft” on theocracy and communism. Yet, it is such critics’ own hardline, hawkish policies that have … Continue reading “A Foreign Enemy is a Tyrant’s Best Friend”

Iran Attack Could Spark Caucasus War and Economic Trouble

Russia’s Kavkaz-2012 strategic military training exercise later this month in the North Caucasus region may portend economic problems for the West. This is because the exercise is strategically linked to Russian expectations that Iran will be destabilized by the end of this year. If Iran is destabilized, Russia will uphold its obligations to Armenia under … Continue reading “Iran Attack Could Spark Caucasus War and Economic Trouble”

Pussy Riot Politics

The obsessive focus of the U.S. media on the upcoming election is evocative of countries where life has the singular misfortune of being dependent on politics. Elections in Serbia this spring were of crucial import for the country’s survival — let alone future — yet the campaign there seemed almost subdued when compared to the … Continue reading “Pussy Riot Politics”

Otto Does Foreign Policy

Does anyone remember Otto, the brain damaged ex-CIA assassin played so deliciously by Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda? Otto cruised around London in a massive old Chrysler, driving on the right and forcing British drivers off the road while screaming that they were a**holes. Described by one reviewer as a walking id, Otto’s … Continue reading “Otto Does Foreign Policy”

Stay Out of Syria

The recent downing of a Turkish military aircraft by Syria is one indication that Turkey may now be more aggressively supporting the overthrow of the Assad regime. Although Turkey insists that its aircraft had accidentally entered Syrian airspace but was in international airspace when shot down, the Syrians claim that the aircraft was flying threateningly … Continue reading “Stay Out of Syria”

What Russia Fears in Syrian Conflict

Russia’s unyielding support for Damascus throughout the 16 months of Syria’s escalating crisis has earned Moscow strong condemnation from Washington and other Western governments, but the reasons for Russia’s implacable position have never been fully explained by Moscow or its critics. Washington’s latest tension with Russia over Syria came last week in a face-to-face meeting … Continue reading “What Russia Fears in Syrian Conflict”

Foreign Policy Theater of the Absurd

A Russian general has threatened military action if the US and its NATO allies go ahead and build a “missile shield” in Eastern Europe: “A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” say Russian chief of staff Nikolai Makarov. That the “shield” is of dubious effectiveness, and is mainly … Continue reading “Foreign Policy Theater of the Absurd”

Russia Is Not Public Enemy Number One

In response to Barack Obama’s unintended public candor about his greater post-election flexibility on missile defense negotiations with Russia, Mitt Romney reflexively declared in an interview with CNN that Russia is the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe,” adding that Russia “always stands up for the world’s worst actors.” However, Romney is pandering to the … Continue reading “Russia Is Not Public Enemy Number One”