Sometime in the mid-1990s, British Prime Minister John Major reportedly asked Russian President Boris Yeltsin to describe the Russian economy in one word. Yeltsin replied, “Good.” Seeking greater detail, Major asked Yeltsin if he could describe it in two words. Yeltsin replied, “Not good.”
While this old joke is probably a myth, the current state of the Russian economy…
The last few months of 2008 were among the most important in recent history. They saw the tail end of a tired presidency, the Russians on the warpath in Georgia, and a long-approaching economic crisis about to reach its climax. The last few months of 2016 may repeat the pattern.
Start with Russia. Over the last few weeks, I have met with a number of Eastern European and…
Russia’s new National Security Strategy, signed by Vladimir Putin as last year came to a close, isn’t shy about naming its enemies. From the U.S. to the European Union, from NATO to the varying-colored revolutions, Russia sees foes everywhere.
That’s understandable: the treacherous are always distrustful. But the strategy’s biggest surprise is that it shows Russia has…
The Administration seems to be of two minds regarding Vladimir Putin. One camp sees him as a Russian strongman we can work with. Another views him as a menace that, if ignored, will eventually fade away. Neither camp has been able to prevail, the result: policy paralysis, a stalemate unlikely to be broken until the next president moves into the Oval Office.
In last Friday’s press conference, President Obama called Vladimir Putin’s incursion in Syria “an act of weakness.” It’s his pat answer when Putin misbehaves.
The White House likes to portray the Kremlin as a place filled with petulant children who don't understand what's in their own best interest and will one day rue their misguided behavior. A mixture of…
When President Obama said at the United Nations on Tuesday that “ ... defeating ISIL requires — I believe — a new leader,” I thought for a brief moment I’d finally found something on which he and I could agree.
Then I realized he wasn’t talking about his own leadership.
The president was actually talking about the regime of Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator Team…
What a mess. President Obama says he wants to take in at least 10,000 refugees from the Middle East. Meanwhile Russia’s Vladimir Putin is sending fighter aircraft and troops to prop up a Syrian leader that Mr. Obama has said over and over again must go. The 50 or so Syrian rebels that we spent roughly $1 million apiece to train and equip have disappeared. Hundreds of…
Russia’s foreign minister admits it: Moscow is shipping military aid to the Assad regime. And, we’re not just talking spare parts. Advisors, troops, prefabricated housing and other infrastructure are showing up in Syria—a country torn asunder by years of civil war.
Clearly, Moscow and Tehran are working hand in hand. And so far the West has been unable to break them…
If there is one thing you can say about Russian President Vladimir Putin, it’s that while he’s not always straightforward about his whereabouts (for 10 days), he’s straightforward about geopolitics.
Indeed, about a year after carving Crimea from Kiev, Moscow is making waves in the ice floes at the top of the world in the Arctic with massive military maneuvers.
Kim Jong Il, the former leader of North Korea, once made 11 holes in one in a round of golf. On a well-publicized scuba dive, Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, happened to find two ancient artifacts. Iran's Supreme Leader claims the United States, Britain, and Israel created the Islamist rebels in Syria.
Dictators say a lot of crazy things. Some are silly, some are…
Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to have picked a bad time to try to restore the Russian empire. Collapsing energy prices are weakening the value of the ruble, causing inflation and depriving Mr. Putin of badly needed income.
We might expect his troubles to curb his appetite for aggression. Alas, it has not.
If anything, the former KGB operative is tightening the…
“Saturday Night Live” often acts as a good barometer of what’s going on in the world. Last week, its opening sketch nailed just how grumpy Americans are over President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which kicks the rule of law down the Capitol steps.
But later in the show’s “Weekend Update,” a guest appearance by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (performed by…
NATO confirmed on Wednesday that Russian tanks were moving into rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine. But Russia's aggression under Vladimir Putin didn't begin in Ukraine and, unless the West stops vacillating, it won't end there, either.
After the 2003 Rose Revolution, the nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus, became a staunch American ally. But in 2008, it was invaded and…
What’s at stake in Ukraine? If the actions of Western governments speak louder than words, the short answer is “not much.” The full range of sanctions on Russia has not yet been imposed, and there is a widespread reluctance to embrace Ukraine too closely.
But what if our reluctance is a mistake? We could end up undoing the entire post-Cold War order in Europe.
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