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  • Commentary posted July 15, 2016 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. How is Russia's Economy? A Yeltsin-Style 'Not Good'

    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…

  • Commentary posted February 29, 2016 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. For Putin, All Pieces Are in Place

    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…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2016 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Russia’s Insecurity Strategy

    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…

  • Commentary posted December 11, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Putin's Days Are Numbered

    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. The new…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Acting out of weakness? Why Obama's dangerously wrong about Putin's intentions in Syria

    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…

  • Commentary posted October 1, 2015 by Peter Brookes Brookes: Putin plays O for patsy in Syria

    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…

  • Commentary posted September 28, 2015 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. Obama’s ‘the worse, the better’ strategy

    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…

  • Commentary posted September 22, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. To Assad with love: Timing of Russia's military aid to Syria no accident

    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…

  • Commentary posted March 19, 2015 by Peter Brookes Putin pushes envelope in Arctic

    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. Putin’s…

  • Commentary posted December 15, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Crazy talk isn't just crazy

    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…

  • Commentary posted December 11, 2014 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. With Putin’s Hand Getting Weaker, Time to Watch Out

    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…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Economy in Free Fall: Politically Isolated Putin's Troubles Grow

    “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…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Russia's Aggression Isn't Stopping in Ukraine

    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…

  • Commentary posted July 30, 2014 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. What’s at stake in Ukraine?

    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. It’s…

  • Commentary posted May 21, 2014 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. Vladimir Putin's New Fifth International

    In the recent makeshift referenda in Donetsk and Luhansk unrecognized by the West, a small minority of eligible voters voted in favor of secession from Ukraine. Now, some Western politicians and analysts are wondering: If those people came out to vote for "independence," aren’t we obligated to consider their opinion when pondering the future of Ukraine? The Kremlin and…