Though no longer a Cold War rival, Russia continues to pose immense challenges for the United States. The Kremlin’s perception of Russia as an “independent pole in a multi-polar world” often results in Russian policies that place the country at odds with the West. Russia’s current political elites are determined to prevent—and in some cases roll back—color revolutions in the former Soviet Union. They fear that successful democratization on Russia’s periphery will rouse similar demands at home. Regardless, the Kremlin’s ineffective authoritarian governance has stimulated a wave of large-scale protests in recent months that likely mark the beginning of Russia’s transition away from the Vladimir Putin era.
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While the rest of the world fixates on either Iran's move to undercut its way to a North Korean-style victory in the just-signed P5+1 nuclear agreement or China's attempts to establish a zone of control in the East China Sea, the implosion of Ukraine is getting barely any attention by geopolitical strategists.
Vladimir Putin's Kremlin has opted for policies of repression and reaction to ensure short-term stability at the expense of long-term progress. These policies will only encourage polarization, radicalism, and zero-sum politics of hatred, further complicating the post-Putin transition to long-term democratic stability.
Last weekend, Bashar Assad's government formally met its first deadline in the Russian-brokered plan to have Syrian chemical weapons turned over to international authorities. However, as foreign news outlets have reported, the list of Syria's chemical weapons is far from complete.
Just like Pyongyang, Damascus negotiates through obfuscation and lies. Perhaps to save time, talks over Syria could be rolled into the North Korean negotiations. That way, Washington’s own missteps can be undertaken more economically.
Here are three lessons the GOP should take from Obama’s capitulation in the Syria standoff to help them win the upcoming budget standoff.
In both Syria and Bosnia, tens of thousands have died, innocents brutalized, and massive numbers exiled from their homes, towns, and country while Washington and other capitals hope that a deal can be struck that will take the burden of military action off their shoulders.