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  • Author: Felix Hett
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The eagle in Russia's coat of arms has two heads and, on and off since its first sighting in the Middle Ages, scholars have been tempted to identify it with dualisms in Russian politics and society. Richard Sakwa, known to be a meticulous observer of both, doessoagaininhisnewbook,albeitinan innovative way.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Harald Müller
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 8th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) started on 5 May 2010. The mood was 'cautiously optimistic' as the parties had experienced a productive last preparatory phase. In contrast to the fatally failed 2005 conference, the agenda and rules of procedures had been agreed and conference officers designated. The new US–Russian disarmament treaties on strategic nuclear weapons (NSTART) and disposal of weapon plutonium contributed to raising optimistic expectations. President Barack Obama's commitment to a nuclear weapons free world had impressed many people.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: David Kerr
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia did not join the West, nor did it join the East. Russia's commitment to its strategic autonomy and independent foreign and security policy requires the preservation of a 'middle continent' that bridges and transcends Europe and Asia. Russia pursues a restorationist strategy for Eurasia but faces a three-way struggle: for its own autonomy as a great power; for resistance to absorption within the US-centred system of common strategic space; and for management of the dynamics between the emergent powers through negotiation between strategic partnerships and regionalisms. This article examines these dilemmas in relation to Eastern Eurasia, and in particular the Sino-Russian relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Nicu Popescu, Andrew Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The launch of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) marks the most significant change to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) since it was launched in 2004. In the wake of the Georgia war in August 2008 and yet another gas crisis in January 2009, the EU clearly needs a more constructive policy towards Eastern Europe. But both the ENP and EaP are based on a contradiction. They offer only the remotest possibility of eventual accession to the EU, but are still based on "accession-light" assumptions, applying the conditionality model of the 1990s to weak states that are a long way from meeting the Copenhagen criteria. The priority in the eastern neighbourhood is not building potential members states but strengthening sovereignty, in the face of an increasingly assertive Russian neighbourhood policy. The game is playing the west off against Russia for geopolitical reward.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an innovative, multi-pronged action aimed at enhancing the domestic capacities of a state, as well as its ability to interconnect internationally and to deal with the risk of a terrorist attack involving nuclear or radioactive materials. The GICNT, a joint US-Russian initiative, has now evolved into an informal network of over 70 countries. It pursues it objective of boosting the protection, detection, prosecution and response capabilities of a state by fostering cooperation on three levels: between a government and its agencies; between government and the private sector; and between like-minded states. Given its comprehensive approach to the nuclear terrorism threat, the initiative has great potential. Nevertheless, structural flaws such as the absence of any evaluation mechanism and the exclusion of military-related nuclear materials and sites are likely to make its impact far less global than expected.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Several Arab countries have recently manifested an interest in civilian nuclear energy. For some, like Egypt, this is the revival of an old interest, for others, notably the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it represents a clear reversal of previously held positions. This interest has been interpreted as an implicit threat to move in the direction of acquiring a military nuclear capability, in case Iran develops a bomb. Instead, the article argues that interest in nuclear energy has strong economic motivations for all Arab countries, although the position of the GCC is quite different from that of North Africa and Levant countries, from the point of view of both the cogency of motivation and the ability to concretely and rapidly launch a civilian nuclear program.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: F. Stephen Larrabee
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the last eighteen months, missile defence has emerged as a controversial issue between the United States and its European allies. The administration's plans have provoked a major debate in Europe and the United States. Since the spring of 2007, however, the Bush administration has begun to develop a much more effective public outreach campaign designed to address public concerns. It has also sought to strengthen the link between its bilateral efforts at missile defence and those of NATO and made a number of important proposals designed to reduce Russian concerns.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Paolo Calzini
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In recent years Russia has, thanks to the action of President Putin, witnessed a significant strengthening politically and economically. After years of crisis, this has finally ensured a condition of stability functional to the compromise that has arisen between the regime and society. The election of a new president, Medvedev, in March 2008, marks the beginning of a development phase that will be no less fraught with unknowns than the previous period and destined to create new challenges for the authorities, especially as concerns the social question, long kept on the margins of official policy. The operational plan for the social dimension envisaging a series of interventions aimed at solving the relative problems represents a commitment that could turn out to be crucial for the country's future.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Nazrin Mehdiyeva
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The landslide victory of Dmitry Medvedev in the presidential election of 2 March was accompanied by discussions, particularly in Western analytical and media circles, of whether Vladimir Putin's successor is a democrat or nationalist, aWesterniser or a Slavophile. His pre-electoral policy statements and family life came under scrutiny and were weighed against Putin's warnings that for the West, Medvedev would be ''no easier'' to do business with than himself. While some did not hesitate to dub Medvedev a ''liberal'', others revelled in reports that suggested that the president-elect had been taking coaching lessons to imitate Putin's speech and gait, concluding with enviable confidence that he was ''less a pope than a popelet''.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Russian attitude towards the European Neighbourhood Policy constitutes a serious obstacle to the realisation of the Union's agenda in its neighbourhood. The Russian challenge takes three main forms: 1) with Russia not a part of the EU's overall approach involving the principle of conditionality, the Union's legitimacy and international actorness in general is in danger of being undermined; 2) Russia is increasingly starting to put forward its own model of operation, thus hampering the realisation of the Union's goals in the neighbourhood; 3) Russia is engaging in business activities that are in effect undoing the ENP's energy component. There are no easy fixes to these problems. What the Union must do is believe in its own values and visions: it is only by example that it can promote its ideals outside its institutional boundaries
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe