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  • Author: David Johnson
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In 2000, an overwhelming 97 percent of Afghan girls did not attend school, and today only about 20 percent are literate. Tens of thousands of Afghan girls are now attending school for the first time in years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade. (See INR alternative view at the end of these Key Judgments.)
  • Topic: International Relations, United Nations, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In April 2002, the National Intelligence Council sponsored a conference that examined the impact of events in Afghanistan since 11 September on a variety of regional actors, including Russia, Iran, Turkey, India, Europe, Pakistan, and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The conference brought together government and outside experts and consisted of four workshops with presentations from ten academic and regional experts, followed by lengthy discussion sessions. The purpose of the conference was not to arrive at a consensus but to deepen understanding of the complex geopolitical dynamics at work in the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Russia's Foreign Policy Russian foreign policy in the coming years will be characterized by weakness; frustration--primarily with the United States as the world's preeminent power--over Russia's diminished status; generally cautious international behavior; and a drive to resubjugate, though not reintegrate, the other former Soviet states. The international situation affords Russia time to concentrate on domestic reforms because, for the first time in its history, it does not face significant external threats. But rather than use the breathing space for domestic reforms, Putin is as much--if not more--focused on restoring Russia's self-defined rightful role abroad and seeking to mold the CIS into a counterweight to NATO and the European Union. The Outside World's Views of Russia Russia does not have any genuine allies. Some countries are interested in good relations with Russia, but only as a means to another end. For example, China sees Russia as a counterweight to the United States but values more highly its ties with the United States. Some countries see Russia as a vital arms supplier but resent Russia also selling arms to their rivals (China-India, Iran-Iraq). Pro-Russia business lobbies exist in Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Israel (one-fifth of whose population now consists of Soviet √©migres), but they do not single-handedly determine national policies. Europe is the only region that would like to integrate Russia into a security system, but it is divided over national priorities and institutional arrangements as well as put off by some Russian behavior. Most CIS governments do not trust their colossal neighbor, which continues to show an unsettling readiness to intervene in their internal affairs, though they know Russia well and are to a considerable degree comfortable in dealing with it. Turkey has developed an improved dialogue and an unprecedented number of economic ties with Russia during the post-Cold War period, but this more positive pattern of relations has not fully taken root, and Ankara remains suspicious of Moscow's intentions. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow's role in the Middle East has been reduced, but Israel, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Iraq all favor good relations with Russia. Mutual interests also override disagreements in Russian-Iranian relations, but Tehran is wary of Russian behavior, particularly toward Saddam Hussein. India still trusts Russia--a sentiment that is perhaps a residue of the genuine friendship of Cold War days--but clearly not in the same way it once did, and New Delhi fears that weakness will propel Russia into doing things that could drive India further away. In East Asia, the most substantial breakthrough has been the resurrected relationship between Russia and China, one that entails significant longer-term risk for Russia. Other countries in the region value their links with Moscow as a means to balance a more powerful China, or as a useful component of their larger political and economic strategies, but Russia's role in East Asia--as elsewhere--remains constrained by the decline in its political, military, and economic power over the last decade. Russia's Weakness Russia's weakness stems from long-term secular trends and from its domestic structure. In essence, the old nomenklatura and a few newcomers have transformed power into property on the basis of personal networks and created an equilibrium resting on insider dealings. These insiders may jockey for position but have a vested interest in preserving the system. The public does not like the system but is resigned to it and gives priority to the preservation of order. As for the economy, it is divided into a profitable, internationally integrated sector run by oligarchs and a much larger, insulated, low-productivity, old-style paternalistic sector that locks Russia into low growth. No solace will be forthcoming from the international business and energy worlds. They do not expect the poor commercial climate to improve greatly and will not increase investments much beyond current levels until it does. Militarily, Russia will also remain weak. Its nuclear arsenal is of little utility, and Moscow has neither the will nor the means to reform and strengthen its conventional forces. Hope for the Future? The best hope for change in Russia lies with the younger generation. Several participants reported that under-25 Russians have much more in common with their US counterparts, including use of the Internet, than with older Soviet generations. But there was some question over whether the new generation would change the system or adapt to it. Others placed some hope in international institutions, for instance the World Trade Organization, eventually forcing Russia to adapt to the modern world. Dissenting Views Some participants dissented from the overall forecast of depressing continuity. The keynote speaker, James Billington, stated that Russia would not be forever weak and that the current confusion would end in a few years either through the adoption of authoritarian nationalism or federated democracy. One scholar felt the Chechen war was feeding ethnic discord in other areas of the Federation to which Moscow would respond with increased authoritarianism, not necessarily successfully. Finally, a historian observed that the patience of Russians is legendary but not infinite, meaning that we should not be overly deterministic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 12-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In fall 1996, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) held a series of conferences at National Defense University to identify key global trends and their impact on major regions and countries of the globe. The exercise was designed to help describe and assess major features of the political world as they will appear in the year 2010.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia, South America