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  • Author: Henry Farrell, Martha Finnemore
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government seems outraged that people are leaking classified materials about its less attractive behavior. It certainly acts that way: three years ago, after Chelsea Manning, an army private then known as Bradley Manning, turned over hundreds of thousands of classified cables to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, U.S. authorities imprisoned the soldier under conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture deemed cruel and inhumane. The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, appearing on Meet the Press shortly thereafter, called WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, “a high-tech terrorist.”
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, India
  • Author: Shanker A. Singham
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage. ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars. To combat ACMDs, the conventional trade policy approach of focusing on the The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage.1 ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: David Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After reading the compelling case made by Yosef Kuperwasser and Shalom Lipner in “The Problem Is Palestinian Rejectionism” (November/December 2011), it was quite jarring to read the companion piece, “Israel's Bunker Mentality,” by Ronald Krebs. Krebs' argument boils down to this: Israel was doing quite nicely as a liberal, secular state until 1967, when a war mysteriously descended on it, and since then an illiberal, ethnocentric nationalism has taken over and redefined the country. In the process, Krebs contends, Israel became enamored with the occupation of territories acquired during the Six-Day War, helped along by a growing ultra-Orthodox community and large-scale Russian immigration.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mark Adomanis
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nicholas Eberstadt (“The Dying Bear,” November/December 2011) is surely correct that a rapidly depopulating Russia would be confronted with a number of essentially irresolvable economic, military, and political problems. However, data from Russia's Federal State Statistics Service suggest that over the last decade, Russia's demographic indicators have in fact been getting better. Moreover, this improvement has intensified since the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, confounding a number of Western experts who predicted that the downturn would have a similar eªect within Russia to that of the country's debt default in 1998, when fertility plummeted and mortality skyrocketed.
  • Topic: Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Daniel Treisman, Mikhail Dmitriev
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Moscow's anti-Putin protesters have captured the world's attention. But does their message resonate outside the big cities? New research shows that although Russians in the provinces have no taste for revolution, noisy street protests, or abstract slogans, they are deeply unhappy with the current political system and may soon demand change themselves.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Samuel W. Bodman, James D. Wolfensohn, Julia E. Sweig
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Brazil has transcended its status as the largest and most resource-rich country in Latin America to now be counted among the world's pivotal powers. Brazil is not a conventional military power, it does not rival China or India in population or economic size, and it cannot match the geopolitical history of Russia. Still, how Brazil defines and projects its interests, a still-evolving process, is critical to understanding the character of the new multipolar and unpredictable global order.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: John Deutch
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Thanks to technological advances, in the past few years, vast amounts of natural gas -- particularly shale gas -- have become economically viable. This development is an unmitigated boon for consumers interested in affordable energy and for governments hoping to reduce their countries' dependency on foreign oi.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, North America, Qatar
  • Author: Andrei Shleifer, Daniel Treisman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Too often over the last decades, policymakers in Washington have viewed Moscow's resistance to U.S. policies through the lens of psychology. In fact, Russia's foreign policy has been driven by its own rational self-interest.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: It's tempting to see the 9/11 attacks as having fundamentally changed U.S. foreign policy. It's also wrong. The Bush administration may have gone over the top in responding, but its course was less novel than generally believed. A quest for primacy and military supremacy, a readiness to act proactively and unilaterally, and a focus on democracy and free markets -- all are long-standing features of U.S. policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: December marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the Soviet dictatorship and the beginning of Russia's postcommunist transition. For Russians, the intervening years have been full of elation and promise but also unexpected trouble and disappointment. Perhaps of all the painful developments in Russian society since the Soviet collapse, the most surprising -- and dismaying -- is the country's demographic decline. Over the past two decades, Russia has been caught in the grip of a devastating and highly anomalous peacetime population crisis. The country's population has been shrinking, its mortality levels are nothing short of catastrophic, and its human resources appear to be dangerously eroding. Indeed, the troubles caused by Russia's population trends -- in health, education, family formation, and other spheres -- represent a previously unprecedented phenomenon for an urbanized, literate society not at war. Such demographic problems are far outside the norm for both developed and less developed countries today; what is more, their causes are not entirely understood. There is also little evidence that Russia's political leadership has been able to enact policies that have any long-term hope of correcting this slide. This peacetime population crisis threatens Russia's economic outlook, its ambitions to modernize and develop, and quite possibly its security. In other words, Russia's demographic travails have terrible and outsized implications, both for those inside the country's borders and for those beyond. The humanitarian toll has already been immense, and the continuing economic cost threatens to be huge; no less important, Russia's demographic decline portends ominously for the external behavior of the Kremlin, which will have to confront a far less favorable power balance than it had been banking on.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Karen Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Indonesia is in the midst of a yearlong debut on the world stage. This past spring and summer, it hosted a series of high-profile summits, including for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in May, the World Economic Forum on East Asia the same month, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July. With each event, Indonesia received broad praise for its leadership and achievements. This coming-out party will culminate in November, when the country hosts the East Asia Summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama and world leaders from 17 other countries will attend. As attention turns to Indonesia, the time is ripe to assess whether Jakarta can live up to all the hype. A little over ten years ago, during the height of the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia looked like a state on the brink of collapse. The rupiah was in a death spiral, protests against President Suharto's regime had turned into riots, and violence had erupted against Indonesia's ethnic Chinese community. The chaos left the country -- the fourth largest in the world, a sprawling archipelago including more than 17,000 islands, 200 million people, and the world's largest Muslim population -- without a clear leader. Today, Indonesia is hailed as a model democracy and is a darling of the international financial community. The Jakarta Stock Exchange has been among the world's top performers in recent years, and some analysts have even called for adding Indonesia to the ranks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). More recent efforts to identify the economic superstars of the future -- Goldman Sachs' "Next 11," PricewaterhouseCoopers' "E-7" (emerging 7), The Economist's "CIVETS" (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), and Citigroup's "3G" -- all include Indonesia.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Indonesia, India, East Asia, Brazil, Island
  • Author: Adam Segal
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After years of dismissing the utility of international negotiations on cyberspace, U.S. officials now say that they will participate in talks to develop rules for the virtual world. But which norms should be pursued first and through which venues? As a start, the United States should issue two “cyber declaratory statements,” one about the thresholds of attacks that constitute an act of war and a second that promotes “digital safe havens”—civilian targets that the United States will consider off-limits when it conducts offensive operations. These substantive statements should emerge from a process of informal multilateralism rather than formal negotiations. Washington should engage allies and close partners such as India first and then reach out to other powers such as China and Russia with the goal that they also issue similar statements. Washington should also reach out to the private corporations that operate the Internet and nongovernmental organizations responsible for its maintenance and security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Like much of the world, Russia has been in the midst of a serious economic crisis since the late summer of 2008. Although the worst appears to be over, Russia will continue to feel its effects longer than many other industrialized countries, largely because of a rigid economy burdened with an overweening state role. The recognition that Russia faces serious long-term challenges has emboldened President Dmitry Medvedev and others to call for far-reaching economic restructuring. If successful, their economic policies could undermine the semi-authoritarian, state-capitalist model developed under Prime Minister and former president Vladimir Putin. Although concrete reforms have so far been limited, Medvedev's demands for change (seconded in some cases by Putin) have acquired increasing momentum in recent months. The speed of Russia's recovery and obstacles along the way will play a major role in determining both the success of Medvedev's call for modernization and the course of Russia's foreign policy since a quicker recovery would diminish the pressure for fundamental reform and lessen the need for caution internationally.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Affairs, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The replacement for the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in April 2010, marks the first legally binding arms control agreement to be reached in nearly twenty years. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in May 2010, where the topic of nu clear disarmament will be discussed, the elimination of nuclear weapons will be viewed as a practical possibility. While this prospect can be easily dismissed as an optimistic or flee ting trend, it should instead be harnessed as a means to bolster international security, or at least not to make matter s worse. This requires both sound insights into what is and is not possible, and in Washington, sensitivity to an increasing number of contentious political views regarding nuclear controls.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama has made reductions in the United States' nuclear arsenal and a decreased reliance on nuclear weapons major foreign policy priorities for his administration. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), signed in April 2010 by President Obama and Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, represents concrete movement toward these goals—goals that both presidents share. This follow-on accord to the 1991 START Treaty limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear and conventional war - heads, 800 strategic launchers, and 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. Yet while the New START Treaty represents a substantial decrease from Cold War levels, the United States will retain around 2,000 deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and Russia will maintain approximately 3,500 deployed strategic and tactical nuclear weapons—which together will constitute over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is being outmaneuvered in the international forums that will determine the future of the Internet. Led by Russia and China, nondemocratic regimes are organizing into a united front to promote a vision of the Internet that is tightly controlled by states. That vision is increasingly attractive to many Western nations wrestling with interrelated threats of cybercrime, industrial espionage, and cyber warfare. The United States must actively combat these threats while it works to protect U.S. national interests in the preservation and extension of the Internet as a platform for increased efficiency and economic exchange. Protecting this interest requires far more extensive engagement within Internet governance forums to shape the future of the network in a way that addresses security concerns without resulting in a cure that is worse than the disease.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Charles D. Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past three years, a remarkable bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington regarding nuclear security. The new U.S. nuclear agenda includes renewing formal arms control agreements with Russia, revitalizing a strategic dialogue with China, pushing for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, repairing the damaged nuclear nonproliferation regime, and redoubling efforts to reduce and secure fissile material that may be used in weapons. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the veteran foreign policy experts Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry, and George Shultz successfully encouraged both major-party candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, to embrace the idea of a world free of nuclear weapons. In the past year, President Obama has made this goal a priority for his administration, although he admits that it is not likely to occur in his lifetime. This presents a conundrum, however: In a world where the strongest conventional military power cannot envision giving up its nuclear weapons before all other nations have abandoned theirs, how will humanity ever rid itself of these weapons? In order to speed the reduction of its own nuclear arsenal and encourage other countries' disarmament, the United States will have to confront three daunting obstacles: the insecurities of nations, including some currently protected under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and others that see a nuclear capability as the answer to many of their security problems; the notion that nuclear weapons are the great equalizer in the realm of international relations; and the proliferation risk that inevitably arises whenever nuclear supplier states offer to build civilian reactors for nonnuclear states.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Abraham D. Sofaer
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush announced his determination to do whatever was necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States. Following the lead of several countries that had recently come to similar conclusions after their own bitter experiences -- including India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom -- the United States tightened its immigration laws; increased the protection of its borders, ports, and infrastructure; criminalized providing "material support" for terrorist groups; and tore down the wall between the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies, which had crippled counterterrorist efforts for decades. Washington did not authorize preventive detention, as other countries had, but it used other measures to hold persons against whom criminal charges could not be brought -- thereby preventing terrorist attacks. The U.S. government also led or joined various international efforts aimed at warding off new dangers, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, through which over 70 states cooperate to interdict the movement of nuclear materials across international borders. But the Bush administration's call for preventive action went further: it endorsed using force against states that supported terrorism or failed to prevent it. This was a particularly controversial position, since using (or threatening to use) preventive force across international borders is generally considered to be a violation of international law: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and most international legal authorities currently construe the United Nations Charter as prohibiting any use of force not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, with the exception of actions taken in self-defense against an actual or imminent state-sponsored "armed attack."
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Washington, Israel, Spain
  • Author: Kenneth Roth
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After eight years of the Bush administration, with its torture of suspected terrorists and disregard for international law, Barack Obama's victory in the November 2008 U.S. presidential election seemed a breath of fresh air to human rights activists. Obama took office at a moment when the world desperately needed renewed U.S. leadership. In his inaugural address, Obama immediately signaled that, unlike Bush, he would reject as false "the choice between our safety and our ideals." Obama faces the challenge of restoring the United States' credibility at a time when repressive governments -- emboldened by the increasing influence of authoritarian powers such as China and Russia -- seek to undermine the enforcement of international human rights standards. As he put it when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States cannot "insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves." His Nobel speech in Oslo also affirmed the U.S. government's respect for the Geneva Conventions. "Even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules," Obama argued, "I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength." When it comes to promoting human rights at home and abroad, there has undoubtedly been a marked improvement in presidential rhetoric. However, the translation of those words into deeds remains incomplete. AN INCOMPLETE REVERSAL Obama moved rapidly to reverse the most abusive aspects of the Bush administration's approach to fighting terrorism. Two days after taking office, he insisted that all U.S. interrogators, including those from the CIA, abide by the stringent standards adopted by the U.S. military in the wake of the Abu Ghraib debacle. He also ordered the shuttering of all secret CIA detention facilities, where many suspects "disappeared" and were tortured between 2001 and 2008. Finally, he promised to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Ray Takeyh, James M. Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: JAMES M. LINDSAY is Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. RAY TAKEYH is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran
  • Author: Robert D. Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The English geographer Sir Halford Mackinder ended his famous 1904 article, "The Geographical Pivot of History," with a disturbing reference to China. After explaining why Eurasia was the geostrategic fulcrum of world power, he posited that the Chinese, should they expand their power well beyond their borders, "might constitute the yellow peril to the world's freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent, an advantage as yet denied to the Russian tenant of the pivot region." Leaving aside the sentiment's racism, which was common for the era, as well as the hysterics sparked by the rise of a non-Western power at any time, Mackinder had a point: whereas Russia, that other Eurasian giant, basically was, and is still, a land power with an oceanic front blocked by ice, China, owing to a 9,000-mile temperate coastline with many good natural harbors, is both a land power and a sea power. (Mackinder actually feared that China might one day conquer Russia.) China's virtual reach extends from Central Asia, with all its mineral and hydrocarbon wealth, to the main shipping lanes of the Pacific Ocean. Later, in Democratic Ideals and Reality, Mackinder predicted that along with the United States and the United Kingdom, China would eventually guide the world by "building for a quarter of humanity a new civilization, neither quite Eastern nor quite Western."
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia
  • Author: Charles A. Kupchan
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: At NATO's 2010 summit, planned for November, the alliance's members intend to adopt a new "strategic concept" to guide its evolution. NATO's relationship with Russia is at the top of the agenda. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and its NATO allies have constructed a post-Cold War order that effectively shuts Russia out. Although NATO and the European Union have embraced the countries of central and eastern Europe, they have treated Russia as an outsider, excluding it from the main institutions of the Euro-Atlantic community. Russia's isolation is in part a product of its own making. The country's stalled democratic transition and occasional bouts of foreign policy excess warrant NATO's continued role as a hedge against the reemergence of an expansionist Russia. Nonetheless, the West is making a historic mistake in treating Russia as a strategic pariah. As made clear by the settlements after the Napoleonic Wars and World War II -- in contrast to the one that followed World War I -- including former adversaries in a postwar order is critical to the consolidation of great-power peace. Anchoring Russia in an enlarged Euro-Atlantic order, therefore, should be an urgent priority for NATO today. Russia has been disgruntled with the expansion of NATO ever since the alliance began courting new members from the former Soviet bloc in the early 1990s. However, Russia's economic and military decline and the West's primacy encouraged NATO members to discount the potential consequences of Russian discontent. "As American capabilities surged and Russian capabilities waned," the political scientists Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry have observed, "Washington policymakers increasingly acted as though Russia no longer mattered and the United States could do whatever it wanted." The strategic landscape has since changed dramatically, however, and the costs of excluding Russia from the Euro-Atlantic order have risen substantially. The Kremlin's recentralization of power and Russia's economic rebound thanks to higher energy prices have brought the country back to life. Russia now has the confidence and the capability to push back against NATO -- just as the West urgently needs Moscow's cooperation on a host of issues, including the containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions, arms control and nonproliferation, the stabilization of Afghanistan, counterterrorism, and energy security.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In December 2000, Nikolai Patrushev, who had succeeded Vladimir Putin as director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), gave an interview to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police. He described the FSB's personnel: "Our best colleagues, the honor and pride of the FSB, don't do their work for the money," he said. "They all look different, but there is one very special characteristic that unites all these people, and it is a very important quality: It is their sense of service. They are, if you like, our new 'nobility.'"Over the last decade in Russia, the FSB, the modern successor to the Soviet secret police, the KGB, has been granted the role of the new elite, enjoying expanded responsibilities and immunity from public oversight or parliamentary control. The FSB's budget is not published; the total number of officers is undisclosed. But even cautious estimates suggest that the FSB employs more than 200,000 people. For ten years, Putin, a KGB and FSB veteran himself, has held power in the Kremlin as president and now prime minister. He has made the FSB the main security service in Russia, permitting it to absorb much of the former KGB and granting it the right to operate abroad, collect information, and carry out special operations. When Putin was elected president, in 2000, the Russian secret services were in an extremely difficult position. They had been left behind in the mad rush to market reforms and democracy of the 1990s, and their ranks had thinned due to the lure of big money in Russia's new capitalist economy. Those who remained faced daunting and dispiriting new challenges: the festering war in Chechnya and the resulting rise of terrorism in Moscow and other cities far from the Chechen battlefield. FSB officers faced pressures of corruption that far exceeded those of Soviet times. The organization also suffered from deep public distrust, a legacy of both the repression carried out by the Soviet KGB and the chaotic first decade of Russia's post-Soviet experience.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Jorge G. Castañeda
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Few matters generate as much consensus in international affairs today as the need to rebuild the world geopolitical order. Everyone seems to agree, at least in their rhetoric, that the makeup of the United Nations Security Council is obsolete and that the G-8 no longer includes all the world's most important economies. Belgium still has more voting power in the leading financial institutions than either China or India. New actors need to be brought in. But which ones? And what will be the likely results? If there is no doubt that a retooled international order would be far more representative of the distribution of power in the world today, it is not clear whether it would be better.The major emerging powers, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, catchily labeled the BRICs by Goldman Sachs, are the main contenders for inclusion. There are other groupings, too: the G-5, the G-20, and the P-4; the last -- Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan -- are the wannabes that hope to join the UN Security Council and are named after the P-5, the council's permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Up for the G-8 are Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. The G-8 invited representatives of those five states to its 2003 summit in Evian, France, and from 2005 through 2008, this so-called G-5 attended its own special sessions on the sidelines of the G-8's.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: Walter Laqueur
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Russia is showing signs that it may be interested in refashioning its relationship with the West, and with the United States in particular. Moscow would like to trade its cooperation on a range of international issues for technology and investment, both of which it needs for domestic growth and stability.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Moscow
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For two weeks in the freezing January of 2009, homes and businesses across Europe were left without heat, the result of a murky dispute over gas prices between Russia and Ukraine. When Moscow and Kiev failed to agree on a formula for calculating price and transit fees for the coming year, the gas simply stopped flowing. Europe, which gets a significant proportion of its gas through pipelines that transit both Russia and Ukraine, bore the brunt of this confrontation between the two feuding post-Soviet neighbors.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Ukraine faces a year of challenge in 2009. In the aftermath of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict, Kiev must cope with an increasingly assertive Russian foreign policy. The Kremlin regards Ukraine as part of its sphere of privileged interests, has made clear its unhappiness with Kiev's desire to integrate into the European and Euro-Atlantic communities, and will attempt to disrupt that course. The possibility exists, more real following the August conflict, of a serious confrontation between Kiev and Moscow over issues such as Ukraine's geopolitical orientation and the Black Sea Fleet.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Brad W. Setser, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China reported $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2008. This is by far the largest stockpile of foreign exchange in the world: China holds roughly two times more reserves than Japan, and four times more than either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Moreover, China's true foreign port- folio exceeds its disclosed foreign exchange reserves. At the end of December, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE)—part of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) managed close to $2.1 trillion: $1.95 trillion in formal reserves and between $108 and $158 billion in “other foreign assets.” China's state banks and the China Investment Corporation (CIC), China's sovereign wealth fund, together manage another $250 billion or so. This puts China's total holdings of foreign assets at over $2.3 trillion. That is over 50 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP), or roughly $2,000 per Chinese inhabitant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Israel, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Daniel Deudney, G. John Ikenberry
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Autocracies such as China and Russia do not represent a sustainable alternative to liberal democracy. In fact, the pull of liberal democracy is stronger than ever.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States' unique ability to capitalize on connectivity will make the twenty-first century an American century.
  • Topic: War, Communications
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Georgia
  • Author: Constanze Stelzenmüller
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Germany is a bridge between Russia and the West, and how Berlin chooses to deal with Moscow will set the tone for how the United States and the rest of Europe manage their own relationships with Russia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander J. Motyl
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The recent deterioration in relations between Russia and Ukraine should be of great concern to the West, because Ukraine's security is critical to Europe's stability. Ukraine must be placed back on the policy agenda as a player in its own right.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Robert Legvold
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Reversing the collapse of U.S.-Russian relations is one of the great tests facing the Obama administration. Among the major powers, Russia is the hard case. And the stakes involved in getting U.S.-Russian relations right are high -- much higher than the leadership of either country has acknowledged or perhaps even realized so far. If the Obama administration can guide the relationship onto a more productive path, as it is trying to do, it will not only open the way for progress on the day's critical issues -- from nuclear security and energy security to climate change and peaceful change in the post-Soviet area -- but also be taking on a truly historic task. One of the blessings of the post-Cold War era has been the absence of strategic rivalry among great powers, a core dynamic of the previous 300 years in the history of international relations. Should it return, some combination of tensions between the United States, Russia, and China would likely be at its core. Ensuring that this does not happen constitutes the less noticed but more fateful foreign policy challenge facing this U.S. president and the next.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Soviet Union
  • Author: Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: NATO's 60th anniversary, celebrated in April with pomp and circumstance by the leaders of nearly 30 allied states, generated little public interest. NATO's historical role was treated as a bore. In the opinion-shaping media, there were frequent derisive dismissals and even calls for the termination of the alliance as a dysfunctional geostrategic irrelevance. Russian spokespeople mocked it as a Cold War relic. Even France's decision to return to full participation in NATO's integrated military structures -- after more than 40 years of abstention -- aroused relatively little positive commentary. Yet France's actions spoke louder than words. A state with a proud sense of its universal vocation sensed something about NATO -- not the NATO of the Cold War but the NATO of the twenty-first century -- that made it rejoin the world's most important military alliance at a time of far-reaching changes in the world's security dynamics. France's action underlined NATO's vital political role as a regional alliance with growing global potential. In assessing NATO's evolving role, one has to take into account the historical fact that in the course of its 60 years the alliance has institutionalized three truly monumental transformations in world affairs: first, the end of the centuries-long "civil war" within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy; second, the United States' post-World War II commitment to the defense of Europe against Soviet domination (resulting from either a political upheaval or even World War III); and third, the peaceful termination of the Cold War, which ended the geopolitical division of Europe and created the preconditions for a larger democratic European Union. Even France's decision to return to full participation in NATO's integrated military structures -- after more than 40 years of abstention -- aroused relatively little positive commentary. Yet France's actions spoke louder than words. A state with a proud sense of its universal vocation sensed something about NATO -- not the NATO of the Cold War but the NATO of the twenty-first century -- that made it rejoin the world's most important military alliance at a time of far-reaching changes in the world's security dynamics. France's action underlined NATO's vital political role as a regional alliance with growing global potential. In assessing NATO's evolving role, one has to take into account the historical fact that in the course of its 60 years the alliance has institutionalized three truly monumental transformations in world affairs: first, the end of the centuries-long "civil war" within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy; second, the United States' post-World War II commitment to the defense of Europe against Soviet domination (resulting from either a political upheaval or even World War III); and third, the peaceful termination of the Cold War, which ended the geopolitical division of Europe and created the preconditions for a larger democratic European Union.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, France
  • Author: Stephen Kotkin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese-Russian relationship is more opportunistic than strategic, Bobo Lo argues. The United States is stuck watching from the sidelines and may be pushing Moscow further into Beijing's pocket.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Beijing, Moscow
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Two decades after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and nearly 20 years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia has shed communism and lost its historical empire. But it has not yet found a new role. Instead, it sits uncomfortably on the periphery of both Europe and Asia while apprehensively rubbing shoulders with the Muslim world. Throughout the 1990s, Moscow attempted to integrate into, and then with, the West. These efforts failed, both because the West lacked the will to adopt Russia as one of its own and because Russian elites chose to embrace a corporatist and conservative policy agenda at home and abroad. As a result, in the second presidential term of Vladimir Putin, Russia abandoned its goal of joining the West and returned to its default option of behaving as an independent great power. It redefined its objectives: soft dominance in its immediate neighborhood; equality with the world's principal power centers, China, the European Union, and the United States; and membership in a global multipolar order. Half a decade later, this policy course has revealed its failures and flaws. Most are rooted in the Russian government's inability and unwillingness to reform the country's energy-dependent economy, the noncompetitive nature of Russian politics, and a trend toward nationalism and isolationism. In terms of foreign policy, Russia's leaders have failed to close the book on the lost Soviet empire. It is as if they exited the twentieth century through two doors at the same time: one leading to the globalized market of the twenty-first century and the other opening onto the Great Game of the nineteenth century. As the current global economic crisis has demonstrated, the model that Russia's contemporary leaders have chosen -- growth without development, capitalism without democracy, and great-power policies without international appeal -- cannot hold forever. Not only will Russia fail to achieve its principal foreign policy objectives, it will fall further behind in a world increasingly defined by instant communication and open borders, leading to dangers not merely to its status but also to its existence. Russia's foreign policy needs more than a reset: it requires a new strategy and new policy instruments and mechanisms to implement it.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Michael McFaul, Kathryn Stoner-Weiss
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A growing conventional wisdom holds that Vladimir Putin's attack on democracy has brought Russia stability and prosperity -- providing a new model of successful market authoritarianism. But the correlation between autocracy and economic growth is spurious. Autocracy's effects in Russia have in fact been negative. Whatever the gains under Putin, they would have been greater under a democratic regime.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Ronald D. Asmus
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After the Cold War, NATO and the EU opened their doors to central and Eastern Europe, making the continent safer and freer than ever before. Today, NATO and the EU must articulate a new rationale for enlarging still further, once again extending democracy and prosperity to the East, this time in the face of a more powerful and defiant Russia.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Harry C. Blaney III
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor: Ronald Asmus' article "Europe's Eastern Promise" (January/February 2008) was right on the fundamental importance of promoting stability, security, and democracy in eastern Europe. However, such an approach should be combined with a Western strategy to engage Russia in major efforts to promote cooperation and Russia's integration with the West. Russia feels that the further extension of NATO toward its borders would not be in its interests. Although that may not be the overriding consideration in the West's decisions, it must remain part of any assessment of the long-term strategic situation and inform a larger vision for the area.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Padma Desai
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor: Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss ("The Myth of the Authoritarian Model," January/February 2008) make several erroneous judgments regarding the current Russian scene. The Russian economy has grown in the last seven years at an annual rate of 6.5 percent. The ongoing debate among economists and other informed observers of Russia is over whether this is a result of exceptionally high (and rising) oil prices, and hence a reversible phenomenon if the price of oil collapses, or the result of substantive changes in the last decade that made high growth rates sustainable. At a major World Leaders Forum and a scientific conference attended by distinguished Russia scholars at Columbia University last April, participants shared the view that Russia's economic performance was not a flash in the pan caused by oil; rather, the consensus was that important policy changes had taken place. Still, no responsible Western scholar of Russia (nor even a supporter of former Russian President Vladimir Putin) has suggested that the high growth rates in Russia are a product of Putin's authoritarian ways. The claim by McFaul and Stoner-Weiss that this argument is made is simply creating a straw man.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Coalter G. Lathrop, Scott Borgerson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor: Scott Borgerson's article "Arctic Meltdown" (March/April 2008) is an addition to the recent wave of Arctic journalism rife with Wild West imagery of chaos and lawlessness -- a reporting trend spurred by Russia's August 2007 flag-planting stunt on the North Pole. Arctic frontier jargon that included "land grab" and "ungainly scramble" is now augmented by Borgerson's "gold rush" and "legal no man's land." While Borgerson correctly identifies the many sources of tension in the region, he is wrong when he writes that "the Arctic region is not currently governed by any comprehensive multilateral norms." The Arctic is not the "legal vacuum" invoked in his piece; it is a region governed by international law and, for the maritime issues that are the main subject of the article, specifically by the international law of the sea. With one exception ("growing talk of Greenland petitioning Denmark for political independence"), all of the Arctic problems that Borgerson raises -- offshore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, overlapping maritime claims, wide-margin continental shelves, the dumping of nuclear reactors, indigenous whaling, and a variety of shipping issues, including contested shipping routes, the use of flags of convenience, vessel-source pollution, and ship-based tourism -- are quintessential law-of-the-sea problems, around which a robust and widely adopted body of international law has grown.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Katrina vanden Heuvel
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Replying to Padma Desai's letter ("Putin's Russia," May/June 2008), Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss assert that, like the Yeltsin-era media bosses, the United States' "oligarchs . . . own" many media outlets, including The Nation. In reality, The Nation -- the United States' oldest continuously published weekly -- has operated at a loss during all but a few of its 143 years and has been kept alive by its subscribers, advertisers, and many loyal supporters. Moreover, The Nation's equally long-standing antioligarchic positions are known to virtually everyone familiar with the American press.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America
  • Author: Stephen Sestanovich
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The next president will have to reassess the U.S.-Russian relationship and find the right balance between pushing back and cooperating.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington, Moscow
  • Author: Nina Khrushcheva
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: One goal of Russia's economic reforms during the last ten years has been to establish a new class of businessmen and owners of private property—people who could form the foundation for a new model post-Soviet citizen. However, the experience of this post-communist economic “revolution” has turned out to be very different from the original expectations. For as people became disillusioned with communism due to its broken promises, the words “democracy” and “reform” quickly became equally as unbearable to large sectors of the Russian public after 1991. Such disillusion was achieved in less than ten years—a record revolutionary burnout that would be the envy of any anti-Bolshevik.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, Ronald Montaperto, Brad Roberts
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Historically, U.S. nuclear strategists and arms control experts have paid little attention to the People's Republic of China (PRC). China has not been a major factor in the U.S. nuclear calculus, which has remained centered on U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenals as the principal framework for arms control and arms reductions. Yet today China is the only one of the five de jure nuclear weapons states qualitatively and quantitatively expanding its nuclear arsenal.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Charles A. Kupchan, Morton I. Abramowitz, Albert Fishlow
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The last of the six Balkan Wars of the twentieth century is over. But it is by no means certain that a durable peace is at hand. After vast death, destruction, and savagery lasting almost a decade can the peoples of the former Yugoslavia live together again in peace? If so, the region will require sustained help and support from the West. The United States and its European partners are in the midst of mustering the necessary resources and political will. There are numerous uncertainties complicating efforts to proceed with the reconstruction of the area. Whatever the international community may proclaim, the borders of Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia could well change. The management of Kosovo's status and its relationship to Serbia is likely to produce serious tensions within the Alliance and between NATO and Russia. What politically will emerge from a beaten and traumatized Serbia no one can predict. Nor is it clear that Montenegro will remain as part of Yugoslavia, particularly if Milosevic continues to rule. An ethically fragile Macedonia has been badly weakened by the war and the inflow of three hundred thousand Kosovar deportees. Albania barely hangs together as a state. Neighboring Rumania and Bulgaria have avoided violence and begun to remake their societies, but they have suffered economically from the wars. The area of reconstruction is small and the population limited; the task at hand certainly is not of the dimensions of restoring post-war Europe. But the problems are daunting. Without security there will be no development. NATO forces will be needed indefinitely to keep the peace in Bosnia and Kosovo. Much more must be done to promote political and economic reform in the region, requiring vision and planning. The states of the region will first need urgent help to stabilize their economies and manage enormous humanitarian problems. They must also be able to envisage a better future, one that holds out the prospect of bringing them into Europe's political and economic mainstream. Realizing that goal will require profound changes in their economies and institutions as well as in their relationships with each other. Faced with these challenges, Western countries and a host of international institutions have begun to address how to foster the broad reconstruction of the area. The EU-sponsored stability pact, adopted in Cologne in June, is the beginning attempt at a multifaceted, coordinated approach to the problem. The G-8 has agreed on a broad program of financial assistance, and the EU has pledged 1.5 billion dollars for aid to Kosovo alone. Numerous follow-up conferences are already planned. Much more work has to be done to give reality and coherence to such efforts. Balkan reconstruction will be a protracted undertaking. It will require extremely difficult commodities – a comprehensive approach and the will, resources, and mechanisms to implement the effort. It is mostly to such a long term approach that this preliminary working paper addresses itself. It does not deal with the immediate requirements of refugee return and humanitarian assistance nor the urgent repair of human and material infrastructure. The World Bank and the IMF in cooperation with many other international organizations and interested countries are coordinating the assessment of needs and costs and have issued preliminary reports. The purpose of this working paper is to provide a broad political approach and to highlight the three key components of a comprehensive, long-term strategy: building security, integrating the region into the European Union, and fostering economic and political reform. For the purposes of this paper, we consider the region to be Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Rumania. This is somewhat arbitrary and these states are at different stages of political and economic development. The problems of Rumania and Bulgaria are quite different than Serbia's and Kosovo's; Croatia is much further advanced than next door Serbia and Bosnia. They all have to be dealt with separately, and no single state should hold back the progress of others in entering Europe. But they also face a collective future and the region will enjoy a lasting peace only if all its states leave the past behind and move decidedly to join the wider community.
  • Topic: NATO, Ethnic Conflict, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Bosnia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia
  • Author: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Council on Foreign Relations, F. Stephen Larrabee
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Northeastern Europe sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations was formed to examine the policy challenges confronting the United States in northeastern Europe and recommend measures to advance U.S. interests in the region. The Task Force felt that northeastern Europe deserves special attention for several reasons. First, during the Cold War, northeastern Europe was a strategic backwater and received relatively little attention in U.S. policy. However, since the end of the Cold War, the region has become an important focal point of U.S. policy. The Clinton administration has given northeastern Europe high priority and viewed the region as a laboratory for promoting closer regional cooperation and reknitting Europe—both eastern and western—into a more cohesive economic and political unit. As Secretary of State Madeleine Albright noted in her speech in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July 1997, “Our challenge is to build a fully integrated Europe that includes every European democracy willing to meet its responsibilities. That goal embraces the Baltic nations.” Thus, to some extent, northeastern Europe can be seen as a test case for the Clinton administration's general approach toward post-Cold War Europe. Second, northeastern Europe is also a test case for the administration's policy toward Russia. One of the key elements of the administration's policy has been its effort to reach out to Russia and to include Russia in regional cooperation arrangements in northeastern Europe. This effort has been designed to integrate Russia gradually into a broader European framework as well as to defuse Russian concerns about the integration of the Baltic states into Euro-Atlantic institutions, especially NATO. This policy is seen by the administration as a litmus test of its effort to overcome the old zero-sum Cold War paradigm and demonstrate that greater regional cooperation can bring benefits to all, including Russia. Thus, how well this policy succeeds will have broader implications for the administration's policy toward Russia as a whole. Third, three critical areas of U.S. policy interest—the Baltics, the Nordics, and Russia—intersect in northeastern Europe. Instability in the region would affect all three interests. Moreover, the Baltic region is the one region in Europe where a U.S.-Russian confrontation is still conceivable. Thus, the United States has a strong stake in defusing the potential for conflict in the region and promoting its stable economic and political development. Fourth, the United States faces a number of critical challenges in the region. One of the most important is managing the security aspirations of the Baltic states. The Baltic states are tied to Europe historically and culturally. They share Western values and aspirations. Having thrown off the shackles of communism and Soviet domination, the Baltic states, like their counterparts in Central Europe, want to join Europe and Euro-Atlantic institutions. How the United States seeks to accommodate their security aspirations will be a major test of the U.S. commitment to creating a “Europe whole and free” and its ability to overcome the zero-sum logic of the Cold War. Fifth, the policy challenges in northeastern Europe—particularly those in the Baltic subregion—directly touch on Russia's security interests and have important implications for U.S.-Russian relations. Top Russian officials have reiterated on numerous occasions that Baltic membership in NATO could have serious repercussions for Russia's relations with NATO and the newly established Russia-NATO Council in particular. Although such statements should not necessarily be taken at face value, they highlight the sensitivity of the Baltic issue among the Russian policy elite and ensure that it will remain a highly contentious issue in U.S. relations with Russia. Sixth, the issue of security in northeastern Europe directly affects U.S. relations with the Nordic states, especially Sweden and Finland: the Baltic states are in the Nordic states' strategic backyard. Thus, how the Baltic issue is handled has direct implications for Nordic security—and especially for relations of the Nordic states with Russia. Neither Sweden nor Finland wants to see the Baltic or Nordic region become a gray zone or flash point. At the same time, neither wants to assume the primary responsibility for the security of the Baltic states, which would overburden the capability of either nation. Finally, security issues in northeastern Europe pose important dilemmas for U.S. policy toward NATO. The Baltic issue is the trickiest and most sensitive part of the enlargement puzzle. The Clinton administration has committed itself to helping the Baltic states gain membership in NATO. But many senators have reservations about further enlargement, especially to the Baltic states. So do many of America's NATO allies. Thus, gaining support for Baltic membership could be difficult and will require the administration to build a consensus for its policy both in the U.S. Senate and within the alliance.
  • Topic: Cold War, Communism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Thomas I. Palley
  • Publication Date: 04-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last nine months the global economy has been roiled by a financial crisis that has moved through Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea. Japan has also been affected by its wake, as has Russia. So too has Latin America, where Brazil has had to raise interest rates substantially to fend off an incipient currency crisis.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, Asia, Brazil
  • Author: Barnett Rubin
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On August 8, 1998, the Taliban (Islamic student) movement of Afghanistan took control of Mazar-i Sharif, the last city remaining outside their control. 2 In their campaign in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban succeeded in gaining control of nearly all the parts of the country's territory that had remained outside their power since they marched into Kabul on September 26, 1996. Just as the Taliban prepared to campaign for international diplomatic recognition, however, the United States on August 20, 1998, launched a cruise missile attack against camps in Afghanistan that it charged contained the terrorist infrastructure of a movement led by Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile. The United States claimed to have strong evidence implicating bin Laden and his network of exiled Islamists in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7. The United States also raided a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, said to be manufacturing precursors of chemical weapons substances. The Taliban's continued defense of bin Laden and their denunciation of the U.S. raid ruled out any dialogue between the Taliban and the United States that perhaps would lead to U.S. diplomatic recognition and construction of oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia through Afghanistan. The Taliban's behavior complicated their relations with regional states as well. Saudi Arabia, one of only three states that recognized the Taliban's government, expelled their diplomatic representative on September 22 in reprisal for the Taliban's continued harboring of Osama bin Laden. Most dramatically, the Taliban's killing of nine Iranian diplomats during their takeover of Mazar-i Sharif has led to an extended confrontation with Tehran. War, or at least military action, cannot be ruled out. During the more than 20 years since the “Sawr Revolution” of April 27, 1978, brought a communist party to power, Afghanistan had moved from one stage to another of civil war and political disintegration, without seeming to get any closer toward peace, political order, or sustainable development. The combination of an inimical regional environment, characterized by unstable strategic and economic competition, with the destruction of much of the country's elites, institutions, and infrastructure, has assured the continuation of war among forces based in different regions of the divided country. The victory of the Taliban may put an end to open warfare, but it is likely to result in continued guerrilla or commando activities. The emergence of an assertive Islamic traditionalism in the form of the Taliban has also placed new obstacles in the way of international humanitarian and peacemaking programs. 3 The division of control over the country had remained relatively stable since the summer of 1997. The Taliban movement, originally based in the southern city of Qandahar, the heartland of Pashtun traditionalism and the homeland of Afghanistan's old royal clan, had conquered the Persian-speaking city of Herat, near the Iranian border, in September 1995. A year later, in September 1996, the Taliban swept into the eastern Pashtun city of Jalalabad and Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, driving out the Tajik-dominated government of the “Islamic State of Afghanistan” that was led by President Burhanuddin Rabbani and Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud. At the end of May 1997, the Taliban took advantage of divisions within the mainly Uzbek National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan (NIMA) to take temporary control of Mazar-i Sharif. This northern city on the border of Uzbekistan was the only major urban center still not controlled by them. The Shia in the city, however, mostly from the Hazara ethnic group, resisted the Taliban attempt to disarm them and drove the conquerors out in bloody battles that killed thousands and may also have led to the subsequent massacre of prisoners. A Taliban attempt to recapture Mazar-i Sharif in September 1997 also failed, largely because of a major resupply effort mounted by Iran. While the Taliban failed in their first two attempts to control the entire North from this urban center, they managed to establish a long-term presence in the area. They gained the support of many of the ethnic Pashtuns who had been settled in the North by the Afghan monarchy and established a political and military base in Kunduz, which was supplied by air from Kabul and, according to some reports, Pakistan. Despite intermittent activity on several front lines (north of Kabul, around Kunduz, northeast of Herat, on the borders of Hazarajat), the lines of control remained relatively stable until the Taliban's new offensive in July 1998. 4 The Taliban have constituted a governmental structure that they call the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistano Islami Amarat). Before the summer 1998 offensive, they controlled the entire Pashtun belt, from Jalalabad in the East, through Qandahar in the South, and on through the Southwest. They also controlled the ethnically mixed, primarily Persian-speaking cities of Herat and Kabul, which border on the Pashtun areas. Finally, they controlled a pocket of territory in the North centered around Kunduz. They thus controlled the highways connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan, nearly all the Pakistani border, the entire Iranian border, and about half of the border with Turkmenistan. They also appeared to control part of the border with Tajikistan, including the port of Sher Khan Bandar. These areas included all the country's major customs posts except for Hairatan, north of Mazar-i Sharif, which the Taliban briefly held in May 1997. They also controlled the areas estimated to produce 90 percent of Afghanistan's opium poppies, the country's most profitable crop. Taxes on this crop are an important source of revenue for the Taliban, though they strictly prohibit its consumption. The United Nations estimates that Afghanistan and the surrounding region produce slightly more than half the world's supply of this drug. 5 The opposition to the Taliban, known generically as the “United Front,” consisted of several groups controlling different portions of the remaining parts of the country, which are largely inhabited by Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras. After the main Taliban offensive, elements of these groups controlled only a few mountainous areas home to ethnic minorities: Badakhshan and the Panjsher Valley, inhabited by Tajiks, and the Hazarajat, home to the Shia Muslim Hazara ethnic group. Before the Taliban's July-August offensive, the opposition groups had controlled most of the northern tier of provinces from Faryab to Badakhshan (except for Kunduz) as well as the Hazarajat. They controlled the main highway leading to Uzbekistan and the railhead at Hairatan that connects to the former Soviet rail system with links to Asia and Europe. Hairatan is the only major customs post in their region. These territories included about half of Afghanistan's border with Turkmenistan, the short but logistically and economically important border with Uzbekistan, nearly the entire border with Tajikistan, and a remote, mountainous, and largely inaccessible part of the border with Pakistan (including Pakistan-controlled Kashmir). Even before the offensive, the Taliban appeared to control at least two-thirds of Afghanistan's territory; their own estimates ranged as high as 85 percent. Much of that territory, however, was uninhabited desert, especially in the Southwest. The areas under Taliban control at that time included probably slightly more than half the country's population, which is currently estimated at nearly 24 million. 6 The two largest population centers then under Taliban rule, Herat and Kabul, were largely hostile to them, and the requirements of controlling these areas probably make them more of a drain on Taliban personnel than a source of recruits. These market centers provided significant income, however. The Taliban's main advantage was that they controlled the territory and population in the regions they ruled through a unitary structure, while the opposition remained split and riven by feuds. The opposition was divided into several groups, and each group was further divided into feuding factions. Furthermore, both sides depended to a great extent (though precise data are lacking) on foreign military, technical, and financial assistance. The Taliban are supported and were to some extent organized by Pakistan, with financial support from both official and unofficial sources in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, while the northern groups have received aid from Iran, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The Taliban thus controlled the borders and highways leading not only to their own main supporter, Pakistan, but also to the opposition's main supporter, Iran. Supplying the Taliban was thus easier and less expensive than supplying the northern groups. By late August, the Taliban had control of virtually all the country's airfields except for two in Hazarajat. This effectively stopped aid to any other region. The regional competition results from the reconfiguration of the region after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Iran, Pakistan, and Russia are competing for control over the routes by which Central Asia's oil and gas resources will reach outside markets, which in turn will largely determine what power becomes predominant in the area. 7 The decision by India, followed by Pakistan, to test nuclear weapons has raised the stakes in the region and complicated peacemaking efforts. The independence of ethno-national states in Central Asia has given new prominence to ethnic identities, affecting co-ethnics across borders. And the increasing politicization of Islamic identity has increased the salience of Sunni/Shia sectarian differences. Perhaps the best-known fact about the Taliban is the restrictions they have imposed on women. These restrictions require that women be fully veiled, forbid them most education and employment, and impose strict limitations on their access to public services, including health care. The Taliban have also required men to grow full, untrimmed beards, cut their hair short, and attend mosque. They forbid any social mingling or communication among men and women outside the family. These rules (and others) have led to a series of confrontations with the representatives of the international community, largely the U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) present in Afghanistan. 8 Despite these rules, until the summer of 1998 these international organizations continued to work in Taliban areas; they did not work in most areas controlled by the northern groups. All agencies withdrew from Mazar-i Sharif after their offices, property, and storehouses (including food intended for destitute or famine-stricken areas) were thoroughly looted for the second time in September 1997 (they had been looted previously in May). The United Nations continued to work in Hazarajat, however. Western NGOs left Kabul in July 1998 when the Taliban refused to withdraw a requirement that all the NGOs move to the Polytechnic, a ruined Soviet-built campus in northern Kabul. More Westerners left in response to U.S. warnings about dangers to non-Muslim foreigners during the preparation for the August 20 raids. The Taliban resent the fact that although they have provided security for U.N. and NGO staff and property, the opposition, which has failed to do so, continues to be recognized as the government of Afghanistan by most countries and to occupy Afghanistan's U.N. seat. Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Opposition to the Taliban's gender policies accounts for much of the resistance to either recognizing them or vacating Afghanistan's U.N. seat. Indeed, a significant movement has developed in Europe and North America in opposition to the Taliban's gender policies, and this movement, as much as the interest in gas and oil pipelines, has placed Afghanistan back on the international radar screen. The Taliban's harboring of bin Laden and his network provides yet another even more prominent reason.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Taliban, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Daniel K. Tarullo, John Lipsky, Bruce Steinberg, David Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mr. Daniel K. Tarullo: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We'd like to get started promptly so that we can end promptly. Welcome to this morning's session on the update of world economic conditions. This is the first in what we anticipate to be a series of updates, perhaps quarterly, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, probably right here in this room, part of a continuing effort to focus on world economic conditions, both for themselves, and as they intersect with foreign policy concerns.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, South America, Latin America, North America