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  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Three basic conditions prevailed when the Arab-Israeli peace process began in 1991 in Madrid and accelerated in 1993 at Oslo. First, the Soviet Union crumbled and eventually collapsed, removing what had since 1955 been the strategic backbone of the Arab military option against the State of Israel. Second, Iraq was militarily crushed and under both UN sanctions and monitoring, and was therefore removed from the political and military calculus of relations between Israel and the Arab world. Third, Iran was still recovering from its eight-year war with Iraq and was far from ready to have an impact in the Middle East. Together, these three conditions created a unique moment of Pax Americana, maintained not just by virtue of American power, but by the consent of its potential rivals.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, United Nations, War, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Soviet Union
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Delegates from 122 countries recently concluded an international agreement restricting the use of persistent organic pollutants. The agreement marks an important step towards eliminating the use of highly toxic and long-lived chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. However, the significance of the accord extends well beyond its subject area: negotiators managed to find compromises on several issues that have bedevilled other international environmental agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Environment
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Vice-President Al Gore officially accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's National Convention in Los Angeles on August 17. A continued deficit in the polls forced Gore to use the convention as a platform to consolidate his base vote. He also sought to differentiate himself from the Clinton presidency, despite the fact that he has adopted similar positions to the outgoing administration on many key issues. If Gore is to win in November, he must convince voters that the current expansion, and the benign political climate that it has fostered, would be imperilled by a Bush presidency.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The recent increase in arrests on espionage charges and expansion of activity by Russia's security and intelligence agencies appears to be signalling a reversion to aggressive Cold War tactics. They are seeking to increase their political influence and appear to be testing the limits of the 'civilised' intelligence competition which has evolved in the last decade. While Moscow has the means and apparent will to intensify intelligence competition, its clumsy and outdated methods threaten the country's commercial interests and could harm broader foreign policy goals.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's new State Duma ended its first day's work in an uproar on January 18. An unlikely alliance of pro-Communist and pro-Kremlin parties was in control of the chamber's agenda, while an equally improbable alliance of smaller factions vowed not to participate in the running of the chamber until their demands for a greater say were met. This unpromising start presents acting President Vladimir Putin with both a short-term boost and a fresh political challenge. It also highlights one of Boris Yeltsin's more surprising political legacies.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Andrew C. Kuchins, Alexei V. Zagorsky
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Contemporary discussions of virtually any aspect of Russian foreign and security policy must take as their point of departure the extraordinarily weakened condition of the Russian Federation. There is no comparable case of such a rapid and dramatic decline in the status of a great power during peacetime in modern history. The Russian economy has been in a virtual free fall for most of the 1990s. The World Bank estimated the Russian GNP in 1997, using fixed exchange rates not adjusted for purchasing power parity, at $403.5 billion, making Russia the twelfth-largest economy in the world, just ahead of the Netherlands and just behind South Korea. Russian per capita GNP of $2,740 ranked fifty-first in the world and was in the category of “low middle” income countries. In 1997 the Russian GNP was about 5 percent of that of the United States, 8 percent adjusted for purchasing power parity. The figures for 1998 will be even starker given the devaluation of the ruble to approximately 30 percent of its 1997 value and continuing overall economic decline. A back-of-the-envelope calculation would have Russian GNP at the end of 1998 at no more than $120 billion and per capita GNP at less than $1,000.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Asia, South Korea, Netherlands
  • 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: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: To address drug proliferation and trafficking in the context of non-traditional security threats and to try to find ways out of the potentially explosive situation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace sponsored a meeting of representatives of the five Central Asian states, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the United States, the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Aga Khan Development Network, held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in May 1999. This paper analyzes the situation in the region based on the conference proceedings and aims to raise international awareness of the seriousness of the problem. It also advocates the need for a concerted effort within the region and without to help these countries fight this evil.
  • Topic: Security, International Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Kurt Schuler, George A. Selgin
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: On August 17, 1998, Russia devalued the ruble and stopped payment on its government debt, creating a financial crisis that continues today. Some observers have blamed the financial crisis, and the poor performance of the Russian economy generally, on government policies that they claim are rigidly laissez faire. However, a closer look at the Russian financial system reveals that it remains fundamentally socialist, though it has superficial capitalist features.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia