The Futility of Dialogue With Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 100 – Pavel K. Baev – May 23, 2016) The need to keep the channels of dialogue open with an unpredictable Russia is taken as an absolute imperative by many Western politicians. But they are often surprised when this tactic backfires. The foreign ministers of the member states of […]

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Interfax: Liquidation of Taliban leader to hinder negotiations in Afghanistan – Russian Foreign Ministry

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) – The liquidation of Taliban movement leader Akhtar Mansoor will lead to further military escalation in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “If this information is confirmed, it will seriously hinder the negotiating process,” Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department Zamir Kabulov told Interfax. It […]

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Warning Of War, Ex-Deputy Commander Says NATO Must Counter ‘Russian Adventurism’ In Baltics

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Eugen Tomiuc – May 22, 2016) A former NATO deputy supreme commander is warning that the alliance could find itself in a full-fledged armed conflict with Russia within a year if it does not strongly step up its presence in the Baltic states. Retired British General Richard Shirreff set out the stark scenario in a book […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO finalizes military build-up to counter Russia” – AFP

NATO Meeting file photo

NATO foreign ministers were … finalising the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. … [At] a “landmark” summit … in July … NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states as part of a “deter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Inevitable Decline of Putin’s Russia” – US News/Paul Shinkman

Putin Descending a Staircase

The downfall of the Soviet Union has taken on renewed resonance in 2016, as a similar set of pressures appears to be aligning against America’s former Cold War foe, raising questions as to whether it, too, may overtax itself. … the Kremlin in the early 2000s consolidated a resurgent Russia’s economic power among a few trusted business elites, failing to […]

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Is NATO’s antimissile defense system in Europe a threat to Russia?

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

Moscow has called the American antimissile defense system in Romania a threat to its security. Washington and Brussels insist that the system is not aimed at Russia and is helpless against Russian missiles. But is this true? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – May 16, 2016) The first American antimissile defense system on European soil, […]

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Interfax: Federation Council not ruling out deployment of U.S. missile defense shield in Romania may influence New START Treaty’s fate

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

MOSCOW. May 13 (Interfax) – The activation of a Romania-based facility of the U.S. missile defense shield and the further deployment of this shield in Eastern Europe may influence Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in 2010, Frants Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council, […]

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Interfax: Target for U.S. missile shield in Europe still important issue, Russia sees it as threat – Kremlin spokesman

Mssile Defense Control Room

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) – It is still important to clarify against whom the U.S.’ missile defense system in Europe is being deployed, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “It was first explained quite elaborately by a missile threat that could potentially emanate from Iran,” Peskov told journalists on Thursday. “Now we know that the Iran situation has changed […]

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Why is NATO once again talking of deterring ‘resurgent Russia’?

NATO Meeting file photo

Recent comments by high-ranking U.S. military officials show that the West is continuing to support the idea of a military build-up in Eastern Europe to “deter” Russia. What’s behind these statements? Some believe that the groundwork is being laid to change the balance of power in Eastern Europe in the West’s favor. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXÉI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia Resents Us” – Patrick Buchanan

Europe Map

… a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. … the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes. … Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it. […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Conventional arms race draws the world closer to state of brinkmanship. With NATO’s military buildup near Russian borders and signs of instability from the Middle East to East Asia, it’s no longer inconceivable that the great powers could find themselves involved in a conventional war.”

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NEWSWATCH: “The West needs to stop panicking about Russia’s “hybrid” warfare” – Vox/Mark Galeotti

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

… The fact is that Russian security discussions are dominated by an awareness of the country’s vulnerabilities to a stronger, richer, larger, more advanced West. Up to now, though, we have not let ourselves acknowledge our strengths. The greatest risk for the West is, after all, not its weakness of means but a perception of its weakness of will, both […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO’s Breedlove Calls for Sharper Focus on Russia Ahead of Departure. Gen. Philip Breedlove says U.S. needs more reconnaissance satellites amid Russian threat.” – Wall Street Journal

Philip Breedlove file photo

The U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia and should concentrate its technical capabilities on Moscow’s growing military might, NATO’s departing supreme allied commander said. The U.S. has begun to build up the number of intelligence analysts examining Russia, which stood at 13,000 at the height of the Cold War before dipping to a low […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Lawmakers look to get tough on Russia” – The Hill

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian aggression will be high on lawmakers’ minds when the House Armed Services Committee meets Wednesday to mark up its annual defense policy bill. … the Russians have buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer, barrel rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane and warned the United States to steer clear of its territory. … committee members say there will be plenty in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Reasons to be hopeful after the Russia-NATO Summit. Russia and NATO renewed their dialogue for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, but the talks failed to produce any results. However, the very fact that the summit took place means a lot and gives reason to hope that the two sides can eventually find a compromise.”

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RBTH: Can Russia stomach Ukraine and Georgia becoming NATO ‘associates’?

NATO Meeting file photo

The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw (8-9 July 2016) will be hallmarked by Ukraine and Georgia’s elevation to a still-elusive status of “associate partners.” While the move could be interpreted as one step closer to full membership, Moscow military experts view it as lip service to keep the two countries, going through a turbulent transitional period, in the Western alliance’s […]

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VIDEO & ARTICLE: The Kremlin’s Spin, NATO’s Reality

NATO Meeting file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – April 20, 2016) The Kremlin and its surrogates are spinning today’s meeting of the NATO-Russia Council as the end of Moscow’s isolation. In Brussels, it is viewed as a technical meeting to put safeguards in place to prevent an accidental conflict from breaking out amid rising tensions. The Kremlin says […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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Polish Minister Says Russia More Dangerous Than Islamic State

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

(RFE/RL – April 15, 2016) Poland’s foreign minister has said that Russia is an “existential threat” to European countries and is more dangerous than the Islamic State (IS) militant group. Speaking at a conference in Bratislava on April 15, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said “Russia’s activity is a sort of existential threat because this activity can destroy countries.” The migration […]

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Interfax: Less than half of Ukrainians support NATO membership – poll

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – April 16, 2016) Only 45% of the population support the idea of Ukraine’s joining NATO, as is seen from a public opinion poll. Asked how they would vote if a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO were held today, 45% of those polled said they would vote in favor of NATO membership, 30% would vote against it, 16% […]

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Interfax: Russia lost faith in Western leadership due to abuse of its trust – Pushkov

Alexei Pushkov file photo

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – Russia has stopped seeing the West as a leader because the West has abused Russia’s readiness for partnership, Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma committee on international affairs, said. “Russia was not ready to see the West as a leader by the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, specifically, because the West […]

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RBTH: NATO reinforcement: Why turn Europe into a theater of potential war?

Europe Map

Washington and London have intensified their anti-Kremlin rhetoric with recent statements, followed by the announcement that the U.S. is to deploy three fully-manned military brigades to Eastern Europe to counter Russian “aggression.” Foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Mikheev says this is reckless and short-sighted action that only heightens the risk of conflict in Europe. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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It Isn’t Time to Normalize With Russia Yet

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – March 22, 2016) Marc Champion writes editorials on international affairs. He was previously Istanbul bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal. He was also an editor at the Financial Times, the editor-in-chief of the Moscow Times and a correspondent for the Independent in Washington, the Balkans and Moscow. He is based in London. […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Risk of nuclear war in Europe growing, warns Russian ex-minister [Igor Ivanov]”

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

The East-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis has brought the threat of nuclear war in Europe closer than at any time since the 1980s…. said Igor Ivanov, Russia’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2004 and now head of a Moscow-based think-tank founded by the Russian government. … Russia and the United States have cut their nuclear arsenals [but] the pace […]

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NEWSWATCH: “RUSSIAN HYBRID WARFARE AND OTHER DARK ARTS” – War on the Rocks/Michael Kofman

Europe Map

  Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, hybrid warfare has become conversational short form in the West for describing Moscow’s sneaky ways of fighting war. … a dangerous Kremlin innovation the West must learn to grapple with. … the word has mutated from describing how Moscow was fighting its war in Ukraine to incorporating all the various elements of Russian influence […]

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Hawks See Obama’s NATO Pick as Soft on Russia

File Photo of Rose Gottemoeller Gesturing, Sitting Behind Placard Reading United States of America

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 11, 2016) At a crucial moment in the U.S. relationship with Europe, President Barack Obama has chosen a No. 2 for NATO whom some Republican lawmakers see as the face of a wrongheaded approach to Russia. On Tuesday, the Obama administration informed NATO allies that it will recommend the undersecretary of state […]

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Obama: Ukraine ‘Vulnerable’ To Russian ‘Military Domination’ No Matter What U.S. Does

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 10, 2016) U.S. President Barack Obama said that Ukraine “is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what” the United States does. In one of a series of interviews published on March 10 that formed the basis of an article in The Atlantic magazine, Obama said that Ukraine was clearly a […]

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Leaked NATO report praises ‘professionalism’ of Russia’s air force in Syria

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

Russian mass media have been discussing a classified NATO report that praised the performance of the Russian aerospace contingent in Syria. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – March 9, 2016) A number of Russian publications have referred to a leaked NATO document that allegedly acknowledged the “efficiency” and “professionalism” of Russia’s aerospace forces in Syria. […]

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NEWSWATCH “Ukraine will not join EU, NATO for another 20-25 years, Juncker says” – DPA

EU Map

The push for closer ties between Ukraine and the EU lies at the heart of the current crisis … triggered by protests in 2013 over a failed attempt to finalize … EU-Ukraine free trade …. The agreement has since been signed and implemented, while the EU is paving the way for Ukrainian citizens to be able to visit the bloc […]

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What’s behind Ankara’s conciliatory overtures to Moscow?

Turkey map

Amidst the almost frozen interaction between Turkey and Russia, top government officials in Ankara are sending signals to Moscow of their readiness to mend the ruptured relationship. Can these suggestions be taken at face value and what are the chances of a reconciliation? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 2, 2016) The […]

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Russia, Syria Said Using Migrant Crisis As ‘Weapon’ Against West

Syria Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 2, 2016) NATO’s top commander warned that Russia and Syria have turned the refugee crisis into a “weapon” against the West at a time when it lacks resources to counter a “resurgent, aggressive” Russia. U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who commands the 28-member military alliance, said the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants […]

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Russians Not Ready to Forgive Turkey for Downed Plane – Poll

File Photo of Russian SU-24 Military Jet Harassing U.S. Navy Vessel in Black Sea, Adapted from U.S. Military Video

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 1, 2016) The majority of Russians are not ready to restore relations with Turkey after it downed a Russian warplane in November 2015, a survey by the state-run VTsIOM pollster published Monday revealed. Some 63 percent of respondents think the Kremlin should not lift the anti-Turkish sanctions that were imposed by Moscow following the […]

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The Great Manipulator

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 24, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev recently played a telling little head game. When the Russian prime minister said at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow and the West had “slid into a new Cold War,” he essentially created a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. “If the West agrees that it is a new Cold War, then […]

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TRANSCRIPT: House Hearing on Understanding and Deterring Russia: U.S. Policies and Strategies – Oral remarks of Dr. Fiona Hill

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

House Armed Services Committee February 10, 2016 Hearing on Understanding and Deterring Russia: U.S. Policies and Strategies Oral remarks of Dr. Fiona Hill Fiona Hill is director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. She is also co-author of the second edition of “Mr. Putin: […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Aggression Drives Increase in European Defense Spending” – Defensenews.com

Europe Map

Fear of Russian aggression will help drive European defense spending up by 8.3 percent this year, putting a halt to 20 years of declining budgets … Over two decades after the end of the Cold War, Vladimir Putin’s expansionist policies in Crimea and Ukraine have pushed European leaders to once again increase their spending on military programs, according to the […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Russian Connection Between Syria and Ukraine. Moscow may try to link cooperation in the Syrian crisis to relief from sanctions.” – The National Interest/Joseph Nye

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RBTH: NATO vs. Russia: Why all the recent talk of World War III?

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

British military exercises that may have been carried out with potential deployment in eastern Ukraine in mind, recent comments by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and a BBC film depicting a Russia-NATO nuclear conflict following a pro-Russian uprising in Latvia are all doing their part to further stoke tensions between Moscow and the Atlantic Alliance, when a more measured approach is […]

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The rules of the new ‘Cold War’: Empty words and no retreat

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent speech in Munich openly spoke of relations between Russia and the West in terms of a new “Cold War.” Dialogue between the two sides is now looking increasingly like a rhetorical war of attrition, with neither side on the offensive but neither willing to retreat either. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Europe’s Extremists Are Not Putin’s Fault. Europeans should look to Brussels – not Moscow – for the source of their extremism problem” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Scott Radnitz

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