Don’t fall for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear grandstanding: economically, he has his back to the wall. The deployment of US troops and heavy weapons in Eastern Europe would only play into his hands.
No, the West has not (yet) lost Ukraine, and the fragile Minsk truce and Western sanctions on Moscow have not (yet) failed. But Vladimir Putin’s 19th-century fixation on national military greatness may yet spoil attempts to stabilize the situation.
When “polite people” do impolite things, they can redraw the map of Europe. After facilitating the annexation of Crimea, Russia’s “gentlemen soldiers” have become a national meme.
Athen’s and Moscow’s tactical coupling of the Greece crisis and the Russia-Ukraine conflict is upping the ante for the EU. Geopolitical thinking, once passé in Germany, is experiencing a comeback.
Fyodor Lukyanov says that the EU is living a fantasy, while Russia practices the kind of realism that has always guided international policy. Ulrich Speck disagrees – countries have always looked out for themselves, but they have also respected norms.
There are four Western scenarios on the Ukraine crisis competing to explain where we stand: the McCain, Mearsheimer, Motyl, and Merkel theses. Which is right? (Part 2 of 2)
As the sober National Interest warns that America and Russia are “stumbling to war,” roughly four Western scenarios compete to explain where we stand in the year-old Ukraine crisis. Let’s call them the McCain, Mearsheimer, Motyl, and Merkel theses of, respectively, Russian aggression, Russian hegemonic privilege, Russian decline, and Russian paranoia. (Part 1 of 2)
Today Russia fights not against real fascists in Germany, but against imaginary ones in Ukraine. Given this, it might make sense to radically shift the focus of the holiday.
Germany’s old Russia policy, an attempt to build a “modernizing partnership,” is dead and should be buried. The beginning of 2015 saw Berlin searching for a new way forward, informed by recent events.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to attend the huge military parade planned for the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Germany. Instead, she will travel to Moscow one day later to take part in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – an unexpected hopeful sign.
Since July 2014 the price of oil has been falling, and a new OPEC strategy pushed through by Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi makes a reversal unlikely in the near future. OPEC felt obliged to defend its market share against US fracking firms and other “marginal producers.” The pain felt in Moscow, Tehran, and Caracas is an unintended – if not unwelcome – byproduct.