Friday, April 30, 2010

Engaging the Southern Democracies

My thoughts on reaching out to the India-Brazil-South Africa forum, which at its recent summit in Brasilia pointendly reaffirmed its commitment to being a "league of democracies" rather than a group of rising, non-Western powers.

Of course, it will fall on deaf ears. Foreign policy-making is so reactive these days, and geared to what immediate political benefit can be generated, that the long hard slog of institution-building doesn't seem to appeal ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Going Back to Kosovo

We need to finish the job in the Western Balkans; Europe cannot afford to indefinitely maintain the status quo in the Balkans.

My thoughts over at Foreign Affairs about Unfreezing Kosovo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Putin's Duma Address

Some commentson Putin's address to the Duma for Public Radio International ("The World" program). Reporter Matthew Bell, who acted as the producer for the segment, kindly postedmore of the interview which could not be aired due to time constraints.

Comments always welcomed!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jonathan and Saakashvili

Some impressions from things that acting Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said this week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Convincing Congressional Skeptics on Russia

Last week, I asked whether I had been wrong on the reset.

I listened to Undersecretary of State Bill Burns outline a broad and detailed agenda for keeping the positive momentum going in the U.S. - Russia relationship, and found it convincing--but the real question is, whether Congress will be convinced.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Karzai's "Madness"

In my opinion, Hamid Karzai's recent "troubling" actions are part of a longer-term process by which the Afghan leader is hedging against a number of unpredictable factors--including a deterioration of relations with the United States. Meanwhile, do we have our own equivalent of Najibullah waiting in the wings?

Wrong on the Reset?

Re-examining some of my earlier pessimism on the U.S.-Russia relationship. I agree that the Obama administration has changed the tone of the discourse, and credit is due for that; but I also think that some of the recent breakthroughs have been due to changes in circumstances as well--the elections in Ukraine, Sarkozy's diplomatic efforts, etc.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Nuclear Posture Review and Kyrgyzstan

Some thoughts on the Nuclear Posture Review: let's see how it plays out in actual budget priorities ...

... and some thoughts on Tulip Revolution II in Kyrgyzstan. Yes, a wait and see approach.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Iraq, Serbia, Russia (terrorism)

Democracy in Iraq (or "Iraqcracy") may not be leading to the types of strategic outcomes Washington wants ... depending on how the political dust settles. Some of the issues explored in today's column at WPR. Depending on how things shake out, does it validate the thesis that Ray Takeyh and I advanced seven long years ago in Orbis--about the problems of simultaneously advancing democracy and promoting security interests in the region?

The Serbian parliament adopts an apology for the killings at Srebrenica in 1995. In comparison with the ocntinued reluctance of other governments in the greater Black Sea/Balkans region to ever admit anything bad, a major accomplishment. Recognize it for the step that it represents towards reconciliation--and remember, the Franco-German rapprochement was not accomplished in a day either.

Time to review Russia's counter-insurgency strategy--empowering local elites and factions to keep order on your behalf in the north Caucasus? Are the recent attacks a signal of desperation or that Moscow's attempts to keep the lid on the pressure cooker are running into problems?

Comments and thoughts on these topics welcome.

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