Russia

Straddling the Wilderness Between Russia and China in Colin Thubron’s ‘Amur River’

Lee Polevoi

During his travels, Thubron crosses more than 1,100 miles along this vast waterway—not only on horseback, but by train, car, and boat. His trek encompasses visits to desolate villages and decaying monasteries, with encounters that range from friendly and well-meaning, to more sinister interactions with local police. Who says no one is intrepid anymore? Colin Thubron is intrepid.

Ukraine: A Deeper Look Into the Threat of a Potential World War

Antonio Graceffo

At the end of World War II, Russia wanted assurances that NATO would not shift eastward, threatening Russian territory. After the fall of the Soviet Union, however, Ukraine and other Eastern European nations became independent, removing the buffer zones between Russia and NATO. Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and the Baltics have all become NATO members, and Russia sees this as a security concern.

The New Great Game and Shifting Alliances: U.S., India, Russia, China, and Pakistan

Antonio Graceffo

The original Great Game was played out in the 19th Century, between Britain and Russia in Afghanistan, an ever-shifting military, economic, and geopolitical competition, which often took the form of proxy wars, with the great powers backing local forces, to fight one another. Today, the region is host to an even larger and more complex Great Game, with implications for the fate of the modern world, as it is being played out between several of the world’s largest, nuclear-capable, armies: the United States, India, Russia, China, and Pakistan.

President Biden Promises More Successful Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

Kelly Hyman

Regarding China, Biden described his relationship with President Xi Jinping as “cordial” but acknowledged concerns over rights abuses and expects to compete with China on multiple levels such as trade, technology, and military power. He has also addressed China’s growing dominance in Iran, warning the Xi government that the U.S. will enforce Trump administration sanctions on Iranian oil—which China is increasingly buying.

Cold War Blunders Abound in ‘Quiet Americans’

Lee Polevoi

Anderson frames his story with in-depth biographies of four CIA operatives largely unheralded in the annals of American espionage. These men include Edward Lansdale, a larger-than-life advertising executive turned secret agent; Peter Sichel, a German Jew who escaped Nazi Germany and later led key operations in postwar Europe; Michael Burke, an ex-naval officer who guided operations in Albania and Eastern Europe; and Frank Wisner, a crusading spymaster who oversaw many covert missions.

Mikhail Gorbachev Warns Us About What Is at Stake

Adam Gravano

Much of Gorbachev's discussion hinges on East-West relations, particularly between Russia and the United States. This is logical, as certain interests of pre-Soviet Russia were taken up by the Soviet Union, and, post-Soviet collapse, these same interests were transferred to the nascent Russian Federation (and carried on to the present).While there is a brief chapter covering both China and India, with a brief discussion of Malaysia included, the discussion borders on the facile.

Public Opinion Grows in Support of Impeachment Inquiry

Brad Brooks

Trump has blasted the impeachment inquiry, arguing that he did nothing wrong and accusing Democrats of launching a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Lawmakers in the Democratic-led House of Representatives are investigating concerns that Trump’s actions have jeopardized national security and the integrity of U.S. elections. The impeachment inquiry has cast a new pall over Trump’s presidency just months after he emerged from the shadow cast by Mueller’s investigation.

Trump’s Incriminating Tweet and Michael Flynn’s Plea

Steven Harper

Trump’s national security adviser-designate Mike Flynn — in consultation with a senior official of the Trump transition team later identified as K. T. McFarland — spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about newly imposed US sanctions for election interference. Flynn’s mission was to persuade Kislyak that the Trump administration would reward Putin for a restrained response, and he succeeded.

Vladimir Putin, the Crimea, and Double Standards

Charles Crawford

Moves to separate Crimea from Ukraine do not meet that standard. The rest of Ukraine has not given its consent to transferring Crimea to Russian sovereignty. Hence Russia’s humiliating defeat in the UN Security Council on 16 March. Not one Security Council member voted on Russia’s side. No state wants to see new precedents that call into question its own control of its own territory.President Putin’s bluntly (or brazenly) opened by asserting that international law was on his side.

Russia vs. Greenpeace: The Battle for the Arctic

Zahra Hirji

An environmental organization with a $350 million war chest, a giant protest vessel, 28 activists and a rubber raft have succeeded in drawing Russian President Vladimir V. Putin into a very public global dispute. Attention is now focused on the Greenpeace activists who were arrested last month by Coast Guard agents for trying to hang a protest banner on an Arctic Ocean oil platform and whether they will languish in prison for up to 15 years each on dubious piracy charges.

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