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  • Author: Abraham D. Sofaer
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush announced his determination to do whatever was necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States. Following the lead of several countries that had recently come to similar conclusions after their own bitter experiences -- including India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom -- the United States tightened its immigration laws; increased the protection of its borders, ports, and infrastructure; criminalized providing "material support" for terrorist groups; and tore down the wall between the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies, which had crippled counterterrorist efforts for decades. Washington did not authorize preventive detention, as other countries had, but it used other measures to hold persons against whom criminal charges could not be brought -- thereby preventing terrorist attacks. The U.S. government also led or joined various international efforts aimed at warding off new dangers, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, through which over 70 states cooperate to interdict the movement of nuclear materials across international borders. But the Bush administration's call for preventive action went further: it endorsed using force against states that supported terrorism or failed to prevent it. This was a particularly controversial position, since using (or threatening to use) preventive force across international borders is generally considered to be a violation of international law: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and most international legal authorities currently construe the United Nations Charter as prohibiting any use of force not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, with the exception of actions taken in self-defense against an actual or imminent state-sponsored "armed attack."
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Washington, Israel, Spain
  • Author: Kenneth Roth
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After eight years of the Bush administration, with its torture of suspected terrorists and disregard for international law, Barack Obama's victory in the November 2008 U.S. presidential election seemed a breath of fresh air to human rights activists. Obama took office at a moment when the world desperately needed renewed U.S. leadership. In his inaugural address, Obama immediately signaled that, unlike Bush, he would reject as false "the choice between our safety and our ideals." Obama faces the challenge of restoring the United States' credibility at a time when repressive governments -- emboldened by the increasing influence of authoritarian powers such as China and Russia -- seek to undermine the enforcement of international human rights standards. As he put it when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States cannot "insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves." His Nobel speech in Oslo also affirmed the U.S. government's respect for the Geneva Conventions. "Even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules," Obama argued, "I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength." When it comes to promoting human rights at home and abroad, there has undoubtedly been a marked improvement in presidential rhetoric. However, the translation of those words into deeds remains incomplete. AN INCOMPLETE REVERSAL Obama moved rapidly to reverse the most abusive aspects of the Bush administration's approach to fighting terrorism. Two days after taking office, he insisted that all U.S. interrogators, including those from the CIA, abide by the stringent standards adopted by the U.S. military in the wake of the Abu Ghraib debacle. He also ordered the shuttering of all secret CIA detention facilities, where many suspects "disappeared" and were tortured between 2001 and 2008. Finally, he promised to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Ray Takeyh, James M. Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: JAMES M. LINDSAY is Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. RAY TAKEYH is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran
  • Author: Robert D. Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The English geographer Sir Halford Mackinder ended his famous 1904 article, "The Geographical Pivot of History," with a disturbing reference to China. After explaining why Eurasia was the geostrategic fulcrum of world power, he posited that the Chinese, should they expand their power well beyond their borders, "might constitute the yellow peril to the world's freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent, an advantage as yet denied to the Russian tenant of the pivot region." Leaving aside the sentiment's racism, which was common for the era, as well as the hysterics sparked by the rise of a non-Western power at any time, Mackinder had a point: whereas Russia, that other Eurasian giant, basically was, and is still, a land power with an oceanic front blocked by ice, China, owing to a 9,000-mile temperate coastline with many good natural harbors, is both a land power and a sea power. (Mackinder actually feared that China might one day conquer Russia.) China's virtual reach extends from Central Asia, with all its mineral and hydrocarbon wealth, to the main shipping lanes of the Pacific Ocean. Later, in Democratic Ideals and Reality, Mackinder predicted that along with the United States and the United Kingdom, China would eventually guide the world by "building for a quarter of humanity a new civilization, neither quite Eastern nor quite Western."
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia
  • Author: Charles A. Kupchan
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: At NATO's 2010 summit, planned for November, the alliance's members intend to adopt a new "strategic concept" to guide its evolution. NATO's relationship with Russia is at the top of the agenda. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and its NATO allies have constructed a post-Cold War order that effectively shuts Russia out. Although NATO and the European Union have embraced the countries of central and eastern Europe, they have treated Russia as an outsider, excluding it from the main institutions of the Euro-Atlantic community. Russia's isolation is in part a product of its own making. The country's stalled democratic transition and occasional bouts of foreign policy excess warrant NATO's continued role as a hedge against the reemergence of an expansionist Russia. Nonetheless, the West is making a historic mistake in treating Russia as a strategic pariah. As made clear by the settlements after the Napoleonic Wars and World War II -- in contrast to the one that followed World War I -- including former adversaries in a postwar order is critical to the consolidation of great-power peace. Anchoring Russia in an enlarged Euro-Atlantic order, therefore, should be an urgent priority for NATO today. Russia has been disgruntled with the expansion of NATO ever since the alliance began courting new members from the former Soviet bloc in the early 1990s. However, Russia's economic and military decline and the West's primacy encouraged NATO members to discount the potential consequences of Russian discontent. "As American capabilities surged and Russian capabilities waned," the political scientists Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry have observed, "Washington policymakers increasingly acted as though Russia no longer mattered and the United States could do whatever it wanted." The strategic landscape has since changed dramatically, however, and the costs of excluding Russia from the Euro-Atlantic order have risen substantially. The Kremlin's recentralization of power and Russia's economic rebound thanks to higher energy prices have brought the country back to life. Russia now has the confidence and the capability to push back against NATO -- just as the West urgently needs Moscow's cooperation on a host of issues, including the containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions, arms control and nonproliferation, the stabilization of Afghanistan, counterterrorism, and energy security.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In December 2000, Nikolai Patrushev, who had succeeded Vladimir Putin as director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), gave an interview to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police. He described the FSB's personnel: "Our best colleagues, the honor and pride of the FSB, don't do their work for the money," he said. "They all look different, but there is one very special characteristic that unites all these people, and it is a very important quality: It is their sense of service. They are, if you like, our new 'nobility.'"Over the last decade in Russia, the FSB, the modern successor to the Soviet secret police, the KGB, has been granted the role of the new elite, enjoying expanded responsibilities and immunity from public oversight or parliamentary control. The FSB's budget is not published; the total number of officers is undisclosed. But even cautious estimates suggest that the FSB employs more than 200,000 people. For ten years, Putin, a KGB and FSB veteran himself, has held power in the Kremlin as president and now prime minister. He has made the FSB the main security service in Russia, permitting it to absorb much of the former KGB and granting it the right to operate abroad, collect information, and carry out special operations. When Putin was elected president, in 2000, the Russian secret services were in an extremely difficult position. They had been left behind in the mad rush to market reforms and democracy of the 1990s, and their ranks had thinned due to the lure of big money in Russia's new capitalist economy. Those who remained faced daunting and dispiriting new challenges: the festering war in Chechnya and the resulting rise of terrorism in Moscow and other cities far from the Chechen battlefield. FSB officers faced pressures of corruption that far exceeded those of Soviet times. The organization also suffered from deep public distrust, a legacy of both the repression carried out by the Soviet KGB and the chaotic first decade of Russia's post-Soviet experience.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Jorge G. Castañeda
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Few matters generate as much consensus in international affairs today as the need to rebuild the world geopolitical order. Everyone seems to agree, at least in their rhetoric, that the makeup of the United Nations Security Council is obsolete and that the G-8 no longer includes all the world's most important economies. Belgium still has more voting power in the leading financial institutions than either China or India. New actors need to be brought in. But which ones? And what will be the likely results? If there is no doubt that a retooled international order would be far more representative of the distribution of power in the world today, it is not clear whether it would be better.The major emerging powers, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, catchily labeled the BRICs by Goldman Sachs, are the main contenders for inclusion. There are other groupings, too: the G-5, the G-20, and the P-4; the last -- Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan -- are the wannabes that hope to join the UN Security Council and are named after the P-5, the council's permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Up for the G-8 are Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. The G-8 invited representatives of those five states to its 2003 summit in Evian, France, and from 2005 through 2008, this so-called G-5 attended its own special sessions on the sidelines of the G-8's.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: Walter Laqueur
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Russia is showing signs that it may be interested in refashioning its relationship with the West, and with the United States in particular. Moscow would like to trade its cooperation on a range of international issues for technology and investment, both of which it needs for domestic growth and stability.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Moscow
  • Author: Daniel Deudney, G. John Ikenberry
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Autocracies such as China and Russia do not represent a sustainable alternative to liberal democracy. In fact, the pull of liberal democracy is stronger than ever.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States' unique ability to capitalize on connectivity will make the twenty-first century an American century.
  • Topic: War, Communications
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Georgia