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  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey, Russia, and Washington have compelling reasons to welcome a new ceasefire agreement, however imperfect, but they still need to address the longer-term dangers posed by the Assad regime’s murderously maximalist strategy. Recent fighting between Turkish and Syrian regime forces in Idlib province has seemingly wiped away the last vestiges of the September 2018 Sochi agreement, brokered by Russian president Vladimir Putin as a way of pausing hostilities and dividing control over the country’s last rebel-held province. Beginning last December, renewed Russian and Syrian attacks against civilians sent a million residents fleeing toward the Turkish border, creating another humanitarian disaster. Then, on February 27, thirty-three Turkish soldiers were killed when their unit was attacked in Idlib—Ankara’s largest single-day loss in Syria thus far. Turkey initially blamed Bashar al-Assad for the deaths, but eyes soon turned to his Russian patron as the more likely culprit, elevating tensions between Ankara and Moscow to a level not seen since Turkish forces shot down a Russian plane in November 2015. Meanwhile, the Turkish military and its local partner forces launched a string of attacks against the Syrian regime and its Iranian-backed militia allies. On March 5, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Putin in Moscow to discuss these rising tensions. If the two leaders reach another ceasefire deal, will it last any longer than the short-lived Sochi agreement? More important, what effect might it have on the latest refugee crisis threatening to wash over Turkey and Europe?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, Idlib
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is strengthening its relations with both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Hamas in Gaza Strip. It is part of Russia’s consistent strategy towards the Middle East to build a network of influence among regional actors and boost its image as an attractive political partner. In developing relations with the Palestinians, Russia exploits Israel’s sensitivity to Russian activity in Syria, poor relations between Palestine and the U.S., and the deadlock in the peace process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The agreement signed on 5 March between Russia and Turkey has halted the offensive by the Syrian army on Idlib and led to a new division of influence in the province. Both Turkey and Russia are using the truce to strengthen their military presence in this territory. The coronavirus pandemic may delay the resumption of fighting in Idlib, giving the EU time to prepare for a renewed escalation and attempts by Turkey to instrumentally use an exodus of Syrian refugees to exert pressure on the Union.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Syrian War, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Outside its borders, Russia has military bases in the post-Soviet space and in Syria. The main goal is to increase Russian military security and political influence in countries in which these bases are located. Despite economic difficulties related to the drop in oil and gas prices and the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia will maintain its network of bases, which it considers an important element of influence.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Military Strategy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic has become another contested area between the U.S., Russia, and China. The region’s growing importance for global trade and American security means the U.S. goal is largely to maintain freedom of navigation in the Arctic. For this reason, the Trump administration strives to increase American capacities to operate in the Arctic. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will delay implementing these plans; nevertheless, they will be achieved in the long term and the U.S. will also expect support in the Arctic from NATO allies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Agnieszka Legucka, Jędrzej Czerep
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s increasing presence in Africa is motivated by global political ambitions and economic goals. To expand its influence, Russia is involved in local conflicts and fuels anti-Western sentiment. Competing with EU and U.S. countries, it is simultaneously becoming an important security partner for many African governments. An obstacle to Russia further increasing its presence in Africa is its weak economic condition, which not only limits the possibility of economic expansion on the continent but also its interference in internal political processes in African countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, African Union
  • Author: Jack Kelly
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: This eleventh IFPA National Security Update examines hypersonic weapons; their unique capabilities and characteristics; their military and strategic implications; U.S., Chinese, and Russian efforts to develop hypersonic weapons; technical challenges; and the urgent need to develop missile defenses to counter the threat posed to the United States by hypersonic weapons. Previous National Security Updates have examined topics including U.S. missile defense priorities, nuclear modernization issues, U.S. options to counter the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat, the status of the U.S. Space Force, China’s actions in the South China Sea and U.S. options, and the military applications of artificial intelligence. In early 2017, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis initiated an online series entitled National Security Update. Its purpose is to examine key foreign policy/defense issues and to set forth policy options. These updates are made available to the broad policy community within and outside government, including key policy makers in Washington, D.C.; members of Congress and their staffs; academic specialists; and other members of the private-sector security community. Future National Security Updates will address a range of topics in an effort to provide timely analyses and policy options.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Gomart, Marc Hecker
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: How can we define Emmanuel Macron’s foreign policy since he took office? After Nicolas Sarkozy’s brazen style of “gutsy diplomacy” and François Hollande’s “normal diplomacy”, the eighth president of the Fifth Republic seems to have opted for an agile classicism. In substance, he makes no claim to any radical break with the past, but sees his approach as being in line with historical tradition. In relation to his predecessors, he has adjusted the balance between alliances, values, and interests in favor of the latter, while giving his policies an unambiguous European orientation. Formally, his approach is characterized by recourse to symbolism, strict control of communications, and an agile personal style. A term used within the business world to encourage organizations and individuals to adapt and innovate, “agility” also connotes a will to utilize and master new technologies. [...] Comprising 14 brief analyses, this collective study contributes to the initiative launched by Ifri in 2016 to analyze French foreign policy, and follows on directly from the earlier study published on the eve of the presidential election. It aims to give an update on the action Emmanuel Macron has taken on the principal international issues since his arrival in office. It should therefore be read not as an overall assessment, which would be impossible at this early stage of the presidential term, but more as an impressionist tableau giving a sense of an overall movement containing many different hues. Emmanuel Macron has four years left to perfect it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Trade Policy, Emmanuel Macron
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Middle East, Asia, France, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Stephen Blank, Younkyoo Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: For some time, Western sources have been accusing Moscow of backing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, little effort has been done to analyze the modalities of this support and the way it relates to Moscow's overall policies and objectives in Central and Southern Asia. This essay sets out to explain both the trend in Russia’s policies towards Afghanistan between 2013 and 2017, and the reasons underneath them. It explores Russia's actions vis-à-vis contending forces in Afghanistan and Central Asia in the broader context of Moscow’s rapprochement with Pakistan, its ties to India and China and overall anti-Americanism that has grown exponentially since 2014. We argue that this approach would provide a better understanding of Russia’s policies and objectives in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Taliban, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Central Asia
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton, Stefan Meister
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: Russia under Vladimir Putin has become a revisionist power seeking to undo the post-Cold War settlement, control its neighborhood, and disrupt Western influence. By annexing the eastern Ukrainian region of Crimea and waging war in other parts of the country, the Kremlin seeks not only to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty but the European security order. The comfortable verities of the ''post-Cold War era'' are a paradigm lost. The Soviet succession continues to rumble, and a new era has begun - more fluid, more turbulent, more open-ended.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Treaties and Agreements, Partnerships, Grand Strategy, Conflict, Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, North America