Alexander Cooley

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Voting at the United Nations General Assembly, New York, October 2022 David 'Dee' Delgado / Reuters

Pariah status is a powerful motivator in foreign affairs. Being expelled by an international community of peers can irreversibly damage the reputation of countries and individuals alike. Yet the impact of stigma remains underappreciated by policymakers and scholars. Many Western commentators have been skeptical about the individual sanctions imposed on Russia’s oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine, which included freezing assets, blocking transactions, and banning travel. Early in the war, the economist Robert Reich wrote that it was “proving difficult to use sanctions on specific oligarchs to get Putin to stop”, arguing that such figures don’t wield enough influence over the Kremlin to directly affect policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivers a speech marking Nauryz, an ancient holiday celebrating the spring equinox, in Almaty, March 2022. Pavel Mikheyev / Reuters

In January, Kazakhstan was in chaos: mass protests against corruption were spreading across the country, prompting its president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, to appeal to Russia to send peacekeepers from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to help restore order. Today, however, calm has returned to the streets of Almaty and other major Kazakh cities. Now firmly in charge, Tokayev appears bent on demonstrating to Kazakhstan’s long-suffering citizens that, three decades after becoming independent from the Soviet Union, their country is beginning a fresh chapter in its history.

Tokayev is purging Kazakhstan’s government of the influence of his authoritarian predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who retained significant clout in government and the private sector, even after resigning from the presidency in 2019.…  Seguir leyendo »

Few anticipated that Russian President Vladimir Putin would act on his threat to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Even fewer anticipated that the United States, the European Union, and their major democratic partners would respond with such resolve.

Witness the power of a fully armed and operational liberal democratic community. With shocking speed, it has substantially decoupled from the Russian economy, thereby cutting the country off from many of the benefits of liberal economic order; seized the yachts of some Russian kleptocrats and promised to hunt down their overseas wealth; aggressively preempted Russian disinformation, and cracked down on Russian propaganda outlets.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian service members disembark from a military aircraft, as part of a peacekeeping mission amid mass protests in Almaty and other Kazakh cities, at an airfield in Kazakhstan, in this still image from video released by Russia's Defense Ministry, Jan. 8, 2022. (Defence Ministry Of Russia/Via Reuters)

On Jan. 5, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) agreed to send troops to help the Kazakh government quell mounting political unrest. What had started as protests against a rise in fuel prices in the western city of Zhanaozen rapidly turned into broad demonstrations against government corruption and lack of reforms across Kazakhstan’s major cities, including the largest city of Almaty. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev blamed the protests on a “terrorist threat.”

The CSTO’s rotating chair, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, granted Tokayev’s request for assistance within hours — following “all-night consultations” that included Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.…  Seguir leyendo »

The skyline of lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center as the sun rises in New York City as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images.

Creating better global governance is possible

Dr Anne-Marie Slaughter

The Biden administration’s foreign policy achievements can be divided into great power achievements and global achievements. In the great power category, the administration has shored up the military balance of power against China by strengthening the Quad – Japan, India, Australia, and the US – and creating a new military configuration of the US, the UK, and Australia, even as it created a serious rift with France. The Biden team is also pushing back hard against Russia, certainly in the cybersphere, and has reopened negotiations to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the past week President Trump has repeatedly rebuked the World Health Organization, arguing that “they missed the call” on the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Trump announced the U.S. would halt funding for the global health organization, pending a review of WHO’s pandemic response. This follows a report in Monday’s Washington Post that U.S. officials are “expected to recommend … how to dock or condition payments to the agency as Republicans in Congress seek documentation of WHO dealings with China”. Various points of contention include the relative size of U.S. contributions to the organization and an alleged pro-China bias.

International organizations like the WHO are not a sideshow to power politics — they are a crucial arena of struggle.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since 9/11, America’s priority in Central Asia has been to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. But as the United States and NATO pull out, there is a new danger: that the West could become entangled in regional rivalries, local strongman politics and competition with Russia and China.

Central Asian governments have sought for years to manipulate foreign powers’ interest in the region for their own benefit. In the summer of 2005, the United States military was evicted from its facility at Karshi-Khanabad in Uzbekistan after American officials criticized the Uzbek government’s slaughter of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators in Andijon; Russia and China, which have both been expanding their footprints in the region, publicly backed the crackdown.…  Seguir leyendo »

On the surface, the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Beijing was a striking success. The regional organization — comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — took a strong position against externally imposed regime change in the Middle East, admitted Afghanistan as a new observer and announced steps to broaden its agenda into the next decade.

That is the dynamic and active image the S.C.O. seeks to present to the world — as a guardian of regional security and a new-style organization that, unlike Western bodies, does not intrude in the sovereign affairs of its members and condemns outside military action.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last Friday, voters in the Georgian breakaway territory of Abkhazia went to the polls in a presidential election that was broadly ignored by the United States and its European allies.

There were no international observers, no stern warnings to Abkhaz leaders about the rule of law, no Western congratulations to the winner — Alexander Ankvab, who had been acting president since Sergei Bagapsh, the twice-elected Abkhaz president, died suddenly in May.

In fact, many Western organizations, urged by Tbilisi, condemned the polling. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, said the E.U. “does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place,” while NATO declared that the alliance “does not recognize the elections.”…  Seguir leyendo »