For decades, the dispute over ownership of the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from developing closer economic ties and ending tensions dating to World War II.
Japan views the Russian occupation of the islands as illegitimate. Russia considers the matter settled because Japan launched and then lost a war of aggression, and therefore must accept the loss of territory as a just consequence.
Today, however, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appear to be the unlikely partners in finally settling the matter. These two nationalist hawks may be in a position to cut a deal that more moderate predecessors never could.… Seguir leyendo »
Imagining 2030 is a serie in which PS21 writers describe the world as they see it in 14 years time.
Expectations that the processes of globalization were knitting the nations of the world into a more coherent and stable international community were dashed by a series of shocks in the late 2010s and the 2020s. Fragile “just in time” supply chains for raw materials and finished goods experienced major disruptions due to a resurgence of terrorist activity and piracy which targeted vulnerable points of infrastructure and key “choke points” in the global commons. New pandemics and migrant flows caused many countries to restore barriers to free movement or to attempt to cut out or quarantine parts of the world from the international economic system.… Seguir leyendo »
Writing in these pages over the past two years, we have warned that despite the 2009 “reset,” relations between the United States and Russia continued to drift downward.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Moscow in May raised a glimmer of hope that the relations could be improving, but the frosty tone and negative body language of the meetings between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin in Northern Ireland last month signaled nothing of the sort.
Today there can be no doubt that the relationship has deteriorated dramatically, apparently hostage to a downward spiral of crisis and retaliation: last year’s pre-election scapegoating, the imposition of new reciprocal sanctions, a worsening proxy war in Syria and a potentially endless reservoir of recrimination over spies and dissidents, to name just a few symptoms.… Seguir leyendo »
The three jailed female members of the punk group Pussy Riot have not only captured the world’s attention, but have also drawn a spotlight on the Russian government’s broader crackdown on political dissent. Over the past year, it has become significantly more difficult and even downright dangerous for Russians to organize or participate in any political activity not sanctioned by the authorities. This is a turn for the worse that surely deserves attention.
But a rising tide of anti-Russia rhetoric from Washington and Russia’s bristling response underscore the difficulty of balancing human rights and democracy with other vital national interests in an important international relationship.… Seguir leyendo »
Nearly three years after the U.S.-Russia “reset” was announced in February 2009, the fragility of relations between Moscow and Washington is on full display. Even though the two countries have deepened their collaboration in a number of key areas — particularly in facilitating the NATO mission in Afghanistan — it seems that old habits of suspicion and recrimination die hard.
Thus, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton branded Russia’s recent State Duma elections as unfree and unfair — both preempting and exceeding the assessment of the O.S.C.E. observer mission in which the United States participated — she in effect denied the legitimacy of the Russian government that is ostensibly our partner in the U.S.-Russia “reset.”
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s sharp response — and President Dmitri Medvedev’s threat to target U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
The vote in the U.S. House of Representatives against approving U.S. participation in the NATO operation in Libya was basically an overwhelming rejection of the Obama administration’s argument that the United States is not at “war” in Libya.
In the Congressional view, the United States was at least a co-belligerent, an “associated power” supporting the more robust efforts of France and Britain. The U.S. initiated the air campaign against Libya and continues to provide logistical support for an effort that now directly targets the governing apparatus of the Libyan state.
But the fact is that there are no clear guidelines any longer on what constitutes war.… Seguir leyendo »