A portrait of President Putin.
A portrait of President Putin.
It’s easy to snicker at Vladimir Putin’s annual televised call-in extravaganza, known as “Direct Line.” The show’s campy, “Dear Leader” deference would hardly be greater if Kim Jong Un were its star. Still, Mr. Putin’s performance is a valuable political barometer. The questions allowed and the answers they generate tell us how the Kremlin views the country’s mind and mood.
Over the past two decades, many developing countries have turned away from free market capitalism and toward modern state capitalism, which is a combination of traditional state economic planning and elements of free market competition. In his new book, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick argues that modern state capitalism is ultimately “more protectionist, more dangerous to global security and prosperity, and more threatening to political freedom” than free market economics.
Before listening to Barack Obama’s speech in Havana, I pulled outRonald Reagan’s at Moscow State University from May 1988. It’s an instructive comparison: very similar speeches, very different politicians.
The entire world was surprised when, at the end of September 2015, Vladimir Putin suddenly started moving Russian aircraft, tanks and troops into Syria. At the time, President Obama predicted the Russian intervention would fail.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprise announcement that he is pulling Russian forces out of Syria will be greeted skeptically by many, and for good reason. Mr. Putin may be showing himself to be a canny strategist. But watch out for all the ways his plan could still go wrong.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, last week was one of the best in a very long time. He got an agreement with Saudi Arabia to freeze oil production at current levels, and he got an agreement with the U.S., largely on his terms, for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria.
With oil prices collapsing, Saudi Arabia is facing similar problems that the Soviet Union faced decades ago. Saudi policymakers’ economic reform strategies also echo those of Mikhail Gorbachev. However, different from Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, Saud Arabia’s foreign policy is both confrontational and interventionist. Saudi seeks change, but hopes to keep it in bounds, and may want the world to remain a dangerous place.
Four Russian literary figures share their experience as creative intellectuals in modern Russia and provide their perspective on the Russian government’s use of media, literature, and other forms of creative expression to regulate the narrative of the past and the present.
Six different Vladimir Putins—that’s how many Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy counted in their excellent book, “Mr. Putin,” in which they identified the Russian president’s many personas.
Council on Foreign Relations experts discussed the consequences of Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet for Turkey-Russia relations and for operations in Syria.
The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and late October bombing of Russian Metrojet flight 9268 have not only crystallized the threat of the self-declared Islamic State to the world, but also created an unlikely opportunity to open a dialogue with Russia. However, these tragedies do not change the long-term threat Russia poses to stability in Europe.
The Turkish downing of a Russian warplane should not be allowed to distract efforts to build a stronger international response to the so-called Islamic State, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Like all terrorist attacks (indeed, like murders everywhere), the killings in Paris raise questions about why we react with greater outrage to some acts of violence than others. In Lebanon, people ask about the mild Western response to last week’s bombing in Beirut.
Russian airstrikes in Syria could have an impact on Syria’s internal evolution, the politics of the region, and relations among the great powers, says CFR’s Stephen Sestanovich.
Mistrust between Western powers and Russia rivals the worst days of the Cold War, raising the dangerous prospect of escalating tensions between the two sides, says expert Dimitri Simes.
In his Senate testimony before the Committee on Armed Services, CFR's George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies Stephen Sestanovich argued that the United States should challenge responsible Russians to see how strange their country's military policy in Syria looks to the outside world.
Russia's military buildup in Syria could set back the self-proclaimed Islamic State and lay the groundwork for a political transition, but could also lead to a confrontation with the United States, says expert Edward Djerejian.
Washington wants to shape the conflict from afar, but Russia is now shaping the facts on the ground.
Knopf argues that the only remaining path for South Sudan is for an international transitional administration to run the country for a finite period.
The U.S. relationship with Israel is in trouble. Blackwill and Gordon offer six core policy proposals to repair, redefine, and invigorate the partnership.
To ensure the success of Myanmar's historic democratic transition, the United States should revise its outdated and counterproductive sanctions policy.
Kurlantzick offers the sharpest analysis yet of what state capitalism’s emergence means for democratic politics around the world. More
In a cogent analysis of why the United States is losing ground as a world power, Blackwill and Harris explore the statecraft of geoeconomics. More
Takeyh and Simon reframe the legacy of U.S. involvement in the Arab world from 1945 to 1991 and shed new light on the makings of the contemporary Middle East. More
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Read and download »