© AP Photo / Mindaugas Kulbis

All Disquiet on Western Front

The US-led NATO military alliance earlier this month committed to a major escalation in force buildup on Russia's western flank. The development underscores Russia's long-held concern that the 29-member alliance is inevitably moving dangerously on a war footing. At a summit in Brussels, June 7, defense ministers from NATO countries gave the go-ahead for a new, vast mobilization …

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A general view of Pyongyang showing the Juche tower and city skyline on June 11. Photo: AFP/ Ed Jones

Trump Holds the Clock on North Korea While Putin Plans His Moves

The argument that China is being “marginalized” by Washington while it works bilaterally with Pyongyang on the profound security issues on the Korean Peninsula has been completely discredited with the surprising news that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is back in China on a two-day visit that began today. The Singapore summit between US …

Continue reading Trump Holds the Clock on North Korea While Putin Plans His Moves

The World Cup has Political Dimensions, and They’re All to Russia’s Benefit

The act of playing and watching football should always remain apolitical, but it’s impossible not to notice the political dimensions of hosting the World Cup, all of which decisively play to Russia’s favor. It was a very prudent move for President Putin to work his hardest over the years in getting FIFA to ultimately grant …

Continue reading The World Cup has Political Dimensions, and They’re All to Russia’s Benefit

Mattis: Putin Is Trying to “Undermine America’s Moral Authority”

At a graduation ceremony for the US Naval War College (barf), US Secretary of Defense James Mattis asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin “aims to diminish the appeal of the western democratic model and attempts to undermine America’s moral authority,” and that “his actions are designed not to challenge our arms at this point but to undercut …

Continue reading Mattis: Putin Is Trying to “Undermine America’s Moral Authority”

June 14, 2018. Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea Kim Yong-nam, left, during a meeting. Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik

Russia Inserts Itself Into North Korea Game

When it comes to North Korea, Japan and Russia may seem like two “lost souls” in Northeast Asia, standing on the fringes anxiously looking on as China, South Korea and the United States dominate the headlines. The tremors set in motion by the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un …

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Russian President Vladimir Putin watch the ceremony prior to the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, 2018. Photo: AFP/ Sputnik/ Alexey Druzhinin

From Russia with Love, as Putin Kicks Off Soft Power Games

It started as an oil shock. After all, Russia and Saudi Arabia are on the verge of deciding what happens next, price-wise, in global energy markets. Yet, way beyond Russia thrashing a pathetic Saudi Arabian team 5-0, the iconic takeaway in the Cup opener was Vladimir Putin’s body language toward his guest, Mohammad bin Salman, …

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Of Carrots, Sticks and How the Empire Fails

It’s important for bullies to always win. Because once their weakness is exposed they can no longer be bullies. Empires don’t start out as bullies. They start out as the reaction to the last Empire which became a bully after embracing hubris over humility. Empires have to resort to bullying near the end because they …

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G-6? 7? 8? How About the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight?

I have to say that as much as I don’t like the direction Trump’s foreign policy has gone, there are still plenty of moments of unbridled joy in watching the man work a crowd. His suggestion of allowing Russia back into the G-7 is one of those moments. Trump has a nearly preternatural way of …

Continue reading G-6? 7? 8? How About the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight?