Emil Avdaliani

Despite His Victory, Putin’s Problems Will Grow

| April 15, 2018

On March 18, Russia elected Vladimir Putin for a fourth presidential term, making his rule the longest since Joseph Stalin’s. But this next term will be a new experience for both Putin and the Russian people. In terms of foreign policy, Moscow face increased Western challenges. Internally, Putin will have to decide whether to prolong his rule in 2024 or pick a successor – a process with significant foreign policy reverberations that will involve reshuffles and elite infighting inside the Kremlin.

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The Nascent Russia-Lebanon Alliance and Israel

| March 23, 2018

Though Russia has been gradually increasing its economic and military influence in Lebanon, it is unlikely that Moscow is prepared to irreparably compromise its relations with Israel. Russia faces competition from other actors in Syria, and good relations with Israel can serve its interests there.

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The US National Security Document and the Return of Geopolitics to Eurasia

| March 9, 2018

The new National Security Strategy of the US enumerates the major problems and challenges facing the US and its institutions, as well as the policies Washington plans to adopt to carry out its foreign policy agenda. Though the major thrusts of the document are relatively close to what US statesmen have expressed over the past few years, it can be argued that the new strategy signals a significant development in the US approach to foreign relations: the return of geopolitics.

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The Myth of Russian Weakness

| March 2, 2018

Western-centric expectations of Russian collapse in the face of its recent foreign policy and domestic setbacks fail to consider the Russian mindset, political culture, and “rules of the game,” thus grossly underestimating the regime’s and the country’s resilience.

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Russia and the Israeli-Syrian-Iranian Confrontation

| February 15, 2018

On February 11, 2018, Israel conducted multiple airstrikes on Syrian-Iranian targets in Syria in response to the downing of an Israeli F-16 in Israeli territory following infiltration by an Iranian drone. Moscow’s mild reaction to these events reflects its desire to maintain cooperation with both Tehran and Jerusalem.

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Russia’s Eurasian Disunion

| February 5, 2018

When the Eurasian Economic Union (aka the Eurasian Union) was unveiled in early 2015, it had one major goal: to strengthen Moscow’s position across the former Soviet space. By promising economic benefits and military protection, the Kremlin managed to bring Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan into the Union and solidify its influence over them. However, the Eurasian Union has stalled since then. It lags considerably far behind other major unions across the Eurasian continent in terms of overall economic and political influence, and will continue to face major geopolitical competition from the European Union (EU).

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Russia and Iran: Friends and Foes

| January 17, 2018

Russia and Iran have been geopolitical rivals for centuries – but over the past couple of years, the Moscow-Tehran axis has grown exponentially. This creates major headaches for the US and other western powers that are concerned about how far this cooperation could go. The two powers share common interests in the South Caucasus and the Middle East, but are wary of one another’s growing influence in their own backyards.

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US-Russia Relations Plunge Still Further

| December 26, 2017

Tensions between Russia and the US have reached new heights over the past several weeks. Washington appears to be changing its military policy across the former Soviet space and is worried about Moscow’s close relations with Tehran and Ankara.

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Iran and the New Land Corridor

| December 19, 2017

Reports emerged recently suggesting that Iran-backed forces are closer to controlling the Syria-Iraq border. This would mean Tehran will now be able to link up with its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. If this scenario is correct, after 12 years of conflict in Iraq and another conflict in Syria, Iran is steadily transforming into a more powerful geopolitical player whose influence will be projected hundreds and maybe thousands of kilometers beyond its borders.

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The Fast-Changing Geopolitics of the Planet

| November 21, 2017

Just as the replacement of the steamship by container shipping slashed the cost of moving goods across borders, so the information and technology revolution has facilitated the moving of ideas around the globe, while advances in telerobotics will eventually cause geographical barriers to disintegrate. This will create a powerful force that will affect not only the behavior of humans but that of entire states. What we are witnessing now is nothing short of the coming of a new world order.

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