Emil Avdaliani

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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Russia’s Unlikely Withdrawal from Syria

| November 7, 2017

Moscow’s intervention in the Syrian civil war boosted the reputation of the Russian military, afforded it valuable training, and enhanced Moscow’s political clout in both the conflict zone itself and the Middle East more generally. With that said, Syria threatens to become a quagmire for Russia, and Moscow is looking for an exit. This will be difficult to pull off as Russia faces considerable geopolitical constraints.

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Israel and the South Caucasus: Building a New Approach

| November 2, 2017

One might be excused for believing the South Caucasus to be of little interest to Israel, as it does not border the Jewish state and hosts several intractable conflicts. But Israel has unique interests in each of the three component South Caucasus countries – interests that have only grown as Iran’s influence has expanded following the lifting of sanctions in 2016.

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