Articles and analysis

Lieven passport photoThe attitudes and beliefs of the Russian establishment are not hard to understand, at least for anyone with a minimal grasp of Russian history and culture. Moreover, the realism of Russian policymakers fits the mindset of many American security officials, writes Anatol Lieven.
The vital interests of Russia are adhered to by the Russian establishment as a whole. They consist chiefly of a belief that Russia must be one pole of a multipolar world — not a superpower, but a great power with real international influence. Also: that Russia must retain predominant influence on the territory of the former Soviet Union, that any rival alliance must be excluded, and that international order depends on the preservation of existing states. In addition, as with any political system, there is a commitment to the existing Russian political order and a determination that any change in it must not be directed from outside.
There are obvious tensions between some of these Russian interests and secondary U.S. interests, but on one issue — the danger from Sunni Islamist extremism and terrorism — a vital interest of Russia is completely identical with our own. Because of this danger, U.S. administrations, like the Russians, have often supported existing authoritarian Muslim states for fear that their overthrow would lead to chaos and the triumph of Islamist extremism.

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Robert Walter president European security and Defence Assembly. Session 2009As we all know, by a relatively small margin and with a simple majority of those voting, the United Kingdom decided in 2016 to leave the European Union, writes Robert Walter. Two parliamentary elections and three prime ministers later, the UK finally withdrew from the EU on 31st January this year.

But Brexit is not done yet, because we are in the "transition period" and still trying to determine the nature of the future relationship. Most of the discussions have centred around the concept of a "level playing field" with the very real complications of Northern Ireland and the desire of what is now a third country seeking to minimise the disruption to existing trade patterns. The UK has appeared to want to "have its cake", freeing itself from the EU, "and eating it", retaining access to the single market.

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USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVERAs China's economic power grew in the 21st Century so did her geopolitical ambitions. But Beijing overreached. And this will have significant consequences for the future of China, says Joseph E Fallon.

By investing between one and eight trillion dollars in the "One Belt, One Road" Initiative (OBOR, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI), Beijing sought to elevate China to the world's leading economy by financing land and sea projects, such as airports, pipelines, roads, railroads, sea ports, and shipping lanes, to link the infrastructures and economies of Asia, Africa, and Europe to China.

Beijing has focused especially on building or buying interest in ports. In "China's Trojan Ports", The American Interest, November 19, 2018, John Lee wrote: "It is estimated that state-backed Chinese investors state own at least 10 percent of all equity in ports in Europe, with deals inked in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium...[including]...a 35 percent stake in the Euromax terminal at Rotterdam, a 20 percent stake in the Port of Antwerp (Europe's two busiest ports)...This is in addition to a growing investment portfolio of at least 40 ports in North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific."

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