The core U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf are to maintain the free flow of oil, prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, and prevent Iran from establishing its hegemony over the region.
When the state has mineral resources, it hires a company like Royal Dutch Shell to extract the oil and share the profits. But when it has an abundant supply of labor, it turns a blind eye to its resources being used in tolling schemes right out of the 1990s. The existing penitentiary system is not in the interests of the state or the prisoners.
The demise of pragmatic politics will only amplify discontent with the regime and benefit populist opposition politicians. The public will no longer tolerate the regime’s strategy of tackling material problems with spiritual discourse, and will demand immediate practical solutions. As public discontent with the old regime grows stronger, new politicians will have an easy time promising quick material gains.
The administration needs to come up with a sensible strategy to confront Iran where it challenges core U.S. interests. But playing around with a nuclear agreement is both irresponsible and dangerous.
Now that Chinese big investment projects have all but dried up, Moscow risks turning its attention away from Asia. Once again, Russia may miss the opportunity to profit from one of the world’s largest markets—and an especially important one for Russia in light of continuing Western sanctions.
The increased frequency in Russia of military ceremonies and parades removes the need to reflect on the real history of the Great Patriotic War against Germany. Nowadays, even the anniversary of the German invasion of June 22, 1941, no longer presents an opportunity to commemorate and mourn.
Expectations of the first meeting between presidents Putin and Trump were low, and the U.S. president stood to lose out however the encounter went. But any agreement to manage the risks in the relationship counts as an achievement.
The dispute over newly established security zones on the Russia-Belarus border reveals that Moscow no longer sees Minsk as a reliable defense partner.
In any other post-Soviet country, the president’s choice of successor would have informed the choice of the ruling party, but not in Kyrgyzstan. There is a flurry of activity in Bishkek, which foreshadows a sharp collision at the Social Democratic party convention, and possibly a fracturing of the ruling party. As a result, the authorities may back a completely different candidate.
Even if Tillerson can manage an agreement that defuses the current crisis in Qatar, it won’t fix the problem. Saudi Arabia seems determined to turn Qatar into a semi-vassal state.