In all democracies around the world, national elections generate important data about the condition of the political system and the concerns, hopes, and beliefs of society.
Presentations by Michael McFaul, Thomas Graham, Anatol Lieven, and Lilia Shevtsova.
The "revolutionary stage" of the post-Soviet era is over. Russia is now facing a second conversion: from the post-Soviet era of transition into a consolidated Russian nation-state. The priority for the Yeltsin regime was to minimize the harm of the fragmentation of the Soviet Union. For Putin, the priority will be to create a new unified national identity.
The present danger is that the United States will shrink from its responsibilities as the world's dominant power and--in a fit of absentmindedness, or parsimony or indifference--will allow the international order that it sustains to collapse. The present danger is one of declining strength, flagging will and confusion about our role in the world.
These are not happy days for global arms-control advocates. As far back as the early 1960s, policymakers warned that the true threat to the United States was not only that third-world despots might acquire the bomb but that advanced industrial countries might do so.
Time is running short for Russia to engineer a sustained economic recovery. Putin's first term, the next four years, may be its last chance. If Putin does not do noticeably better than Russia, then we might in fact be facing a world without Russia, without Russian power, and with all the geopolitical and geoeconomic complications that would entail.
Foreign policy is playing a big role in the 2000 Republican primary contest. Bigger than education. Bigger than campaign finance reform. As big as Social Security. Public interest in foreign policy is one big reason John McCain is giving George Bush a run for his money. McCain has convinced many Republican voters that he will be a stronger world leader. The difference is biography.
Presentation by Yegor Gaidar, former acting prime minister of Russia