May 2011

Russia snubs India; cancels navy, army war games

Russia has snubbed India in the recent months by cancelling two important bilateral war games, usually held under a well-established arrangement, a senior official said on Monday. The move has raised eyebrows in the Indian defence establishment. READ MORE

The Polish Tiger

By Jan Cienski

With its newfound economic and political clout, Poland is increasingly leaving the United States out in the cold. READ MORE

Crisis on Black Sea over wayward Turkish boat

By Serkan Demirtas

A crisis erupted on the Black Sea on Friday when a Turkish-flagged fishing boat entered the waters of the Romanian economic zone and allegedly failed to heed calls to stop. READ MORE

Saudabayev: Kazakhstan ready to host IAEA int'l nuclear fuel bank

Kazakhstan is prepared to host an international nuclear fuel bank under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) once such a facility is set up, the country's Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev said at an international conference in London last Saturday. READ MORE

Turkey's ruling party to lose elections because of incorrect foreign policy

The policy pursued by Turkey's ruling party has not justified the hopes of the people on either external or internal aspects, so the victory of the party in the elections is definitely impossible, said Turkish MP from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party Senol Bal. READ MORE

For Obama and Medvedev, some Cold War-style frost over missile defense

By Christi Parsons

President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev have a friendship reputed to be so warm that they can go out for hamburgers together, and joke about mutual acquaintances (even if they refuse to say who they are). READ MORE

Nuclear Power and Dread Risk

By Gary Jason

The eminent cognitive psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer wrote a classic article back in 2004 for the journal Psychological Science which, I believe, explains a bizarre fact about America energy policy. READ MORE

Littoral States Struggle to Agree on the Caspian Settlement

By Sergei Blagov

The Caspian nations have reiterated pledges to solve their differences later this year ahead of the Caspian summit in Moscow, but they apparently continued to disagree on a number of key issues. During a meeting in Baku on April 26 – 27, representatives of the five countries that border the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan) made yet another attempt to reach an agreement on the Caspian’s division. READ MORE

Who Should Lead the IMF?

By Jeffrey Frankel

Every time the International Monetary Fund awaits a new managing director, critics complain that it is past time for the appointee to come from an emerging-market country. But whining won’t change the unjust 60-year-old tradition by which a European heads the IMF and an American leads the World Bank. Only if emerging-market countries unite behind a single candidate will they have a shot at securing the post. READ MORE

China-Uzbekistan: Gas diplomacy

By Isabel Gorst

China has taken another step to loosen Russia’s stranglehold on central Asian gas supplies after winning an offer from Uzbekistan to double the amount of gas it has promised to supply. READ MORE

Abusive Relationship

By Alex Massie

Britain is so desperate for America's approval that it doesn't realize the "special relationship" was never really in its interest. READ MORE

Bucharest to host next meeting of AGRI project participants

Meeting of Economy and Energy Ministers of the countries participating in AGRI project - Azerbaijan, Romania, Hungary and the next meeting of the Managing Board of AGRI LNG Co., a company set up for the project implementation, will be held May 26-27 in Bucharest, SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) said in a statement. READ MORE

Locusts: looming in central Asia

By Isabel Gorst

The fear of locusts has haunted farmers since biblical times and intensifies when agricultural markets are tight and food prices are rising. At times like these the last thing anyone needs is a swarm of predatory insects devouring all plant life in its path. READ MORE

New report confirms Arctic melt accelerating

Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests. READ MORE


On 23 May in Washington, D.C., Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Egidijus Meilūnas and Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy Ambassador Richard L. Morningstar discussed the energy projects that are developed in the Baltic region and in which Lithuania is taking the lead. READ MORE

Ambassador of Estonia to Belarus: We Preserve Faith in European Solidarity

By Anton Taras and Roman Yakovlevsky

“We still are full of idealism and positive pathos”, - declared the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Estonia to Belarus Jaak Lensment to DELFI. According to him, Estonia was not forced to enter the Eurozone and it perceives Euro as native currency. Except for that he noted that Estonia keeps its faith in fundamental values of European solidarity. READ MORE

Priorities of Russia’s Arctic policy

By Rimvydas Ragauskas

"To be honest, Russia is a northern country”, said Putin during the International Arctic Forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue which took place in September 2010. Potential energy and economy impacts of the Arctic changed the views of the Russian officials who now consider it as an important region not only to the economic welfare of the country but also to its status on the international stage. Demonstration of the Russian power in the Arctic Region and aggressive rhetoric has already attracted public attention. READ MORE

NATO, Russia coming to an agreement on missile defense

By Anders Fogh Rasmussen

When I took office in 2009, many were surprised that I devoted my first keynote speech to Russia. And some may be surprised again that during my visit to the United States this week, one of the themes I will speak about is the NATO-Russia relationship. There is a very good reason for this. READ MORE

Nuclear Security Summit: One year on, and looking ahead

We asked nuclear policy experts in Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs to summarize in one paragraph the achievements in the year since President Obama convened a summit on nuclear security on April 12-13, 2010. And we asked for a second paragraph on what needs to be done in the year before the follow-up summit planned for Seoul, South Korea. READ MORE

“Kazakh Madoff” Case

A former Head of the biggest bank in Kazakhstan was accused of billions fraud deals and stays in London, where his bank accounts are blocked and his extradition is expected, as well as additional accusations of severe crimes. By analogy with financial “juggler” and billion deals cheat from New-York Bernard Madoff, he is called “Kazakh Madoff”. READ MORE

Europe's Nabucco Pipeline Delayed Again

By Judy Dempsey

The European Union’s plans to start construction on the Nabucco pipeline, which is intended to reduce dependence on Russia for natural gas, have been delayed for another year, until 2013, because the consortium has no gas supply contracts lined up. READ MORE

MEP: EU-India FTA should not lead to a race to the bottom

The Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated between India and the EU must be accompanied by a clear commitment to respect international social and environmental standards, according to Graham Watson, chair of the European Parliament's delegation on EU-India relations, which has a say on trade deals. READ MORE

Ukrainian-Russian Dialogue: Intermediate Results

By Sergey Tolstov

The situation in Ukrainian policy that has established after the visits of the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his deputy Igor Sechin, comes out of the frameworks of bilateral Ukrainian-Russian relations. That is why it is important to analyze, where the “main vector” of political debates moves and which may be the results. READ MORE

It's Time to Re-Align India

By Sadanand Dhume

Like a monster in a B-grade horror film, India's love affair with non-alignment refuses to die. During the Cold War, socialist India purported to stand aloof of the U.S.-USSR divide, while in fact tilting toward the Soviet Union and against the West. The end of the Cold War should have ended this approach to foreign policy. Unfortunately, it hasn't. READ MORE

Russia, Pakistan pledge to combat terrorism

Russia and Pakistan on Thursday pledged to boost economic ties and coordinate efforts to fight terror as the Kremlin welcomed the Pakistani president for a key visit after the killing of Osama bin Laden. READ MORE

Race on for Kazakh uranium

By Roman Muzalevsky

As global nuclear energy demand grows, countries possessing uranium reserves are poised to reap enormous economic and political dividends from production and export of this resource. Yet, the gains may come with costs as global rivalry accelerates among major powers, concurrently enhancing environmental, health, and proliferation risks of global and regional proportions. READ MORE

Fellegi: In energy policy everything goes according to plan

Member State ministers will discuss the EU’s external energy relations in Gödöllő, on 2-3 May 2011. This will greatly assist the succeeding Polish Presidency, which treats the uniform external energy policy as a key dossier, said the Minister for National Development, Tamás Fellegi, to eu2011.hu, The Minister believes that the Hungarian Presidency has accomplished its energy management objectives. READ MORE

Astana Establishes Direct Dialogue of Investors

Investment attractiveness of Kazakhstan is proven by the fact that after the global financial crisis, which has weakened mutual trust between European and Asian partners, it is Astana to hold the Annual Summit of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the accompanying events on May 20th -21th  in Astana. READ MORE

U.S. Official on Russia-Georgia WTO Talks

There might be “a creative solution” to Russia-Georgia WTO-related dispute by providing transparency of border crossing points in the breakaway regions without putting there Georgian customs officials, a senior White House official said on April 15. READ MORE

NATO: A Victim of U.S. Smothering

By Ted Galen Carpenter

European leadership of the second phase of the military intervention in Libya has not gone especially well. Although the United States officially transferred responsibility for the operation to NATO, that change was more impressive in the realm of press releases and organizational charts than substance. Even the notion of a “NATO” command was largely an illusion. It really meant transition to a British and French-led mission with token support from some other European NATO members. Several key alliance players, especially Germany and Turkey, are noticeable by their absence. In fact, both Berlin and Ankara have refused even to endorse the mission, much less contribute military forces. READ MORE

China By Sarah Berning

By Sarah Berning

Asia’s two largest countries, India and China, are aspiring to become world leaders, but experts agree, both will have to learn how to get along, not only for their own growth, but for the prosperity of the continent. READ MORE

Central Asian nations feel the pinch of dwindling fuel supplies as Russia tightens supplies

A shortage of fuel in Russia is hurting millions beyond its borders in Central Asia, where former satellite states still rely almost completely on Moscow’s gas supplies — and its decisions to tighten the taps from one day to the next. READ MORE

U.S.-Pakistani Relations Beyond Bin Laden

By George Friedman

The past week has been filled with announcements and speculations on how Osama bin Laden was killed and on Washington’s source of intelligence. After any operation of this sort, the world is filled with speculation on sources and methods by people who don’t know, and silence or dissembling by those who do. READ MORE

U.S. May Place Fighter Jets in Poland

By Marcin Sobczyk

WARSAW — President Barack Obama, set to visit Warsaw this month, will announce the details of a permanent move of U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets to Poland from the Aviano Air Base in Italy, the Polish press reports today. If the plan becomes reality, the move will irk Russia and may become a serious test of the quality of the reset in relations between Washington and Moscow, as well as those between Moscow and Warsaw. READ MORE

Georgia to veto Russia’s WTO bid?

By Isabel Gorst

Russia and Georgia have hardly been on speaking terms since they fought a short war in August 2008 that cost Georgia a fifth of its territory. READ MORE

Poland and Ukraine: miles to go

By Jan Cienski

The fastest way to appreciate just how far Poland has advanced in the last two decades is to make a quick trip to neighbouring Ukraine. The visual evidence is overwhelming. READ MORE

U.S. and Romania Move on Missile Plan

By Thom Shanker and Ellen Barry

WASHINGTON — The United States and Romania announced an agreement on Tuesday on the location for basing American antimissile interceptors in Romania as part of a program designed to link Washington and its NATO allies against an Iranian threat. The agreement immediately drew complaints from Russian officials. READ MORE

India Courts a Distant Kazakhstan

By Rupakjyoti Borah

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Apr 15-16 revisit to Kazakhstan noted an critical step brazen in India’s ties with a rising Central Asian nation. Relations between a dual countries have gained movement given Jan 2009, when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was a arch guest during India’s Republic Day celebrations. READ MORE

Iraq, Iran and the Next Move

By George Friedman

The United States told the Iraqi government last week that if it wants U.S. troops to remain in Iraq beyond the deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, as stipulated by the current Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and Baghdad, it would have to inform the United States quickly. Unless a new agreement is reached soon, the United States will be unable to remain. The implication in the U.S. position is that a complex planning process must be initiated to leave troops there and delays will not allow that process to take place. READ MORE

Europe’s Neighborhood: Can Turkey Inspire?

Since the Arab Spring dawned,Turkey’s potential value as an inspiration for and facilitator of reform in the Middle East and North Africa has been a heated topic of discussion. Critics have been concerned that this debate would both work against Turkey’s EU integration by distracting intellectual and political attention and complicate domestic political dynamics through overemphasis on Turkey’s Muslim identity — in essence making Turkey more Middle Eastern rather than spreading reform and open society. READ MORE

Time for Plan B

A 14-year effort to negotiate an international treaty banning the production of nuclear weapons fuel is getting nowhere. Under the terms of the United Nations’ Conference on Disarmament, all 65 participants must agree. Pakistan, which is racing to develop the world’s fifth largest arsenal, is refusing to let the talks move forward. READ MORE

Russian energy moves indicate a shift in priorities

By Ioannis Michaletos

The Russian energy moves in natural gas and oil as they are being developed since late 2010, indicate a shift in priorities, namely more reliance on exports in the dynamic Asian markets and at the same time acceleration of the ongoing collaboration schemes with Western producers and traders. READ MORE

Dispatch: Strategic Implications of Osama bin Laden's Death

Analyst Reva Bhalla discusses the strategic implications of Osama bin Laden’s death on U.S. foreign policy. READ MORE

National ambitions and energy security

By Martin Stier

During the last seven years two expansions of the European Union took place, as a result of which a number of its member states nearly doubled – from 15 to 27. From geographical point of view the newcomers can be divided into the following groups: Baltic (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Central European or Vyshegrad (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), Balkan (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia) and Mediterranean (Cyprus, Malta). READ MORE

Georgia’s Vice PM: South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not ‘frozen conflicts’

The occupied Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the wake of war with Russia in August 2008 should not be considered as a "frozen conflict," Giorgi Baramidze, vice-prime minister of Georgia responsible for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Russia-Poland: Neighbors should not quarrel

By Andrzej Rozenek

In the last few years Polish-Russian relations have been like fairground ride, with all its ups and downs. Sometimes even adrenalin junkies got sick, and sometimes they would cheer. READ MORE


The United States strongly supports efforts of the Government of Lithuanian to advance energy diversification and energy security in the Baltic region, reads the letter of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis. READ MORE

Ukraine Raises $790 Million For Chernobyl Shelter Project at Donor Conference

By Pavel Korduban

International donors committed a total of some 550 million Euros ($790 million) for the Chernobyl Shelter Facility (CSF) fund at the donor conference in Kyiv on April 19. Although this is less than the Ukrainian government originally hoped to raise, it is still an achievement given that the global economy has not recovered from the financial crisis. The recent nuclear accident at the Japanese nuclear plant Fukushima 1 must have attracted more media attention to Chernobyl, consequently it was easier for Ukraine to attract additional donors. At the same time, this prevented Japan, one of the key donors, from contributing more to the CSF given that it now has a similar expensive problem to cope with. READ MORE