May 2012

France's Strategy


By George Friedman

New political leaders do not invent new national strategies. Rather, they adapt enduring national strategies to the moment. On Tuesday, Francois Hollande will be inaugurated as France's president, and soon after taking the oath of office, he will visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. At this moment, the talks are expected to be about austerity and the European Union, but the underlying issue remains constant: France's struggle for a dominant role in European affairs at a time of German ascendance. READ MORE

Kazakhstan Views Its Inter-Faith Dialogue Initiative As Key To Global Security

By Roman Muzalevsky

On May 30-31, Kazakhstan will host the 4th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions – for the fourth time since it initiated the practice in 2003 – to discuss the role of religion and inter-faith dialogue in promoting global security and human development. The forum is not expected to save the world, but it will elevate Astana’s emerging role in global affairs and emphasize the need for inter-faith dialogue in addressing pressing international issues. READ MORE

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe


By Janusz Onyszkiewicz

For many years now there has been a trend toward bilateral US-Russian reductions in strategic nuclear weapons. This has been motivated, at least partly, by a desire to avoid a costly arms race which could not in any case secure a clear military superiority for either side. READ MORE

Whither Russia: Looking East and Ready to Embrace It

By Jacob W. Kipp

The Arab Spring, especially the civil war in Libya and NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” in that conflict, has brought about much closer diplomatic cooperation between China and Russia. Their cooperation has consequently increased in response to efforts by the United States, its allies, and the Arab League under the banner of the “Friends of Syria” to bring about the collapse of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. In the latest sign of this cooperation, Russian and Chinese ambassadors to the UN Security Council held firm in their opposition to any resolution that calls for UN observers to the cease fire in Syria and unilaterally condemned the Assad government. When the resolution was changed to fit Chinese and Russian demands, it passed the Security Council by a vote of 15 to none. READ MORE

Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan


Issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) READ MORE

Games along the shores of Issyk Kul

By Alexey Koval

Within the reaches of Central Asia a new big game deploys, which shall define the outlines of confrontation of the greatest powers in the near future. By this the field where geopolitical players shall start moving the figures can be small Kyrgyzstan – the country located in the very heart of Eurasia. The reason is close neighborhood with Afghanistan and China. Beijing has capacities and desire to join the competition which has existed for a long time between Moscow and Washington in the region. Hardly in this situation Kyrgyzstan shall be able to balance between the interests of great powers: Bishkek shall face the need to make a geopolitical choice... READ MORE

Can Islamists Be Liberals?

By Mustafa Akyol

FOR years, foreign policy discussions have focused on the question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy. But this is becoming passé. In Tunisia and Egypt, Islamists, who were long perceived as opponents of the democratic system, are now promoting and joyfully participating in it. Even the ultra-Orthodox Salafis now have deputies sitting in the Egyptian Parliament, thanks to the ballots that they, until very recently, denounced as heresy. READ MORE

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Central Asia is a strategic axis of Turkish foreign policy

By Saken Bayandarov

In his exclusive interview to the BNews.kz agency, Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan told about main aspects of the Kazakh-Turkish cooperation, the future and present of the Turkic world and his expectations from the visit to Astana.


Serbia: Nationalist Nikolic celebrates win, Tadic concedes defeat


Nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic has won the Serbian presidency, which could hamper his country’s bid to join the European Union. His supporters took to the streets of Belgrade and the Serb-controlled north of Kosovo to celebrate his win. READ MORE

The Russian Empire Is Gone For Good

By Dmitri Trenin

In the 20 years between the Soviet Union's collapse and the beginning of Vladimir Putin's third presidential term, there has been no serious attempt by Russia's leaders to reconstitute the Soviet empire. Instead, writes Dmitri Trenin in "Post-Imperium," where the Soviet Union used to look for opportunities to draw countries into its ideological orbit, today's Russia is on the lookout for opportunities to make money. READ MORE

Missile defense puts brakes on disarmament

By Bernd Riegert

NATO's planned missile shield has dampened relations with Russia. But German peace researcher Oliver Meier says Moscow exaggerates any threat the shield - which may never even function as envisioned - might pose. READ MORE

NATO and Afghanistan

In advance of the NATO summit meeting on Afghanistan, American officials are claiming real progress in the fight against the Taliban. “Every day we’re gaining traction,” Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, told reporters last week. There is improvement, but we are skeptical that the situation is that encouraging. READ MORE

Grybauskaite: Poland Chose Russia as a Friend and Gave Lithuania a Role of a Scapegoat

Being in Chicago the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite after the meeting with the US Lithuanians harshly criticized the policy of Poland, saying that Warsaw chose Russia as a friend, and Lithuania once again turned into a scapegoat. READ MORE

The First Serious Foreign Policy Event of the President Putin

By Sergey Markedonov

New Russian Neighborhood Policy READ MORE

Why should the EU play a role in Turkey?

By Üven Sak

The EU was once the major driving force of Turkey’s transformation process. That was a good blueprint for structural change. The EU was both an agent of change and our role model at the same time. Few people in Turkey still see it that way. One look at the Eurobarometer polls shows just how much the old continent has lost its allure. The image of the EU as a whole has been declining steadily in the eyes of Turks. Of course, the Europeans’ lack of confidence lately has not been helping. READ MORE

Kazakhstan, USA Review Present State & Prospects of Strategic Partnership

A major international conference “Kazakhstan - USA: 20 Years of Partnership for Security and Development” took place at the Nazarbayev Center in Astana, the multifunctional research and educational public institution, on Friday May 18, 2012. READ MORE

New French government takes pay cut , fights for growth in Europe


By Tony Cross

France’s new, Socialist government held its first meeting Thursday with a pay cut for the president and ministers the first item on the agenda. Ministers insisted that their top policy priority is Europe’s debt crisis. READ MORE

The Realists in Tehran

By Sergey Markedonov

The Iranian problem stands out on the international agenda. But it is much broader and more diverse than Iran’s desire to acquire a nuclear bomb. Iran is accused of being a source of both regional instability and far-reaching geopolitical ambitions. Although today's Iran demonstrates a desire to play in the international geopolitical game, it remains primarily a regional power with a significant presence in the Middle East, Central Asia and the South Caucasus. READ MORE

Message from President Obama


US President Barack Obama welcomes NATO to Chicago, his hometown. Here he describes how important the Alliance has been for our common security, our freedom and our prosperity for the past 63 years. READ MORE

More Europe in Lithuania or Lithuania in Europe?

By Eglė Urbonaitė

In autumn of 2008 Lithuanian Government approved the Strategic Guidelines of Lithuania’s EU Policy for 2008–2013. Since not too much time is left before Lithuania takes over the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2013, the question arises: is Lithuania ready for presidency of the European Council? Does the country have enough human and financial resources for such a political challenge? READ MORE

Mission impossible?


The US is a vast country, with a growing population and a myriad of cultures. Getting your message across is not always easy. NATO is no exception. So we asked five Americans how they would try to convince their compatriots of the value of NATO. READ MORE

Ukrainian Potential in Transnistria Issue

By Serzh Katan

On April 17-18th in Vienna another fall of talks on Transnistria ended successfully. Kishinev and Tiraspol have finally managed to agree on the principles and procedures of negotiation process. READ MORE

Kazakhstan to assist Kyrgyzstan to join Customs Union

By Elena Kosolapova

Kyrgyzstan may become a new member of the Customs Union in the near future. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev promised to help in removing existing barriers to join this organization. Kazakhstan is one of Kyrgyzstan's major political and economic partners. READ MORE

Islamism in Azerbaijan

Islamism is rising in Azerbaijan but remains a manageable threat which is unlikely to topple the country's government or seriously affect the nearby 2014 Sochi Olympics, argues Stratfor. READ MORE

French election 'good for Poland'


An advisor to Poland’s president has said that the victory of Francois Hollande in the French presidential elections is a good choice “for France, Poland and Europe”. READ MORE

Serbia’s Belief in the Promise of Europe

That Europe has not lost its luster and power of attraction despite the eurozone crisis was made evident in an unlikely part of the continent: the Western Balkans. Beyond the excitement of this weekend’s French and Greek elections, Serbia also held presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. The message from the voters, after the mist of electoral rhetoric had been dispelled, was two-fold and clear: there is a sense of deep concern and dissatisfaction with the political class but also of belief in the need to pursue the paths of democratic reform and European integration. READ MORE

Britain's Strategy

By George Friedman

Britain controlled about one-fourth of the Earth's land surface and one-fifth of the world's population in 1939. Fifty years later, its holdings outside the British Isles had become trivial, and it even faced an insurgency in Northern Ireland. READ MORE

SCO speeding up establishment of special account

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is to speed up the establishment of a special account and development bank so as to enhance members' ability to cope with new threats and challenges, reported Xinhua. READ MORE

Van Rompuy: ‘The EU will never become the United States of Europe’

To celebrate Europe Day, euronews took over a room at the European Council in Brussels, which is usually reserved for heads of state and government. Here Herman Van Rompuy answered questions, put to him by euronews viewers. READ MORE

Kyrgyz-Russian Relations Salvaged, As Gazprom Weighs Another Buyout

By Myles G. Smith

Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev, in an interview with the Russian daily Kommersant on April 10, said that while some may want to drive a wedge between Russia and Kyrgyzstan, “this will be hard to do.” Considering Atambayev’s streak of bewildering statements on Russia, and Kyrgyzstan’s policy over the last month, fallout appears to be becoming a permanent possibility. READ MORE

The Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Industry in Tajikistan: Opportunities and Challenges

By Mark Vinson

In April, Rustam Latifov, the head of the Tajik Parliament’s Ecological Commission, announced Tajikistan’s intention to seek international donors to help secure more than 50,000 tons of radioactive waste in Taboshar and distribute humanitarian funds for 2,000 people in the immediate vicinity who are particularly exposed in the villages of Old Taboshar and Somoni (ozodi.org, April 12). Taboshar, situated in the Ferghana Valley of Sugd Oblast just north of Khujand (Tajikistan’s second largest city), is one of ten Soviet-era nuclear sites in the country. While a part of the Soviet Union, Sugd Oblast was a center for both the extraction and enrichment of uranium. Mines in Taboshar and Adrasman provided uranium to the Leninabad Mining and Chemical Combine (now the Vostochnyy Rare Metal Industrial Association, or Vostokredmet) in the city of Chkalovsk. The then-Leninabad plant processed up to 1,000,000 metric tons of uranium a year to enrich yellowcake and uranium hexafluoride and provided the material for the USSR’s first nuclear weapon. READ MORE

Uzbekistan: Will Karimov Get Blown Off in Windy City?


By Deirdre Tynan

It appears that Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s efforts to obtain a one-on-one meeting with US President Barack Obama are coming up short, an informed source indicates. Obama's preliminary schedule for the upcoming NATO summit reportedly does not include individual meetings with any of the Central Asian leaders who are planning on attending the event. READ MORE

Center Of Political Tranformation Of The Islamic World

Kazakhstan as one of the largest countries of Asia is gradually becoming a center of political transformation of the Islamic world. As head of the 38th Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the country is making every effort to resolve the pressing problems of the Islamic community. READ MORE

NATO calls for close partnership with Russia on missile defence

NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, called for close cooperation between NATO and Russia on missile defence to help bolster security against future common threats at a Moscow conference on 3 May 2012. READ MORE

Merkel will welcome Hollande 'with open arms'

By Marcel Fürstenau

While Germany's opposition hopes the French Socialist victory will reflect poorly on European policies on the debt crisis and on Berlin, Angela Merkel insists on a continuation of the current course. READ MORE

Europe’s Elections and the Politics of Austerity


By Kristen Silverberg

Francois Hollande’s election victory Sunday over Nicolas Sarkozy and the losses by Greece’s main political parties, are only the latest examples of the growing anti-austerity backlash in Europe. The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, resigned last month after the populist, right-wing Freedom Party withdrew its support in opposition to a proposed €14.2 billion austerity package, which included cuts to healthcare spending and increases in the retirement age.   The Dutch government has been one of the few in Europe to maintain its AAA credit rating throughout the crisis, a sign that support for fiscal tightening is endangered even in the stronger economies. READ MORE

Potential of Russia and NATO Partnership

By Alexander Bartosh

Cyclic Recurrence of Relations of Moscow and Brussels READ MORE

Why did Sarkozy lose the French presidential election?


By Tony Cross

Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday failed to win reelection as president of France. He was defeated by François Hollande, who is only the second Socialist to hold the post since direct election started in 1958. READ MORE

Stanislav Tarasov: NABUCCO Collapse – Thunderbird of Oncoming Geopolitical Changes in Near East


The Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán reported that, Hungarian company MOL withdraws from the consortium on NABUCCO gas pipeline construction. According to the estimations of the experts, withdrawal from NABUSSO proves the fact that Hungary is more involved with Russian project “South Stream”. Yet in 2009 ex Prime Minister of Hungary Gyurcsány Ferenc said that Hungary should stand up for the construction of the both pipelines – NABUCCO and “South Stream” - with all its might. However as we see they didn’t manage to preserve this line: current Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has made the priority not policy but “simple economic solutions”. “Through the territory of Hungary it is planned to pipe one of the branches of “South Stream” gas pipeline, which directly –  along the bottom of the Black Sea should connect Russia with the EU, - comments on the situation “Deutsche Welle”. – This project, which is lobbied by Gazprom, is considered to be the rival of NABUCCO. That is why in Budapest they could consider that it’s more beneficial to promote cooperation with Russia than force the construction of NABUCCO ". But earlier also the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov during the meeting with the President of the Council of Europe Herman van Rompuy declared that “Bulgaria has no possibility to accomplish NABUCCO project”, although recently Sophia have given this project the status of state priority. READ MORE

Obama makes surprise trip to Afghanistan to sign key pact, mark bin Laden raid


By Kevin Sieff and Scott Wilson

President Obama outlined his plan to end America’s longest foreign war during a visit here Tuesday colored by election-year politics and economic uncertainty, declaring that “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” READ MORE

Ukraine Expects Putin to Tighten the Screws

By Oleg Gorbunov

On May 7th the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin shall become the President of our country for the third time already. This fact concerns many people in Russia as well as abroad. Ukraine, with which Russia has plenty economic contacts and which shares non-understanding of political and business elites, expect nothing absolutely new from Russian leader. However they guess there whether Putin shall tighten the screws openly or choose to compromise. What is the future of Russian-Ukrainian relations after the appointment of Putin? Ukrainian experts answer this question for Politcom.ru. READ MORE

Medvedev's legacy in Russia: small victories in Putin's shadows

By Fred Weir

Despite making little headway on crruption or human rights, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did change Russia. 'The ice began to melt and Putin won't be able to refreeze it,' said one expert.

Peaceful dialogue

By Eric Gor

In late May Astana (Kazakhstan) hosts the IVth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. READ MORE

EU mulls ‘Marshall plan’ for Europe


The European Commission is preparing a €200 billion “pact for growth” to be presented at the next EU summit in June. READ MORE

China to give E. Europe US$10 bil. credit line

China will set a US$10 billion credit line and a US$500 million investment fund dedicated to Eastern European states as it aims to increase trade with the region to US$100 billion in 2015, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Thursday. READ MORE