Talking to Russia: Five Things You Won’t Believe Are Being Said Behind Closed Doors

Talking to Russia: Five Things You Won’t Believe Are Being Said Behind Closed Doors

On July 6, it was revealed that secret back-channel talks have been held between former U.S. officials and “prominent Russians believed to be close to the Kremlin.” The U.S. officials do not represent the Joe Biden administration but have briefed the White House. Though no current U.S. officials have participated in the talks, on the Russian side, they have reached the lofty level of Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov. Now, “a former U.S. official directly involved in the talks” has revealed that those talks are ongoing and frequent. The official, who says he has “been visiting Moscow at...

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Russia Will Not Renew International Grain Deal; Some Context

Russia Will Not Renew International Grain Deal; Some Context

Like the war that necessitated it, Russia’s decision not to renew the United Nations and Turkish-brokered grain deal is bad for the world but not wholly unprovoked. The deal allowed Ukraine safe passage for its grain laden ships through the mined and blockaded Black Sea ports so it could continue to export its agriculture to the world. On July 17, Russia announced its decision not to renew the deal. It has repeatedly been reported that Russia’s decision is retaliation for Ukraine’s recent sabotage of the Kerch Strait bridge that links Crimea to the Russian mainland. But President Vladimir...

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Was ‘No NATO Expansion East’ More Than a Promise?

Was ‘No NATO Expansion East’ More Than a Promise?

At the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, eventual membership in NATO was promised to Ukraine and Georgia with the statement that “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agree today that these countries will become members of NATO." Russian President Vladimir Putin “flew into a rage,” and, according to a Russian journalist quoted by John Mearsheimer, warned that "if Ukraine joins NATO, it will do so without Crimea and the eastern regions. It will simply fall apart." A decade and a half later, Putin sent the message to Ukrainian President...

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As America’s Influence Wanes, China’s Grows

As America’s Influence Wanes, China’s Grows

In recent weeks, the world has been vibrating with multipolarity in ways barely picked up by the mainstream news. Iran is a regional power that pursues a foreign policy that defies U.S. hegemony and refuses to get in line with the American vision of a unipolar world. Punishing that defiance is the key U.S. strategy for maintaining hegemony in the region, including coalition with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis abandoned that coalition in March with the Chinese-brokered agreement to resume diplomatic relations with Iran and the June announcement that Iran had reopened their embassy in Riyadh. They...

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Prigozhin’s Rebellion: What Just Happened in Russia?

Prigozhin’s Rebellion: What Just Happened in Russia?

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader the Wagner group, has ended his siege of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and turned around his march on Moscow. It is not clear what happened nor what was staged and what was real. Each expert and commentator offers a different expert commentary. To the West, the event was an attempted coup that revealed the cracks in the Russian government and military that leaves President Vladimir Putin badly weakened. Others say it was not really an attempted coup at all and that a still calm Putin quickly and decisively ended the crisis with little bloodshed. It is...

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Is Putin Bluffing on Redlines? Ask Putin

Is Putin Bluffing on Redlines? Ask Putin

On June 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with war correspondents and military bloggers for a question and answer session at the Kremlin. One war correspondent asked Putin “a question about the notorious red lines.” Addressing Putin, he said, “Clearly...we are at war not just with the Kiev regime, but with the so-called collective West as well. NATO countries are constantly moving and crossing our red lines. We express our concern and keep saying that this is unacceptable, but never come up with actual answers. Are we going to keep moving our red lines?” That is a question top...

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While the West Seeks Victory in Ukraine, the Global South Seeks Peace

While the West Seeks Victory in Ukraine, the Global South Seeks Peace

There is a revealing difference between the peace proposals for the Russo-Ukrainian War that come from the Global South and peace proposals that come from the NATO-aligned West. For starters, no peace proposals have come from the West, while several have come from the Global South. But when the West talks of a negotiated settlement, they insist on Russia losing the war, granting the essential concessions first and only then negotiating the enforcement. The Global South just wants the killing to stop: first stop the war, then negotiate the settlement. The West has made its position clear at...

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Four Big Reasons Not To Green Light Strikes on Russian Crimea

Four Big Reasons Not To Green Light Strikes on Russian Crimea

In just an eight day period in May, the West authorized sending both long range Storm Shadow cruise missiles and F-16 fighter bombers to Ukraine, reversing a policy of not providing Ukraine with weapons that can strike inside Russia in place since the start of the war. That was one of the few sane policies of any party involved in the war for the very good reason that it could prevent the United States and NATO from being drawn into a a potentially nuclear war with Russia. White House spokesperson John Kirby has said that the foundation of the policy is Biden’s goal to “avoid World War III.”...

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