Category Archives: Russia

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So Long, 2013; Welcome 2014…I Think!

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 2, 2014, No Comments

Happy new year to all my global friends and contacts! 2013 has been an okay year for the United States, in terms of its foreign policy in the Middle East and in the Asia-Pacific.  (more…)
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The Surveillance State of America, Part II

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 12, 2013, No Comments

We now know for sure that, not just Americans, but the whole world is under the constant surveillance of the "Surveillance State of America."  However, if you are living in Congo, Guatemala, China, or another autocratic hell, you will not be surprised by this news, because most of us have assumed that the "security state" is everywhere. (more…)
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Perspectives on the Second Nuclear Age

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 29, 2013, No Comments

The threat of the outbreak of a nuclear war between the two superpowers has ended with the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.  However, the threat of a military conflict escalating into a nuclear conflagration remains quite palpable in the "second nuclear age."  That is the basic theme of Paul Bracken's, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics.  There are not too many books that are more persuasive in establishing the argument involving the end of one historical era–the first nuclear age–and the beginning of another–the second nuclear age than this one.  It is also insightful in describing how distinctive the second nuclear age has already been from the first one and why it is going to be more conflict prone and trickier to "manage" than the previous one.   (more…)
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The Emerging Global Realignments

by Ehsan Ahrari on December 27, 2011, No Comments

For the students of international affairs, the notion of power realignment is an old one.[1]  When it really happens, the erstwhile great powers, or even the superpowers, are likely to encounter pleasant or unpleasant surprises.  The year 1991 was one such occasion, when the communist superpower imploded, thereby freeing a number of nations of Eastern/Central Europe and Eurasia, triggering a series of rounds of NATO "enlargement," and, most importantly, creating a "unipolar moment."  The United States remained the only superpower.  The period between 2008 and 2011 is both unique and somewhat similar to that of 1991.  It is similar in the sense that it is also bringing about the decline of the United States.  It is unique in the sense that, unlike the rather quick implosion of the Soviet Union, America's decline is a long and drawn out process and potentially reversible. (more…)
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Getting Ahead by Hook or by Crook: China and Russia

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 5, 2011, No Comments

Espionage is the world's second oldest profession, especially among the top echelon of nation-states who, in their never-ending scuttle for modernization, are looking for short-cuts in their rush to get ahead of others.  The United States, despite all of the chatter about becoming a declining superpower, remains the foremost target of those countries who aspire to become its equal, especially in the realm of technological excellence.  Two countries with a dissimilar state of technological development – China and Russia – are accused of conducting technological espionage, or to put it bluntly, stealing the best U.S. technology and technological know-how.  That is the charge of the latest report issued by the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive.  It ought to know, because it has long been tracking the activities of these two (and other) countries. (more…)
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Crushing a Social Movement: Maybe in Your Dreams!

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 19, 2011, No Comments

China is not the only country that has been apprehensive about a possible eruption of the Arab Awakening-like social movement that could threaten its regime.  Russia and the Central Asian states – especially the latter – are even more afraid of the birth of such a movement.  They think that they can crush a social movement if or when it arises inside their respective borders, and they are taking a number of ostensibly proactive measures.  The Central Asian states are afraid because of the commonality of a number of variables between them and the Arab countries, where the Arab Awakening continues to look inexorable. (more…)
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The Internet Revolution and The Status Quo Powers

by Ehsan Ahrari on February 16, 2011, No Comments

Everyone, including the Obama administration and leaders in Beijing, has been awe-struck by the rising tide of "people power," that is showing its enormous potential through the use of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and social networks in a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries. Two Arab countries have experienced quick regime change, and many more are experiencing turbulence that promises further transformation of governments. (more…)
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Is Tunisian-Type Political Change Possible in China?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 31, 2011, 2 Comments

Would the escalating tide of Tunisian-style political change reach all dictatorships? If so, how vulnerable China really is for that type of turbulent change of that nature? More to the point, how can China avoid a potential cataclysmic change that has swept one dictator out of Tunisia and is currently mounting to end the tyranny of another dictator in Egypt? These are some of the questions that are being raised in the inner sanctums of Chinese leadership. What is more troubling for the Chinese leaders is that the Chinese netizens (Internet citizens or cybercitizens) are also discussing this issue. (more…)
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How Does A Great Power Become a Superpower?

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 26, 2010, No Comments

Most China-watchers are of the view that it is fast becoming a superpower. I do not disagree with that proposition; however, I believe it has a long way to go in that direction. In the meantime, it must ensure that its economic growth is not affected by any domestic or international negative trend. An interesting conceptual exercise would be to figure out how a great power becomes a superpower? Almost all great powers have the reasonable potential of becoming a superpower. Some stay as great powers for a long time; some may retrench, as was the case with Great Britain; some may lose its status as a superpower when it implodes and its successor does not fill its superpower role, as happened with the USSR and Russia. Why don't all great powers end up as superpowers? Is there a template that each great power must follow to become a superpower, or must each potential superpower develop a sui generis path of becoming one? My sense is that the latter statement is true. (more&hell
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The Only Option Worth Pursuing: Negotiate, Negotiate, or Negotiate with Iran

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 18, 2010, No Comments

I don't like to make predictions, for predictions are mostly for soothsayers or palm-readers. But in this case, I will make an exception, based upon my reading of a number of clues. My prediction is that the first (or at least one of the major) foreign policy crisis of the Obama administration is likely to be Iran. In a style much more benign than that of his predecessor, President Barack Obama has been incessantly harping on the nuclear issue involving Iran. Such a presidential near obsession develops its own blinders that can easily make a military option much more feasible than it really is. One of his top national security advisers, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, insists that all options – including military ones – are on the table. That persistence forces one to think that there is more involved about Iran than meets the eye. Obama's National Security Advisor, General Jones, has issued a comprehensive memo reported by the New York Times. That m