Tag Archives: Russia


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

Iran’s Ominous Social Movement

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 27, 2010, No Comments

The Iranian protest as a social movement The mounting protest against the Islamic Republic in Iran is in the process of becoming a social movement. Sidney Tarrow, a specialist on the subject, defines a social movement as collective challenges (to elites and authorities) by people with common purposes and solidarity in sustained interactions with elites, opponents, and authorities. He specifically distinguishes social movements from political parties and interest groups; and that is an important distinction. Social movements in the context of this essay are not known for bringing about incremental political changes in the existing political system. More often than not, they result in radical changes leading to regime change. If the Iranian government is facing a rising tide of social movement, then that can be the best news for the United States, which has always despised the Islamic Republic for humiliating it through the "Iranian hostage crisis" in 1979. The ties between thes

Can Beijing and Moscow Help with Tehran?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 4, 2010, No Comments

Published in Foreign Policy in Focus (30 Dec 09) - Click on link to read entire article The real test of President Barack Obama's dealing with China and Russia will be whether he can persuade them to support U.S. pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations. Obama is reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached the topic with Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success. Iran denies wanting to join the nuclear club, but Washington has no faith in those denials.

Obama’s Challenge: Building Sino-Russian Support on Denuclearizing Iran

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 27, 2009, No Comments

The real test of President Barack H. Obama's dealing with China and Russia will emerge in his success to persuade those countries to support the U.S. in pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations.  Obama has reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success. Iran denies having such aspirations, but Washington has no faith in those denials. (more…)

Getting Serious About Denuclearizing Iran

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 27, 2009, No Comments

On the front page of Saturday's Financial Times (September 26, 2009) there was a somber looking picture of the American President Barack H. Obama, U.K.'s Premier Gordon Brown, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy heading toward a podium to address the world press condemning Iran's secret uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom. The United States and its allies believe that Iran is getting closer to making nuclear weapons. However, the how much closer is still a matter of speculation. (more…)

Turbulent Aspects of A Proposed “Grand Bargain”

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 19, 2009, No Comments

The Indian Press was recently full of stories that Chinese naval officials have proposed to Admiral Timothy J. Keating, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) that the two countries ought to divide the world oceans into two camps: China would take Hawaii West and Indian Ocean and the U.S. would be in charge of Hawaii East. The Chinese officials were reported to have told their American counterparts "… you will not need to come to the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean and we will not need to go to the Eastern Pacific. If anything happens there, you can let us know and if something happens here, we will let you know." Admiral Keating shared that story with the Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, in the context of China's high interest in developing aircraft carriers. (more…)

The Making of a New Global Strategy

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 8, 2009, No Comments

.!.  The administration of President Barack H. Obama has started the highly intricate process of developing its own strategy with a bang in different regions of the world.  Here are the ingredients of that strategy: multilateralism, looking for a fresh start–which promises to be substantially different from the preceding administration–search for common ground involving Russia, invitation of negotiations with America's traditional adversaries like Iran and North Korea, and at least the initial hope that approaches toward Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are likely to be radically different than the one the Bush administration pursued unsuccessfully.  This is a huge agenda.  But Obama's administration has the enormous characteristic of freshness, metaphorically as well as substantively, in the sense that it is not carrying any baggage that had so infamously bogged down George W. Bush in an ostensibly endless inertia.   (more…)

The Fledgling Obama Doctrine

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 19, 2009, No Comments

President Barack H. Obama has been in office only a few months, but the talk of a fledgling "Obama doctrine" is getting popular.   If there is such a thing as the Obama doctrine in the realm of foreign policy, it involves a number of characteristics.  These comprise breaking away from George W. Bush's failed policies but maintaining linkages with a few successful ones; opening new foreign policy fronts with regimes that Bush loved to scorn; and, above all, attaching primacy to pragmatism.  There is no guarantee that Obama will be successful in all these categories.  What is important is that he has remarkably transformed America's image abroad.  That should be a good basis for pursuing progress on an ever-increasing list of ostensibly obdurate global problems. (more…)

China’s Accession to Superpowerdom

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 2, 2009, No Comments

The G-20 meeting today in London is an event of major significance.  Even though the decline of the United States is not yet an irreversible phenomenon, the rise of China has become formalized.  Now, the question is when will the G-8 either become the G-9 by including China, or will it remain the G-8 by excluding Russia, Italy, or Canada.  At least regarding the PRC's rise, the handwriting is on the wall. (more…)