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Showing posts from May 19, 2014

Possible Chinese Investment in Crimea

Recently, Russian leaders and media reports claimed that China could invest more money in Crimea. Specifically, Chinese companies may help build a bridge across the Kerch Strait, creating a new link between Crimea and the Russian mainland. The Chinese may also help expand various Crimean ports, build solar power facilities, create special economic zones for manufacturing or even participate in other energy and transportation infrastructure projects. Russia has plenty of reasons to invite Chinese investment in Crimea, but ultimately Moscow wants to create a sense of strategic solidarity. Some Russian commentators have expressed obvious economic doubts about the proposed projects, which, in some cases, may not yield financial returns. In other cases, Moscow may seek to protect its own companies from Chinese competition, seeing as Russia will want to benefit from exports to the region and from heavy industry and construction contracts there. Commentators have also raised familiar complai…

Japan and Russia Look for Common Ground

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) in Sochi on Feb. 8.(MIKHAIL KLIMENTIEV/AFP/Getty Images)


The recent Russo-Japanese warming of relations has come under pressure during the Ukrainian crisis as Japan seeks to show solidarity with the West and Russia courts Chinese economic cooperation. But neither Tokyo nor Moscow wants to miss the rare opportunity to work together now that each has something the other needs.

Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki denied that Japan would suspend negotiations with Russia over the disputed southern Kuril Islands and a peace treaty, Russia's Itar-Tass reported May 12. Previous rumors indicated that Tokyo would suspend talks temporarily amid the Ukrainian conflict, according to Kyodo News. The latest round of territorial and peace talks began in April 2013 and is part of the larger initiative between Moscow and Tokyo to improve relations for the sake of broader national security and econ…

Putin Brings Russia's Regions Back Under His Control

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a speech in Sevastopol, Crimea, on May 9.(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)


The largest regional political reshuffle in years is underway in Russia as President Vladimir Putin works to ensure that he has only trusted governors in position for each region. Putin's concern with the regions comes at a time when his popularity in the country is extremely high. Putin is less concerned with Russia's current stability than its stability over the next few years and beyond. Understanding the country's inherent vulnerability, the Russian president knows that having loyal allies in control of the regions is one of the most important factors in the Kremlin's continued control of the country.


Because Russia's immense size precludes the Kremlin from running each region directly, the country was set up as a federation. Today's Russia is split into 83 regions of all shapes and sizes, categorized as oblasts, republics, krais, feder…

A Chronology of India's Challenges as a New Government Takes Form

Supporters of BJP leader Narendra Modi at a political rally on May 10.(Kevin Frayer/Getty Images) AnalysisAfter five weeks of parliamentary elections, held across India from April 7 to May 12, the Bharatiya Janata Party swept to formal victory May 16. Media reports indicate that the BJP is expected, along with its National Democratic Alliance partners, to take 543 of the obtainable seats in the legislature. A majority requires 272 seats. The bloc's victory will make the BJP's Narendra Modi the next prime minister. The results of India's parliamentary elections come at a critical time for New Delhi. While India deals with a slowing economy, the international community expects change. This leaves India's future government with the daunting task of generating economic reform while also securing Indian interests abroad. Modi is known domestically and internationally for eschewing the bureaucratic bottlenecks that have historically obstructed India's developme…

Control of Libya in the Balance as Rebels Attack Tripoli

Lt. General Khalifa Haftar at a press conference on May 17.(AFP/Getty Images)


Fighting erupted in Libya's capital city on May 18 when a militia loyal to Lt. General Khalifa Hafter reportedly attacked the Libyan Parliament. Earlier in the week Hafter-affiliated militias launched an operation against a February 17 Martyr's Brigade base in Benghazi. The government-aligned Martyr's Brigade is considered one of the biggest and best-armed Islamist militias in Libya. If the reports are confirmed, the assault on the Parliament in Tripoli means that Hafter’s forces are now engaged in battle across Libya’s two traditional seats of power. It is quite possible that Hafter is attempting to consolidate power in Libya, hoping to bring an end to the chaos that has wracked the country since the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime in 2011. It is believed that Hafter's broader intent is to push the Islamists out of Benghazi and oust the General National Congress from Tripoli, effectiv…