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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Russia, Afghanistan and Starwars: Westward Hu

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 Russia's accommodation of the US and NATO continues apace, with new support of the Afghan war and even missile defence, notes Eric Walberg
 
The Atlantists are on the ascendant these days in Moscow. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's hamburger lunch with United States President Barack Obama during his visit to Silicon Valley last month apparently left a pleasant taste in his mouth. Now relations with NATO are on the mend, as Russia plans to send 27 Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan, NATO Military Committee Chairman Giampaolo di Paola said after a meeting with Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov last Friday. Rosoboronexport has even offered to throw in the first three helicopters for free.
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Russian-US relations: Wooing the West

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The Russian leader has re-enacted the famous American goodwill tour of his predecessor a half century ago, but faces the same Cold War scheming. Will his attempts to befriend Europe have more success, wonders Eric Walberg

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Kyrgyzstan: Picking up the pieces

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Kill the victim and go to his funeral. Is NATO poised to move into the heart of Central Asia, even as its war in Afghanistan implodes, marvels Eric Walberg

Kyrgyzstan joined the rank of failed states this month: its central government lacks legitimacy and depends heavily on external aid, with the US base looming large, while the people are largely destitute, harassed by local thugs and drug barons, and looking to Moscow for a way out.

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Kyrgyzstan: Eurasian geopolitics 101

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The war in Afghanistan is officially spreading to the Central Asian republics. First stop, Kyrgyzstan, warns Eric Walberg

For the moment, the Pentagon is breathing a sigh of relief. Vital US fuel supply flights from its Manas base to Afghanistan resumed last week even as Kyrgyzstan slid into chaos.

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Russia-US-Iran: Nuclear juggling

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Relations between Russia and Iran highlight the intractable problems of nuclear diplomacy, reflects Eric Walberg

Brazil accused the US of double standards, and Turkey insisted Thursday that rejecting the deal with Iran, which calls for Tehran to ship around half its stock of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for enriched uranium suitable for research and medical use, would be “unreasonable” and said that a US push for fresh sanctions on Tehran was creating an “absurd situation”. “Those who speak to this issue should eliminate nuclear weapons from their own country and they should bear the good news to all mankind by doing that,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said while attending a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Now it is the turn of Iran to accuse Russia, ever so politely, of double standards.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html