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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Russia-America: Rediscovering realpolitik

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As Russia returns to its logical, regional, strategic roots, the US under Obama is slowly waking up after its neocon nightmare, argues Eric Walberg

The irony in current relations between Russia and America is that the US has been far more ideological, perversely so, in the past two decades than Soviet foreign policy ever was. Russia is now expanding its economic and political relations with its former comrades both in the “near abroad” and in the Middle East without any of the scheming subtexts of Washington’s manoeuvring in the recent past

 

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Kyrgyzstan: Another colour revolution bites the dust

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So what’s the real story behind the coup in Kyrgyzstan? asks Eric Walberg

The pretense that the leader of a modest country like Kyrgyzstan can play his own little game in big league politics is shed with the ouster of the tulip revolutionary president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, after last week’s riots in the capital Bishkek that left 81 dead and government buildings and Bakiyev’s various houses trashed.

Bakiyev tried to have the best of both big power worlds, last year brashly threatening to close the US airbase, vital to the war in Afghanistan, after signing a cushy aid deal with Russia, and then reversing himself when the US agreed to more than triple the rent to $60 million a year and kick in another $100m in aid. As a result he lost the trust of both, and found himself bereft when the going got tough last week, as riots exactly like those that swept him to power erupted.

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US-Russian START treaty: A comprehensive flicker

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Two floundering presidents grabbed at a chance to show some results. No one will be happy, as always with compromises, says Eric Walberg

The US administration is preening itself on finally clinching a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, President Barack Obama calling it “the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades”. It is to be signed in Prague 8 April, where Obama launched his campaign for a nuclear weapons-free world a year ago, and which was supposed to get a US missile defence base. Obama axed this, at least for the moment, to mollify the Russians.

Despite it being the only flicker of peacefulness out of Washington “in nearly two decades”, the reaction in the US is one of indifference or hostility as the right now latches on to each and every Obama initiative to show its displeasure over healthcare and other Obama-inspired liberal policies.

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Russia, Azerbaijan/Armenia: All roads lead to the Caucasus

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Georgia is eager for another war with Russia, but there are other fires there which refuse to die -- Russia’s battles with terrorism and separatists and Azerbaijan’s bleeding wound in ethnic Armenian Nagorno Karabakh, notes Eric Walberg  

The Russian Federation republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, North Ossetia and Ingushetia have experienced a sharp increase in assassinations and terrorist bombings in the past few years which have reached into the heart of Russia itself, most spectacularly with the bombing of the Moscow-Leningrad express train in January that killed 26.
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Georgia vs Russia: Fanning the flames

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Will there be another war in the Caucasus? This is a smoldering issue on more than one front, finds Eric Walberg, in the first of a two-part analysis of the spectre of war in this strategic crossroads

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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