Aligning Western Values and Interests in Syria: Time to Learn from Putin

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By Ian Kearns

Russia is pursuing a twin-track policy in Syria. Its airstrikes are continuing at a high tempo, and continue to hit a wide range of anti-Assad forces on the ground. At the same time recent reports suggest a Russian backed Syrian peace plan is circulating at the United Nations. The two elements of the policy are linked. Russian warplanes are being used to demonstrate that Assad will not be allowed to fall but also to strengthen his constituency’s hand in the peace talks to follow. The west should now learn from what Russia is doing and apply greater military pressure of its own while biting the bullet on negotiating with Assad.

New Romanian government gets message of support from the US

By Irina Stoica

Security, the rule of law and the fight against corruption are the main targets that the US is focusing its efforts on in Romania. And these were some of the topics of discussion today between American Ambassador in Romania Hans Klemm and the new Romanian prime-minister Dacian Ciolos (photo). Ambassador Klemm visited the prime minister at Victoria palace, the Government’s seat, just a few days after he and his team of ministers were confirmed by the vote of the Parliament.

Secretary General stresses value of NATO-Serbia partnership in visit to Belgrade

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Both Serbia and NATO would benefit from closer cooperation, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday (20 November 2015) after talks with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and other senior government officials in Belgrade. Mr. Stoltenberg said his visit was part of “a fresh start” in relations between NATO and Serbia. “This is more important than ever since we face many common security challenges,” said the Secretary General. “Cooperation is a win-win. Working together keeps Serbian people safe and it keeps people in Allied nations safe too,” he said. 

Britain and the Spectre of Geopolitical Irrelevance

By Dhruva Jaishankar

It is difficult to underestimate the impact of a new James Bond movie on the British psyche. The films, released now at three- or four-year intervals, give the fleeting sense that Britain still matters on the world stage. Yet Bond has long reflected something of a geopolitical fantasy; his enduring appeal based in part on his inverse relationship with British power. In 1962 — the year that saw the release of Dr. No, the first movie in the Bond franchise — former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that Great Britain had lost an empire and not yet found a role. Double O Seven’s derring-do in the 1960s and 1970s deflected from Britain’s intelligence embarrassments, including revelations about the Cambridge Five spy ring, which passed Western intelligence onto the Soviet Union. But the fiction became more untenable with time. The idea that a post-Cold War Britain, with its dwindling diplomatic, military, and broadcast budgets, could avert war on the Korean peninsula (as in Die Another Day) or prevent a water crisis in Bolivia (as in Quantum of Solace) was patently absurd.

The great gain not the great game: How Kazakhstan is charting its own course in the world

By Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan

It is a sign of Central Asia's and Kazakhstan's increasing role and importance in the world that more and more is written about our region. But what is striking - and at times frustrating - is how reporting and analysis can be distorted to fit narratives which have little relationship to what's actually happening.