July 2010

Kyrgyz deal a Silk Road turning point

By M K Bhadrakumar

Central Asia arrived at a turning point last weekend far removed from the history of Genghis Khan riding out to conquer the world, as it sought peacekeepers from Europe. Russia, which has provided security to the region for the past century and more is stepping aside - unable or unwilling, and possibly incapable of performing that role anymore.

Russia Plans Far Eastern Energy Drive

By Sergei Blagov

Russian officials have reiterated pledges to pursue pro-active Far Eastern energy policies, backed by sizable investments. Moscow would invest up to $100 billion to develop new natural gas deposits in the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Sechin, announced. Many of these new deposits are located in Eastern Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

Ashton Seeks to Revive EU Role in Iran Nuclear Talks

By Johan Bergenäs

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, are currently involved in a diplomatic dance over resuming talks on Tehran's nuclear program. If the talks do indeed come to fruition, Ashton could assume the negotiating role previously played by her predecessor, Javier Solana. While Solana's diplomatic efforts ultimately did not bear fruit (.pdf), the circumstances that hampered his attempts to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff -- namely, the lack of U.S. participation and Iranian perceptions that the country had little to gain by talking with Europe -- have since improved and could be capitalized on by Ashton.