July 2011

“Reset” Regret: Russian “Sphere of Privileged Interests” in Eurasia Undermines U.S. Foreign Policy

By Ariel Cohen

For many years, Russian diplomats have openly proclaimed that the former Soviet republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are not truly sovereign states. Russian analysts have stated that Russia regards the Obama Administration’s “reset” policy as a U.S. admission that the CIS is within Russia’s sphere of influence. The reset policy has hitherto conspicuously failed to address important U.S. interests in Eurasia, including preventing the emergence of a hegemonic power in Eurasia, maintaining a level playing field in access to markets and natural resources, and developing democracy and free markets based on the rule of law. Since the “reset,” President Obama has downgraded his meetings with post-Soviet heads of state, signaling a lesser U.S. involvement and interest. Some senior U.S. officials have even told their subordinates not to bother them with the problems of the Caucasus.

The Economist: Lithuania and Latvia eager to follow Estonian example

By Danuta Pavilenene

Plunging unemployment, rocketing growth, soaring exports and a budget surplus: that is the story of Estonia as it bounces back from a precipitous economic collapse. This burst of good news shows not only the virtues of flexibility and austerity (a sensitive subject, as other euro countries taste the same medicine); it also gives heart to Latvia and Lithuania, the British weekly The Economist writes.

Russia and Georgia, At It Again

I am in Tbilisi to talk about what is (or at least should be) of deep concern to Georgians: the country’s long-term domestic evolution, economic problems and political transition. But a lot of Georgians, especially in the government, want the conversation to get back to the enemy just outside—Russia. Is this because the Georgians are paranoid and want to use the Russian bear to distract attention from their own problems? Or because the Russians are actually out to get them? Or perhaps a bit of both?

OSCE Centre Helps Promote Integrated Water Resource Management In Kazakhstan

The meeting was initiated jointly by the Centre and the UNDP Office as part of a multi-year project aimed at introducing IWRM principles in Kazakhstan's legal and institutional framework. The event was also supported by the European Union, International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Government of Finland, the press service of the OSCE Centre in Astana reports.

Lithuania’s leadership in the region: opportunities of small EU Member States

By Benas Brunalas

To have a clear goal or a vision is important not only for humans but also for a state. Well-defined goals are the most effective tools facilitating the achievement of the desired results; therefore, the states should have a clear future vision.   More than five years have passed since Lithuania has set a controversial vision - the ambition to become a regional political leader.  Were  the ambitions defined by the Lithuanian foreign policy-makers realized in reality?