November 2011

NATO’s relations with Kazakhstan

video

NATO and Kazakhstan actively cooperate on democratic, institutional, and defence reforms, and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas. The Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) lays out the overall programme of cooperation between Kazakhstan and NATO. The defence-related fields of cooperation are supported by the Planning and Review Process (PARP).

Lithuania Prepares to Pass the OSCE Exam

video

By Roman Yakovlevsky

Parting year 2011  has  been special for Lithuania, which took the relay of Chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Community of Democracies. And if the Community has the extension task basing on definite principles, then within the territory of the Organization we can observe deviation from democratic promotion. Despite certain attempts of the OSCE human rights are still being violated commonly. That is why the Chairman-in-office has declared the intentions to give special focus to the promotion of human rights, freedom of press and civil society among the Organization’s member-states. Also such troublesome Lithuanian’s neighbor as Belarus has intensified this focus.

Vera Kobalia: Diversification in Georgia is Everywhere

By Konstantin Ameliushkin

Minister of Economy and Stable Development of Georgia Vera Kobalia considers economic relations of Lithuania and Georgia to be insufficient. She thinks that more can be expected, and that the main problems rest within the sphere of goods transportation and absence of direct communication between the two states. During an interview for DELFI she underlined that due to the embargo imposed by Russia in 2006 on Georgian goods, her country has only benefited, and entrance of Russia into WTO shall positively influence Georgian economy. In course of her visit to Vilnius the youngest minister in the team of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili Vera Kobalia answered the questions of DELFI, shared with her view on economic cooperation between Lithuania and Georgia, main problems and project of Georgian economy, talked about the opinion of Tbilisi on entrance of Russia into WTO and on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
 

Rahmon Balances Domestic and Foreign Pressures Over Rogun Project

video

By Alexander Sodiqov

Tajik authorities announced that they had completed the main diversion tunnel of the Rogun Dam project. This means that it is now technically possible to divert the Vakhsh River from the part of the valley in which they plan to place the giant dam. Dewatering the construction areas will allow the authorities to start building the facility.

The Cold War Is Really Over Now

As Russia begins to spend $650 billion to modernize their armed forces (by the end of the decade), the prime minister also ordered a dramatic step to permanently cut the Russian military loose from their Cold War past. This requires scrapping over 10 million tons of obsolete weapons (including over 20,000 tanks, over 100,000 other armored vehicles and artillery, hundreds of ships and thousands of aircraft). During the 1990s, this stuff was just left to rot in open fields, remote airbases and dingy corners of ports and naval bases. In the last decade, Russia has spent over half a billion dollars providing some security, and minimal upkeep for this stuff. For a long time, there was the hope that the abandoned weapons might be useful if there was another major war. But there's no one to operate the stuff, as the current Russian armed forces are a fifth the size of the Soviet Union military that used to own all these weapons. Moreover, more than half the equipment to be scrapped is considered obsolete (by Russian standards). Nearly all of it is considered obsolete by Western standards. The rest of the world has picked over this pile of Cold War surplus for the last two decades, and bought what they thought might be useful. That made hardly a dent in the pile of abandoned weapons and equipment.

Europe, the International System and a Generational Shift

video

By George Friedman

Change in the international system comes in large and small doses, but fundamental patterns generally stay consistent. From 1500 to 1991, for example, European global hegemony constituted the world’s operating principle. Within this overarching framework, however, the international system regularly reshuffles the deck in demoting and promoting powers, fragmenting some and empowering others, and so on. Sometimes this happens because of war, and sometimes because of economic and political forces. While the basic structure of the world stays intact, the precise way it works changes.