September 2012

Hollande slumps in polls ... and it could get worse

By Tony Cross

After four months in power President François Hollande has suffered a massive drop in popularity, his government is split over the eurozone fiscal pact and companies continue to lay workers off. This week is unlikely to see a turnaround — new unemployment figures will be announced on Wednesday and the cabinet will discuss a widely dreaded budget on Friday.

Around Zhanaozen

By Alina Kantor

On the 21th annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, debates around Kazakhstan have become one of the topics that attracted keen interest of human rights defenders. Some MPs proposed to adopt a tough resolution to this country in connection with events in Zhanaozen.

As the EU falters a new “empire” could rise in eastern Europe

By Przemek Skwirczynski

One pact which seemed firmly consigned to the history books as recently as five years ago suddenly looks like a good idea again. I am referring to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, originally created over six hundred years ago to counter the threat of a rogue «crusader» state of Teutonic Knights based on the Southern Baltic coast.

Soft Power with an Iron Fist: Putin Administration to Change the Face of Russia’s Foreign Policy Toward Its Neighbors

By Dumitru Minzarari

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s talk at the Russian Foreign Ministry on September 3, when he powerfully stressed the need for his country to strengthen and consolidate its “soft power” (mid.ru, September 3), may look to an outside observer like an optimistic signal and a long-awaited change in Russia’s foreign policy. This benign view, however, could not be more wrong. Rather, the Kremlin is seeking to exploit the Western concept of “soft power”—which basically implies the power of attraction—and reframing it as a euphemism for coercive policy and economic arm-twisting.

Uncertain World: China-Japan Tensions – Who Stands to Gain?

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By Fyodor Lukyanov

The Asia-Pacific Region’s growing global economic and political importance was a clear priority for all those attending APEC 2012 in Vladivostok. Representatives from economies across the globe gathered to discuss its promising future. But recent events in the region have reaffirmed the axiom that great opportunities tend to be accompanied by equally great risks.

Where Does NATO’s Turkey Go?

By Arthur Dunn

This October it’s the 60th anniversary of joining Turkey to NATO. In the heat of the “cold war” it was extremely important part of strategic planning of the North Atlantic Alliance. Those times its task was about counteracting to the extension of geopolitical influence of the Soviet Union. Except for that, together with Greece simultaneously joining the Alliance it was a natural barrier on the way of direct approach of the USSR to an oil-wealthy Near East.

Armenia Is Scaring NATO?

By Arthur Khachatryan

Armenia has launched military exercises "Interaction-2012". Collective Rapid Reaction Forces will respond the conventional enemy aggression. For this, all the CSTO states have gathered military units near Armenia. At the landfill "Baghramyan", located 50 km from Yerevan, there are deployed around 2 thousand troops. The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen military cooperation and achieve mutual understanding within the CSTO. As well as to show NATO military capabilities.