Much has been written about the potential impact that the demise of Osama bin Laden and the possible disintegration of al-Qaida will have on U.S. foreign policy, beginning with the question of whether this will trigger a more rapid disengagement from Afghanistan. But bin Laden's death could also change the foreign policy calculus of other states, notably Russia, which for the past 10 years has promulgated its own version of the global war on terror as a central organizing principle for international affairs.
Just as the turning of the leaves heralds the arrival of winter's chill, so too are there unmistakable signs whenever a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization draws near. The media is filled with commentary about "NATO's crisis," while statements percolate forth from the alliance's capitals about NATO's clear purpose for the 21st century.
It has now become hard to deny that there is a relapse of terrorist activity in the Caucasus, particularly in Ingushetia and Dagestan, threatening to unravel the stability and calm that has emerged in this war-ravaged region in the last couple of years. What is the Kremlin to do? Has the policy of betting on Ramzan Kadyrov gone wrong, or is it still a reliable tool of fighting terrorism without provoking terror attacks on targets inside Russia? What are the real causes of terrorist activity in Ingushetia and Dagestan?