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American-Russian relations: from confrontation to alliance
Last updated: 2 May 2016

::Book Review

Putin’s New Russia is the true story about Russia under Vladimir Putin emerging from its Soviet past and from Gorbachev’s perestroika that threw the country into a criminal anarchy in the 1990s.

Sergei ROY
political analyst, Russia

Sergei Roy (b. 1936) – journalist and writer based in Moscow. Writes in English and Russian. Translated into English scores of books, especially poetry, for Russian and foreign publishers. Chief editor of Moscow Magazine (1994-95), Moscow News (1995-2004), later of webzines and Over a number of years he published in Moscow News a weekly essay on the perestroika period under the general title “Collapse of a Colossus.”

Sergei Roy is an ardent hiker and published several books based on his diaries (“Taiga Law,” “Solo on the Aral,” “The Cruel Cruise”) and a great number of short stories of adventure in the wilds of Russia and elsewhere.

Boris Pasternak (1890 - 1960), a Russian poet, writer, and unquestionably a genius, was subjected in the last years of his life to harsh persecution by the Soviet regime. The ostensible reason for that was publication in the West of Doctor Zhivago , a superb novel that was banned in his native country but deferentially acclaimed throughout the world, bringing its author the highest reward, the Nobel Prize for Literature. Doctor Zhivago was first published in Milan, Italy, in November 1957. It was put out by a publishing house founded by Giangiacomo Feltrinelli just a couple of years previously.

Based on over sixteen years of successful business in the evolving new Russia, Fred Andresen has written a book that is mandatory for all who plan to work there, make a serious visit, or just curious.   Written with insight, understanding, and a rare degree of humor, he tells us about working with and enjoying the Russians.

From Afghanistan and Iraq to Europe and the United States we are engaged in one of the most heated wars of all time. In his newest book, Walid Phares shows that the most important battle is actually taking place in the hearts and minds of the world's population. This is the war of ideas, where ideology is the most powerful weapon of all. He explores the beliefs of two opposing camps, one standing for democracy and human rights, and the other rejecting the idea of an international community and calling for jihad against the West. He reveals the strategies of both sides, explaining that new technologies and the growing media savvy of the jihadists have raised the stakes in the conflict. And most urgently, he warns that the West is in danger of losing the war.

This is an indispensable book for anyone wondering what sort of changes to expect in U.S. foreign policy should the Democrats retake the White House later this year. Nye (The Paradox of American Power, etc.), now dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, was an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration. The go-it-alone approach, Nye argues, has led to an unprecedented drop in support for the U.S. abroad, which leaves us scrambling to rebuild Iraq almost singlehandedly, overstretching ourselves militarily and economically. It also hampers efforts to secure the voluntary cooperation of foreign governments essential to dismantling terrorist cells spread throughout the globe. The answer, Nye says, lies in a return to the mix of soft and hard power that cemented the Western alliance and won the Cold War.

Could it really be that the United States spent decades cultivating Islamists? And that it manipulated and double-crossed them, cynically using and misusing them as Cold War allies? And that all of this spawned a force that turned against its sponsor with a vengeance? Robert Dreyfuss argues just that in «Devil’s Game.» Like monsters imbued with artificial life, radical imams, mullahs and ayatollahs stalk the landscape, thundering not only against the United States — but against freedom of thought, against secular science, against nationalism and the left, against women’s rights. We should be mindful of that troubling history. When we now fear all those Islamists, we do well to remember just who helped spawn them.
When President Bush declared war on terrorism, he did not, legally, put the country on a war footing. Up until now, we have never accurately named the enemy or the danger. If the government can't speak the real name and nature of the enemy, it becomes impossible to explain, or even design, a policy for victory. This is why Mr. Bush -- who has tried to talk around the problem of radical Islam -- has seemed (to his critics) foolish or deceitful, neither of which he is.

The study seeks to point out ways that a truly irenic American global strategy needs to work more diligently to resolve a number of the crucial geo-political conflicts so as to minimize the real possibility of wider regional conflicts, if not that of major power war. It is argued that homo geopoliticus is entering a "danger zone" over the next 50 years in which the risks of war will be heightened in disputes over burgeoning world energy and resource demand, shifts in technological capabilities, coupled with conflicting geostrategic, military-technological and political-economic interests, as well as considerations of state power and influence.

In its early years, the NSC was the subject of dozens of scholarly and journalistic analyses. More recently, however, it has received little serious treatment, even as it has become entrenched as the presumptive center of presidential foreign policymaking. A comprehensive book on the NSC's origins and evolution is thus very much needed. David Rothkopf presents Running the World as just such a book -- The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power.

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Kevin Baron
As the final two presidential debates turn toward foreign policy, starting tonight, one major divergent point between President Obama and Mitt Romney still not fully explored by the candidates is Romney’s claim that Russia is America’s "number one geopolitical foe.”
Kevin Baron
As the final two presidential debates turn toward foreign policy, starting tonight, one major divergent point between President Obama and Mitt Romney still not fully explored by the candidates is Romney’s claim that Russia is America’s "number one geopolitical foe.”
Kevin Begos

Natural gas resurgence in the United States means lower natural gas prices, more potential for Europe to drill its own natural gas, and a rising threat to Russia's gas exports.

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