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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Archive for the tag “Soviet”

Putin’s Capitalism

The essence of President Vladimir Putin‘s annual address to the Federal Assembly on Dec. 12 was that his enchantment with state capitalism and Soviet economics is continuing. Rather than promoting higher economic growth, he wanted to go after the remaining prominent private businessmen

Read Here – Moscow Times

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India And Israel: Dancing The Military Tango

Last year, Israel topped the list of arms suppliers to India—just as India officially became the globe’s largest arms importer. And it’s not just missiles and drones: India has increasingly leaned on Tel Aviv for high-tech warfare, scooping up the Phalcon airborne radar and advanced electronic surveillance systems along with equipment to retrofit now-rickety Soviet-era weaponry.

Read Here – The Tablet

Taking A Few Pages Out Of Stalin’s Book

For some 45 years after the end of World War II, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were locked in a deadly embrace of the Cold War. Then, communism lost the war of ideologies, the Soviet empire collapsed, and the two superpowers went in different directions. Nevertheless, it never ceases to amaze me how the two countries still seem to be joined at the hip, with the U.S. at times imitating and at times almost supernaturally mirroring political developments in Russia.

Read Here – Moscow Times

Punting on Putin

VLADIMIR PUTIN came to power on May 7th 2000 under the banner of economic reform, modernisation and anti- corruption. In a bow to Russian history he ordered that “The Gulag Archipelago”, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1973 book about Stalin’s Soviet forced-labour camp system, be made a set text for Russian schoolchildren, a radical move as the book is both searing and unrelenting and had been banned in the Soviet era.

Now three very different new books illustrate how misguided such hope in Mr Putin’s modernisation turned out to be.

Read Here – The Economist

Why a Founding Father of Postwar Capitalism Spied for the Soviets

U.S. Treasury official Harry Dexter White is best known as one of the leading architects of the Bretton Woods system that shaped the global economy after World War II. But he was also a spy for the Soviet Union, providing secret information and giving advice on economic issues. Why did he do it? Newly uncovered documents show that this champion of postwar global capitalism was actually a passionate believer in the success of the Soviet experiment with socialism.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

From Superpower to Super Weakling

oday’s Russia is a strange paradox. The country and its people are better off than at any time since at least the Bolshevik Revolution. But its great financial wealth coexists with remarkable weakness. True, it still has a large army and a nuclear arsenal capable of ending life on Earth. But by most measures of modern power, Russia is a lightweight. It has almost no influence in the world beyond some poor, backward former Soviet republics. It has no meaningful allies with whom it shares interests and pursues coordinated policies. It may be able to play the spoiler by thwarting international cooperation on Syria or Iran, but it can play no constructive role or be a broker with those nations. It is neither feared nor respected.

Read Here – Moscow Times

Russians Are Afraid – and for Good Reason

Recent developments in Russia have evoked memories of a famous line by Vladimir Lenin: “The courts should not do away with terror … but should give it foundation and legality, clearly, honestly and without embellishments.” In just the six months since he reseated himself as president,Vladimir Putin has been busy creating a legislative framework that might make Lenin proud.

Under the Soviet legal system, the court was an arm of the government, a system designed to protect the state from an individual, rather than to protect an individual from the state. Treason was defined in the Soviet Criminal Code as being part of a public group that acted “under the influence” of the bourgeoisie. This all sounds eerily similar to trends resurfacing in today’s Russia, except that Putin has been less candid about what his framework could enable, beyond describing a need for “stability.” More likely he wants to instill fear, albeit without the terror of the past. He wants a more civilized, acceptable reinterpretation of the Soviet period, although that is hardly consolation for Russia’s beleaguered civil society and opposition.

Read Here – The Moscow Times

Restoring Russia’s Greatness

Greatness is an odd word because it signifies both quantity and quality. In the case of Russia, the two are easily confused. Even after the huge territorial losses incurred with the Soviet collapse, Russia still accounts for one-seventh of the Earth’s surface. Therefore, it has a geographical imperative to think big.

Russia is unlike Britain and France, which shrank back to their middle-sized home nations after losing their empires, making the transition to second-rateness with good grace. Russia’s loss of empire was more sudden, destructive and humiliating. Russia suffers from the malaise of lost greatness, the gigantic hangover that results when a historical bender comes to its inevitable bad end.

Read Here – The Moscow Times

Mongolia in Globalization’s Chokehold

It’s been 20 years since I’ve been in Mongolia, the large country of high desert plains sandwiched between China and Russia, and much has changed. Some, education and food supply, is for the better, and a lot – including urban sprawl and rising inequality – is for the worse. Much of the change has to do with globalization.

In 1992 Mongolia had just been liberated from communism. The Soviet system provided social services, but eviscerated the traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture and left little room for democratic participation.

At that time democracy was in the air. A dean at the National University of Mongolia asked how American professors elected the presidents of its universities, since they would like to copy the model. Sadly, I had to tell him that US university administrators were appointed, not elected, and he seemed surprised.

Read Here – Yale Global

The Myth That Screwed Up 50 Years of U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. President John F. Kennedy‘s skillful management of the Cuban missile crisis, 50 years ago this autumn, has been elevated into the central myth of the Cold War. At its core is the tale that, by virtue of U.S. military superiority and his steely will, Kennedy forced Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to capitulate and remove the nuclear missiles he had secretly deployed to Cuba. As Secretary of State Dean Rusk rhapsodized, America went “eyeball to eyeball,” and the Soviets “just blinked.” Mythologically, Khrushchev gave everything, and Kennedy gave nothing. Thus the crisis blossomed as an unabashed American triumph and unmitigated Soviet defeat.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

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