Int'l Relations

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The Bogeyman
August 12, 2009

The Bogeyman

By Paul E. Richardson

When it comes to bogeymen, China, Cuba, even North Korea can't hold a candle to old Mother Russia. This week, as tempers flared and theatrical protests abounded around health care, a woman offered this irrational take on proposed reforms at a town hall meeting ...

From Mikhail to Michael
July 13, 2009

From Mikhail to Michael

By Paul E. Richardson

Four years ago, in August 2005, then Senator Barack Obama was detained for three hours at a Siberian airport. Obama, with Senator Dick Lugar, was on a US delegation touring nuclear warhead storage and disposal sites. Russian border guards insisted on searching the delegation's plane. The senators refused...

Afghanistan: A Second Chance?
February 20, 2009

Afghanistan: A Second Chance?

By Paul E. Richardson

Thirty years ago, in 1979, the Persian Gulf was a tinderbox. On January 16, following months of uprisings, the Shah of Iran was overthrown. One month later, it looked like Afghanistan’s turn. The Soviet-backed thugs running the country had imposed radical social reforms, sparking a civil war and threatening pro-Soviet rule...

Gas Tussle
January 06, 2009

Gas Tussle

By Paul E. Richardson

Sometimes it can be hard to get at the facts. And given that the western media went way down the wrong road on the recent Georgian crisis, one is inclined to be skeptical of coverage on the current Russia-Ukraine gas spat. 

Caucasian Stalemate
August 15, 2008

Caucasian Stalemate

By Paul E. Richardson

Last Thursday, after several days of skirmishes and confrontation in the breakaway region of Ossetia, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral cessation of hostilities. Hours later, however, Saakashvili ordered his armed forces to undertake a full-scale assault on Ossetia...

A Metaphorical Net Game
June 25, 2008

A Metaphorical Net Game

By Paul E. Richardson

Russia has truly regained its prowess as a sports superpower, and it may rise further yet. It will surely be giving the U.S. a run for its money in the overall medals race at the Beijing Olympics in August... this rise in sports achievement takes place against the backdrop of a Russia that, without putting too fine a point on it, has bumbled from failure to failure in foreign policy in recent months

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