“Humanity remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation. Now is the time to […] eliminate nuclear weapons from our world.” This recent post by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres supports the large group of states looking to advance the cause of prohibition of nuclear weapons. It should also be taken seriously by the two nuclear superpowers—the United States and Russia—who are coming under increased pressure to deemphasize nuclear weapons in their military postures and show progress towards an agreement on further cuts in their nuclear arsenals.
In a recent speech at Valdai, Russian president Vladimir Putin showed that his thinking has evolved over time in a philosophical direction and that he has developed a fairly coherent ideological outlook. It is perhaps not particularly original, and it contains big gaps, particularly in terms of how it is to find practical implementation, but it is, as I said, coherent. It’s also fairly moderate, and far removed from the claims made by many about him that he is a ‘fascist’, ‘far right’, ‘ultra-conservative’ or the like.
The combination of China’s economic and technological heft with Russia’s abundant resources and potent military could produce capabilities far greater than the sum of either country’s individual strengths.
The question of whether or not Russia is fascist rarely if ever gets asked nowadays because it seems so obvious: Why waste the time it takes to even ask the question? International relations scholars; major media organisations; non-scholarly yet high-profile shapers of the prevailing wisdom; and politicians on both sides of the aisle seem almost unanimous in their response to this question: Why yes, of course it is.
But is the question as settled as it appears?
On the whole, President Vladimir Putin’s remarks to the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi this year were conciliatory in tone towards the Biden administration, and he did not take up a number of opportunities to criticize the United States. Putin and most of the Russian establishment appear to believe that Biden and his team are indeed anxious to avoid a new crisis with Russia (very understandably, given the state of U.S.-Chinese relations).
On Wed. Oct 28 the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy convened a panel to discuss George Washington University scholar Marlene Laruelle’s new book Is Russia Fascist? The panel was moderated by SWC president Paul Grenier and featured George Washington Univ. Professor Marlene Laruelle, ACURA’s Anatol Lieven, ACURA’s Nicolai Petro as well as the University of Ottawa’s Paul Robinson.
A panel discussion on Climate Crisis, The Arctic and Challenges and Opportunities for US-Russia Cooperation took place on Wednesday, Oct. 27. It featured ACURA’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, Anatol Lieven (author of Climate Change and the Nation State), Cynthia Lazaroff, with special guests Pavel Devyatkin, Researcher at The Arctic Institute and Ekaterina Uryupova, Visiting Fellow at The Arctic Institute.
The American statesman famous for bringing about ‘containment’ sought to view the world through Moscow’s eyes.
NATO’s desired relevance, pushing for a focus on Russia, has come into conflict with the national interest of the United States. Prospects for improvement remain bleak, given that the U.S. foreign policy establishment’s desire to maintain its legitimacy and power in Washington aligns closely with the institutional interests of NATO.
This week, Quincy Institute scholar, author and journalist Anatol Lieven talks to Crashing The War Party from Sochi, Russia, where he was a speaker this week at the 18th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club. They discuss the mixed messages the administration is giving out on NATO, and the persisting tensions between Washington and Moscow, and hopes for some semblance of cooperation over Ukraine and nuclear missile agreements.