Foreign Press Review (04.07-10.07)

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The NATO summit in Warsaw, which took place on July 8-9, stole the limelight from all other issues, and it seemed that it was the only event last week. Analysts and politicians agree that this summit was held at the most critical point for the alliance since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with an “increased Russian aggression” – as the western media tend to portray Russian actions ahead of the meeting in Poland – being at the top of the agenda. Many politicians tried to seize the moment in order to express their opinion on NATO development strategy and in particular its policy towards Russia. A number of Eastern European politicians, including Estonia’s minister of foreign affairs Marina Kaljurand and Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, have published their articles in respectable newspapers, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, trying to convince the public of an existence of a ‘Russian threat’, and calling for determined actions. Meanwhile, leaders of Western European states were more moderate in their speeches and refrained from harsh words, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasizing the need for dialogue and France’s president François Hollande calling Russia a partner rather than an adversary.

As for the decisions made at the summit, despite Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg making every possible effort to outline that “NATO poses no threat to any country”, does “not want a nuclear war”, does “not want a new arms race” and “doesn’t seek confrontation”, deployment of four NATO battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia seems as a move which will inevitably exacerbate tensions with Russia. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has already drawn the media’s attention to the fact that it is not Russia which is getting closer to NATO’s borders but the alliance that is increasing its presence in Eastern Europe. More than that, a number of analysts believe that the militarization of the Black Sea is absolutely unavoidable. Even under such circumstances it is obvious that another spiral of cold war is unbeneficial for both parties, and there are a lot of areas for possible cooperation such as, for example, addressing the Syrian conflict and world terrorism per se, or the North Korean nuclear program and Afghanistan. As the ex-Supreme Commander (2009-2013) of NATO Admiral Jim Stavridis writes in his recent article in the Huffington Post, “building a stable, peaceful and coherent Europe must include Russia”.

The Kremlin’s Wednesday statement after the call Russian President Vladimir Putin made to his counterpart Barack Obama is a positive sign. Two weeks ago the US reportedly proposed Moscow to increase cooperation in Syria in the fight against terrorists and now the Kremlin announced that both sides confirmed their readiness for such a step during the telephone conversation, and emphasized the importance of political talks’ restoration.

The significance of such a move is only proved by the fact that it occurred amid a diplomatic scandal between Moscow and Washington, which was also widely covered in the foreign media, and could be a signal that the parties are sometimes able to put existing problems aside for the greater good. In regard to the scandal, the US blamed Russia for diplomats’ harassment, and the Washington Post published a story about a FSB guard who attacked a diplomat in front of the embassy in Moscow. Last week a Russian TV-channel aired a video of the incident with this US diplomat, who, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, was a CIA agent returning from a mission. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova defended the guard’s action because, she said, the man, who had been attacked, tried to enter the embassy without showing any identification.

Russia-NATO relations

How do you solve a problem like Russia? NATO-Russia relations after Ukraine

European Council on Foreign Relations

05.07.16

To forge an effective response to Russia, NATO needs to reach greater consensus. This collection of essays is part of that process. They look at the most critical and most contentious aspects of the NATO-Russia relationship.

Turkey Makes Up With Russia; America Also Needs To End New Cold War With Moscow

By Doug Bandow

Forbes

05.07.16

Putin is no friend of the liberal Western order, but that doesn’t mean there are no shared interests.

NATO Summit: Sailing Into Rough Seas With Russia

By Jim Stavridis

The Huffington Post

07.07.16

Building a stable, peaceful and coherent Europe must include Russia. A grand bargain with Russia is possible over time, but it will be rough sailing coming out of Warsaw.

U.S. to Move Troops to Poland, Raising Russia Tensions

By Carol E. Lee

The Wall Street Journal

08.07.16

The 1,000 U.S. troops will make up one of four battalions deployed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Poland and three Baltic countries that border Russia—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

NATO Unity, Tested by Russia, Shows Some Cracks

By Mark Landler and David E. Sanger

The New York Times

08.07.16

Germany, France and Italy are showing signs of wavering from the hard-line stance they adopted after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia annexed Crimea two years ago.

Syrian conflict

It may be a long shot, but trying to cooperate with Russia in Syria is Obama’s best option

By The Times Editorial Board

The Chicago Tribune

07.07.16

Frustrating as it may be, exploring the possibility of cooperation with Moscow in Syria is still preferable to trying to oust Assad through U.S. military action.

Russia-US relations

On Independence Day, Putin extends olive branch to Obama and US

By Ben Rosen

The Christian Science Monitor

05.07.16

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to President Obama on Independence Day, Monday: let’s make up for the sake of our countries and the world.

Putin’s Pick: Clinton or Trump?

By Nina Khrushcheva

CNN

04.07.16

In light of recent terror attacks, it is crucial to examine the political alliance the next American president will have to manage with Russia.

Trump Foreign Policy Adviser Calls For ‘Mutual Respect’ in Moscow Lecture

By Patrick Reevell

ABC News

07.07.16

One of Donald Trump’s few foreign policy advisers is visiting Moscow, giving a lecture today at a prestigious university in the city.

Russia expels 2 U.S. diplomats in fallout over bizarre embassy fracas

By Doug Stanglin

USA today

09.07.16

Russia expelled two U.S. diplomats in retaliation for a similar move against two Russian diplomats stemming from a bizarre fracas last month between a U.S. diplomat and a Russian guard at the entrance to the U.S. embassy compound in Moscow.

Russia-EU relations

Germany Is Rekindling Its Bromance With Russia

By Hans Kundnani

Foreign Policy

07.07.16

Angela Merkel is still chancellor of Germany, but the influence of her predecessor is on the rise. Call it Schröderism: the idea that Germany is destined to have a “special relationship” with Russia and must do everything it can to maintain it — regardless of Russian actions.

Brexit

Still mourning their own empire, Russians delight at Brexit

By Kathrin Hille

The Financial Times

05.07.16

UK’s vote seen as a rejection of Europe’s political establishment that vindicates Moscow

Information war

Misunderstanding Russia and Russians

By Ann Wright

Consortiumnews.com

05.07.16

Western media has demonized Russia and President Putin with unrelenting propaganda that has dazed and confused many Russians.

The Media’s Incessant Barrage of Evidence-Free Accusations Against Russia

 By James Carden

The Nation

05.07.16

In one month, its government has been accused of hacking the DNC, orchestrating the Brexit, tacitly supporting Trump, and more.

Russia-Turkey relations

Saying sorry: What’s behind Turkey’s new thaw with Russia

By Scott Peterson

The Christian Science Monitor

07.07.16

In a shift, Prime Minister Erdoğan has expressed regret for shooting down a Russian fighter last year. What’s less clear is whether his move signals a long-term shift in regional alliances.

Russia’s internal policy

Russia Is Not Dying From a Brain Drain

By Leonid Bershidsky

Bloomberg

06.07.16

Russia does have a problem with its human capital, but it’s not primarily a question of a brain drain, and the wrong statistics are being used to describe it.

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