A glimpse inside the black hole of Russia’s corridors of power reveals that the fault line within the regime is getting deeper, and the current campaign for the upcoming State Duma elections on September 17–19 is one of the factors determining that line.
The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has prompted some in Russia to claim that the United States is no longer a superpower, and that with time, it will also abandon Ukraine to its fate. This would suggest that all is not lost for Moscow in Ukraine, and that the time may be approaching when the Americans will give up on Ukraine, and it will return to Russia’s geopolitical pull.
The newly unveiled Biden doctrine, which renounces the United States’ post-9/11 policies of remaking other societies and building nations abroad, is a foreign policy landmark. Coming on the heels of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, it exudes credibility. Indeed, President Biden’s moves essentially formalize and finalize processes that have been under way for over a decade. It was Barack Obama who first pledged to end America’s twin wars—in Iraq and Afghanistan—started under George W. Bush. It was Donald Trump who reached an agreement with the Taliban on a full U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Both Obama and Trump also sought, albeit in strikingly different ways, to redirect Washington’s attention to shoring up the home base.
It goes without saying that the crisis in Afghanistan will create new risks for the region, but Central Asia has long lived with chaos on its borders, and already has twenty years of experience in dealing with the Taliban.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s first speech following scenes of chaos and tragedy as the Taliban retook control of the Afghan capital Kabul contained some important implications for Russia. It presented a new format for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and other countries where Washington has taken it upon itself to oversee a transition to democracy. The United States has absolved itself of responsibility for the end result, since, in Biden’s words, U.S. soldiers “cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.” Biden also redefined the U.S. mission, stating that its aim was exclusively to ensure its own security following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil, rather than nation building or creating democracy.
Carnegie Moscow Center writes: How does the latest version of Russia’s National Security Strategy differ from the last one, released in 2015? Does the inclusion in it of environmental issues mean that this is finally a priority for Russia? Why does the strategy fail to address the growing rivalry between China and the United States? Podcast host Alexander Gabuev is joined by Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, and Anastasia Likhacheva, director of HSE’s Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies.
Liana Fix writes: The Biden-Putin summit has elicited hopes for a new status quo in relations between Russia and the West, marked by guardrails and the prevention of further destabilization. Yet this momentum will be short-lived if it is not backed up by coordination between the United States and Europe, and commitment from Moscow.
Manoj Joshi writes: For now, India’s role in the Western Pacific region remains symbolic, and in the Indo-Pacific context, confined to the Indian Ocean Region.
go to Carnegie Moscow Center: What’s in a Name? India’s Role in the Indo-Pacific – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Andrei Kolesnikov writes: Stalin stands in for the lack of modern heroes, and overshadows all the most important historical events of the twentieth century, symbolically compensating for the failures, defeats, and setbacks of more recent years.