WPR Articles 28 Apr 2012 - 04 May 2012
Though Sergei Magnitsky’s murder and the failure of the Russian authorities to hold those responsible to account are both deplorable, they are not evidence of the hyper-authoritarian police state that many in the West imagine Russia to be. Rather they are evidence of the deterioration of the “vertical of power” that has formed the basis of Vladimir Putin’s vision for the Russian state.
Unlike the Cold War era, today’s global threat horizon is not defined by a single or a few large threats. Rather, our common security is challenged by a horizontal portfolio of problems that transcends borders, including everything from the trafficking of small arms and drugs to the smuggling of cigarettes. All of these scourges have a disproportionately negative impact upon developing economies.
When the U.N. sends peacekeepers to war zones, there are often excessive expectations about what they can achieve. By contrast, pessimism surrounds the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria. It’s rare for U.N. officials to emphasize that a new operation is likely to fail. Why are they doing so in the Syrian case? The answer may be that UNSMIS marks a deeply troubling turning point in U.N. peacekeeping.
Last week’s inaugural U.S.-Brazilian Defense Cooperation Dialogue was the latest example of the Obama administration’s efforts to enhance defense cooperation with Brazil. Though improving broader relations with Brazil has been a priority, the emphasis on defense ties is part of Washington’s effort to get Brazil to increase its global security role as the U.S. focuses its attention on Asia.
The Missile Defense Conference currently taking place in Moscow demonstrates the wide gap that continues to separate Russia and the West on the issue of ballistic missile defense. The issue has divided the two sides since the 1980s. If there is one thing these years of frustrating experience should have taught us, it is that missile defense is the wrong issue to make the centerpiece of the Russia-NATO reset.