April 23, 2014
Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power grab of Ukraine’s Crimea region and intend to sign the treaty to establish his ambitious Eurasian Economic Union next month, but the Kremlin’s bad behavior is causing some consternation among its allies. With even Europe’s last dictator, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, breaking ranks with his buddies in the Kremlin over Ukraine, Putin’s Eurasian dream is unlikely to become the united rival to the European Union he desperately wants to create.
Putin’s Ukraine Moves Rattle His Eurasian Union Allies
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, right, arrive at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 24, 2013. (Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)
China Invests Billions in Huge Political Surveillance Network
April 11, 2014
Threatened by rising domestic strife, China’s leaders are spending tens of billions of dollars to wire hundreds of Chinese cities with Internet, video surveillance cameras, cellphones, GPS location data and biometric technologies, all of them fused into a monitoring system of Orwellian proportions. Chinese officials are partly acting out of fear of organized opposition to official corruption, but the surveillance effort also extends to suppressing discontent among ethnic minorities.
Venezuela Struggles Under the Economic Legacy of Chavez
April 11, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD

Venezuela is undergoing a period of severe economic and political instability. Rising violent crime, homicide, rocketing inflation and a shortage of essential items – from milk to insulin – have resulted in a wave of protests by the middle class and growing dissatisfaction among the poor. The authorities’ heavy-handed response has only added fuel to the fire.
Russia Applies Crimean Takeover Model in Eastern Ukraine
April 11, 2014
Eastern Ukraine is quickly turning into a flashpoint in the struggle between Moscow and Kiev over territories bordering Russia with ethnic Russian populations. Similar to Crimea, ostensibly local pro-Russian separatists have taken over buildings and called for independence votes. However, Ukraine’s early response has been quite different this time.
Middle East Peace Talks Die Quietly as Larger Issues Loom
April 10, 2014
Despite frantic last-minute gambits by the United States, efforts to resuscitate the corpse of a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are effectively over. Both parties have admitted as much and have taken actions that confirm its demise, including Wednesday’s order by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to limit contacts with Palestinian negotiators.

Putin Insulates Russia With Plan for Financial Self-Sufficiency
April 10, 2014
While media reports focus on Vladimir Putin’s next military move in Ukraine, the Russian president is deftly making economic changes to cushion the blow of international sanctions. He is also slowly pulling Russia away from the international financial system to promote greater economic self-sufficiency. Putin’s supporters, now estimated to represent about 80 percent of Russia’s population, do not worry about sanctions as long as Russian flags are flying in Ukraine.
Ripples From Ukraine Reach All the Way to Outer Space
April 10, 2014
Tit-for-tat diplomatic travel sanctions following Russia’s seizure of Crimea are playing out in unexpected corners of the Russo-American relationship, even in space. NASA this month instructed its employees to suspend direct communication with the Russians except for the operation of the International Space Station.
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