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)
Ukraine Crisis Edges Closer to Armed Conflict
April 4, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

The crisis in Eastern Europe continued to build this week as Russia, Ukraine and the diplomatic community took a series of steps that raised the risk of open conflict.
North Korea Wants the World’s Attention, and Gets It Again
April 4, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Hostilities suddenly increased over the past two weeks between North and South Korea as the North tested mobile medium-range missiles, threatened a “new form” of nuclear test and precipitated an exchange of artillery fire with the South. North Korea’s provocations often are intended to grab headlines and force major powers to negotiate, yet Pyongyang’s latest attempts at brinkmanship could lead instead to armed conflict.
Cold War Redux: NATO Sets Strategy to Counter Russia Threat
April 3, 2014
NATO foreign ministers are moving at full diplomatic speed to counter a potential Kremlin threat to Ukraine's neighbor to the south, Moldova, which has a large ethnic Russian population. The ministers met this week in Brussels and agreed on a series of steps aimed at blunting further Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
Thanks to Gas, the Levant Just Got a Lot More Complicated
April 3, 2014
Could the highly volatile Levant — where Sunni meets Shia, Kurds clash with Turks, Palestinians battle Israelis, and Arabs fight each other — possibly become more chaotic than it already is? The answer is yes, and the reason is gas.
Why Japan May Be Forced to Save Its Nuclear Power Plants
April 3, 2014
Japan’s economic revival, now decades delayed, may be the driving force that returns the country to nuclear power despite the legacy of Fukushima. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needs cheap energy for manufacturing and has signaled its intention to revive the country’s dormant nuclear industry in order to ensure that supply.
China Losing Monopoly Over Rare Earth Elements
April 2, 2014
China’s control over the world’s production of rare earth elements — a series of 17 minerals vital for numerous high-tech industries — suffered a serious blow after the World Trade Organization ruled in late March that Beijing’s export quotas violate global trade agreements. Competition from Australia, Greenland, Russia, and the United States is putting the screws on China and may help ease international dependence on Beijing for the metals.
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