‘Look at a map again. Iran is a powerful state in the middle of the same Eurasia where Putin is building his union. An alliance of some sort with Iran isn’t strictly required, but it’s certainly helpful. At the very least, Putin wants good relations with the Iranians. And he wants America and American-friendly regimes away from his underbelly for the same reason he wants them off his western flank in Europe, where he fears the West and its economic and military alliances might encroach.
There’s no better way to win favor in Tehran than by co-sponsoring Iran’s own Middle Eastern proxies, Assad and Hezbollah. And there’s no better way to keep the West from breathing up his pant legs in the Middle East than by making himself the new power broker in a region long influenced by the United States, which he clearly sees as his biggest geopolitical foe.’
Without American involvement in stabilizing competing interests in many parts of the world, those interests which have their own reasons for defending and extending their own spheres of influence…will generally do so (from Russia in Syria, Ukraine & The Baltics…to China in the South and East China Seas).
Robert Kaplan doesn’t assert that geography explains everything, but rather that it can provide deeper contextual understanding as to what’s going on in the world today.
Look for increased nationalism and potential for conflict over shipping lanes and naval power in East Asia, for which America can provide much in the way of stability and the promotion of our interests, as well as that of a global liberal order (which can and will be challenged):
Short and long-term consequences to the Iran deal? Podcast from the at the American Interest here.
A nuclear-armed Iran with the deal in place seems quite likely. It’s certainly risky business.
ISIS thrives in the lawless places:
Some Russian links…as previously posted:
More on the Nemtsov killing: Don’t speak out.
Julia Ioffe at her site: ‘The Bizarre End To Vladimir Putin’s Bizarre Marriage:‘
‘An odd moment in the announcement came when Putin mentioned his confirmed children, two adult daughters whom we’ve never really seen, though there were reports in 2010 that one of them was marrying the son of a South Korean admiral.’
A reader passed along a video of Bill Browder, who made a billion, lost much of it, and got a look at Russian politics, money, and power up close. The way he describes it: Corruption all the way to the top.
What goes around, comes around-An oldie but a goodie-George Kennan: ‘The Sources Of Soviet Conduct‘
60 Minutes had an interview with ‘Jack Barsky,‘ an East-German Soviet spy who ended up living in America. To hell with it!
From The National Interest: ‘Inside The Mind Of George F. Kennan’,,,Eric Postner back in 2008: The Bear Is Back