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Russian Marriage of Convenience
By Ilan Berman, Washington Times, May 24, 2002
 

Amid the current turmoil in the Middle East, the White House is quietly gearing up for another challenge.This weekend, President Bush will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in a historic meeting - one that could further define the future of our war on terrorism. By all accounts, the summit is shaping up to be a major success. Over the past several months, an unexpected consensus has emerged between Moscow and Washington on a number of critical international issues. But on one topic - Iran - Moscow and Washington remain worlds apart.

 
Gangster Governance
By Ilan Berman, National Review Online, May 16, 2002
 

Yasser Arafat is back. Fresh from his extended confinement in Ramallah, the Palestinian leader is again prominently in the press, working hard to spin the latest, disastrous Palestinian intifada into a personal political victory. On May 15, the Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman took his political agenda one step further, testing the waters of a previously taboo topic in the West Bank and Gaza — the future of Palestinian governance. In a major speech before a packed session of the Palestinian Legislative Council, he aired a vague call for "change and reform" within the West Bank and Gaza. "I'm calling for a re-evaluation of all our administrative and ministerial bodies, the security apparatuses, after there have been signs of mismanagement," Arafat told the Palestinian parliament. Nice words to be sure, and music to sympathetic ears in Europe, where efforts to rehabilitate Arafat as a leader and a statesman are already gathering steam. But serious skepticism is in order. After all, Arafat has made this promise before.

 
Putin's Problem
By Ilan Berman, National Review Online, January 8, 2002
 

Last May, on Vladimir Putin's one-year anniversary as president, throngs of Russians — wearing T-shirts that read "Team Russia: head coach V. V. Putin" — gathered in Moscow to announce that they had "turned their faces toward Russia, and their you-know-what's toward the West." Putin's supporters had a lot to cheer about. Since his ascent to power, the former KGB operative has reestablished Moscow as a major player in world politics. Through a wide range of economic and diplomatic initiatives, the Kremlin is fast reemerging as the preeminent power in Central Asia. Its officials are busy strengthening formidable alliances with China and Iran — and, through much savvy international maneuvering, Russia is well on its way to becoming an energy superpower.

 
Kremlin Coalition-Building
By Ilan Berman, United Press International, November 8, 2001
 

By all indications, U.S.-Russian relations have undergone a sea of change since Sept. 11.Prompted by solidarity with the American tragedy and their own experiences with religious radicalism, Russia has emerged as a key player in America's anti-terror coalition. And Moscow could well prove a valuable ally for Washington. With its large military presence and deep diplomatic influence, the Kremlin's assistance is crucial to any sustained American military campaign in Central Asia.But Russia's support is not likely to come at the expense of its own long-term interests. Even now, Moscow is hard at work on a coalition of its own -- one that could very well undermine American strategy in the region.

 
Slouching Toward Eurasia?
By Ilan Berman, Perspective, September 15, 2001
 

Since Vladimir Putin's assumption of the Russian presidency in December of 1999, Moscow's foreign policy has changed course. The norm is no longer President Yel'tsin's sometimes halting embrace of Europe and the West, which persisted in spite of pressures both from hard-liners within his own government (such as Foreign Minister -- and later Prime Minister -- Yevgeny Primakov) and from the secret police and intelligence organs. Instead, under Putin's direction, Russia's manipulation of foreign affairs -- despite fluctuations in tone -- generally appears to be more aggressive and "geopolitical," raising worries about renewed imperial aspirations on the part of the Kremlin.