United States of America

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with US President Joe Biden prior to the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva on June 16, 2021.

The Biden-Putin Summit: No Rolling Over, No Rolling Back

‘I did what I came here to do’ is exactly what Ronald Reagan might have said. But whilst Reagan had a talent for making toughness sound affable, the challenge for Joseph Biden after his two and a half hour summit with Vladimir Putin on 16 June 2021 will be to persuade his home base, and Putin himself, that he will show toughness through deeds and substance. When he told the State Department on 5 February that ‘the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions are over’, he faced no such challenge. But Biden now has a credibility problem in both Washington and Moscow.

Read more

Dialogue with Russia. Russia Needs to Reset Relations with the West.

Moscow’s resurgent foreign policy and the undemocratic rule of President Vladimir Putin ended the relatively friendly relations that had been possible between Russia and the West in the 1990s. In the seven years since Russia annexed Crimea and started a war of attrition against Ukraine, the security situation in the transatlantic region has continuously deteriorated. The Kremlin has demonstrated hostility towards the West, crises and security issues have continued to multiply instead of being resolved, and the risk of outright conflict has come close to Cold War peaks. There is an obvious and urgent need to lower tensions, but Moscow prefers to demonstrate its readiness to escalate.

Read more
Russian forces landing a shore during a military drill along the Opuk training ground not far from the town of Kerch, on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of the occupied Crimea. The announcement by Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergey Shoygu, on 22 April that Russia would be withdrawing the forces it had assembled for the ‘snap exercises’ launched on 7 April has been met by as much confusion as relief.

Ukraine: A Crisis Recedes, a Fog of Ambiguity Descends

The announcement by Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergey Shoygu, on 22 April that Russia would be withdrawing the forces it had assembled for the ‘snap exercises’ launched on 7 April has been met by as much confusion as relief. In the time that has passed since that announcement, statements by the Biden administration and the proposed Biden-Putin summit have increased confusion rather than dispelled it.

Read more

Some Initial Lessons Identified for the West from Russia’s Action against Ukraine

The exact reasons for the build-up of Russian forces in and around Ukraine are known only to President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, but it would be unwise to believe that there is no link between this show of force and the signals Moscow receives from Kyiv and Western capitals. Western nations should not be or appear to be deterred by Russian information operations and troop build-ups.

Read more

Growing Military Activity in the Arctic and Baltic Regions

The last six months have offered numerous examples indicating that the level of military activity in the Arctic and Baltic regions continues to increase slowly but steadily. Russian and Western forces have in different ways increased their presence in these contested regions and nations are strengthening relevant military capabilities.

Read more

#NATO2030. America’s Transatlantic Agenda

Donald Trump’s transactional approach to diplomacy stood in stark contrast to the long-standing broad commitments that have traditionally underpinned relations between the US and its allies. It is no surprise that Joe Biden’s victory was met with sighs of relief in many NATO capitals.

Read more

The United States Faces a Tangle of Challenges

The first fanfares of Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election and the proclamation of the rebirth of a great friendship were soon followed in Europe by more cautious assessments of the near future of US foreign and security policy. According to experts and observers, Biden must first and foremost address domestic challenges. ICDS Diplomaatia magazine asked Kurt Volker, Susan Glasser and Liisa Past to elaborate on what this actually means and how it will influence Biden’s choices in foreign and security policy.

Read more

Getting by in a Troubled Arctic: The Kingdom of Denmark and the Great Powers

Less than a decade ago, the Arctic region was widely regarded as an extraordinary, peaceful region. Brought about by a combination of a harsh geography incentivising cooperation over conflict and by the commitment of the Arctic countries themselves, the region was hailed in many quarters as exceptional, a place where the traditional rules of power politics had been, if not dismantled, then at least reined in. This is no longer the case.

Read more