It is not unknown for statesmen with previous experience of secret intelligence to insist upon getting their hands on decrypts of foreign intelligence communications in order to make their own appraisal of events rather than to rely upon the analysis of subordinates whose judgement is not entirely trusted. Winston Churchill certainly did so on a … Continue reading Putin’s Secret Intelligence Oversight
On Sunday Emomali Rahmon won the presidential elections in Tadzhikistan with the kind of high numbers that only a de facto dictatorship can achieve. It might therefore be assumed that his main protector, President Putin, will ensure that Tadzhikistan remains securely within the Russian security orbit. Certainly if the Russians are to replace the Americans … Continue reading Tadzhikistan: East or West?
Politicians in today's democracies are incessantly under pressure from an ignorant, irresponsibly egocentric and moralistic media to strike colourful, melodramatic poses on issues of foreign policy. The problem comes when the journalists, with the attention span of a five year old, have disappeared down to the pub, drowning the business of the day in drink, … Continue reading Germany Flip Flops on Russia Yet Again
Whenever Afghanistan rears its head, I think of how the Sherlock Holmes' stories began, with poor young Dr Watson shot up fighting and then racked by disease on one of Britain's futile campaigns across the north-west frontier of India, where my grandfather once worked as deputy superintendent of telegraphs in Karachi, servicing the communications links … Continue reading Russia’s Afghan Optimism
The United States does well to remove itself from Near Eastern and North African disputes. Its nominal ally Turkey has made it a profession to fish in troubled waters, seeking Great Power status through the projection of military power. The Russians of course have been playing the same game for some time and with greater … Continue reading Turkey Confronts Russia on Yet Another Front
The German Chancellor's ability to survive awkward political challenges has once again been severely tested and once more appears confirmed. Angela Merkel is reported in Vzglyad ru as having craftily evaded the pressure to cancel the Nordstream 2 pipeline by handing over the thorny issue to the EU as a whole, framed in terms of … Continue reading Merkel Saves the Russian Gas Pipeline
It was always to be expected that once they realised that the Americans under President Trump's leadership were serious about pulling out of Afghanistan - in the teeth of vocal Pentagon opposition - the Russians would be forced back in to take some responsibility for events. And, since the appointment of a new and dynamic … Continue reading Russia’s New Forward Policy in Afghanistan
After opposition leader Naval'ny was taken seriously ill in Russia and the Russian doctors declared that he just had a problem with blood pressure, world opinion ensured that he got out and to the safety of Berlin where German military toxicologists discovered that he had been poisoned with a toxin from the … Continue reading Naval’ny Poisoned With Novichok
The latest appalling news from Russia is the poisoning of the leader of the opposition, Aleksandr Naval'ny, by the administration of a deadly toxin to his tea at an airport. See Novaya gazeta's interview with his doctor, who said Naval'ny should of course be evacuated out of the country. The days of Stalin … Continue reading Naval’ny, Opposition Leader Poisoned
Having all but given up on Germany, the Trump administration has turned to Poland as its main anchor in continental Europe. And the United States is not the only European state in NATO that has doubts about Germany. The German government's insistence on plunging ahead with complete dependence upon Russia for natural gas, via Nordstream II, … Continue reading The US-Polish Axis: Against Russia or Germany?