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China-Russia Competition Opens A Door For America
By Jeffrey Mankoff and Leland R. Miller,, April 22, 2010

For the past two decades, many in the West have worried about the growth of Russo-Chinese influence over the newly independent states of Central Asia. Through the mutual-security group called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and in scores of joint military exercises, counter-terrorism maneuvers and energy projects, the two great powers collaborated closely in order to keep these buffer states peaceful, compliant and relatively free of American penetration. Lately, however, a perceptible shift has overtaken the region. In 2010, the biggest threat to China and Russia's Central Asian interests may now be each other.

Failure To Launch
By Ilan Berman,, April 13, 2010

Last March, when the Obama administration's outreach to Russia was still in its embryonic stages, America's chief diplomat made a major gaffe. Meeting in Geneva with her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented him with a symbolic red button, meant to signify the "reset" of bilateral relations publicly being advocated by the new president. But the button was mislabeled; in a glaring error of translation, it boasted the label peregruzka (overload), rather than perezagruzka (reload). Both Clinton and Lavrov were quick to laugh off the incident, but a serious message had inadvertently been sent: that the Obama administration was woefully out of its depth on foreign affairs.

That unfortunate episode sprang to mind last month, when Presidents Obama and Medvedev announced that work on a successor to the now-defunct 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) had been concluded. Details of the deal--predictably named "New START"--have now been made public, and they confirm that the latest exercise in U.S.-Russian arms control is flawed on at least three fronts.

Obama's Nuke Strategy: Do The Rogues Really Care About "Engagement"?
By Lawrence J. Haas, The North Star National, April 12, 2010

At the heart of President Obama's nuclear weapons policy lies a key assumption - that Iran, North Korea and other "rogue" states are susceptible to threats of isolation and tempted by global acceptance.
He may be right - and I hope he is - but history offers compelling evidence to the contrary.

The Islamist Flirtation
By Ilan Berman,, April 2, 2010

Politics can offer some strange second acts. Just ask Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate turned would-be presidential candidate who is now flirting with joining forces with Egypt's main Islamist party. Since leaving his post as director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in December, the 67-year-old diplomat has dipped his toe into electoral politics in his home country of Egypt. While still notional, ElBaradei's possible candidacy in the country's 2011 presidential election has galvanized Egypt's long-moribund political opposition.

Sleepwalking Toward A Nuclear Iran
By Lawrence J. Haas, The North Star National, March 31, 2010

Great athletes describe how, during moments of success, they feel as if time is slowing down so that - whether they are leading a fast break or awaiting a 95-mile-an-hour pitch - they see the game unfold in a kind of slow motion. In the arena of public affairs, we, too, have the power to step back and watch a new world unfold as if in slow motion. What seemed like disparate events as they occurred over the course of weeks, months or longer can, upon reflection, reveal a consistent pattern of activity with a predictable conclusion. And so it is with Iran's nuclear program.

The Ties That Bind
By Ilan Berman,, March 16, 2010

Just how durable are the ties between Russia and Iran? For years Western policymakers have been attempting to understand--and end--what is arguably the Iranian regime's most important international partnership. Recent weeks have only added urgency to the question, as the West ramps up its desperate scramble to stop Iran's relentless march toward the bomb.

Pakistan Veers From The Taliban
By Jeff M. Smith, Asia Times Online, March 4, 2010

Change is afoot in Pakistan. Evidence was on display in early February, with the capture of the Afghan Taliban’s number two commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in a joint operation by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence. The arrest of Baradar, who had been operating with relative impunity in Pakistan for years, was met with elation in Washington, where officials have been fruitlessly pressing the Pakistanis to crack down on the Afghan Taliban since 2001.

A New Sheriff At The U.N.
By Ilan Berman, Washington Times, March 1, 2010

If it's true that in politics you are judged by the caliber of your enemies, Yukiya Amano is off to a stellar start. The 62-year-old Japanese technocrat has only been at the helm of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for two months, but he is already exceedingly unpopular with the Iranian regime.

Taking Stock Of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
By Ilan Berman and Robert C. McFarlane, Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2010

What can the Obama administration do about Iran's drive to develop nuclear weapons?

The president's informal year-end deadline for a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear impasse with Iran has come and gone. Iran recently announced that it plans to build 10 nuclear fuel plants and has moved to enrich uranium to a higher level than necessary for peaceful purposes. As a result, the center of gravity within Washington policy circles is moving toward punitive measures against the Islamic Republic in the hope of curtailing its persistent nuclear ambitions.

Yet in order for the tougher measures it contemplates to be effective, the White House will need to know a lot more about the Iranian program than appears to be the case currently. A comprehensive reevaluation of what we know about Iran's atomic drive -- and what it means -- is in order.

Al-Qaida's Dirty Little Secret
By Ilan Berman,, February 16, 2010

What do al-Qaida's leaders fear most? It's not the more stringent screening requirements imposed by the Transportation Security Administration in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing by Nigerian extremist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Nor is it the long-awaited deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration's AfPak plan. And it certainly isn't the prospect that al-Qaida foot soldiers might end up in U.S. federal court, whether in New York or anywhere else. Rather, what keeps Osama Bin Laden and his followers up at night is the prospect that the Muslim world might get wise to their dirty little secret: that supporting al-Qaida is hazardous to your health.