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The Donkey and the Elephant: American Presidential Politics, Russia, and 'None of the Above'

Whether one truly believes in the old adage that the President of the United States is the ‘leader of the free world’ and ‘the most powerful person on the global stage,’ it is unquestionable that whoever holds the Oval Office in the White House wields tremendous influence and impact far beyond the borders of America. As the world looks on with fascination in 2016 at the coming confrontation between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, questions remain as to which candidate is...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
30.06.2016 20:53:00

Responsibility of International Organizations

Part 1 – Introduction and historical approach to the Ethiopian Conflict In the sphere of Responsibility of International Organizations, there is no agreement on how to set their responsibility. On the third week of March 2016, at MGIMO University, the Sixth Commission of the International Model of the United Nations (MIMUN) discussed this issue. I was invited ...

Isas Alfredo Santiago
Опубликовано:
06.05.2016 12:09:00

Cold War Triumphalism and the Chicken-and-Egg Dilemma

There is a decided chicken-and-egg quality when trying to unravel Russian-American relations. The general pessimism and pejorative characterizations that come from the U.S. Congress clearly have a negative influence on Putin’s strident bravado and dismissive arrogance to the United States. What is perplexing is how this dilemma, which implies that it is difficult to figure out which truly came first, never seems to be an actual problem for American politicians: the Russian ‘corrupt and...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
14.02.2015 21:08:00

Keeping Russia the Enemy: Congressional Attitudes and Biased Expertise

America seems reluctant in accepting the fairly benign fact that countries do not like to be dictated to and thus misses opportunities for creating new dialogues. This is especially prominent in explaining the poor relationship at the moment with Russia. There seems to be an element of purposeful animosity in the way Russia is viewed, analyzed, and engaged, especially at the so-called expert level and most prominently within the now Republican-controlled United States Congress. Perhaps one of the...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
07.02.2015 00:55:00

The Price of Paris: Islamism and the Exploitation of Women

The events in Paris are unfortunately all too familiar in the 21st century. I think in some corners it is still perhaps a bit shocking that events like the storming of Charlie Hebdo and the killing of civilians do not actually take place more often than they do. In my line of work, this is the foundational conundrum of secret success: intelligence communities around the world actually do a stellar job of ferreting out literally hundreds, if not thousands of ideas, intentions, and full-on strategic...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
18.01.2015 18:34:00

The Saudi Bait-and-Switch

Western media members are currently basking in what to them seems to be a story of economic ‘come-uppance.’ Saudi Arabia announced that its 2015 budget will suffer from a significant economic shortage, resulting in a nearly $39 billion dollar deficit. Most in the West look at this fact curiously, mainly because it seems to be that Saudi Arabia is causing its own problem, by refusing to budge off of its own insistence at maintaining an oil production level of 30 million barrels per day...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
06.01.2015 19:02:00

Prisoners of Preconception: The Problems of Bias in American Intelligence

Anyone who has worked through post-mortems on the Iraq war is familiar with the pitfalls associated with ‘groupthink’ and preconceptions. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the few modern examples of consensus across American partisanship. Some have argued such assumptions emerged from an administration not interested in counter-arguments and alternative information. Others pointed to embedded preconceptions within the Intelligence Community itself, making it impossible to jump off the analytical...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
08.12.2014 06:59:00

Soft Spying: The Love-Hate Relationship America has with Economic Espionage

Despite Hollywood romanticizing about Bonds and Bournes, one of the most prevalent forms of modern intelligence activity is also arguably the least emphasized: economic and industrial espionage. Aimed at garnering a financial and innovation advantage for countries seeking greater influence in a highly globalized world, this activity is not just about economic policy but serves as de facto proxy military rivalry: states maneuver to outperform, outwit, and ‘outstrategize’ across all spheres...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
22.09.2014 04:36:00

Targeted Killings Coming Back to Haunt America

While most international organizations and foreign states have made attempts to explicitly fuse drones and targeted killing to already established norms, ethics, and rules of war, the United States has focused more on drones being something of a semi-covert tool ...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
16.09.2014 06:44:00

NATO: A Mighty Wind, Signifying Nothing

... maneuvers against Ukraine and demanding that Russia stop inviting further sanctions and pressure against itself, as British Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized at the summit. All of this is well and good, of course, part of the pomp and circumstance of international organizations that believe more strongly in microphones than M-16s, but it does seem to beg the question from either impartial or disinterested observers: what reality does this address and what end is really trying to be achieved? To ...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
09.09.2014 18:04:00

Yemen's Special Interests, or, Horton Hears a Houthi

The percentage of Americans who have heard of Yemen is undoubtedly small. Still fewer could locate it on a map. Still fewer have even an inkling of its current political issues. Reality shows that civil unrest and insurrection has been happening in the north of that country since 2004, meaning there has basically been war in Yemen as long as there has been war in Iraq. Most of the world actually didn’t pay any attention to this conflict until maybe 2011-2012, when events inside of Yemen were...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
23.07.2014 18:13:00

HYPOCRISY

So many American politicians upset with the Israelis for the attacks on Gaza. .....Using weapons largely obtained through the United States... .....hmmmmm.....does that mean America is responsible for the Gaza deaths? President Putin is on the phone. He would like an answer to that question.

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
20.07.2014 23:13:00

Saving Lives or Saving Face? Sanctions, Russia, and the West

New sanctions were levied against Russia on July 16th by both the United States and the European Union. America has taken the lead in explaining the sanctions, claiming continued unrest in Eastern Ukraine is primarily because of tacit Russian support behind-the-scenes. This new round is a bit broader than the original sanctions from a few months back that tried a new tactic of strategically targeting individuals. Basically it was one of the first examples of a state trying to make Putin’s personal...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
17.07.2014 18:57:00

To Live and Die in Donetsk

Not that anyone would notice, but there is a disturbing and quite frankly depressing reality taking place in eastern Ukraine. While it is true the conflict that rages has been largely downplayed now and shoved off the media spotlight in the West, whatever coverage does emerge tends to be giving a relative free pass to Ukrainian police forces, special operation forces, and the military as they seek to reinstitute control over their national territory. At first glance this does not sound particularly...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
16.06.2014 01:08:00

It's a MAD MAD MAD Cyber World

Many cyber experts state that the United States is woefully ill-prepared for a sophisticated cyber-attack and that each passing day brings us one step closer to a potential virtual Armageddon. While the problems hindering the development of an effective and comprehensive cyber deterrence policy are clear (threat measurement, attribution, information-sharing, legal codex development, and poor infrastructure to name several), this piece focuses on one aspect of the debate that heretofore has been relatively...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
29.05.2014 15:02:00

Spies Don't Tweet: Why Social Media is Only a Grassroots Tool

The Intelligence Community, regardless of regime type, has famously always tried to co-opt and ultimately adopt advancements and evolutions in technology, especially in terms of media. Newspapers, radio, and television have long been appropriated in order to influence, massage, and outright manipulate messages and events important to the national interest. Often the question is not so much whether a country’s intelligence community engages in such activity but rather how explicit and open will...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
21.05.2014 19:43:00

When is an IO not an IO? The Strange Case of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

This piece investigates the unique peculiarities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Instead of being a Eurasian counterpart to the EU, an additional IO bridge between East and West, or even influenced by organizations like ASEAN, the SCO is dominated by micro-agendas that work in opposition to the theoretical literature explaining international organization purpose. Consequently, this particular IO is not only failing to become a nexus for globalization, democratic respect, or the fight...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
03.05.2014 02:44:00

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Current poll

In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?

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  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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