The perspectives of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S President Barack Obama on Syria are so different, you have to wonder if they are living on the same planet.
Karen Dawisha is the Walter E Havighurst Professor of Political Science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is a world-renowned Russia expert who has written extensively about Soviet foreign policy, Russia-Middle East relations, and contemporary Russian politics.
BEIRUT -- In Syria, Putin is trying to force the issue of Russia's place in the world today, to burst free from the post-war situation in which Russia found itself trapped. It is a gamble, because the gesture itself -- if successful -- will shape the Middle East and global geopolitics much more widely.
The Party of Putin does not know, or pretend not to know, that Putin is an empire builder surrounded by ideologues whose vision of the world, though complex and robust, is in all key respects opposed to that of the West. They place right and law in the service of strength and force, rather than vice versa, prioritize order over liberty and treat gay people and other "deviants" as the quintessence of a decadent West, emasculated by the poison of cosmopolitanism.
My mother on Facebook: There is nothing more frightening than a mom with a Facebook account on the loose with photos of you in compromising positions. From tips about 'packing a clean pair of underwear' to dating advice on your public wall, mom's can be a social media nightmare.
As the bloodshed and sorrow continue in Syria, Obama and Putin are unable to come up with a mutually acceptable way to resolve the problems, that are forcing mass migration out of Syria and into Europe, seemly endless senseless deaths, and the rise of the terrorist organization ISIS.
There is a fundamental disconnect between the substance and the symbolism of President Obama's foreign policy. This is not a case of saying one thing and doing another. In the case of the Obama administration it is a case of saying one thing but delivering it in a style and with imagery that belies its authenticity.
The WorldPost strives every day to chronicle the ongoing contest between two competing futures. One future is a world coming together through the convergence of new technologies that promise ecological stability, the empowerment of diversity and opportunity for all. The other is a world falling apart through bitter partisanship, religious warfare and the return of geopolitical blocs.
This week we begin a new series that takes sides. Futurist Jeremy Rifkin lays out a vision of "the Third Industrial Revolution" that, through digital connectivity, clean energy and smart transportation all tied together through the "Internet of Things," can lead to breakthrough instead of breakdown. In an introduction to the series, Arianna Huffington invites us to join the conversation on climate change, technology and the growing global movement toward solutions that can provide a unifying purpose to all our connectivity. (continued)
Critics of Putin are snickering at poll results claiming he has an approval rating of 90 percent. In a slew of sarcastic posts and memes, they're slamming the findings as skewed and joking that support for the president will soar into the triple digits by the end of the year.
Marina Kaljurand is Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs. Prior to becoming Foreign Minister in July 2015, she was a long-time Estonian diplomat, and an ambassador to the United States, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and Israel.
We should avoid the trap of seeing Russian involvement in Syria solely through the prism of our bilateral rivalry. The Russians can do things in ultimate furtherance of American policy aims that we cannot do ourselves.
Russia's intervention in Syria has introduced a dangerous new dynamic into an already volatile and complex conflict. Rather than advancing its self-proclaimed objective of fighting terrorism, many more Russian strikes have targeted moderate rebels -- "vetted" and supported by the United States -- as well as other expressly Syrian opposition groups backed variously by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
Do Russia and the United States have a shared objective concerning Syria? If so, how can they settle the most divisive element in their current positions, which is the future of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad?
As he comes to grips with his failed escalations in Afghanistan and Syria, President Barack Obama should nevertheless respond to China's escalations in the South China Sea. Fortunately, all it requires is that he direct the U.S. Navy to sail where it has legally sailed for more than a century.
Even though Russian military resources have been arguably stretched beyond capacity by recent interventions in Ukraine and Syria, Russia can effectively weaken ISIS by carrying out a high-intensity, low-cost campaign in Iraq.
The characters in Orhan Pamuk's novels are complex, hybrid identities. They are neither purely Islamic traditionalists nor secular fundamentalists, but, as Turkey's most celebrated writer and Nobel laureate has put it, of "two souls." "To have two souls," Pamuk once told me, "is a good thing. That is the way people really are. We have to understand that, just like a person, a country can have two souls."
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's military-allied, authoritarian and Western-oriented modernization from above bolstered one aspect of that soul in the last century. Over the last 13 years, current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Islamic-based AKP has bolstered the other aspect through democratic modernization from below. In the process, political space has opened up not only to the influence of conservative rural Anatolia but also for other plural constituencies from Kurds to the gay community.
By trying to close that plural space now through increasingly autocratic tendencies -- in the midst of the Syrian civil war spilling over its borders -- Erdoğan has polarized the "two souls" of Turkey. For Pamuk, "to have democracy is precisely to have a dialogue between these two souls." "I am worried," he says, "because I know that in the end Erdoğan wants to govern alone at all costs. He does not want to share power." (continued)