Putin has done something close to impossible by "taming" the Chechen nation, and keeping them peaceful for more than a decade. Perhaps it makes sense to listen to his position on Syria.
In Ukraine as in Syria, Putin is winging it. With Ukraine, however, the expedition is across the border and the lay of the land somewhat more familiar. In Syria, despite surveillance drones and guided missile technology, Putin is literally flying blind.
On November 8, the Nobel Prize for literature was bestowed on the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, aged 67. It was among the few instances in which the work of the laureate was focused outside the traditional areas of poetry, fiction, and drama.
Political pundits in the U.S. are working overtime trying to get in to the mind of Vladimir Putin and explain to the world why Mr. Putin has decided to jump into the fray in Syria.
Vladimir Putin is only nine years older than Barack Obama, yet they somehow are of a different generation. How could this be?
MOSCOW -- Alexievich, who writes primarily in Russian, is very much a part of this "Russian world" -- that is, in the cultural and civilizational sense, and not in the political or military sense that gained currency during events in Ukraine. This "Russian world," this "Russian civilization" now stands at possibly the most critical juncture of its existence. And it is very timely that a Russian-language Slavic author who writes that this "Russian world" is standing at the threshold of the deepest crisis of its long history has received this award now.
The United States now finds itself in a difficult position in Syria. American supported rebels are coming under direct attack by Russian military forces. If the U.S. challenges Russian planes it risks a potential escalation and a military incident between American and Russian forces.
BEIRUT -- All the hoo-ha over Russia's Syrian military intervention probably stems from the sense that this initiative could mark the birth of something serious -- a non-Western coalition whose objective is precisely to preempt NATO-style regime change projects.
Carnegie Corporation of New York asked a number of leading Russia experts to weigh in on this urgent debate. Do Russia and the United States have a shared objective concerning Syria?
ISTANBUL -- To grasp Erdoğan's seemingly contradictory stance towards Putin requires some knowledge of the system of crony capitalism which has sprung up and flourished -- particularly in the energy and construction sectors -- in both Turkey and Russia. Aware that Turkey will emerge the loser in any confrontation with Russia, Erdoğan and the AKP have pragmatically accepted Russia's geopolitical superiority, while seeking to reap the maximum financial gain in the process.
Western diplomats are fond of legally and neatly putting things in boxes. Kremlin tactics are quite the opposite. Russian military thinking doesn't see a clean breakdown between what are weapons of war and what are civilian tools, or what are propaganda forums and what are channels for frank talks. The diplomats and talks are part of the offensive.
The fact that Russia is making the same mistake as Bush and Blair did, 14 years later - down to using the same words - is proof of how dangerous it is to frame the fight in a Muslim country in religious terms.
For over ten years, we've been asking - begging - world leaders for a hero. Over a hundred Iraqi churches have been demolished. At least another hundred in Syria.
In all of this political and military maneuvering, has any leader actually taken a moment to think about what Syrians would be willing to live with?
The challenge of Putin as well as ISIS requires an answer beyond avoidance and containment. The threat is immediate but also the challenge to the rule of law and the ideology upon which free and democratic states have prospered as societies and economies over the last few decades.
It seems fashionable in some circles to praise Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, for being some sort of a hero for world peace and justice.