Letter From the Editors: June 6 - 12, 2016

Author: Xenia Grushetsky

Follow the Leader on a Geopolitical Scale: Who Will Be the Last Player Standing?

A game of "follow the leader" is afoot in Eurasia and beyond! In Eastern Europe, EU countries and NATO members are currently following Washington’s lead, if you believe officials like Igor Morozov, member of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee. In his opinion, "We might have doubted the Europeans’ death wish (read: willingness to sacrifice themselves for the sake of US interests)***but the aviation training program for German, British and Belgian pilots shows that they will soon be flying aircraft with tactical nuclear weapons on board."

Apparently, NATO’s continued eastward expansion and ramped up military presence in the region is putting Moscow a little bit on edge. Such anxiety isn’t reserved for staunch Putinists: Even Mikhail Gorbachev said that "the window to a nuclear-free world that was cracked open in Reykjavik in 1986 is being slammed shut and locked down before our very eyes." The two largest nuclear states - the US and Russia - are quick to point the finger at each other. According to Gen. Philip Breedlove (now-former commander of US forces in Europe), "Russia***represents a long-term threat to the very existence of the United States and its partners in Europe." For his part, President Putin’s response to calls for easing geopolitical tensions was brusque, as always - "We weren’t the ones who started it."

Meanwhile, in their own game of "follow the leader," nations like China, North Korea and Pakistan are taking a wait-and-see approach on ratifying the nuclear test ban treaty: If the US hasn’t done so yet, why should they, wonders military expert Viktor Litovkin.

Military confrontation aside, some states are beginning to gang up on Russia economically by throwing a challenge to its "national treasure" - Gazprom. This week, Poland announced it will seek independence from Russian gas after 2022, ...

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