Academics and policymakers from the realist, liberal, and constructivist schools of thought debate the motivations of Russian foreign policy. Andrei Tsygankov in his latest book The Dark Double: US Media, Russia, and the Politics of Values makes the argument that the tension between the U.S. and Russia is the result of historical, cultural, and political differences. The book analyzes how U.S. media presents Russia as a “dark double” and a villain in the international system. According to Tsygankov, the U.S.-Russian relationship is an example of how negative perceptions of the other can lead to competitiveness. He expresses concern that cooperation between the two powers is unlikely until both recognize and respect their differences.
TJ Roberts | United States
Sanctions are not only an act of economic warfare that invokes misery upon the people who hold no power in a country, it also causes instability in the market of the country imposing the sanctions. Economic warfare is the new isolationism. If the US continues its zealous pursuit of empire, we will see an acceleration of inflation. When the dollar loses even more value, the economy will tank.
Former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld announced today he is running for president against Donald Trump, hoping to secure the Republican nomination.
Daniel Szwec | @szewc_daniel
Historically speaking, the Baltic-Black Sea isthmus, currently occupied by the Polish and Ukrainian states has always experienced extremely strong policical forces, ones set on uniting the region into a single political entity. From having a monopoly on the non-Scandinavian geopolitical European Rimland’s border, to being the crossing of trade routes from North to South, and East to West, the region was already in a political union, in the form of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, during which the region enjoyed enormous prosperity and had the largest aristocratic class in all of Europe. What’s more, the geopolitical longing for uniformity may be seen as one of the major causes for the first world war- the region was split in between the Entente and the central powers- Western Poland belonging to the German Empire, the East of Poland and the Ukraine belonging to the Russian Tsardom, and Galicia belonging to Austria-Hungary.
Michael Ottavio | United States
On January 21st, Israel announced that they had struck multiple Iranian targets in Syria following a missile attack that was intercepted by Israeli defense systems. This major escalation follows the beginning of U.S. troops withdrawing from the area at the start of the month.
In a strong message to Tehran, Israel launched wide-ranging strikes against Iranian targets in Syria. This missile strike came in response to an Iranian surface-to-surface missile fired towards the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. The Iranian missile that was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system originated from an Iranian occupied area outside of Damascus, roughly 31 miles from the Golan Heights area.
Back and Forth
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the missile strike hit munition storage sites and a military training camp, as well as another Iranian occupied site near Damascus international airport. Israel has stated that they made Syria aware of the strike and warned them not to interfere, but the Israeli missile strike turned on Syrian air defense systems after they began firing on the Israeli jets carrying out the strike.
All this escalation comes after a very volatile few months and talks of a total U.S. withdrawal from Syria. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), this was the “most intense and violent attack against the regime forces and their allies in terms of casualties since May 2018.” Israel continues to take a hard stance against the Iranian presence in Syria, and now as the last pillar of stability in the Middle East, they must vehemently defend their borders from hostile nations.
Two Powers Collide
The United States is now in the beginning stages of withdrawing their troops from Syria after they once again intervened in a war that was none of their business. The departure of American forces is going to cause more destabilization, so why did we get involved in the first place? Back in 2017, the American mindset was manipulated with pictures of war zones and deadly attacks. A need for immediate action became almost unanimous. While it is very unfortunate, people die in conflicts all around the world and there’s almost never a call to intervene. That may be due to the fact that Russia isn’t involved in every other conflict, but they are heavily involved in Syria.
In September of 2015, Russia started a military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, in which they fully support the government of al-Assad. Then in April of 2017, less than two years since Russia began intervening in the Syrian Civil War, the United States launched its first attack on a Syrian target. In an ever-growing need to impede Russian imperialism, the United States entered into yet another conflict to oppose the Assad regime. It would soon become readily apparent this was not a conflict that was going to be quickly resolved by lobbing missiles at an already destabilized area.
Just like the last Middle Eastern country the U.S. got involved in, we launched our first strike under the guise of deterring the use of deadly chemical weapons. That sounds familiar, right? It’s almost as if the United States didn’t learn its lesson in Iraq when the power vacuum that formed after dismantling the Saddam regime led to the perfect platform for the terrorist group ISIS to gain a legitimate foothold in the Middle East.
One thing is certain we have not seen the end of the violence in Syria, and Iran has shown no signs of backing down. The United States has, once again, participated in the destabilization of an area, leaving before the conflict has been resolved. By launching this strike Israel has sent a clear message to Tehran that even in the absence of the United States they are not backing down and will continue to oppose all Iranian operations inside of Syria.
As a nation that has been built, funded, and supplied by the United States, Israel is more than capable of handling the situation on their own. The United States needs to learn from their mistakes and turn away from the old imperialist mindset because every single time we invade a middle eastern country it blows up in not only our faces but our allies as well. We are not the world police, we need to bring our troops home and keep them here.
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