Russia and Eurasia

Europe’s Self-Inflicted Energy Crisis

October 14, 2021

Europe is in the throes of an unprecedented energy crunch. Some call it a crisis, which, if not addressed, may be comparable to the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s – with dire economic, social and political consequences. Brent crude is at a 5 year high of $84 per barrel while spot natural gas prices are up more than 500% year-over-year, forcing highly polluting gas-to-coal switching and putting the brakes on the EU’s green energy transition. Resurgent energy demand post-Covid, extreme weather events (unprecedented heatwaves and prolonged winters), supply chain disruptions, and poor regional and global stockpiling have all contributed to Europe’s current crisis. Russia’s supremo Vladimir Putin may have a reason to pop a champagne bottle in view of the EU’s sanctions on the Kremlin. He says that Europe had created a self-inflicted wound. He may be right.

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FinTech Can Help Fill Climate Resilience Gaps In Emerging Markets

September 30, 2021

The fuel crisis spreading across Europe and Asia highlights the weather-related vulnerabilities faced by global energy systems. As wind and solar falter under intermittency, power generation has defaulted to gas, where demand is being squeezed by early-autumn heating and late-summer electric cooling needs across Eurasia. The reverberations of February’s polar vortex in Texas—which froze gas output—continue to be felt as resulting low reserves run dry and Gazprom dithers. The resiliency of energy supply chains is being put to the test—and failing.

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As Afghanistan writhes in agony, the geopolitical 'great game' continues

August 12, 2021

As U.S. forces pull out of Afghanistan, the Taliban are making dramatic territorial gains in a new, tragic phase of the war. The Taliban’s rapid offensive is not merely a function of dwindling U.S. combat and logistical support, but a concerted push by their patron Pakistan to establish a foothold in the war-torn country. Afghanistan has been at its ‘forever war’ since the Soviet invasion in December 1979. It may stay in that state for years to come. The discord between the great powers: U.S., China, Russia, India, and others doesn’t help.

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Central Asia To Green Its Economies

June 28, 2021

Soviet dominance left Central Asia’s environment in shambles. From hundreds of nuclear blasts in the testing grounds of Semey (Semipalatinsk) in Kazakhstan to barbaric destruction of water management in the drying-up Aral Sea, these environmental disasters left the land-locked five countries to deal with destroyed human lives, ruined ecosystems, and pollution.

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Meeting Putin: Biden's Historic Challenge

June 15, 2021

When Joe Biden confronts the strongman of Russia on June 16th, the global balance of power will be at stake, for the remainder of his presidency and beyond. The responsibility on Biden's shoulders will be tremendous. The forecast? Grim.

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Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy: Biden’s Big Trip To Europe

June 15, 2021

This Newlines Institute Contours podcast presents a deep dive into U.S. President Joe Biden’s inaugural visit to Europe, his administration’s commitment to collective defense, and the fragile trajectory of U.S.-Russian relations ahead of the June 16 Geneva summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In this episode, Newlines Institute Senior Analyst and Contours host, Nicholas Heras, sits down with four special guests: Jim Townsend, Jr., an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security’s Transatlantic Security Program and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy; Rachel Rizzo, the Director of Programs at the Truman Center and Truman National Security Project; Dr. Ariel Cohen, a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Founding Principal of International Market Analysis, Ltd; and Caroline Rose, a Senior Analyst and Head of Newlines Institute’s Power Vacuums Program.

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Pipeline Cyber Attack Demands Reevaluation Of U.S. Infrastructure Security

May 10, 2021

Last Friday, a cyber-attack was conducted against the Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline, which spans 5,500 miles from Houston to the Port of New York and New Jersey and meets 45% of the East Coast’s fuel needs. The ransomware attack is believed to have been perpetrated by criminal hacker syndicate ‘Darkside.’ Even though the breach targeted business rather than operational computer systems, the company has halted all pipeline operations out of an abundance of caution. With this major artery shut down, a shortage of heating oil, jet fuel, gasoline and diesel will soon hit the North East. Gas prices are already trending upward, and that’s with a temporary freeze. If the systems that run the pipeline do become compromised, the pipeline may be shut for weeks or even months.

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To Deter Russia, Hit Them Where It Hurts

April 27, 2021

On Thursday April 15, President Biden imposed long-awaited sanctions on Russia, blaming the Kremlin for the SolarWinds hack that breached U.S. government agencies and American companies. The sanctions are aimed at Russia's disinformation efforts and the occupation of Crimea, along with its recent military buildup and exercises on the Ukraine border. Ten Russian diplomats were expelled as a result.

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Space Lasers: The Truth

March 29, 2021

The idea of space-based laser weapons orbiting the earth has been a part of popular culture and real life government projects for decades, from James Bond’s Goldeneye to Ronald Reagan’s ambitious “Star Wars” program. Recently, the Pentagon began developing a framework to promote the innovation of what it calls Direct Energy Weapons (DEW) designed to weaponize laser systems for use against military targets. The U.S. military more than doubled its spending on DEWs between 2017 and 2019, from $535 million to $1.1 billion. Yet, compared with the massive funding for kinetic missile defense and nuclear modernization, these are minuscule budgets.

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After Impeachment, can America Stand up to its Global Rivals?

February 24, 2021

Beijing and Moscow assiduously followed former president Donald Trump's second impeachment trial for the same reasons they followed the first: the United States is China's and Russia's number one geopolitical rival. What's relevant to America's domestic politics, then, is relevant to its rivals' foreign policy ambitions. To prevent acts of hostility in a time of tumult—virtual and real—the Biden administration will need to reassure allies, shore up American institutions and deter aggression.

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Foreign Investment In Renewables And Beyond: The Last Best Hope For Central Asia’s Economic Recovery

December 8, 2020

Central Asia’s economies have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with demand for the region’s prolific oil and gas supplies down substantially over the course of 2020. Relative to last year, global oil demand is expected to contract by 9 million barrels (about 10 percent) and crude prices remain at an anemic $48/bbl. International natural gas prices are at multiyear lows. This is bad news for gas giant Turkmenistan, hydrocarbon rich Uzbekistan, and OPEC+ member Kazakhstan, which all rely on oil and gas revenues to fill government coffers.

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Why OPEC+ may welcome the Biden administration

December 1, 2020

By most accounts, OPEC, the global oil exporting cartel and their allies led by Russia — known as OPEC Plus — should be wary of the incoming U.S. administration’s rhetoric. President-elect Biden campaigned on an historically pro-environment agenda: He intends to rejoin the UNFCCC Paris Agreement on climate change, achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, and invest trillions into a ‘clean energy revolution’ that will transition America towards green electrification. This adds yet more obstacles for an organization that once viewed the United States — the world’s number one crude consumer — as its prized export market.

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Kyrgyzstan gripped by political chaos again: What comes next?

October 8, 2020

Kyrgyzstan is developing an immunity to authoritarianism.

“The third revolution in fifteen years is an indication that Kyrgyz society is developing immunity against corrupt and authoritarian rulers. In an surprisingly fast development, the people swept aside the president, annulled the election, which were broadly viewed as falsified, released a former president from jail, and appointed an acting prime minister, a mayor of the capital Bishkek, and a militia (police) chief. The new elections may take place soon.

“This is not the first time the Kyrgyz have kicked out leaders they perceive as corrupt and abusive. Two of the former presidents reside in Russia and Belarus respectively. So far, Kyrgyzstan beat Ukraine with its two Maidans, yet that did not improve the economy or attract foreign investment. The real challenge for the Kyrgyz people is to address the conflicts between clans and between the north and the south, and to ensure that the new leaders and the government will get corruption under control. Whether they need to change the Constitution to achieve that remains to be seen.

“Finally, it is important to understand that Kyrgyzstan may be a model for other countries in Central Asia and in the former Soviet Union where people may think that they exhausted all other available and peaceful means of protest and appeal. I am not a supporter of violence or extra-constitutional means of political struggle, but in the stolen Belarus presidential elections, in the Russian “annulled” constitutional process, or in the forthcoming elections elsewhere—if the powers that be trample on their own laws and brutally abuse police authority and resort to violence, otherwise peaceful citizens may resort to the Kyrgyz recipes to assert their rights.”

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Armenia y Azerbaiyán “al borde de la guerra”: la Guerra del Alto Karabaj, el conflicto que dividió para siempre las dos naciones y que sigue vigente más de 30 años después

October 3, 2020

Una guerra que nunca ha terminado vive su capítulo más sangriento desde la última gran tregua.

A más de 30 años del inicio del conflicto del Alto Karabaj (o Nagorno Karabaj), Armenia y Azerbaiyán cruzan otra vez disparos y misiles y dejan muertos y heridos en una de las zonas de mayor tensión del planeta.

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The Global Take | Tik Tok, Belarus, & Navalny

September 25, 2020

In this video series, Dr. Ariel Cohen discusses current events happening around the world. The discussion in this video will focus on possible Tik Tok sanctions, the events in Belarus, & the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Thank you for watching and be sure to subscribe for more updates on currents events happening around the world.

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Oil Prices May Recover Before 2021

April 29, 2020

Developments in the oil market over the past two months have been catastrophic. From the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the collapse of demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, historic (but ultimately unsuccessful) OPEC+ cuts, to negative prices, the prospects of a crude market rebound seem dim.

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Oil Plummets Over 300% To Almost -$40 A Barrel In Historic Collapse

April 20, 2020

In a historic collapse, U.S. oil prices plummeted over 300% on Monday as traders unloaded their positions ahead of the May contract expiration Tuesday. Of all the unpredictable economic swings in financial markets that have occurred since the onset of the global pandemic, Monday’s oil wipeout is without a doubt the most jaw-dropping.

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Making History: U.S. Exports More Petroleum Than It Imports In September and October

November 26, 2019

In its latest Short Term Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) published preliminary data that, once confirmed, would represent a turning point in American energy history.

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RUSSIAN INTERPOL PRESIDENT? 'LIKE PUTTING A FOX IN CHARGE OF A HEN HOUSE,' EXPERTS SAY

February 18, 2019

Widespread public outcry is growing over the possibility that former Russian Interior Ministry official Alexander Prokopchuk could be elected as the president of Interpol, an international organization that facilitates cross-border cooperation between law enforcement agencies.

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Ariel Interview with Yahoo Finance

February 1, 2019

Putin to Coordinate Oil Production with OPEC?

November 18, 2018

Ariel Cohen and Anton Altman

The Heritage Foundation

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that his country, the world’s leading oil and gas producer, plans to work closely with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil cartel.

Russia has long spoken about linking up with OPEC, but at this point the extent of its participation has been sending high-level delegations to attend OPEC meetings in Vienna as observers.

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LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: THE TRUMP-PUTIN SUMMIT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

October 23, 2018

What exactly happened in Helsinki? Washington—from Congress to the administration to the media—has been left scratching their heads. Trump’s dealing with Russia is like vaudeville meets a spy thriller—Monty Python meets Tom Clancy.

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TRUMP MUST STAND UP TO PUTIN—BUT HE NEEDS EUROPE'S HELP

October 23, 2018

On July 16, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are to meet in Helsinki, Finland, for what promises to be an historic summit—one likely to define the course of U.S.-Russian relations for many years to come. Following on the heels of the July 12 NATO summit in Brussels, the outcome of these U.S.-Russia talks may affect the unity, and even the survival, of the West.

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NATO Should Stand Up Black Sea Command Before It’s Too Late

October 23, 2018

At its summit in Warsaw on July 8 and 9, NATO should take urgent steps to protect its allies and partners on its southeastern flank. Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey, as well as Ukraine and Georgia, are all under severe pressure from Russia and require NATO assistance.

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As Russia and Iran Strengthen Ties, U.S. Should Support Key Ally Georgia

October 23, 2018

As the US is engaged in pre-election navel-gazing, Russia is not taking a summer nap. The Kremlin never sleeps, and especially not in August, and not during the Olympic season. The Beijing Olympics in 2008 coincided with the Russia-Georgian conflict, and the Ukrainian crisis developed during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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