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Kopeks and Big Macs – Russia’s Move to a Market Economy

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the winter of 1991, the newly-formed Russian Federation took on the challenge of creating a market-oriented economy from the world’s largest state-controlled economy. President Yeltsin’s economic reforms led to hyperinflation and loss of financial security for many who had depended on state pensions, and Russia’s GDP contracted […]

The 1991 Iraq War — A Messy End

An international coalition launched Operation Desert Storm, authorized by UN Resolution 678, on January 17, 1991, to force Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait. Iraq responded by launching missile and artillery strikes on targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia and invading Khafji, a small Saudi Arabian city. In some brilliant military maneuvering by General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf, Coalition […]

Putin, The Early Years

From his crackdown on domestic opposition to his decision to invade Crimea and bomb U.S.-backed rebels in Syria, Vladimir Putin has increasingly become a thorn in the side of Western policymakers. His aggressive policies combined with his KGB background and over-the-top machismo have made him a bigger-than-life figure on the world stage, despite Russia’s flagging […]

The Iran-Contra Scandal

One of the biggest foreign policy scandals of the last half-century was the Iran-Contra affair, in which the Reagan Administration, prodded by CIA Director William Casey and NSC Advisor Oliver North, secretly arranged for an arms-for-hostage deal with one of its bitterest enemies in the Middle East. Put simply, Israel would sell weapons from the […]

American Diplomacy at Risk

A strong State Department, based on a strong Foreign Service and a strong Civil Service, is a critical component of America’s security. But America’s diplomacy—the front line of our defenses—is in trouble. Increasing politicization undermines institutional strength; almost no career officers serve in the most senior State positions, while short-term political appointees penetrate ever deeper […]

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