FROM Mark Galeotti
Are Russian Airstrikes in Syria a Challenge to the United States? Russia reportedly gave the US less than an hour's notice of airstrikes today near the city of Homs in Western Syria. They appear designed to shore up the government of Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry told the UN Security Council that US will continue its bombing to the Islamic State. Will Russian airstrikes pose a challenge to the US?
Russia Opposition Leader Given Suspended Sentence, Brother Arrested A Moscow court today convicted the anti-corruption crusader and opposition leader Aleksei Navalny of criminal fraud charges. The court suspended his sentence but in a surprise move ordered his brother, who was also charged, to serve three and a half years. The case is widely seen as political retribution by President Putin on the former postal-worker turned activist. Joining us from Moscow is Mark Galleotti, a security expert at New York University's Center for Global Affairs.
Are the US and Russia Fighting a New Cold War? When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, President Obama wanted to “re-set” relations with Russia. How times have changed. Her successor, John Kerry says, “the Cold War was easy compared to where we are today.” Russian aircraft — including strategic bombers — flew so close to the boundaries of European countries last week that NATO sent up intercepting aircraft. It’s Vladimir Putin’s latest challenge since he annexed Crimea and encouraged Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Putin is playing tough despite a weak hand. One available option for the US and the West -- go after the “dirty money.”
The Last Stand for Pro-Russian Forces in Eastern Ukraine? A re-vitalized Ukrainian Army is on the march against pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukrainian cities. Russian President Putin has not responded to calls for help from rebels he was encouraging just a few weeks ago. Why not? Is protracted urban warfare inevitable? Is there any prospect for peace? After re-taking Sloviansk in the eastern part of his country this weekend, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said pro-Russian rebels were making their “last stand.” But the rebels show no signs of making it easy: they’re concentrating their forces in Donetsk, and they’ve blown up three bridges leading into that city of one million people.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."