Stories about Russia

Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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Will Russia survive under Vladimir Putin?

In an interview with the Russian and foreign media on January 19, 2014, Vladimir Putin remarked: “Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right”. But has Putin’s self-righteousness actually been efficacious for Russia? The alteration of the foreign policy decision-making structure by Putin allowed him to emerge as the central decision-maker ever since he stepped into power. Policy matters were assigned to secondary actors composed of an informal circle of loyal associates to Putin. The inner circle of Putin loyalists are power hungry and in such a system, the effectiveness of policy is lost. Corruption is enhanced ...

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House of Cards: Season 3 ends not with a… whimper

While the first season of House of Cards was about climbing and ascending the corridors of power and nullifying the enemies which Frank Underwood possessed, the second season was action-packed with simultaneous sub-plots reaching their logical conclusion. (Spoiler Alert) The third season, however, is all about endurance – now that Frank Underwood is the president of the United States, ultimately, he has managed to bring his dream of wielding absolute power to fruition, and he now wants to leave a legacy. Any other man would have been honoured just to serve his people in the highest office known to man, but as we all know, ...

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Osama bin Laden for the West: From ‘warrior’ to ‘militant’

Have you ever wondered if the international media works for an agenda? I’m sure you have. We all do. We have come across many instances where biases in western media houses have been pronounced loud and clear, so such inferences are only natural. Media’s shifting portrayal of Osama bin Laden over the years is just one testimony of that. Being a media studies major, I have studied about the agenda-setting theory, which discusses how the media sets up particular agendas and then feeds news pertaining to that angle to its viewers. It’s all about understanding the underlying story behind a ...

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Are we the new slaves of American imperialism?

2014 is being celebrated as the birth centenary of prominent Indian Progressive writer, Krishan Chander (1914-77). He completed his postgraduate education in Lahore until 1947, when he migrated to India. Saadat Hasan Manto is often credited with being the only Pakistani writer of his generation to foresee the patterns of Pakistani state and society, especially its ruling elite’s increasing political opportunism and its ties to US imperialism, and the increasing intolerance in our society. In India, it was Krishan Chander who acutely foresaw patterns of political corruption, as well as increasing Americanisation of its huge middle-class, symptoms of which had started appearing in the ...

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Dear Pakistan, let America and Saudi Arabia fight over oil prices because it works in your favour!

Oil prices are way down these days. Crude oil prices have fallen by more than $50 per barrel in international markets in the last six months. From $115 in the middle of June, 2014, the price of a barrel of crude oil has fallen to $65, as of the second week of December. On November 27, 2014, the prices took a definitive downward turn when Saudi Arabia – the largest and strongest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – refused to mitigate production. And since none of the other OPEC nations are cutting back, there isn’t a way to eliminate the current ...

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Held by the CIA, a fictional account

Dear World, My father went missing while on a market errand three years ago. Our wait for him was endless. The law enforcement authorities were approached to find him. Days after filing a missing person report, we were contacted by someone in the government that he was in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was fine. We were told that he’d return soon and was just being interrogated for something. I was just 10-years-old at the time. I hung on the hope that he’d be back in a few days. But those around me, especially my family, didn’t ...

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The problem with “collateral damage” in a “surgical air-strike”

The questioning gaze of that drone victim, who lost one of his family members – with eight others injured – on the fateful day of October 24, 2012, in a drone strike at South Waziristan, still haunts my memory every time a new strike occurs. Just today, four more people were killed in North Waziristan; they too shall be termed as “collateral damage” of a “precise air-strike” against “terrorists” hiding in the “safe havens”, and forgotten or not even talked about as individual human beings in the first place. When will this loss of innocent human life stop? Who will make the American government accountable for this ...

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Don’t write off Obama just yet!

Despite severe opposition from the Republicans, President Barack Obama finally did what he should have done years ago – he announced a plan to stop deportation of almost five million undocumented migrants from the US.  Faced with a crisis of confidence and a defeat in the November mid-term elections, Obama, a Democrat, recently lashed out at the Grand Old Party (GOP), a republican party, and said, “They have the ability to fix the system. What they don’t have the ability to do is to expect me to stand by with a broken system in perpetuity.” Immigration reform has been ‘way overdue’. The president’s announcement does not, ...

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Why US is leading the war against ISIS

One of the ironies of geopolitics today is that, after spending the last decades complaining about US interference or the various interventions in the Middle East, everyone is now waiting for the US to lead in the conflict against ISIS. In ISIS we have a phenomenon that, for once, is uniting in a common cause every other state in the region, whether Sunni, Shia or secular. We also have regional players that, in principle, should be able to lead from the front on this issue, like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, even Iran – if it comes to it. A coalition of ...

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