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Russia and Japan suddenly find themselves linked by a shared predicament in the Asia-Pacific: both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China. Despite recent high-level meetings on foreign and defense policy, however, the relationship remains delicate and each partner is wary of taking new risks.
Despite giving Obama and the United States a “get out of jail free card” at home, most observers agree that, on points, Putin is the real winner of this particular round of the Syrian conflict. The question now is whether the United States and its allies can out-maneuver Putin to regain the diplomatic advantage. If the history of the Syrian conflict is any guide, that will not be easy.
The United States is pivoting to Asia. Now so is Russia. Rather than counterbalance China, though, Russia simply aims to stake an early claim in a new world order -- one in which the concert of great powers, it presumes, will be more Asian than Western.
Of the many biographies of Vladimir Putin that have appeared in recent years, this one is the most useful, particularly to foreign-policy makers, many of whom must work with a crude or muddled understanding of what makes the Russian leader tick.
Vladimir Putin's unwavering support for the Assad regime in Syria is best explained by his dread of fracturing states and Sunni Islamism -- fears he confronted most directly while brutally suppressing Chechnya's attempted secession from Russia.
Four authors refuel the debate on Saudi oil; Edward Morse and James Richard reply.