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Charles King

Since the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as ethnic Chechens, the national conversation about the incident has focused on the connection between the violence and terrorism in Chechnya. Here's why that is the wrong model.

Fiona Hill

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.

Essay, Jul/Aug 2010
Charles King and Rajan Menon

A pernicious mix of heavy-handed rule, corrupt governance, high unemployment, and militant Islam has reignited the Russian North Caucasus. Today, it is not only the old conflict zone of Chechnya but also its neighboring republics that are bordering on open civil war.

Review Essay, Mar/Apr 2003
Charles King

Why is Russia hopelessly mired in Chechnya? A new book skillfully details the history of the conflict, but it also goes astray in its often groundless invective.

Essay, Mar/Apr 2000
Rajan Menon and Graham E. Fuller

The Russian Federation is unraveling, and its war against Chechnya shows why. Moscow blames Islamist terrorists for the trouble there. But in doing so, it ignores Russia's deeper afflictions. Russia has forced disparate ethnic groups to live together for decades but has proven inept at governing its wobbly empire. Now the fighting in Chechnya is leading dissatisfied nationalities to rethink their options -- and their dependence on Russia. Chechnya was the first to rebel. It will not be the last.

Essay, Mar/Apr 1998
Valery V. Tsepkalo

Russia's post-Soviet orientation is in serious trouble. The West does not want to see any structure in Eurasia that permits Russian hegemony, but abetting continued chaos in the former Soviet space is hardly in the West's interest. Central Asia and the Caucasus are rife with flash points that could ignite and draw in outside powers, and the presence of nuclear weapons raises the stakes even higher. The United States should support integration, not division. For its part, Russia should work with nearby countries to help unite diverse peoples in a stabler system.

Essay, May/Jun 1995
Edward N. Luttwak

The Cold War culture of military restraint has given way to increasing atrocities. By remaining a passive witness in the former Yugoslavia, Central Asia, and Chechnya, the United States damages its moral economy. Yet none of these conflicts sufficiently threatens U.S. interests to rouse the nation to arms. The United States should therefore return to the calculating siege craft common before Napoleon, which stressed minimal casualties, partial results, and patience. Every war need not be a heroic national crusade.

Essay, Mar/Apr 1995
Richard Holbrooke

The Congress of Vienna, the Treaty of Versailles, and the NATO-based containment strategy were three pivotal decisions in European diplomacy. Now there is a fourth opportunity to construct a lasting European peace through institutions, new and old. Foremost, NATO must expand, discussing openly which new countries to admit. The Partnership for Peace and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe should coordinate human rights and civilian control of armies. Respect for human rights must extend to Russia, which is why the Chechen campaign has been so disturbing. To turn away from the challenge of this moment and freeze NATO would exact a higher price later.

Essay, Mar/Apr 1995
Benjamin S. Lambeth

The Chechnya misadventure unmasked what Russia's armed forces have known for awhile: the heir to the once-vaunted Soviet military is in shambles. Years of cutbacks in Russia's military budgets, worsened by rapid inflation, have crippled morale, the development of new weapons, maintenance, and training. At the upper echelons, there is now an exodus of talented and experienced officers; in the lower ranks, desertion and draft evasion are widespread. Nevertheless, the Russian military has largely remained above politics and helped to stabilize the nation amid reform. The United States would do well to press for an honest and open military-to-military relationship with Russia. One day, a grave nuclear threat may require it.

Essay, Winter 1986
Bennett Ramberg

Describes the course of events leading up to and following the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Existing nuclear safeguards should be strengthened and international inspection increased.

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