Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Closing The Archives
What Russia's Renewed Secrecy Says About Putin

April 25, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

It is widely known that Russia has a difficult relationship with its past. In the quarter-century since the collapse of the Soviet Union, successive governments in Moscow have been conspicuously consistent in skirting serious questions about the repressive nature of the now-defunct Soviet state and minimizing the shadow that it continues to cast over the Kremlin.

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Putin Consolidates Domestic Power

April 19, 2016  •  World Affairs Journal

Largely unnoticed by the West, Vladimir Putin has just launched a radical overhaul of power in Russia. On April 5th, the Russian President formally announced the creation of a new National Guard intended to serve as an umbrella organization and coordinating body for the country's numerous "force ministries." The scope of the envisioned overhaul is enormous. As political scientist Nikolai Petrov notes in The Moscow Times, "practically every branch of the siloviki [force structures]" that cumulatively serve as the guarantors of the contemporary Russian state will be affected by the change.

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Obama's Iran Sanctions Bait-and-Switch

April 5, 2016  •  National Review Online

Last week, a fresh political scandal erupted on Capitol Hill over Iran. At issue was a new plan being considered by the Obama administration to provide Iran's ayatollahs with limited access to the U.S. financial system as a sweetener for their continued compliance with their government's 2015 nuclear deal with the nations of the P5+1.

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Why Russia Is Claiming Victory In Syria

March 24, 2016  •  The National Interest

Call it Vladimir Putin's "mission accomplished" speech. The Russian president recently caused an international furor when he abruptly announced that his government was commencing a military withdrawal from Syria. Russia had "radically changed the situation" on the ground through its involvement, and its strategic objectives had been "generally accomplished," Putin said in a televised meeting with top advisors in Moscow, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. As a result, Russia's commander-in-chief declared, he had made the decision "to start withdrawal of the main part of our military group from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic starting from tomorrow." The March 14 announcement was both abrupt and surprising, coming as it did just six months after Russia's entry into the Syrian civil war amid grandiose promises of an enduring global coalition against Islamic radicalism. Not surprisingly, observers have tended to view Moscow's move as a preemptive step designed to avoid quagmire in Syria's grinding half-decade-old conflict. Perhaps it is. But Putin's decision also reflects a savvy long-term calculus on the part of the Kremlin.

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No Means To Muster

March 10, 2016  •  The Washington Times

In the current political season, it's the policy dog that isn't barking. Over the past several primary debates, candidates on both sides of the aisle have sparred at length over national security, offering contrasting — if still vague — strategies for dealing with Russia, the Islamic State and Iran, among other foreign policy challenges. But precious little attention has so far been paid to a more fundamental question: Does the U.S. military actually have the resources to adequately respond to today's global threats? The answer, at least at the moment, is a resounding "no."

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Iran's Deadly Ambition Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising

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