To the Editor: The FT has been a beacon of sense and balance amid the often febrile Covid-19 reporting. In particular, you have called for a global, all-for-one, one-for-all international co-operation. It was therefore sad to read “Putin flexes soft power muscles with medical airlift to Italy” (March 24), in which Natalie Tocci, director of the Rome-based Institute for International Affairs, is quoted as saying: “Russia needs a quick win, so it wants to act fast. It does what Russia always does, which is seize low-hanging fruit.” So much, then, for not politicising the global threat. Or does that apply only when Russia is not involved?
As a Biden presidency becomes ever more likely, the world can perhaps expect the continuation and even acceleration of the “New Cold War” into the extended future. The announcement that Vladimir Putin could govern Russia through 2030 and beyond will only add fuel to that blaze. But should it? Does the world’s future need to turn on the fate of Donbass and Idlib? Do American foreign policy interests really hinge on new leadership in the Kremlin? If Russians are feeling insecure and want to retain their current leadership in the name of stability, then does that need negatively impact U.S. interests?
The Trump administration’s proposal for trilateral arms control negotiations appears to be gaining little traction in Moscow and Beijing, and the era of traditional nuclear arms control may be coming to an end just as new challenges emerge.
Less than a year from now, the landmark New START Treaty is set to expire. The nuclear arms control agreement, signed by U.S. president Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev a decade ago, places a ceiling on the number of strategic nuclear missiles that can be deployed by both countries.
One of these days, national security policy will get a few minutes of campaign debate time. And when that day occurs, perhaps—just perhaps—attention will turn to a matter of some urgency: the continuing threat posed by nuclear weapons.
Yaffa’s not stupid. He must know who it was who was shelling the places like Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and Donetsk. And he must know that it wasn’t the Russian army. But he never tells you this. It’s more than a little disingenuous.
A generally overlooked and misunderstood turning point in the history of relations between Russia and the West occurred in April 1922 in the town of Rapallo, Italy. It was there, on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, that the Second Treaty of Rapallo was signed between the newly created entities of the Soviet Union and the German Republic. It would leave an indelible mark on the future of Europe.
Archie Brown praises soft power, challenging the idea of a victory for military might alone.
Hyper-militarism may be a tempting short-term emergency strategy, but it’s ubiquity is a testament to the failures of the liberal welfare state. Replacing it with strong public institutions under civilian control as the go-to large-scale logistical institution in times of crisis should be an urgent priority–to get us through this crisis, and the next one.
In a rare public admission of what some experts and critics have claimed is an under-reporting of the scale of the outbreak, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said testing in Russia’s regions doesn’t show the “full picture” and that the country faces “big trouble that will pop up sooner or later.”