European Council on Foreign Relations

Russia’s foreign policy: Vladimir Putin - the cunning tactician

At first glance the year 2013 seems to have been a highly successful year for Russian foreign policy. Only one year after the US labelled Russia a “secondary power”, Vladimir Putin has been able to vindicate his claim to be a key player in world politics, as witnessed in both negotiations over Syria and talks with the new Iranian president Hassan Rohani.

In the struggle with the EU over the common neighbourhood, Putin’s strategy of carefully applied pressure succeeded in integrating Armenia into the Russian-led Customs Union. He also played a major role in preventing the Association Agreement between the EU and the Ukraine being signed. Further still, Putin has managed to frame the tug-of-war over the region in such a way that the EU now interprets it as a geopolitical conflict - and has begun to talk accordingly. This plays into Putin’s hands: he is well aware that, as a result of

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US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan

Drones are now a fact of military (and civilian) life, but are the norms and laws of warfare able to cope with their use? In recent months three important studies on the subject have been published: "Drones and targeted Killing: defining a European position" by ECFR's Anthony Dworkin; "Between a Drone and Al Qaeda" by Letta Tayler of Human Rights Watch; and "Will I be next?" by Mustafa Qadri of Amnesty International.

A recent ECFR event heard from all three authors, with Letta concentrating on Yemen, Mustafa on Pakistan, and Anthony chairing. You can hear the entire audio from the event here:


We've also just published a shorter podcast with part of the presentations given by both Letta and Mustafa:



London view: What has European foreign policy ever done for us?

Much of the debate around Europe’s global strategy ahead of the December European Union Summit, might appear to those of us in the UK to be missing the point. Have those self- absorbed diplomats in Brussels failed to notice that the UK has always been wary about more common foreign policy, and that the discussion here is about whether we want to continue as members of the European Union club at all? And, surely, if the UK is not part of the project, European power looks very different: one less seat at the UN Security Council; the loss of one of the EU’s few powers who still retain military capacity capable of decisive interventions; and the loss of the UK’s huge diplomatic network, and historical, trade and linguistic ties across the world. Not to mention the fallout which the EU would be dealing with on the global stage if the UK decides to go it alone in 2017 – international

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The World in 30 minutes: The Vilnius summit special

On the eve of the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius we recorded a new special episode of our "World in 30 minutes" podcast. The summit in Vilnius was supposed to be a historic one - with Ukraine signing a "Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement" ( DCFTA) with the EU. But last week Ukraine rejected the deal following unprecedented Russian pressure. So why did it happen - and what next for the EU-Ukraine relations? To find out I talked to Hryhoriy Nemyria -  the Chairman of the Committee on European Integration in the Ukrainian Parliament - and Alexander Gabuev, a journalist with the Russian newspaper Kommersant. I am also joined by ECFR's Stefan Meister who has quite a few ideas how the EU could improve its Eastern Partnership policy. If you are interested in the Eastern Partnership, the EU's neighborhood or Russian politics make sure to follow the work of ECFR's Wider

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Does Europe need a global strategy?

Does Europe need a global strategy? Ten years ago European leaders approved a security strategy based upon a world that seemed so much more amenable to European interests and values. The subsequent decade has seen the world change enormously, and in a new ECFR paper our experts outline the case for a new strategy for the new world that we find ourselves in.

We recently published three short podcasts looking at some of the issues involved. In the first one, Susi Dennison (one of the authors of the ECFR paper) makes the case that a strategic rethink is overdue.

“Ahead of the December European Council, which is planning to reflect upon strategy and defence questions, there seems to be some enthusiasm across the European member states for that discussion not to be anchored solely in questions around military and defence capacity, but to look more broadly at what Europe’s interests

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