Urbanization is a direct manifestation of the process of economic development. The challenges of rapid urbanization are being faced by Russia-India-China (RIC). Recent trend in the urbanization process shows that Asia will be the centre of future urbanization in the world.
The Russia-Japan territorial dispute and the controversy over four Kuril Islands – Kunashir, Shikotan, Habomai and Iturup, which have been under Russia’s jurisdiction since the end of the Second World War is still continuing. The islands form a strategic boundary between the Russian Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean.
The world order laid down by the Atlantic Charter was based on U.S. military and economic dominance. To all intents and purposes, Washington will maintain its military dominance for the foreseeable future. Economic dominance is another matter.
It is clear by now that US-Russia ‘reset’ relationship cannot take place as smoothly as was expected earlier. Two significant events in the coming months will definitely impact on the ‘reset’ process i.e. how the civil war in Syria will take its shape and what will be the results of the US Presidential election.
Central Asian states are inclined to cooperate with Russia but also want to build relationships with the United States and other NATO countries directly, without Moscow or Beijing. External threats (whether from the Taliban or color revolutions) have faded, and Central Asian states are embracing a balance policy.
The Russian Navy recently announced that it is sending a number of warships to conduct exercises in the Mediterranean. What’s more, these ships are expected to stop in Tartus, the Russian refueling facility in Syria, and several of the ships are carrying naval infantry.
The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.
In light of the present situation in the Middle East, Russia and Israel find themselves facing common challenges. Under these newly emerging situations, Russia sees its partnership with Israel as a potential asset in resolving acute regional issues. From a Russian perspective, the compatibility of Israeli and Russian interests could contribute to such a partnership.
The Arab Spring has dramatically changed the alignment of forces in the Middle East and North Africa. What are the long-term consequences of these changes and how can relations be established with the new political elites? Politicians and leading experts on Middle East studies discussed these issues at the Valdai International Discussion Club conference, “Islam in Politics: Ideology or Pragmatism?” in Marrakesh, Morocco, on May 14-15.