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U.S.-Russia Crosstalk

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FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, file photo, the American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slipped early Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, as investors continued to sell phone company and utility stocks. Materials companies are the exception, as theyre trading higher as the dollar weakens. Investors are also sifting through reports that showed inflation remained weak in July, but home building and factory production improved. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Worries over American ascendancy

Consult any long-term American statistical compilation (say, on the economy or on the crime rate) and one might be forgiven for concluding that the trend lines look quite positive for Americans' sense of security and prosperity.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, welcomes his New Zealand's counterpart Murray McCully during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Hierarchy of threats to Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world, with very low population density and an intricate interplay of neighbors. Its vast territory makes Russia a self-sufficient universe containing everything it might need for development. On the other hand, low population density and permeability of borders make it internally fragile and heavily exposed to the influence of its neighbors.

In this Nov. 4, 2015 photo, Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during an annual rally in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The annual state-organized rally drew greater attention, as Iranian hardliners are intensifying a campaign to undermine President Hassan Rouhani's outreach to the West following a landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers in July. The Iran nuclear accord is fragile at its one-year anniversary. Upcoming elections in the U.S. and Iran could yield new leaders determined to derail the deal. The Mideast wars pit U.S. and Iranian proxies in conflict, with risks of escalation. Iran's ballistic missiles are threatening American allies in the Arab world and Israel, raising pressure on the United States to respond with force. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

US RUSSIA CROSSTALK: Middle East stability talks

- The Washington Times

After a year or so following the entry into force of the Iran nuclear deal, it is possible to draw some conclusions about the controversial agreement and arms control in general.

In this Sept. 27, 2012 photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows an illustration as he describes his concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions during his address to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters. The Iran nuclear accord is fragile at its one-year anniversary. Upcoming elections in the U.S. and Iran could yield new leaders determined to derail the deal. The Mideast wars pit U.S. and Iranian proxies in conflict, with risks of escalation. Iran's ballistic missiles are threatening American allies in the Arab world and Israel, raising pressure on the United States to respond with force.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Iran nuclear deal: One year later

A year ago, on July 14, 2015, the P5+1 agreed with Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It was a compromise outlining principles and stages for achieving a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue in order to decrease tensions that had been mounting for years.

Flanked by imams offering prayers, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim attends the funeral procession for two of the victims killed in Tuesday's explosion, at Fatih mosque in Istanbul, Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The bomb attack, targeting a bus carrying riot police during rush hour traffic in Istanbul, has killed a number of people and wounded dozens of others. It marks the fourth bombing to hit the Turkish city this year and there was no immediate responsibility claim but Turkey has witnessed an increase in violence linked to Kurdish rebels and Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Turkey as a mirror of the New World

The policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are typically viewed as the determining factor for everything that happens within or in connection with Turkey. And, doubtless, a president with such a single-minded desire for power, glory and a place in history does have a significant impact on a country's course.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a rally marking the 563rd anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul -  formerly Constantinople - in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 29, 2016. Erdogan has criticized the United States, Russia and Iran for their presence in Syria and said their unwillingness to depose Syrian President Bashar Assad was contributing to Syrian peoples' massacre and pain.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Mideast still needs Turkey

Turkey once was looked to, with good reason, as a model for the Middle East. It was a well-established republic, more stable and more democratic than much of the rest of that region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange documents at the signing ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday, May 8, 2015. Russian and Chinese leaders have signed a plethora of deals in Moscow, giving Russia billions in infrastructure loans. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Eurasian unity vs. zero sum

One year has passed since Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a joint statement linking the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) on May 8, 2015.

China transforming into global Rorschach test

The combination of China's growing power with its complexity -- and, indeed its inscrutability to outsiders -- seems increasingly to be transforming the country into a gigantic global Rorschach test.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak to each other at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 24, 2016. Kerry on Thursday voiced hope that Washington and Moscow could narrow their differences on Syria and Ukraine as he sat down for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russia, the U.S. and a great power peace in Syria

The Middle East has been a source of significant security problems whose obvious manifestations are terrorism and extremism. Several factors feed this trend: the crisis of Islamic civilization arising from disagreements over cause of decline since its peak a millennium ago; the sectarianism-fueled rivalry between the three main regional actors--Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey; rising ethnic Kurdish nationalism, and the divergent views of current and rising global powers regarding the region's future, and in turn their backing of rival regional powers.

** FILE ** Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States. (Associated Press)

Russian ambassador sees U.S. ties at post-Cold War low

- The Washington Times

Russia's top diplomat in the U.S. said in a briefing with reporters Monday that relations between Washington and Moscow are in "a deplorably difficult state" and have fallen in recent years to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

People walk past an exchange office screen showing the currency exchange rates of the Russian ruble, U.S. dollar and euro in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. The Russian ruble has hit another historic low against the dollar as oil prices continue to slide due to a surplus of crude oil on world markets. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russia-U.S. mutual investments have a future

The argument that Russia-U.S. trade and economic relations have no solid foundation has long since become commonplace. However, such statements are far from reality. Our business cooperation still has a certain base, since for many years we've been a major importer of US grain and poultry, and these factors have always weighed in on our political relations.

People walk past an exchange office screen showing the currency exchange rates of the Russian ruble, U.S. dollar and euro in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. The Russian ruble has hit another historic low against the dollar as oil prices continue to slide due to a surplus of crude oil on world markets. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Doing business in today's Russian economy

Why are international companies still doing business in Russia? Moscow's economic headlines have been downbeat for a year and a half, as the country has been hit by falling oil prices, Ukraine-related sanctions and currency devaluation. Moreover, Russia has long been reputed to be a challenging place to do business.

Secretary of State John Kerry discusses U.S. policy toward the Middle East, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Meeting Russia's new nuclear challenge

Even as the Obama administration continues to ponder just how it might respond to the turn of events in Syria in light of Russia's ongoing intervention there, it has studiously avoided addressing a second, far more significant challenge that Russia is posing to the West, that of its nuclear weapons posture.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listen as Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A starting point for cooperation: Nuclear early warning systems

The aggravation in relations between Russia and the United States weakens the capability of both to confront real, not putative threats. Unfortunately, when observing the development of the situation, one can hardly exclude that the spirit of the Cold War may again set to prevail for quite a long time.

Pope Francis is greeted by the faithful during his visit to the Banado Norte neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sunday, July 12, 2015. Pope Francis began the last day of a weeklong South American tour with a stop to the Asuncion slum that borders the Paraguay river that frequently floods it and makes its dirt roads impassable pools of mud. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

Pope Francis burnishes credentials on South America tour

- Associated Press

On his weeklong swing through South America, Pope Francis burnished his credentials as a new kind of pontiff, issuing a searing apology to indigenous people for church crimes more than a half millennium old and even making a pit stop at a Burger King to change clothes and freshen up before celebrating Mass.