America’s leadership in the Asia Pacific was founded in the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and on its status as the first atomic power. Nuclear weapons thereafter defined Asian geopolitics. Today, on the Korean Peninsula, nuclear technology is again set to feature in a dramatic shift in Asia’s power balance. With a summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now in prospect, future historians may come to see North Korea’s nuclear-armed ballistic missiles as the trigger that unravels America’s strategic leadership of Asia.
Looking around the globe today it does not take long to see that world politics is awash with emotions. Nations adopt policy standpoints that suggest an acute anxiety of an untrustworthy and hostile ‘outside’. The same countries can be, paradoxically, themselves divided by emotional legacies left by historical grievance and injustice. Military insurgent and extremist groups function through the strategic manipulation of fear and terror. States continue to talk tough, seeking to intimidate and deter ‘rogue’ counterparts with the threat of sanctions and military action.
This graphic tracks overall voter turnout in Russian presidential and parliamentary elections from 1991 to 2016. To find out more about voter turnout trends and electoral mobilization in Russian federal elections, see Inga Saikkonen’s contribution to the latest edition of the Russian Analytical Digest here. To check out the CSS’ full collection of graphs and charts, click here.
Much like Europeans do not fully grasp the angst generated by prospects of Western-incited regime change in Russia, Russians dismiss far too easily how toxic in the EU is Moscow’s political and financial backing of European extreme right-wing movements. Both are viewed as direct threats to existential interests. So long as that deep-seated mistrust regarding each other’s destructive intent toward one another prevails, channels for cooperation will remain limited, and cooperation at the global level will be ad hoc and transactional.