In 1947, Pakistan’s army inherited the default position and strategy of British India in opposing Russian influence and inroads into Afghanistan and Central Asia. Now, for the first time in 200 years, they have reversed the old British policy of confronting the Russians for control over Central Asia. Pakistan’s army now sees the Russians as their strategic partners.
The assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, by a Turkish policeman has brought into focus the hugely deleterious impact of the Syrian war upon neighbouring states and the wider region.
US President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of ExxonMobile Chief Executive Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is being interpreted in Russia as a friendly move. It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned US–Russia relations in the most positive light since the Ukraine war began in 2014.
Kazakhstan, the newest member of the UN Security Council, faces a difficult test. It must balance relations with its two powerful neighbours – Russia and China – while maintaining sovereignty and also engaging with several partners.
While the world’s gaze is focused on Ukraine and the Baltics as key locations of Russia’s challenge to the West, the real risk lies in Kosovo. It is where President Vladimir Putin imagines that the Western humiliation of Russia began.