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The 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) annual summit is to take place on September 2-8 in Vladivostok. Today APEC is the largest economic forum for 21 Asia-Pacific nations accounting for 57% of world GNP and 48% of world trade. As is known India has requested membership in the organization. Russia strongly supports the urge of the «world’s largest Democracy» to accede. Moscow rightly believes that adding the dynamic economy of the Elephant to the Dragon (China), an active APEC participant, will open new opportunities for all those who have joined the forum… 

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Pranab Mukherjee is regarded as one of India’s most experienced and authoritative politicians. Apparently his election as President of India will add the required logic and coherence to the Indian foreign policy, the qualities it has evidently lacked in the recent 5-7 years. First, such super large entity as India will promote strengthening of existing economic structures in the world’s most economically dynamic region. It will also counter the attempts to change the fundamental principles of international relations, first of all the presumption of unity and territorial integrity of states and societies. Second, India’s joining APEC will facilitate the efforts to solve the problem of strategic importance: strengthening horizontal economic ties in the Southwest Asia and enriching the content of external economic activities of regional actors. (The Indian experience of getting the best out of  «plan» and «market»  collectively may prove really invaluable under conditions of global economic slowdown). Third, India has already moved ahead substantially in this direction. It has done solid preparatory work in the form of «Look East» policy initiated in 1997. The Gujral Doctrine has become an effective instrument of strengthening India’s diplomatic ties with the states of Southeast Asia. The economic relations with these countries have also undergone  a qualitative evolution: today the region has become the largest market for India’s goods accounting for over half of exports (it was only 40% at the beginning of the century). The economic relations have solid political foundation. India has signed agreements with important APEC members like: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Syria's crisis remains the focal point of the world politics as a new escalation in and around the country broke out last week. The root cause of the conflict unraveling in Syria since March, 2011 is that external forces provide crucial support to the  armed opposition groups which unleashed a terrorist war against the Syrian administration and civilians. The groups receive large quantities of armaments and ammunition from Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan with the assistance from NATO intelligence services and the financial backing from the Gulf monarchies.

Even Pentagon chief Leon Panetta admits that al Qaeda militants fight in the ranks of the opposition groups in Syria, meaning that the country is de facto fighting a war against internationally supported terrorists. As prescribed by existing contracts, Moscow continues to sell to Syria the armaments it needs for self-defense, particularly the anti-aircraft systems, and to service the Russian-made weaponry, including copters, already delivered to the Syrian army. By doing so, Russia draws biting criticism from Western administrations, notably, from US Secretary of State H. Clinton, who, for example, charges that the Syrian government plans to use the copters to crash popular protests. The West's cynicism over the matter is shocking: while Russia takes hammering for the supplies and maintenance of completely defensive weapons to the Syrian government which is forced to resist terrorist attacks, the Western countries help to illicitly feed armaments to the terrorists in Syria.

At the moment, there is little doubt that Francois Hollande can count on winning the presidential run off in France.  The questions naturally arising in the context are which, if any, transformations await the French foreign policy under the incoming president and, in particular, how Paris will be shaping its relations with Moscow in the coming five years.

A statement released by Hollande in December, 2011 - with an eye to the elections on the horizon - contained passages to the effect that Russia's domestic policies, including the alleged crackdown on opposition protests in the wake of the parliamentary poll, were a cause for serious concern and that Russia should do more to guarantee the freedoms of expression and public dissent.

Now living through a kind of a social crisis, Germans are looking forward to early land elections in the country’s most populous (17.8 million) state of North Rhine-Westphalia scheduled for May 13.Given the current balance of political forces in Germany, the main intrigue is about who will hold the majority in Westphalia. 

Elementary arithmetic routinely holds keys to much more complex political algebra. At the moment, for example, it appears that fairly simple regards explain the bizarre conduct of the Arab League which, contrary to reasonable expectations, alligned itself with the West in destabilizing Syria and keeping B. Assad under pressure.

The current situation in Syria remains one of the most important components of the Middle Eastern and international policies. Using Syria’s domestic crisis and pursuing their own goals NATO’s leading states, Israel, Turkey and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf are trying to undermine the Syrian regime.

The EU oil embargo recently slapped on Iran and the threats voiced by the US and other Western countries to come up with further sanctions against the country led watchers to conclude that an armed conflict between Iran and the West finally became imminent.

The “color revolution” will continue to be the preferred route for the United States in effecting regime change in Central Asia. But the limits to the United States’s capacity to intervene also cannot but be noted. As a perceptive observer recently noted, the US is a “renter rather than a bona-fide landlord of Eurasian property” – and a renter can always be evicted by the landlord.

The United States’ defence strategy unveiled by President Barack Obama in Washington on January 5 has been occasioned by the need to slash the spending of the Pentagon by nearly half a trillion dollars over the next decade. There is undeniably some merit in the viewpoint that this is a strategy that has been driven by budget woes – although Obama and the Pentagon chief Leon Panetta have insisted that it is indeed a pure strategy.

A Nato air strike on a Pakistani border coordination center on 26th November, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, has caused extensive coverage in the media and critical feedback from all over the globe. IN a phone talk with his Pakistani counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that violating other countries` sovereignty, including as part of counter-terrorism operations, is inadmissible.