• Position : Columnist
  • Affiliation : Daily FT
  • Affiliation : President, President, The Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Position : Consultant
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Position : President
  • Affiliation : Center on Global Interests
  • Affiliation : Vice President, Observer Research Foundation
  • Position : Chairman of the Executive Board
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
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International Expert Group on Key Developments in Global Security


MOSCOW, JANUARY 20, 2017. PIR PRESS – «The outcome of the contradiction or dualism in the incoming Trump administration between, on the one hand, the realists who want a better relationship with Russia and a prioritization of the struggle against terrorism, and on the other, the rightwing hawks who want to push back against Iran and China», – Dayan Jayatilleka (Sri Lanka), member of PIR Center International Expert Group, expert and diplomat.  

Members of PIR Center International Expert Group from around the globe shared their views on the key events of the previous year with “Vlast” journal, and made their forecasts for the developments in the security sphere. Questions from Galiya Ibragimova were answered by Evgeny Buzhinsky, Andrey Kortunov, Evgeny Satanovsky (all Russia), Nikolay Zlobin (USA), Farkhod Tolipov (Uzbekistan), Pal Dunay (Hungary), Mustafa Fetouri (Libya), Abdulaziz Sager (Saudi Arabia), Halil Karaveli (Turkey-Sweden), Dayan Jayatilleka (Sri Lanka), Nandan Unnikrishnan (India), and Sergio Duarte (Brazil).

Experts were concerned by the changes in the global and regional policies of the USA under the new administration, and whether Russia and the USA will be able to find common ground in solving the global problems – in Europe, Middle East, and East Asia.

“First of all the changes will influence relations between the USA and its NATO allies. The configuration of these relations will influence the environment not only in Europe, but globally. The relations between Americans with their allies outside NATO and Russia-U.S. relation will be no less important. Changes in the foreign policy will affect U.S. economic positions, in particular those advantages that they want to gain in the confrontation with China. Also important will be relations between the USA and their closest backstreet neighbors – Latin America countries”, - those were the key issues outlined by the President of the Center on Global Interests Nikolay Zlobin.

Professor of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies Pal Dunay noted the influence of the USA on the domestic dynamics in Europe: “The main democracy exporter, in light of the results of the November 2016 elections, the United States, is about the refocus its international relations. It will project a more transactional and apparently far less value-based and value-focused image. This might in the extreme lead to that the West will give up its moral lead”.

Chairman of the PIR Center Executive Board Evgeny Buzhinsky acknowledged: “Crucial event that positively influenced global security was liberation of Syrian Aleppo from the forces of forbidden in Russia terrorist group “Al-Nusra” and other Islamists factions. Even the temporary loss of Palmira won’t be able to weaken president Asad’s positions… If Donald Trump is really aiming for closer cooperation with Moscow on all the issues of bilateral realtions and existing regional conflicts, then there is a hope for decrease in tensions between Russia and the West. Improvement in Russian-American relations will influence the sanctions issues and quicker termination of conflicts in Middle East and Ukraine”.

 “The geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Moscow of the last years will have to be replaced with mutual respect and cooperation, not least in order to neutralize the threat of terrorism, if global security is to be enhanced”, - stated his opinion Senior Associate, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, Johns Hopkins University Halil Karaveli.

“Possible changes in the Asia-Pacific Region would again be connected with the change of the American administration and dynamics of the processes in China. Asia-Pacific Region will also be important in the context of the events on Korean peninsula”, - commented Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov

Nandan Unnikrishnan, Director of the Eurasian Studies, Observer Research Foundation pinointed the importance of the American factor for India-China relations: “India’s evolving relationship with China will play an important role. It will affect India’s role in the South Asian region, the Indian Ocean, and its ties with great powers like the US, Russia, Japan, etc. How India deals with some of its internal challenges will also significantly affect the relationship with China and Pakistan. The evolution of Russia’s ties with the West, primarily the US, will also play an important role in India’s foreign policy in 2017.

President of the Institute for Middle East Studies Evgeny Satanovsky underlined the “defining not only for the region, but for the whole world rejection of the Western practice of overthrowing regimes in the Middle East in the favor of other regimes”.

Members of the International Expert Group discussed key regional tendencies. Libyan independent journalist and expert Mustafa Fetouri does not rule out the possible spread of the geography of the threat from ISIS (organization forbidden in Russia): “The attack on the Coptic church in Cairo in earlier December as it meant the reach and strength of Islamic State in Egypt which will require more security expenditure depriving the struggling economy of badly needed finances”.

Chairman and Founder of the Gulf Research Center Abdulaziz Sager underlined: “The incompetence of the international community to intervene effectively and find coherent mechanisms for bringing to an end some of the violence in the Middle East has been another contributing negative factor… This is clearly a sign of weakness of the security architecture underpinning international action... The coherence of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and their readiness to contribute to conflict resolution efforts were one encouraging sign. Given the negative outlook for economic development for example, all GCC states have embraced fundamental reform programs that will help them stabilize their domestic environment. The ruling families in the Arab Gulf states continue to aware of the challenges around them and have displayed a readiness to confront these challenges in an open and constructive manner. At a time when the rest of the Middle East is defined by chaos and decay, the GCC states continue to represent stable and forward looking societies”. 

Farkhod Tolipov, Director of the Bylim Karvoni Nongovernental Research and Training Center noted the importance of the changes in his own country for Central Asia: “The news that the new president Shavkat Mirziyoyev defined Central Asia as a priority for Uzbek foreign policy was positively met in the neighboring states waiting for the real positive changes. New activation of Tashkent’s regional policy can have substantial implications for the regional geopolitics and for the processes of regional integration in Central Asia”.

Famous Brazilian diplomat and former High Representative of the UN Office for Disarmament Sergio Duarte noted the relative stability in Latin America, pointing out the risks of the global problems: “The decrease of confidence in multilateral solutions for global issues like disarmament, climate change and human rights in favor of national parochial solutions will be a major element to contend with in the formulation of foreign and security policy for the countries in the region. Recent changes in leadership in some countries seem to threaten the permanence of multilateral agreements on global issues, particularly the environment and arms control, with negative repercussions for the security of all States”. 

Full text of the commentaries of the members of PIR Center International Expert Group is available on the website of “Vlast” journal.