Dr. Stephen Blank is a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). Dr. Blank is also an independent consultant working with various U.S. government and corporate clients and a former professor at the U.S. Army War College. Blank has authored hundreds of foreign policy-related articles, white papers, and monographs – specifically focused on the geopolitics and geostrategy of the former Soviet Union, Russia, and Eurasia.
Although few observers consider Russia to be an active player in the Indian Ocean, it has long sought to establish permanent bases in the region. Efforts that began in the Soviet era with bases in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea have culminated in recent pushes into Sudan and Myanmar.
With the announcement of a large natural gas find in the Black Sea, Turkey is looking to become a power player in the energy sphere. But the discovery is nowhere near large enough for the country to become energy independent, and domestic and international constraints on Ankara mean it likely will not stop its aggressive foreign policy moves in the near future.
The impending announcement of a series of Sino-Iranian agreements marks China’s opening shot against the United States in the Middle East as the global rivalry between Washington and Beijing heats up and expands to a new theater. U.S. officials have voiced concerns about China’s presence in the Middle East, and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo traveled to Israel to limit China’s presence there.
In late 2019, the Trump administration did something no other U.S. administration had done: it issued a new Central Asian strategy. This strategy commendably envisions Central Asia and Afghanistan as a single region and does not subordinate policy in Central Asia to the requirements of the war in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, this strategy faces serious challenges.