Russia’s Recent Moves in the Caucasus Are Part of Its Strategy to Keep Ukraine, the Middle East, and Other Areas in a State of Crisis

Earlier this month—just a year after the end the 2020 conflict—a short period of intense fighting broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the long-disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Once again, Vladimir Putin, who has inclined toward the Armenians, stepped in to broker an “interim solution.” It’s worth noting that Baku has important security ties to Israel, while Yerevan retains warm relations with Iran. Amir Taheri examines what the latest flair-up says about Russia’s strategy in the region, and beyond:

[Putin’s] “interim solution” makes the regimes in both Baku and Yerevan dependent on Russian power for at least the next five years. It also keeps Turkey out, thus depriving Azerbaijan of a powerful regional ally. On the opposite side, Armenia is deprived of an opportunity to seek meaningful support from potentially sympathetic powers in Europe and North America. Moscow also benefits from its new military presence in the region by gaining control of borders with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Is the situation that has developed in Transcaucasia a model of Russian behavior in the international arena? Several examples could be cited in support of a “yes” answer.

By keeping [various] nations in a state of crisis with their neighbors, Putin achieves one of his two geostrategic goals: preventing NATO expansion to Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia. Because no country in conflict with its neighbors would be allowed to join the U.S.-led coalition, it is important for Russia to keep all those wounds open with its knife in them.

Russian activism in Syria and Libya, and its strange alliance with Egypt in the Libyan theater, are also calculated to exert pressure on the EU. . . . At another level, the openly pro-Russian path taken by the Khomeinist leadership in Tehran gives Putin another card to play with minimum, not to say zero, actual political and/or economic investment by Russia.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Middle East, Russia, Vladimir Putin, War in Ukraine

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University