Ian Bremmer, Mikhail Semenko, and a Twist in the Russian Spy Story

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Mikhail Semenko TWN.jpg
As I wrote a few days ago, I was informed that alleged Russian spy Mikhail Semenko had my business card. Turns out I had his information as well in my personal lap top and had hoped to meet him before my next trip to China — as his blog on the Chinese economy interested me.
There are rumors that Semenko applied for jobs at both the New America Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. I’ve checked with New America’s director of human resources, and there is no application — so I can’t confirm that he applied. He may have wanted to; New America is a cool place for youngish policy wonks.
But I met Semenko at a meeting I chaired with global strategic risk guru Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group, who was speaking about his best-selling new book, The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?.
The fundamental thesis of Bremmer’s fascinating book is that the biggest, most significant new feature of the global economy is the emergence of “state capitalism”. Bremmer argues that his state capitalism — as manifested in its most potent form in China — threatens both firms and states that practice more traditional laissez-faire market capitalism.
This debate on Chinese vs. American approaches to capitalism is what the alleged handsome Russian agent Mikhail Semenko came to learn about when he visited the New America Foundation on May 27, 2010. Fascinating.

Above is a short clip of my exchange with Ian Bremer on that day — and this is a link to the longer program. It would be interesting to see (I haven’t had the chance to check) whether Semenko lodges any questions during the Q&A session.
The Washington Post is reporting that all or most of the alleged Russian spies are going to plead guilty and be deported to Russia as early as tomorrow. I sort of hope that Mikhail Semenko keeps up his blog from Russia — because “agent of influence” or not — his interest in key questions on how the world organizes itself is something we should all be thinking about.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

6 comments on “Ian Bremmer, Mikhail Semenko, and a Twist in the Russian Spy Story

  1. Cee says:

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 [AU] [Posted US time: Tues., 6/22/10, a.m. EDT]
    SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
    Uproar in Israel over top secret prisoner
    By JASON KOUTSOUKI
    JERUSALEM, Israel: Speculation was widespread in Israel last night over the identity of a mysterious prisoner being held for unspecified crimes in the maximum security Ayalon jail.
    Dubbed ”Mister X” by the Hebrew language news website Y-net, the man’s identity has even been kept from his guards.
    A measure of the severity of the crimes for which the man in being held is the fact that he is being housed in the cell that was built for Yigal Amir, the assassin of the former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
    According to Y-net, nobody knows who the man is and with what he has been charged. Nobody talks to him, nobody sees him, nobody visits him, nobody knows he is in jail.
    ”He was placed in full and complete separation from the outside world,” one prison service official quoted by Y-net said.
    ”There is confidentiality surrounding the detainee in wing 15 in every respect

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    Since Mikhail Semenko was trying to infiltrate influential think-tanks, wouldn’t it have been sort of an insult if he didn’t have your card, Steve?

    Reply

  3. erichwwk says:

    ” I sort of hope that Mikhail Semenko keeps up his blog from Russia — because “agent of influence” or not — his interest in key questions on how the world organizes itself is something we should all be thinking about.
    — Steve Clemons”
    Bravo! Another small step towards focusing on our humanity and forgetting about “national interest”.
    Kudos to Steve for again recognizing “the big picture.”

    Reply

  4. James Morris says:

    Here is a follow-up posted at Huffington Post recently:
    Obama Yields to Bibi Plus Me vs. Petraeus
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/obama-yields-to-bibi-plus_b_637091.html

    Reply

  5. James Morris says:

    Steve,
    What about Max Boot who was born in Russia and has been influencing General Petraeus as evidenced by the following blog entry by Phil Weiss (see the comments section at the bottom as well)?:
    Petraeus emails show general scheming with journalist to get out pro-Israel storyline
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/07/petraeus-fed-his-pro-israel-bona-fides-to-a-neocon-writer-including-pathetic-recitation-of-meeting-wiesel.html

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    Current account balance
    CIA Factbook (2009 est.)
    1 China $ 297,100,000,000
    190 United States $ -419,900,000,000
    real GDP growth rate
    Wiki (2009 est.)
    4 China 8.7
    151 United States -2.4
    The Russkies should send their spies to China.

    Reply

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