Name? Vladimir Putin
Westphalian identity? Russian
Why is he in the news? Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran. In his second foreign visit since the Ukrainian invasion, the leaders discussed grain shipments, Turkish involvement in Syria, and a Russo-Iranian gas and oil development plan.
Why do we care? Vladimir Putin wants to improve his diplomatic relations with Iran, both see themselves being outcasted by the West. Khamenei even defended Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that it was ultimately sparked by NATO. Including Erdogan in the meeting allowed the two leaders to discuss their security concerns over a Turkish assault of US-backed Kurdish YPG separatists in Northern Syria.
Why should you care? The world supply chain and grain market has been devastated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. With these talks taking place, Putin looked to push Erdogan to continue the multilateral talks (the UN, Türkiye, Ukraine, and Russia all at the table) to once again allow the shipping of grain. Since the start of the war, Russia and Ukraine have used the Black Sea to hurt each other economically by blocking grain shipments. Therefore, you should care 9/10 about Putin’s meeting with Erdogan and Khamenei.
Who else cares? US President Joe Biden. Last week, he met with Saudi, Israeli, and Palestinian leaders to further talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as boosting of Saudi oil supplies in Western efforts to avert Russian oil. Biden hopes to further outcast Khamenei, who is acting against Saudi and Israeli interests. However, oil and gas development between Iran and Russia may decrease global energy prices, and geopolitically, it strengthens two of Biden’s adversaries.
Any further comments? President Erdogan finds himself in the middle of both NATO and President Putin. Despite supplying Ukraine with drones and being part of NATO, he is using his good relationship with Putin to keep diplomatic efforts alive.