Analysis

America Can’t Win the Drug War in Afghanistan

Papal 4d

Twenty-four of Afghanistan’s thirty-four provinces now are directly involved in illicit drug production. Ted Galen Carpenter  As if the United States needed more evidence that its sixteen-year mission in Afghanistan is an exercise in futility, a new United Nations report provides an additional reason for depression. The National Interest The 2017 Afghanistan Opium Survey from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, released on November 15, confirms that Washington’s effort to curb illicit narcotics trafficking in the country has failed. Almost every ... Read More »

Thucydides and the Long War Problem

Peme 3c

Is there anything left to say about Thucydides? Joshua Rovner In a year dominated by concerns over modern technologies — ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads, and cyber weapons — scholars have spent a remarkable amount of time arguing about a very old conflict. War On The Rocks Thucydides’ classic history of the Peloponnesian War documents the catastrophic fight between Athens and Sparta from 431–404 BC. It was a horrendous affair. Conventional combat, gruesome disease, mass murder, and civil war tore apart ... Read More »

Do the Numbers Lie? Mistrust and Military Lockdown after Honduras’ Disputed Poll

Papal 7g

With massive protests, armed clashes and a government-declared state of emergency, Honduras is in social and political chaos after the 26 November general elections. Sofía Martínez Fernández  ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Northern Triangle Analyst Sofía Martínez explains what has sparked the crisis and its potential effect on armed violence. What is happening in Honduras? Honduras has entered a political crisis that is turning increasingly violent following the disputed results of the 26 November general elections. In a climate ... Read More »

Time for Concerted Action in DR Congo

Papal 8h

President Kabila’s delaying tactics are holding hostage DR Congo’s political transition, while internal strife and government repression are weakening the opposition. ICG Western and African actors need to coordinate their approach to the deepening crisis, support the advancement of democratic elections and encourage the opening of political space. What’s the issue? President Joseph Kabila’s apparent determination to remain in power threatens to prolong the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) political stalemate. Having subverted the… Time for Concerted… Read More »

Brexit Creates a Game of Risk for European Banks

Aki 3c

A hard Brexit represents a potential shock to the international financial system and has both direct and indirect consequences for the United Kingdom’s economy Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest While the government of Theresa May seeks to restart negotiations with the European Union on December 5, time is marching on. This is important as risk managers are looking at their watches and are increasingly concerned about London’s inability to come forward with a credible Brexit bill in the eyes of Europeans. The result could be ... Read More »

Turkey squeezed between American hammer, Russian anvil on Syrian stage

Aki 9i

Images can be misleading. Anybody who sees the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi might think this impressive trio could actually deliver a settlement to the bloody Syrian conflict that has been ongoing for six years. Cengiz Çandar AlMonitor Astana, Kazakhstan, is another venue being used by the same trio for peacemaking in Syria. Although the Russians were always keen to present Astana as a supplementary peace effort to the United Nations’ Geneva talks, the meetings in ... Read More »

Six things New Zealand’s new government needs to do to make climate refugee visas work

Aki 7g

New Zealand’s new government plans to create the world’s first humanitarian visa for climate refugees. Nina Hall   The Conversation If the policy goes ahead, 100 Pacific Islanders could be granted access to New Zealand on the basis that their lives are at risk from rising seas. The commitment to tackle climate injustice should be applauded, but there are significant considerations that have to be taken into account when developing humanitarian climate… Six things New Zealand’s new government needs to ... Read More »

The Unyielding Paranoia of Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan 3c Reuters Umit Bektas

A major sanctions case could further imperil an already fraught relationship between Washington and Ankara, and reveal the Turkish president’s illicit dealings Diego Cupolo The Atlantic A key defendant in an Iranian sanction-busting case has now become its “most important witness.”Following weeks of speculation, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of helping Iranian entities evade U.S. sanctions through his international network of businesses, possibly with the help of Turkish banks and government officials. Today, Zarrab ... Read More »

Why Victoria should rethink the abolition of defensive homicide

Deke 1a

In 2005, a comprehensive package of “trendsetting feminist … reforms” was introduced in Victoria, including a new offence of defensive homicide. Asher Flynn Danielle Tyson  Madeleine Ulbrick  Sitting between murder and manslaughter in terms of legal and moral culpability, a person could be convicted of defensive homicide rather than murder if they killed with the genuine but unreasonable belief that they were acting in self-defence. The Conversation Defensive homicide was introduced for two reasons: to provide a “safety net” between ... Read More »

The Duplicitous Superpower

BuP 1a

How Washington’s chronic deceit—especially towards Russia—has sabotaged U.S. foreign policy For any country, the foundation of successful diplomacy is a reputation for credibility and reliability. Ted Galen Carpenter The American Conservative Governments are wary of concluding agreements with a negotiating partner that violates existing commitments and has a record of duplicity Recent U.S. administrations have ignored that principle, and their actions have backfired majorly, damaging American foreign policy in the process. The consequences of previous deceit are most evident in ... Read More »

Is China’s Economic Power a Paper Tiger?

Glyf 1a

The People’s Republic of China has surely seen faster GDP growth than the United States for most of the past forty years Derek M. Scissors  The National Interest It’s the value of that growth that’s questionable. The people complaining about U.S. decline in the face of China’s rise under President Obama have been replaced by new people complaining about the same thing under President Trump. The debate over policy in the two administrations plainly matters, but it should not obscure basic facts. The ... Read More »

In Times Of Crisis We Must Work Especially Hard To Protect Women And Girls

Nur 1a

Violence against women and girls anywhere and at any time is not acceptable Julie Bishop In conflicts and crises across the world, women and girls can suffer terrible abuses HuffPost The UN estimates that seven in 10 women are exposed to violence in crises The risk of abuse increases when they flee without the family or community networks that would normally support them, leaving them vulnerable to trafficking or assault. The trauma of such experiences cannot be overstated, severely affecting ... Read More »

Myanmar and Bangladesh strike a shameful deal on Rohingya refugees

Fredm 1a

Many Rohingya people who have fled the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar are now living as refugees in Bangladesh Rosa Freedman The Conversation And now, the two countries have reportedly struck a deal to return them home. Returning Rohingya people to the hands of their persecutors not only violates international law, but raises fundamental questions about how the world protects those fleeing the most heinous crimes and abuses. This deal comes just days after Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment ... Read More »

Opportunities and Challenges Await Kyrgyzstan’s Incoming President

Ugre 3c

The inauguration of Kyrgyzstan’s new president on 24 November is a tribute to the country’s parliamentary democracy Deirdre Tynan  ICG But to overcome continued vulnerability, Sooronbai Jeenbekov must manage powerful southern elites, define the role of religion in society and spearhead reconciliation with Central Asian neighbours Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Sooronbai Jeenbekov will be inaugurated as Kyrgyzstan’s fifth president on 24 November, the victor of a tight, unpredictable, contested but ultimately legitimate election. The new leader, a loyal member of the ... Read More »

Venezuela: Hunger by Default

Skeb 1a

Economic mismanagement, corruption and dwindling reserves have forced Venezuela into penury and now into missed payments and partial default on its debts ICG Full-scale, internationally supervised negotiations involving a restored parliament are essential to pave the way to a debt restructuring and a free, fair presidential election. What happened?  On 14 November, credit ratings agencies declared Venezuela in partial default on its foreign debt, after the country failed to meet a $200 million payment to bondholders. Why did it happen?  Economic mismanagement ... Read More »

Is Indo-Pacific the ‘New’ Pivot?

Freg 2b

It is unclear exactly what the Indo-Pacific concept entails—especially regarding the future relations between New Delhi and Beijing Zhiqun Zhu  The National Interest Government officials and scholars around the world have quickly switched their labels for Asia from “Asia Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific” after President Donald Trump popularized the latter during his first Asia trip in November 2017. “Indo-Pacific” as a geopolitical concept first appeared in European publications in the 1920s. For example, it was mentioned in retired German general Karl Ernst ... Read More »