Diplomacy

Cambodian refugee deal a ‘bad joke’, says former foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans

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The $55 million deal to resettle refugees in Cambodia is a “joke in bad taste” that has undermined Australia’s diplomatic influence, says former Labor foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans. Liam Cochrane ABC Mr Evans said Australian diplomacy has been hobbled by the refugee deal at a time when something needs to be done to address Cambodia’s slide into authoritarianism. The deal with Cambodia was struck three years ago under then immigration minister Scott Morrison, but at last count, just three ... Read More »

An Election Delay Can Help Avert Kenya’s Crisis

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The rerun of Kenya’s presidential elections scheduled on 26 October risks escalating a political crisis, as the main opposition leader has withdrawn and the risk of violence is high. ICG The election commission should seek from the Supreme Court a 30-45 day delay to the vote. Kenya’s political leaders should support such an extension and commit to participate. What’s happening?  On 26 October, Kenya is scheduled to hold repeat presidential elections following the Supreme Court’s annulment of the previous vote ... Read More »

After six tests, the mountain hosting North Korea’s nuclear blasts may be exhausted

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Tokyo: Have North Korea’s nuclear tests become so big that they’ve altered the geological structure of the land? Anna Fifield Washington Post The Sydney Morning Herald Some analysts now see signs that Mount Mantap, the 2200-metre-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, is suffering from “tired mountain syndrome”. The mountain visibly shifted during the last nuclear test, an enormous detonation that was recorded as a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in North Korea’s northeast. Since then, the area, which is not ... Read More »

Catalonia mulls options as stakes go up

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Catalonia’s separatists were planning their response on Oct. 22 after Spain took drastic steps to stop the region from breaking away by dissolving its separatist government and forcing new elections MADRID – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his regional executive — who sparked a major political crisis by holding an independence referendum on Oct. 1 — will be stripped of their jobs and their ministries taken over under measures announced on Oct. 21 by Prime Minister Mariano ... Read More »

A Blueprint for Minimizing Iran’s Influence in the Middle East

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America needs a better strategy for containing and checking Iran, and that strategy is needed now. John Allen Michael O’Hanlon The National Interest President Donald Trump would be making a serious mistake were he to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the 2015 nuclear deal between various world powers and Iran—in coming months. This action, which Trump has threatened if Congress does not act soon to toughen our overall Iran policy, would be a much more serious blow to American interests and to ... Read More »

The Sovereignty that Really Matters

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The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Javier Solana Project Syndicate Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not. MADRID – In his famous “political trilemma of the world economy,” Harvard economist Dani Rodrik boldly claims that global economic integration, the nation-state, and democracy cannot coexist. At best, ... Read More »

US, France slam detention of leading Turkish activist Osman Kavala

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U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the arrest of the prominent activist and businessman Osman Kavala was an example of a “very alarming trend” of the detention of civil society leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and… Hurriyet “We have expressed to the Turkish government our concerns on many occasions about this trend … It remains a major concern of ours,” Nauert told reporters in Washington on… The French Foreign Ministry also stated on Oct. 19 that it ... Read More »

Here’s How to Pull Turkey Back From the Brink

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Erdogan gets more authoritarian, and closer to Russia and Iran, every day. But kicking him out of NATO would make things worse. James Stavridis Bloomberg Since its founding nearly a century ago, Turkey’s foreign policy goal has been summed up in a simple phrase: “No problems with our neighbors.” But the situation today is different: “all our neighbors have problems.” And the Turks have plenty of their own. There is no understating how important it is that the U.S. and ... Read More »

Joyce McMillan: Are the Tories imploding over Brexit?

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Back in a different world, in April last year, I wrote a column about the difficult questions posed for then-prime minister David Cameron, and his chancellor George Osborne, by the decision of Tata Steel to sell off its entire UK operation. Joyce McMillan The Scotsman To the right of them, they faced the free market ideologues of post-Thatcher Toryism, who view state intervention to save threatened industries with scorn. Even further to the right, with Boris Johnson in the lead, ... Read More »

Why Doesn’t the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

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The Kurds are one of Washington’s closest and most reliable allies in the Middle East   After World War I, the Kurds came tantalizingly close to getting an independent state. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic Nearly a century later, they are no closer to an independent homeland. There are many reasons for this: regional instability; suppression of the Kurds, most dramatically in Turkey and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; vehement opposition to a Kurdish state; infighting among Kurds; and, despite some prominent Western ... Read More »

Managing the Disruptive Aftermath of Somalia’s Worst Terror Attack

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The 14 October 2017 twin bombings in Mogadishu mark the deadliest attack in Somalia since 2007 ICG As Somalis unite in their disgust at the most likely perpetrator Al-Shabaab, President Farmajo must immediately provide care for victims and use surging support for the government to redouble efforts aimed at overcoming the divisions in Somalia’s society that make Al-Shabaab such a… What happened? On 14 October 2017, twin truck bombings in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed upwards of 300 people. Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency, was ... Read More »

Money laundering trial could further chill already tense US-Turkish relations

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U.S. and Turkish relations are already severely strained, and an upcoming trial in New York involving a businessman with links to Ankara’s political elite could see the situation worsen. Jeff Daniels CNBC The trial is likely to result in “a lot of dirty laundry getting aired,” according to an insider close to the case. “It is going to be very embarrassing to the Turks.” “There’s bad blood on both sides,” said Bulent Aliriza, founding director of the Turkey Project at ... Read More »

Xi Jinping’s Message to the World: China is Back

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The hallmark of China’s foreign policy under Xi has been the abandonment of the “lay low” doctrine China’s 19th Party Congress, which opened this week in Beijing, is a landmark event for the world’s second-largest economy. Scott Moore The National Interest  In China’s one-party state, these congresses determine the country’s leadership, and are held every five years. But this one is special. It’s the first to be held since China’s current top leader, Xi Jinping, took power in 2012, and much ... Read More »

Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace

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Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. ICG In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. Executive Summary The peace process with Colombia’s largest and longest standing guerrilla group has defied its ... Read More »

Australia’s “chronic non-compliance” “completely off the charts” says UN

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Overnight Australia was slammed by the UN Human Rights Committee for its “chronic non-compliance” with, and disengagement from, that Committee’s work. Australia’s record on human rights was found lacking as part of the Committee’s review into Australia’s protection of civil and political rights HRLC Professor Yuval Shany, Vice Chair of the Committee, said Australia’s track record was “incredible” for a country that claims to be a leading voice on human rights. Mr Shany directly contradicted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s previous ... Read More »

Have 20 Years of NATO Expansion Made Anyone Safer?

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Since 1997, the world’s perhaps most powerful corporation and lobbyist has created more insecurity than security. Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.) Cohen notes that 20 years ago, in 1997, President Bill Clinton made the decision to expand NATO eastward. That same year, in order to placate post-Soviet Russia, then weak and heralded ... Read More »