Diplomacy

Brexit: champagne, parmesan, prosecco and feta could soon be at the centre of negotiations

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As Brexit day creeps closer, one issue that remains unresolved is the way that food names will be protected in Britain and the EU. Authors: The Conversation From parmesan and feta to cornish pasties and Bavarian beer, the EU is fiercely protective over protected designations of origin (PDOs) or protected geographical indications (PGIs). A number of highly popular products are protected under this legal framework that dictates certain products can only be produced in certain regions. So champagne must be ... Read More »

The Brilliant Cathy Wilcox

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Here is a letter by Freddie Steen to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.  I agree with every word of it ( Julian Burnside ) The Editor , Cathy Wilcox(“political cartoon, 1/8) cuts to the core: Dutton’s punitive, care-less position on the human status of men seeking asylum, lets young men die. A breach of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention RG Menzies freely signed in 1954. The death of Hamid Khazaie is now world history as a preventable death in administrative ... Read More »

Countering China’s Actions in the South China Sea

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For many who follow developments in the South China Sea, the July 2016 tribunal ruling in the Philippines’ case against China has become the equivalent of the birth of Jesus in the Gregorian calendar: Developments are considered… Lynn Kuok Lawfare In the first year after the award, compliance was fair: Beijing largely kept its actions, if not its words, within the letter of the ruling. In late July 2017, however, things went south. The Chinese government insists that the situation ... Read More »

What Turkey’s Political Changes Mean for U.S.-Turkish Relations

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The July 9 swearing-in of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his second term as Turkey’s president—and his subsequent decree1 thoroughly restructuring the Turkish government—have inaugurated a new phase in the… By Max Hoffman, Alan Makovsky, and Michael Werz Center for American Progress Erdoğan will preside over a new system in which power is even more centralized in the office of the presidency than it was previously. Of course, this structure represents the institutionalization of what had been a de facto reality: ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan Wants To Crush The Kurds And Recreate The Ottoman World

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Consumed by the need for grandeur, despots tend to share their monstrous plans, then execute them. Running to be reelected in a race warped in his favor, Turkey’s President Erdogan campaigned by demonizing minority Kurds to create a… Jonathan Wachtel and Albert Wachtel Newsweek In troubled times, people worship self-assured leaders, and Erdogan sees himself as the anointed vessel of Ottoman resurrection. He allowed Islamic State to murder Kurds and unleashed his army on them. He must and can be ... Read More »

NATO: the Unexamined Alliance

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The outcome of the July11-12 NATO meeting in Brussels got lost amid the media’s obsession with President Donald Trump’s bombast, but the “Summit Declaration” makes for sober reading. Conn Hallinan CounterPunch The media reported that the 28-page document “upgraded military readiness,” and was “harshly critical of Russia,” but there was not much detail beyond that. But details matter, because that is where the Devil hides. One such detail is NATO’s “Readiness Initiative” that will beef up naval, air and ground forces in “the eastern ... Read More »

Reclaiming European Sovereignty

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As if there was any remaining doubt, the past few weeks have shown that US President Donald Trump is fully committed to demolishing the American-led post-war order and free-trade system. Joschka Fischer * The Project Syndicate Europeans no longer have any time to waste: The EU must assert itself as a unitary, self-sufficient global power before it is too late. BERLIN – After US President Donald Trump’s recent European tour – which culminated in his infamous press conference with Russian President Vladimir ... Read More »

Ukraine jails scientist, 84, for spying for Russia

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A Ukrainian court on Tuesday sentenced an 84-year-old scientist to 12 years in prison for passing on military information to Russia, his lawyer and the prosecutor said. KIEV – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mekhti Logunov was arrested in August last year in Kharkiv, a city in northeast Ukraine near the front with pro-Russian separatists, according to the regional prosecutor. “He was gathering information belonging to scientific institutions that were state secrets,” notably in the military domain, the prosecutor said in a statement. Logunov’s trial ... Read More »

The Australian Government can save Julian Assange

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Julian Assange is an Australian. He is in trouble overseas.  He needs the Australian government’s help. Julian Burnside For six years he has been virtually a prisoner in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.  The reason he is there is because he is the founder and editor of WikiLeaks, which published evidence of war crimes leaked by an American soldier, Bradley (later Chelsea) Manning as a matter of conscience. WikiLeaks has since revealed the secrets of the world’s unaccountable forces. This ... Read More »

Stuck in Lebanon: a Syrian refugee family’s life in limbo

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I don’t remember exactly how Reham and I came to meet on Facebook but I do recall how articulate she was, her love for her younger sister Fatima and her quiet desperation for a new life. Heaven Crawley The Conversation Reham is just nine years old, a Syrian refugee living in a small town in the north of Lebanon with her parents and three siblings, the youngest of whom is just eight months old. Her father Abdul told me that ... Read More »

Iraq’s Paramilitary Groups: The Challenge of Rebuilding a Functioning State

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A struggle looms in Iraq over the future of paramilitary groups assembled to help the state defeat ISIS. These units remain under arms and autonomous. ICG Baghdad should strengthen the interior and defence ministries so they can absorb the paramilitaries now undercutting the state’s authority. What’s new? Iraq’s three-year battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) empowered an array of armed actors that operate autonomously from state security forces. As the country’s focus on security decreases, these paramilitary groups – the ... Read More »

The European Union Brings Serbia Closer

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The next EU expansion wave can “cover” Southeast Europe ahead of schedule In particular, Serbia can become an EU member even before 2025 – some six months ago the European Commission mentioned it as the most optimistic option. Peter Iskenderov Modern Diplomacy The corresponding statement was made by French President Emmanuel Macron when he received his Serbian colleague Aleksandar Vučić in Paris. At the same time, he again reminded that Belgrade first “must fulfill all the conditions” stipulated for joining ... Read More »

Rightwing UK thinktank ‘offered ministerial access’ to potential US donors

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A rightwing thinktank has been offering potential US donors access to government ministers and civil servants as it raises cash for research to support the free-trade deals demanded by hardline Brexiters, according to an… Robert Booth The Guardian The director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was secretly recorded telling an undercover reporter that funders could get to know ministers on first-name terms and that his organisation was in “the… Mark Littlewood claimed the IEA could make introductions to ... Read More »

Theresa May’s Chequers deal is already dead. Here’s my plan for a Final Say referendum – and why it’s better than the prime minister’s

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I’ve lost count of the number of MPs, including senior ministers, who have approached me to tell me that I was right to call a second referendum. There’s more support in parliament than people think. Justine Greening Independent My intervention exactly two weeks ago set out a practical solution to Britain’s Brexit deadlock, saying we need a fair and clear choice for the public in a referendum on our future relationship with the EU. It has generated an overwhelming response. My solution is simple. ... Read More »

Iran’s currency plunges to record low as US sanctions loom

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Rial has lost half its value since April amid weak economy and big demand for dollars by Iranians fearful of sanctions. AlJazeera Iran’s currency has plunged to another record low, dropping past 100,000 rials to the US dollar, as Iranians brace for August 7 when the United Statesis due to reimpose the first batch of sanctions on their economy. In May, Washington pulled out of a landmark 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in ... Read More »

Trump seeks to revive ‘Arab NATO’ to confront Iran

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The Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the… WASHINGTON – Reuters Hurriyet The White House wants to see deeper cooperation between the countries on missile defense, military training, counter-terrorism and other issues such as strengthening regional economic and… The plan to forge what officials in the White House and Middle East have called an “Arab NATO” of ... Read More »