Diplomacy

Less Than Meets the Eye

The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »

Europe Caught in the Middle as Trump Threatens China

FRANKFURT — One is a good customer, a military ally and an old friend, although lately its behavior has been erratic. The other is also a good customer, and despite a few spats and some lingering mistrust, it’s getting to be a more lucrative and dependable business partner all the time. Jack Ewing The New York Times Which side would you choose? That more or less sums up the dilemma confronting Europe as it watches the escalating conflict between its ... Read More »

The South China Sea Disputes: Will Taiwan’s Role Be Enhanced?

For many years, Taiwan’s interests and role in the South China Sea disputes have essentially been officially ignored. But with the election of US President Donald J. Trump and his appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, its influence on and involvement in such issues may increase substantially. Mark J. Valencia IPP Review Bolton in particular has a long history of supporting Taiwan’s interests. He has urged the restoration of formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and that Taiwan be ... Read More »

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations

The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos BESA A rapprochement with Greece, traditionally at odds with Turkey, made theoretical sense but was practically difficult due to the Greek sympathy with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause. Careful diplomacy was thus required. While some discussions on the matter began in Athens in the spring of 2009, ... Read More »

Why’s EuroMaidan’s Mastermind Warning About Greek-Turkish Tensions?

The former US Ambassador to Ukraine during EuroMaidan and present chief diplomat in Greece Geoffrey Pyatt predicted that Turkey’s ties with both the US and Greece will go through what he described as “turbulence” ahead of President Erdogan’s reelection vote next… Andrew Korybko Oriental Review This ambiguous warning can be interpreted in one of two ways. The decontextualized understanding is to think that he’s hinting that President Erdogan will cynically stage various highly-publicized provocations against them in order to galvanize ... Read More »

Putting Trump’s Trade Bombast to the Test

President Trump’s recent threat to escalate his trade skirmish with China into a full-scale trade war is a foolish gambit with little historical precedent. Editorial Board The New York Times It is also hard to take seriously, given how quickly Mr. Trump changes his mind and how rarely and clumsily he tends to follow through on tough talk. Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he wants to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports in response to Beijing’s plan ... Read More »

I lived through Saddam Hussein’s fall – and the horror that came next

I was a senior university student in Baghdad, Iraq. It was March 2003, and over the past few months, my classmates had whispered to each other about the possibility of a US-led invasion and the likelihood that 35 years of dictatorship and tyranny could be brought to an end. Balsam Mustafa The Conversation We could not dare to speculate on Iraq’s future, but many were longing to see Saddam Hussein fall. And soon enough, the war came. An intense and ... Read More »

The Risks to Freedom in Hungary

The country’s independent media has largely been stifled. One of its remaining voices explains what it’s like to try to hold an aspiring strongman to account. The Atlantic Hungary is a NATO ally, a member nation of the European Union, a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights—and also, since 2010, an increasingly authoritarian and illiberal state. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has politicized the country’s court, central bank, and media. On April 8, Orbán and his Fidesz party face the ... Read More »

Finland Gives Consent for Nord Stream 2 Construction in Finnish Economic Zone

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Finnish government said on Wednesday it had given its consent for construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its exclusive economic zone. Sputnik “On 5 April 2018, the Finnish Government gave its consent to the Nord Stream 2 AG’s gas pipeline construction project in respect of the section that passes through Finland’s exclusive economic zone,” the statement read. According to the statement, the consent is conditional, “which means the applicant has to meet the terms presented in the Government’s… “The party responsible ... Read More »

Addressing the Migration Bottleneck in Southern Mexico

Mexico is not doing “nothing” to curb northward migration, as U.S. President Donald Trump claims. Ivan Briscoe ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Latin America & Caribbean Program Director Ivan Briscoe says Washington should help Mexico meet the challenge of migrant and refugee flows from Central America, which are now concentrated in its… What is the migration crisis in Mexico? Poverty and violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America (comprising El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) are forcing hundreds of ... Read More »

Should the EU have a single European President?

Does Europe have too many presidents? Debating Europe The President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (that last one held by a… How is Trump supposed to know who to call if he wants to speak to Europe? If democratic institutions are too confusing for most people to follow, are they still democratic? Would it be better to merge the positions of President of ... Read More »

After Erdogan spat, PM speaks with Greek, Cypriot leaders

Turkey, keen on diversifying its energy sources, has in the past expressed an interest in Israel laying a pipeline to Turkey. HerbKeinon The Jerusalem Post Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday with the prime ministers of Greece and Cyprus, three days after trading sharp insults with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both Cyprus and Greece are historic foes of Turkey, and Israel’s relationship with both countries improved significantly over the last decade, partly as a result of the deterioration ... Read More »

Russophobia in the New Cold War

Several factors make this US-Russian Cold War more dangerous than its predecessor—is “Russo-madness” one of them? Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at… Cohen has previously explained why the new Cold War is potentially even more dangerous than was its 40-year predecessor, citing factors such ... Read More »

Russia-Turkey: The Interdependent Relationship Shaped by Energy or a Deeper Friendship?

Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the deepening relationship between Russia and Turkey showed itself in the first agreement designed to enhance their economic relations… Nargiz Hajiyeva Modern Diplomacy The agreement was signed on March 15, 1977, between them, which mainly embraced the cooperation in the promotion of the industrial development and… Meanwhile, the parties also inked an agreement concerning the scientific and technical cooperations. Therefore, energy had been a significant issue amid the negotiations processes between Russia ... Read More »

Defence Department scientist had separate role with China-linked firm

The Defence Department is reviewing business dealings between one of its senior scientists and the Chinese government’s missile development agency amid ongoing concerns about Beijing’s effort to… By Alex Joske, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker & Angus Grigg The Age In a separate development, Fairfax Media can also reveal that Australia’s peak scientific research agency, the CSIRO, spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading its cyber-security and information systems after a… The man disappeared after the apparent breach in November… Defence ... Read More »

Electoral Poker in DR Congo

Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been postponed since December 2016, but now seem to be slated for the end of the year. ICG All parties should work to ensure credible polls, the best hope for a peaceful transfer of power. What’s new? After repeated delays, President Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress over the past few months toward organising elections for 23 December 2018. But there are still important concerns ... Read More »