Diplomacy

Brexit: Race to host EU agencies relocated from London

EU countries have until midnight to submit bids to provide a new home for two agencies that will be relocated from the UK after Brexit. BBC The European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Canary Wharf in London, employ just over 1,000 staff between them. The banking and medicines agencies are seen as the first spoils of Brexit by the 27 remaining members of the EU. About 20 countries are expected to enter the bidding process. ... Read More »

Fossil Fuels Are Powering Trump’s Foreign Policy

The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders. Michael T. Klare The Nation Who says President Trump doesn’t have a coherent foreign policy? Pundits and critics across the political spectrum have chided him for failing to articulate and implement a clear international agenda. Look closely at his overseas endeavors, though, and one all-too-consistent pattern emerges: Donald Trump will do whatever it takes to prolong the reign of fossil fuels by sabotaging ... Read More »

Chinese spy ships: The devil in the detail

Recent posts in The Interpreter (by Iain Henry, Euan Graham and James Goldrick) have commented on the presence of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off the Queensland Coast during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Sam Bateman The Interpreter All these posts are broadly correct – the incident suggested Chinese hypocrisy with its objections to foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), specifically its objections to American surveillance and intelligence-collection in its EEZ. However, we need to be careful in making assessments ... Read More »

US Senate looks to have ended Trump’s honeymoon with Russia

Russia’s tit-for-tat retaliation against Senate vote to impose new sanctions on Moscow may herald the beginning of a new downward spiral in relations. Arshad Mohammed Reuters Asia Times Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed President-elect Donald Trump a bouquet in December when he chose not to retaliate over the US expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds. The honeymoon is over. Russia’s tit-for-tat decision now to expel hundreds of US diplomats and seize two US compounds may be ... Read More »

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Gulf crisis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently embarked on a two-day trip to the Gulf, in the latest international effort to help resolve the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the… Sinem Cengiz Arab News The trip included Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both actors in the crisis, as well as Kuwait, the main mediator, whose role is difficult and should be appreciated. The good, the… Read More »

Sri Lanka signs Hambantota port deal with China

Billion-dollar agreement reached despite trade union opposition and protests over security fears, including from India. Al Jazeera and news agencies<imgheight=”1″width=”1″style=”display:none”src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=968100353246427&ev=PageView&noscript=1″/> Sri Lanka has signed a $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to operate a port in the southeast of the country, despite security concerns and protests from trade unions. According to the long-delayed deal reached in the capital Colombo on Saturday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sellΒ a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports ... Read More »

Iran’s Newest Benefactor: China

Is Iran becoming a Chinese proxy? More than two years after Secretary of State John Kerry and his European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini acquiesced to the last Iranian demands and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has the… MICHAEL RUBIN Commentary Iran’s ballistic missile program continues to expand rapidly. Yesterday, Iran inaugurated its new launch facility by sending a rocket into low earth orbit. The same technology could be used to launch an intercontinental ballistic… Iran’s Newest Benefactor… Read More »

Japan joins US in imposing new sanctions on North Korea

Foreign minister says assets of five groups, including two from China, to be frozen, as well as nine individuals. Source: Reuters news agency Al Jazeera Japan will impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its weapons programmes, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday, just hours after the US Senate also voted for new sanctions on the secretive state. US media reported this week that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon spy agency, had assessed that North Korea would ... Read More »

A Himalayan spat between China and India evokes memories of war

FOR nearly six weeks, armed contingents of two of the biggest military forces in the world have faced off in a high-altitude game of chicken in the Himalayas. The Economist Roughly 300-400 Indian soldiers and an equal number of Chinese border guards are stuck glowering at one another over a scrubby patch of land at a “tri-junction”, where the two countries and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan all meet. Analysts cannot see how either side might easily stand down. Memories ... Read More »

Sri Lanka’s Conflict-Affected Women: Dealing with the Legacy of War

Tamil-speaking women in Sri Lanka’s north and east pushed for accountability and truth during the country’s civil war but have been marginalised during the transitional justice process. Crisis Group The government and international actors must include their voices and address their injustices and difficult economic situation to ensure lasting peace. Executive Summary Eight years after the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, Tamil speaking women in the island’s north and east are still seeking justice and truth for wartime violations. ... Read More »

When in doubt, nuke China

A situation in which the US military feels ‘unhampered’ has precedent – and, as General MacArthur’s endeavors in Korea prove, it’s something to be afraid of Pepe Escobar Asia Times The current collapse of the unipolar world, with the inexorable emergence of a multipolar framework, has enabled a terrifying subplot to run amok – the normalization of the idea of nuclear war. The latest exhibit comes in the form of aΒ US admiral assuring everyone he’s ready to follow President Trump’s ... Read More »

The Desperation of Our Diplomats

WASHINGTON β€” On the first Friday in May, Foreign Affairs Day, the staff gathers in the flag-bedecked C Street lobby of the State Department beside the memorial plaques for the 248 members of foreign affairs agencies who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Roger Cohen The New York Times A moment of silence is observed. As president of the American Foreign Service Association, Barbara Stephenson helps organize the annual event. This year, she was set to enter ... Read More »

UN: 80 pct of Yemen children in need of immediate aid

A vicious combination of war, cholera and hunger has left 80 percent of Yemeni children in desperate need of aid, the United Nations has said said. Sanaa Hurriyet ”Nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s children need immediate humanitarian assistance,” the executive directors of three U.N. agencies said in a joint statement released at the end of a two-day visit on July 25. ”Nearly two million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished. Malnutrition makes them more susceptible to cholera. Disease creates more malnutrition. ... Read More »

Why offshore processing of refugees bound for Europe is such a bad idea

n the same day that a top UN official bravely called on Australia to end the harmful practice of processing asylum applications offshore in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, one of his colleagues announced his support for another proposed offshoring system – this time to prevent migrants reaching the… Daria Davitti  The Conversation On July 24, Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), said that Australia’s policy to deny access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea “has caused extensive, ... Read More »

Defiant Varadkar tells British: we won’t design Brexit border for you

Taoiseach says ‘if anyone should be angry, it’s us’ Mary Minihan The Irish Times Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said Ireland is “not going to design a border for the Brexiteers”. He struck a defiant note at a media briefing in Government Buildings on Friday when he insisted in the strongest terms yet that Ireland did not want an economic border with the United Kingdom after it leaves the European Union. “What we’re not going to do is to design a ... Read More »

Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show. Moscow – Reuters Hurriyet The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad. Putin approved the agreement on July ... Read More »