Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’

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Russia warned the UK not to threaten a nuclear power last night as tensions mounted ahead of an announcement today of tough new measures against the Kremlin over the use of a nerve agent on British soil. The Scotsman The Kremlin hit back at a demand to explain its involvement in the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, demanding access to samples of the nerve agent identified by UK investigators. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ... Read More »

The Modest Diplomatic Promise of North Korea’s Charm Offensive

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Following the first inter-Korean summit in ten years, the announcement that President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a promising sign. Christopher Green ICG Although Pyongyang is unlikely to change its strategic course, the summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to pair its maximum pressure with diplomacy and coordinate with Asian powers. The surprise announcement on 8 March that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by… The Modest Diplomatic… Read More »

U.S. moving to repair relations with Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

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In an effort to repair tattered relations, the Trump administration has told Turkey it will move to rein in Kurdish fighters who have been the backbone of the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, according to U.S. and… By Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim The Washington Post The first step and “the crux of the matter,” a senior Turkish official said, is to withdraw the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij and relocate them east of the ... Read More »

Cautious Hope Ahead of U.S.-North Korea Meeting

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President Trump’s 8 March acceptance of an invitation to meet his counterpart Kim Jong-un marks a first in U.S.-North Korea relations and a rare opening for diplomacy. ICG To maximise the chance of a successful summit, all sides will have to prepare a realistic agenda and align their expectations. Developments on the Korean peninsula have been dizzying, from talk of war, to hints of diplomacy, to symbolic gestures and now this: the acceptance by U.S. President Donald Trump of Democratic ... Read More »

Is Trump falling into Kim’s trap?

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Donald Trump is not the cause of America’s most serious problems. But could he be part of some solutions? Peter Hartcher Brisbane Times The news that he’d agreed to meet North Korea’s dictator is something new in dealing with an old problem. No US president has ever met his North Korean counterpart while in office. Till now, the US has always set preconditions too onerous for the North Koreas to accept. It’s not entirely clear, but it doesn’t seem that ... Read More »

Pakistan Deploys Fighter Jet Squadron to Afghan Border to Protect Airspace

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The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has fielded a squadron of new Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 “Thunder” combat aircraft, according to a recent report by the Associated Press of Pakistan. Sputnik The multi-role fighter jets are stationed at Pakistan’s Samungli Base near Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. Speaking at the February 28 inauguration ceremony of the planes, which form the Number 28 Multirole Squadron, Sohail Aman, chief of staff for the PAF, said “We totally understand the kind of conspiracies the enemies of Pakistan continue to hatch, ... Read More »

The Congressional Battle Over Ending the War In Yemen

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A conflict long overshadowed by Syria, bipartisan buzz is building on the Hill and in the press to end U.S. involvement with the Saudi-led campaign on Yemen. Curt Mills The National Interest A new effort is underway on the Hill to end U.S. involvement in Yemen. There’s a verve and kick to this campaign, and a robust rolodex of Congressional sponsors and media backers. When I asked, congressional aides who huddled with reporters in Sen. Mike Lee’s office last week ... Read More »

Kim’s initiative: The breakthrough the world has been waiting for?

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North Korea has offered every precondition Seoul and Washington set for talks. But while the spectrum of opportunity has dramatically expanded, so, too, have the risks Andrew Salmon Asia Times The Korean Peninsula is arguably the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flashpoint, but rarely – if ever – in inter-Korean relations has one side offered so much so swiftly. According to South Korean officials who returned from two meetings in Pyongyang on Tuesday and delivered a press briefing in the South, ... Read More »

Turkey key to Russia NATO strategy – U.S. intelligence

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Russia’s ambitious foreign policy in the Mediterranean region revolves around engagement with Turkey, U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley reported to the U.S. Senate in a worldwide threat assessment on Tuesday. Ahval According to Ashley, Russia’s foreign policy is driven by the wish to increase its defensive capacity against the United States, which it views as its primary threat, and by a desire to expand its military capabilities and influence to gain recognition as a great power. Its ... Read More »

N. Korea says it has no need for nuclear weapons if it has security guarantee

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North Korea said it has no reason to possess nuclear weapons if it has a security guarantee, Seoul has confirmed, according to AP and Yonhap news agencies. RT North Korea also pledged to freeze its nuclear-missile activities if it holds talks with the US. Pyongyang and Seoul agreed to bilateral negotiations scheduled for next month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency. The leaders of both countries are expected to attend. The ... Read More »

The US Navy has put to sea the first-ever F-35 aircraft carrier — and it’s a big warning to China and North Korea

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The US Navy made history on Monday by putting to sea for the first time ever an aircraft carrier with F-35B jets. Alex Lockie Business Insider And by deploying them in the Pacific, it’s a message China and North Korea are sure to hear loud and clear. The US Marine Corps’s Fighter Attack Squadron 121 deployed aboard the USS Wasp, a smaller-deck aircraft carrier that used to operate harrier jump jets and helicopters before getting special modifications to field the ... Read More »

Japan dropping plans to develop indigenous fighter: Report

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Tokyo cowed by costs, engineering hurdles; US to be sounded out for joint fighter development Asia Times The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that Japan is abandoning plans to develop a new domestically designed fighter. The newspaper quotes Defense Ministry officials as saying that Tokyo has been put off by the huge costs and engineering challenges of building an indigenous war plane. Asahi said defense planners had been working on three possible options for the existing F-2 Japanese fighter that’s due to be ... Read More »

India must prepare for a two-front war with Pakistan and China

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There is considerable commotion about a statement by India’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Bipin Rawat, that India must be prepared for a two-front war and Western Army Commander Lieutenant-General Surinder Singh saying a two-front war is not such a… Prakash Katoch Asia Times An impression is being created that the western army commander has contradicted the army chief. But a closer examination will reveal there is no contradiction, considering the contexts in which… Speaking at a seminar called “Future Contours and ... Read More »

Turkey Drifts Away from the West

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Turkey has lost its soft power attractiveness due to its leadership’s increasing absolutism and failed foreign policy priorities. Antonia Dimou ModernDiplomacy The “zero problems with neighbors” concept that unraveled almost at the time of the Arab Spring has given its place to “nothing but problems with every single neighbor”. Key dimensions of Turkish foreign policy, namely relations with the United States (US), NATO, the European Union and MENA countries face growing challenges. Despite that Turkish-NATO relations are still valued and ... Read More »

Syria’s war at home is giving way to dangerous proxy conflicts

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As Syrian government forces crush the country’s largest remaining rebel strongholds and with Bashar al-Assad apparently here to stay, Syria is turning into an arena for three new proxy conflicts. Moritz Pieper The Conversation In the south, Israel is facing off against Iran; in the northern region of Afrin, Turkey is fighting the Kurds. Meanwhile, in the eastern provinces, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are pitted against the Russian-backed Syrian armed forces. If and when the Syrian conflict proper comes to ... Read More »

Putin’s Foreign Policy: Nuclear Blackmail Of The West

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“You didn’t listen to our country then… Listen to us now.” Vladimir Putin, announcing that Russia has developed and is testing a new line of strategic nuclear-capable weapons Gary Cartwright EU Today Looking to bolster his image with the electorate prior to Russia’s impending Presidential elections, Vladimir Putin’s has chosen the tried and tested route for such leaders – create an enemy for the people to worry about, and to focus their minds. Putin has very little to offer the ... Read More »