Leadership

The Danger of Imitating Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC15D321FDD0

Michael Cohen is the latest to try to adopt the president’s tactics, only to have it backfire. David A. Graham The Atlantic Donald Trump’s genius has always been his ability to capitalize, literally, on his fame—to use his celebrity as a vehicle to enrich himself, even when he didn’t have the accomplishments or knowledge or business prowess (or the cash) to back up what he claimed. Since his entry into politics, plenty of his hangers-on have attempted the same thing, ... Read More »

Armenia’s Future Hangs in the Balance

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New Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s road to healing the unequal and divided country will be long and difficult. Pietro A. Shakarian The Nation On May 8, 2018, one day before Armenians observed Victory Day, Yerevan once again erupted in jubilation. Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan had just been officially elected Armenia’s 15th prime minister by the country’s National Assembly, with 59 votes in favor and 42 votes against. The newly elected PM was confirmed by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and immediately received warm ... Read More »

What to Expect of President Putin’s Foreign Policy in His New Term

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Many wonder what the world should expect now that Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been re-elected for what is supposed to be his final term. Anna Arutunyan ICG Understanding what motivates the Kremlin could help Western policymakers build an approach toward Russia that combines pressure with opportunities for engagement. A particular solemnity cloaked the opening ceremony of Vladimir Putin’s fourth presidential term on 7 May as central Moscow was cordoned off for his motorcade’s procession to the Kremlin. Silence enveloped not ... Read More »

The Making of a Kurdish Mandela

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By keeping a key challenger in jail, Turkey’s government risks making Selahattin Demirtas an even more popular and formidable opponent. Henri J. Barkey FP The Turkish government has just called snap presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be held on June 24. Most analysts are predicting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) will sail to victory primarily because of the weakness of the main opposition parties and… He also appears to have developed ... Read More »

Emmanuel Macron and echoes of May 1968

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As France marks the 50th anniversary of the revolts of May 1968, Emmanuel Macron might get more than he bargained for. Instead of celebrating the occasion, the French president appears to be inadvertently recreating it. Elizabeth Benjamin The Conversation He has proposed a controversial higher education reform at a particularly inopportune moment, sparking major protests. May ’68 had a significant impact on French society, politics and culture. Beginning with student protests, civil unrest soon spread and took on a philosophical ... Read More »

In Lebanon’s Elections, More of the Same is Mostly Good News

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Lebanon’s elections yielded few surprises, says Crisis Group’s Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Project Director Heiko Wimmen in this Q&A. Hizbollah is slightly stronger and its main rival weaker. But the polls do represent a return to normalcy. Heiko Wimmen ICG Who won and who lost in the Lebanese elections? The 6 May elections readjusted the political balance but brought no fundamental change. As before, no government can be formed without Hizbollah. To be effective in government the Shiite Islamist movement, ... Read More »

Sting in the tail of strict High Court ruling

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Time this week seems to be on the government’s side: the Treasurer on Tuesday handed out a budget that promised significant tax cuts, and a return to surplus, largely through a series of complex choices about timing. Rosalind Dixon Brisbane Times And the High Court ruled Wednesday that ALP Senator Katy Gallagher was incapable of being chosen for the Senate at the last federal election, because at the time she nominated as a candidate the UK Home Secretary had not ... Read More »

Libya’s Unhealthy Focus on Personalities

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The surprise electoral defeat of one Libyan leader and the hospitalisation of a rival show the error of relying solely on individuals to achieve national reconciliation in Libya. All sides in Libya’s conflict should focus instead on making institutions more representative and improving governance. ICG What’s new? Two events have shaken up Libyan politics: the election of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Khaled Mishri as president of the Tripoli-based High State Council, replacing Abderrahman Swehli, who had held the post since 2016, ... Read More »

Donald Trump can unilaterally withdraw from treaties because Congress abdicated responsibility

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The constitution provided for the separation of powers to save us from autocrats. But the legislative branch undermined that. Russell Feingold NBC During this administration, everyone has to be alert and watching for potential misuses or abuses of power. Unfortunately, due to decades of executive aggrandizement and congressional acquiescence — coupled with judicial timidity — the ability to unilaterally withdraw the United States from every last treaty the Senate has ever ratified has been left solely in the hands of ... Read More »

Fury in France, Britain over Trump’s gun law speech

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Paris/London: US President Donald Trump caused anger in France and Britain by suggesting looser gun laws could have helped prevent deadly attacks in Paris in 2015 and linking knife crime in London to a handgun ban. Sarah White and David Milliken Reuters The Sydney Morning Herald In a speech to the National Rifle Association on Friday, Trump mimicked the shooting of victims in the Paris rampage and said if civilians had been armed “it would have been a whole different story.” ... Read More »

Clock ticking for Cyprus reunification

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Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk says Cypriots need to find a way to reconnect Former South African President F.W. de Klerk is a man who knows how to read the warning signs of history and he urges Cypriot leaders not to miss another opportunity to make peace before it’s too late. Charlie Charalambous Knews “Timing is important, sometimes the time is right for something to happen and if you don’t see the opportunity and use it, the window ... Read More »

Jacinda Ardern vows to get all NZ homeless off the streets before winter

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The New Zealand government has vowed to find shelter for the country’s homeless population in time for winter. Nick Baker SBS New Zealand will attempt to get its entire homeless population off the streets during the colder months. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford on Friday announced a $100 million homelessness funding package which included $37 million “to urgently increase housing supply this… “There’s no reason why there should be homelessness in a country like New Zealand. ... Read More »

New Study Links African Conflict to Lack of Term Limits

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This week, Chad’s parliament voted to introduce a new constitution that will allow two more terms for President Idriss Deby, who has led the country since 1990. Salem Solomon VoA On May 17, Burundians will vote on a constitutional amendment that would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, president since 2005, to stay in office an additional 16… And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a worsening humanitarian crisis unfolds while President Joseph Kabila refuses to step down, despite reaching the end ... Read More »

G7 Foreign Ministers express concern about East Sea situation

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Toronto (VNA) – The foreign ministers of the Group Seven (G7)- Cananda, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US expressed concern about the situation in the East and South China seas in the communiqué issued following their meeting in Toronto early this week. The communiqué read: “We reiterate our commitment to promoting cooperative, international maritime governance, to maintaining a rules-based maritime order based on international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the ... Read More »

Pyongyang Is Playing Washington and Seoul

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) speaks as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) listens to during the official dinner at the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. - The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit on April 27 after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North's Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the "threshold of a new history". (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

Hollow summits between North Korea, South Korea, and the United States only serve to benefit the North. Michael J. Green FP South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s televised summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday was spectacularly effective as pageantry aimed at South Koreans fearful of a U.S. attack on North Korea — and spectacularly empty in terms of meaningful commitment by the North to denuclearization. In fact, everything Kim put on the table was designed to reaffirm ... Read More »

“Velvet Revolution” Takes Armenia into the Unknown

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Massive street protests have brought down Armenia’s long-serving leader Serzh Sargsyan. Meanwhile, tensions persist in the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Both Armenia’s new leadership and Azerbaijan must pay attention to avoid triggering a new conflagration along that territory’s volatile front lines. Olesya Vartanyan ICG When opposition Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan led a knot of marchers through northern Armenia in April to protest the return to power of long-serving leader Serzh Sargsyan, no one guessed his campaign would ... Read More »