Leadership

Trump Says Turkey Should Easily Be Able to Mop Up ISIS in Syria

Days after handing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a diplomatic win by announcing he’ll pull U.S. troops out of Syria, President Donald Trump defended the move, saying Turkey “should be able to… By Onur Ant, Nick Wadhams, and Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg Trump’s action on Syria, which was announced on Twitter and triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later Brett McGurk, a leading U.S. diplomat, came a week after the… Instead, during a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked ... Read More »

What Aristotle can teach us about Trump’s rhetoric

From Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats to Ronald Reagan’s reputation as the “great communicator” to Barack Obama’s soaring oratory to Donald Trump’s Twitter use, styles of presidential communication have… Anthony F. Arrigo The Conversation But what is similar across all presidents is their ability to create persuasive messages that resonate with large segments of the U.S. population. Whatever your opinion about Donald Trump, he is highly effective at doing this. The question is why, and how does he do… As ... Read More »

Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election

Exclusive: opposition leader says he would go to Brussels to secure better deal if he was PM Heather Stuart The Guardian Jeremy Corbyn has defiantly restated Labour’s policy of leading Britain out of the European Union with a refashioned Brexit deal, shrugging off intense pressure from Labour MPs and activists for the party to throw its weight behind a… The Labour leader insisted that even if his party won a snap general election in the new year, he would seek to go ... Read More »

Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Six States to Watch

Nigerian elections are high-stakes affairs often marred by street clashes and worse. ICG As the 2019 contests approach, the risk of disturbances is particularly high in six states. The government and its foreign partners can limit campaign-related violence by enhancing security and promoting dialogue among rivals. What’s new?  As presidential, gubernatorial and legislative elections draw near in Nigeria, the risk of violence is widespread, particularly in six states where stakes are high or other conflicts fester. Why does it matter? ... Read More »

The biggest winner of Trump’s Syria withdrawal? Turkey.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, it came as a shock to much of Washington. Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post Key U.S. military officials reportedly felt hoodwinked by the drastic shift in policy; Trump’s secretary of defense quit. Counterterrorism experts warned that a departure could lead to an Islamic State resurgence. Critics in the foreign-policy community declared that Trump was giving “a Christmas gift to our enemies” — namely Russia and Iran, whose influence the… ... Read More »

Duterte: Philippines’ brutal president must be condemned, but the West is guilty of double standards

Not since the grim Marcos era have Western commentators been so interested in the Philippines. Their focus is the country’s brutal and boorish president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose gruesome anti-drug campaign – death… Tom Sykes The Conversation But some of these Western critics ignore or understate the role of Western policy in helping to create the conditions that birthed “Dutertismo”. They have also simplified Duterte’s erratic policy gestures and not held the Western powers to the… In his book Duterte Harry, ... Read More »

Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary, Resigns in Rebuke of Trump’s Worldview

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president, resigned Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and… Helene Cooper The New York Times Mr. Mattis had repeatedly told friends and aides over recent months that he viewed his responsibility to protect the United States’ 1.3 million active-duty troops as worth the concessions necessary as defense secretary to a… But on Thursday, in ... Read More »

Anger, confusion greet Trump’s surprise decision on Syria

Senate Republicans uncharacteristically lashed out at President Trump on Wednesday for announcing a sudden and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that came without consulting Congress and seemed to catch the Pentagon off guard. Rebecca Kheel The Hill Several lawmakers said Congress received no advance notice of Trump’s announcement, leaving them fuming and scratching their heads. “I don’t know what they’ve done, but this is chaos,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally and Armed Services Committee ... Read More »

A Road to Dialogue After Nicaragua’s Crushed Uprising

Public resentment is high in Nicaragua after street protests in April were crushed in a brutal government crackdown. ICG To prevent further unrest, President Ortega should implement agreed electoral reforms while international actors maintain diplomatic pressure to create conditions for dialogue. What’s new? Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has quelled a civic uprising through violence, intimidation and prosecution of protesters without due process. More than 300 people died in clashes pitting protesters against police and parapolice groups. Protests have since subsided, ... Read More »

New Zealand backs UN migration deal as Australia says no

While the UN Compact on Migration was adopted by 164 governments, New Zealand has been mulling its options amid lobbying from across the political spectrum. Source AAP – SBS New Zealand won’t be joining Australia in refusing to sign a non-binding United Nations migration agreement and has called claims the deal would undermine its national sovereignty “falsehoods”. The Morrison government last month said it would not be signing the UN Global Compact on Migration, despite having been actively negotiating the wording ... Read More »

China will ’never seek hegemony,’ Xi says in reform speech

China will never pursue hegemony, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday as global concerns persist over the country’s growing economic influence. BEIJING – Associated Press Hurriyet During a speech to mark 40 years of market reforms, Xi repeated China’s commitment to a multilateral trading system and further opening of its economy. However, he did not announce any new initiatives to counter a slowing economy and trade frictions with the United States. The Chinese leader said China would not develop “at the expense of other countries’ ... Read More »

Michael Flynn’s former associate charged with secret lobbying for Turkey against Fethullah Gulen

An ex-business partner of former US national security adviser Michael Flynn and a businessman with ties to Turkish Government officials have been charged with undisclosed lobbying aimed at the… ABC Reuters Mr Flynn’s former partner, Bijan Rafiekian, was indicted on two criminal counts, including conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed on Monday in the… Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-Dutch businessman, was charged for allegedly plotting with Turkish officials to cause ... Read More »

The Risks of Diplomatic Rupture with Maduro’s Venezuela

Key Latin American countries have said they will cut ties with Venezuela over its authoritarian drift and socio-economic meltdown. ICG This move would be counterproductive. Instead, external powers should step up efforts to find a negotiated pathway out of Venezuela’s crisis. On 10 January 2019, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term, despite domestic and international rejection of the presidential election held on 20 May this year. That he is due to stay in power ... Read More »

Time for a Modest Deal: How to Get U.S.-North Korean Talks Moving Forward

Last June’s U.S.-North Korean summit cleared the atmosphere, but follow-up talks have accomplished little, meaning that dark clouds could easily gather again. ICG To jump-start progress, negotiators should start small, moving incrementally toward realising the long-term goals of Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul. What’s new? 2017’s war of words between the U.S. and North Korea is a fading memory. In its place has come a period of calm, particularly after the leader-level summit in June. But substantive negotiations have foundered, and ... Read More »

Ukraine moves to sever Orthodox Church link with Russia

Moscow: Ukraine has taken a major step towards establishing its own, autonomous Orthodox Church, setting the stage for increased tensions with Russia by altering a centuries-old religious tradition under which the… Neil MacFarquhar The Canberra Times / The New York Times Some 190 bishops, priests and other church figures spent the day closeted in St Sophia’s Cathedral in downtown Kiev to elect the newly unified Ukrainian church’s head, Metropolitan Epiphanius. He is scheduled to travel in January to Istanbul, the ... Read More »

China Confronts Its Eternal Dilemma

With pressure building for major stimulus, leaders must decide whether boosting growth or controlling debt is more important. Christopher Balding Bloomberg China’s top leaders meet this week in Beijing to set economic policy objectives for the coming year. The central question is whether they will do what they want or what the country needs. Clear evidence has emerged in the past couple of months that the Chinese economy is slowing to an uncomfortable degree. That’s raised expectations that the leadership ... Read More »