North America

Freedom of Navigation and the Environment

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The US has long maintained that freedom of navigation (FON) for warships in foreign 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) is essentially “absolute.” Mark J. Valencia IPP Review China and some other countries disagree and have placed some restrictions on the activities of foreign warships and aircraft in their EEZs. But the US is undermining its own position by placing restrictions on its own military’s activities, and by extension those of foreign militaries, in its own EEZ. Military activities in EEZs ... Read More »

World politics explainer: the assassination of John F. Kennedy

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At precisely 1pm on November 22, 1963, the 35th president of the United States was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital Trauma Room 1 in Dallas, Texas. Lloyd Cox The Conversation John F Kennedy’s personal physician stated the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. This was officially announced to a stunned public half an hour later. The shock waves of the president’s assassination, the fourth in US history, continue to reverberate today. What happened? While the events ... Read More »

Russia and Turkey Will Collide Over End of Syrian Civil War

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This is Washington’s chance to repair ties with Ankara to counter Moscow and Damascus. Gabriel White and Bogdan Belei The National Interest At the beginning of August, the Syrian military planes flew over the northwestern province of Idlib and dropped leaflets urging residents to surrender and threatening military action. It was the latest example of how Bashar al-Assad and his forces have ignored de-escalation agreements and continue a full-scale offensive against their opposition. The city of Idlib—the only majoropposition-held territory left ... Read More »

North Korea sets denuclearisation timeline

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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has given his first time line to achieve denuclearisation, aiming for the end of US President Donald Trump’s first term, and has agreed to a third summit with his South… Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee, Reuters Herald Sun Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang on September 18-20 and discuss “practical measures” toward denuclearisation, Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-… The summit could provide renewed momentum to talks over denuclearisation between North ... Read More »

Land Reform in South Africa: Fact and Fiction

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U.S. President Donald Trump touched off a diplomatic row with South Africa by repeating an erroneous broadcast about land reform there. Piers Pigou ICG In this Q&A, our Southern Africa Senior Consultant Piers Pigou sets the record straight about the land ownership and expropriation debates that are really underway in South Africa today. What happened to start the row? On 22 August, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate land seizures ... Read More »

As New U.S. Envoy Appointed, Turbulent Afghanistan’s Hopes of Peace Persist

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The new U.S. adviser on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has a tough assignment: fostering peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Crisis Group’s Borhan Osman says that recent violence has soured the public mood, but that leaders on all sides still appear committed – at least rhetorically – to peace talks. On 4 September 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad would join the State Department as an adviser on Afghanistan. Khalilzad ... Read More »

Pentagon Considers Expanding Presence in Greece amid China, Turkey Concerns

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters during a visit to Greece Tuesday that the Pentagon is considering expanding its cooperation with Athens and its general presence in the… Frances Martel Breitbart Dunford’s announcement, and his visit to the country, also follows months of growing tensions between Greece and Turkey, which is outraged that Athens refuses to hand over former Turkish soldiers believed to… It also follows the publication of reports that China is looking ... Read More »

The Family-Separation Crisis Is Not Over

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One father deported to Honduras struggles to describe the pain of remaining separated from his son. John Washington The Nation Jaime didn’t get a birthday cake on his fifth birthday. That day, he was 2,000 miles from his parents, Edwin and Maira, and only talked with them for about 10 minutes via a WhatsApp video call. Edwin, Jaime’s father, told me he mostly remembers that Jaime seemed sad and kept repeating he didn’t get a cake. “It was…too hard,” Edwin ... Read More »

Why Does the U.S. Support War Crimes in Yemen?

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Washington should rethink its blind support for Riyadh. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The war in Yemen has been for some time one of the worst current man-made humanitarian disasters. Now comes a report , from the United Nations Human Rights Council and based on extensive investigations by a group of experts examining the past four years of the… By far the most destructive offenses have been committed by the principal external intervenors—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—and the titular ... Read More »

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

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Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. ICG But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area. What’s new?  In March 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. forces from north-eastern Syria and suspended stabilisation funding for the area. His senior foreign policy advisers provided somewhat discordant views. These ... Read More »

Sorry, Mr. Trump, the Attorney General Is America’s Lawyer

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With his latest attack on Jeff Sessions, the president shows his real problem isn’t with the Justice Department but with the rule of law. By The Editorial Board The New York Times By now, few might lift an eyebrow at President Trump’s crusade to delegitimize his own Justice Department and, specifically, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It long ago became clear that Mr. Trump regards federal law enforcement — as he sees all of government — as a political tool ... Read More »

Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing in U.S. waters

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Coast Guard crews from Corpus Christi interdicted a Mexican lancha crew illegally fishing in waters off the Texas coast on Sunday. KRIS Communications According to the Coast Guard, four fishermen onboard the boat were detained and turned over to Border Patrol for processing. Coast Guard also seized 113 red snapper and two sharks from the vessel. A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20 to 30 feet long, with a slender profile, typically has ... Read More »

‘The damn thing melted’: climate change sparks scramble for the Arctic

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On Monday, a Danish container ship – the Venta Maersk – set off from Busan in South Korea packed with Russian fish and Korean electronics. On September 22 it will dock at Bremerhaven in Germany. Nick Miller The Age The bit in between could change the world. Thanks to climate change, the Venta was able to take a short cut over the top of the globe – the first container ship to do so – through the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, above ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

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The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

What we can learn from John McCain’s civic vulnerability

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In the countless reflections on the life of U.S. Sen. John McCain, his interventions to shut down ignorant and racist comments about his adversary Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election campaign have featured prominently. Alan Sears The Conversation McCain didn’t just stop the interventions. He forcefully challenged them and spoke up for the character and integrity of Obama. My opponent is “a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared of as President of ... Read More »