Diplomacy

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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 »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya

The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”. Anthony Ware The Conversation Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed… Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted. What was the ... Read More »

The Sick Man of Europe Returns

When the Republic of Turkey emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, its national ambition was to join Europe as a modern, secular state. Joschka Fischer * Project Syndicate But after much progress, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now all but squandered his country’s chance of realizing its founders’ vision. BERLIN – One of the great geopolitical issues in nineteenth-century Europe was the so-called Eastern Question. The Ottoman Empire, then known as the “sick ... Read More »

EEZ of Doing Watery Business

With ties that go back centuries, the relations between Indonesia and India remain steadfast today. By Sidharto Suryodipuro (The writer is ambassador of Indonesia to India) The Economic Times Both President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met in various fora. During the visit of Modi to Indonesia last May, the two governments agreed to enhance cooperation in defence, space, railways, science, medicine and health. One aspect of cooperation that tends to be forgotten, however, is maritime boundary delimitation (MBD). ... Read More »

Cate Blanchett urges UN to act on Rohingya Muslim refugees

Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett has told the UN Security Council that nothing prepared her for “the extent and depth of suffering” she saw when she visited camps in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled a… The Australian AP In her very different role as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, Blanchett said she heard “gut-wrenching accounts” of torture, rape, people seeing loved ones killed before their eyes, and… “I am a mother, and I saw my children ... Read More »

MAPPED: Where can the British and French fish for scallops? Where are the boundaries?

A SCALLOPS war has broken out over the English Channel, with British and French vessels clashing in angry exchanges over capture of the valuable shellfish. Where can they fish for scallops and what are the boundaries? Paul Withers Express This map from the Government shows the territorial sea limits of the UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. In particular in the latest outbreak with fishermen from across the channel, it illustrates a clear red line there the UK-France ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Stalled Transition

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government appears stuck amid international condemnation of the Rohingya’s mass displacement and domestic unease about the economy. ICG To nudge Myanmar’s post-junta transition forward, the UN should combine engagement with pressure for accountability for crimes against humanity and eventual refugee return. What’s new?  Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is halfway through its first term, in what was to be a crucial phase in Myanmar’s transition away from authoritarian military rule. Thus far, however, her government is a… ... Read More »

Greece returns to the Balkans

TIRANA, Aug. 28 – Greece’s Alternate Foreign Minister Georgios Katrougalos represented Greece at the informal summit of the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkan Countries (WB6) in Durres on Monday. Tirana Times The main topic of the meeting was to promote regional economic integration. In his speech, Katrougalos referred to the unwavering Greek stance in favor of the European perspective of the Balkan countries, highlighting recent initiatives to support political stability and economic co-operation in the region. A significant example ... Read More »

The Erdogan Question: Is It Time To Shrink NATO?

The Turkish president’s thuggish autocracy and reflexive anti-Americanism make him very popular in his country. Philip Terzian Weekly Standard There was once a country in what used to be called the Near East that was much admired in the United States and often regarded as America’s most valuable asset in the region. Although the country was predominantly Muslim, its government was resolutely secular in outlook and committed to “modernizing” its deeply traditional culture: Women enjoyed unprecedented equality, for example, and ... Read More »

Turkish currency isn’t the real problem for Erdoğan, it’s democracy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is presiding over the damaging loss of value of the Turkish currency, the lira, against foreign currencies. Gary M. Grossman The Conversation It’s the most severe economic crisis the country has faced since he assumed power. Erdoğan has been the dominant figure in Turkish politics for almost two decades. Can he and his party maintain political control through this moment? As an American scholar, I began my engagement in Turkey in 1990, working with various ... Read More »

Time for President Donald Trump to Bury the U.S.-Turkey Alliance

The alliance was already dead—just not everyone realizes it yet. The U.S.-Turkey alliance is dead. Certainly, as long as Tayyip Recep Erdoğan is Turkey’s president. Doug Bandow The National Interest And probably well beyond that. The current dispute over the imprisonment of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson dominates the news. But more important is an increasing divergence in the two nations’ geopolitical interests. The traditional claim that Ankara was a “vital” partner long reflected the triumph of hope over experience. During ... Read More »

A Preview of Donald Trump’s Next Speech on Erdogan’s Turkey

Reflections on how to Make Turkey Great Again. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and held him as a hostage, Donald Trump tried to get the fellow released. Ira Straus the Globalist This effort failing, he chose to respond with sanctions. Erdogan struck back with demagogic speeches about this being an attack on Turkey. The man in the Oval Office is unlikely to back down. He is not one to let go if someone locks horns ... Read More »

Al Gore, missionary man

For someone warning of dangers of climate apocalypse, former US vice president is surprisingly upbeat. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Al Gore spent a year in divinity school as a young man, but he was well into middle age by the time he found his calling as a climate preacher. Now 70, and both grayer and portlier than when he was a full-time politician, America’s almost-president travels the world to raise awareness about climate change and what mankind can do ... Read More »

Sri Lanka joins Indian Ocean strategy talks at Vietnam forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is participating in conference to develop regional co-operation in the Indian Ocean held in Vietnam, a country that has suffered from China’s controversial restrictions on resources, free navigation and… The third Indian Ocean Conference is being held in Ha Noi to develop regional architectures to co-operate in security, trade commercial administration in the context of the strategic and economic importance of the… The Indian Ocean Conference was founded three years ago with ... Read More »

No-deal Brexit ‘could lead to break up of UK’

Former European Council president Herman Van Rompuy has warned that a no-deal Brexit could cause the United Kingdom itself to collapse. Angus Howarth The Scotsman The ex-Belgian prime Minister told the Observer that crashing out without a deal was “an existential threat to the UK itself”. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she will decide whether to call for a second Scottish independence referendum by the end of this year. Van Rompuy believes a… No-deal Brexit… Read More »