Diplomacy

Merkel, to Survive, Agrees to Border Camps for Migrants

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel, who staked her legacy on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany, agreed on Monday to build border camps for asylum seekers and to tighten the border with Austria in a political deal to save her… Katrin Bennhold and Melissa Eddy The New York Times It was a spectacular turnabout for a leader who has been seen as the standard-bearer of the liberal European order but who has come under intense pressure at home ... Read More »

The EU and NATO and Trump — Oh My!

Donald Trump’s trans-Atlantic policy is a contradiction in terms. Stephen M. Walt FP It is no secret that U.S. President Donald Trump has an instinctive animus against the European Union and NATO. He supported the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, reportedly advised French President Emmanuel Macron that his country should leave the union too, and last week falsely claimed that the EU was created “to take advantage of the United States.” (This last statement raises an… The EU and… Read More »

Witness K scandal: decision to charge Timor-Leste bugging whistleblower was ‘independent’

Attorney general Christian Porter refuses to detail why he approved prosecution of former spy The attorney general has refused to elaborate on why he approved the prosecution of a former spy who revealed Australia had bugged Timor-Leste’s cabinet rooms, describing it as an “independent decision” of prosecutors. Paul Karp The Guardian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has blasted the government for approving the prosecution and suggested it has leaked information to a journalist to defend its position. On Thursday Wilkie used ... Read More »

Trump Warns NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense, or Else

WASHINGTON — President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies — including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada — taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance. Julie Hirschfeld Davis The New York Times The letters, sent in June, are the latest sign of acrimony between Mr. ... Read More »

Australia ends direct aid to Palestinian Authority

Australia has ceased providing direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying the donations could increase the self-governing body’s capacity to pay Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence. ABC Ms Bishop said funding was cut to the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program after writing to the Palestinian Authority in late May seeking assurance that Australian funding was not going to Palestinian criminals. Australia sends about $10 million in ... Read More »

The geopolitics of telecoms: The West vs. China in the 5G race

China is beating the world when it comes to 5G deployment. But in the crucial battle for control over the technology’s global standards, Europe and the US are still very much in the game. Mark Scott Politico LONDON — In smoke-filled conference halls and nondescript hotels from Brussels to Busan, South Korea, a yearslong battle has been underway for control over the future of the mobile world. That fight is now coming to an end. More than 600 government officials and telecoms executives agreed in ... Read More »

A Vietnam “Solution” to the Afghanistan War?

The January 1973 agreement between North Vietnam and the United States can be applied to the present, stalemated situation in Afghanistan. John Mueller The National Interest Ιt was in 2010 that United States President Barack Obama  told an interviewer that he could easily imagine a situation in which “we ended up staying in Afghanistan for another five years, another eight years, another ten years. And we would do it not with clear intentions but rather just out of an inertia.” Last year, ... Read More »

Improving Prospects for Peace in South Sudan at the African Union Summit

Talks between President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar in the Sudanese capital Khartoum offer the only, albeit slim, hope of a breakthrough in South Sudan’s brutal civil war. ICG African leaders should offer cautious support during the Nouakchott AU summit. On 27 June 2018, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar, the principal adversaries in South Sudan’s civil war, signed a Declaration of Agreement in Khartoum. The declaration does not resolve ... Read More »

The stain of Britain’s part in torture and rendition will never wash away

The long-awaited reports of the investigation by the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) into Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition between 2001 and 2010 have finally been published. Authors: The Conversation We ourselves have been researching the UK’s part in rendition and torture for years and gave evidence to the committee – and these reports are much harder hitting than we had expected. Chaired by MP and QC Dominic Grieve, the ISC’s investigation has revealed that the extent of UK ... Read More »

The Palestinians and Nuclear Weapons

The unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the major factors preventing an effective region-wide prohibition of nuclear weapons. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The significance of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been the subject of tendentious debates. The right-wing government of Israel, not wanting to relinquish the conquered land whose relinquishment would be necessary for peace, often contends, along with its sympathizers, that peace in… The region has become preoccupied with other things, goes the argument, and even ... Read More »

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Opportunities and Risks

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, opened in 2015, could bring needed jobs and investment to Pakistan. But many projects also risk widening social divides and heightening political tensions along the route. With Beijing’s support, Islamabad should seek the… ICG What’s new? Pakistani leaders say the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), launched in 2015, is a “game changer” for the country’s ailing economy. But opaque plans for the corridor, the upheaval likely to affect locals along its route, and profits flowing mostly to ... Read More »

Brexit LAST CHANCE: Donald Tusk warns May ‘last call to lay cards on table’ at EU summit

DONALD Tusk has warned Theresa May that this is “the last call to lay the cards on the table” over Brexit on the final day of a tense two-day EU summit. Rebecca Perring Express He told a press conference: “The EU 27 has taken note of what has been achieved so far. “However there is a great deal of work ahead, the most difficult tasks are still unresolved. “If she wants to reach a deal in October we need quick ... Read More »

How the Iran sanctions drama intersects with OPEC-plus

Major states buying oil from Iran are unlikely to heed the US call to drop imports; key allies want a waiver to avoid sanctions; OPEC, meanwhile, will have trouble boosting output in the short-term; the puzzle is not solved, but there are dark clouds. Pepe Escobar Asia Times History may have registered stranger geoeconomic bedfellows. But in the current OPEC-plus world, the rules of the game are now de facto controlled by OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia in concert with non-OPEC Russia. Russia ... Read More »

Macron on Trump suggestion to leave EU: ‘You can imagine my response’

The US president offered a better trade deal for France than with the rest of the EU. Andrew Gray Politico French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday he would not comment directly on a report that Donald Trump suggested France leave the EU — but his commitment to Europe made clear what his response would have been. Back in April, Trump proposed to Macron that France leave the EU, the Washington Post reported, citing two European officials, and said that if Paris ... Read More »

South China Sea: Beijing won’t give up “even one inch” of the territory it claims

With tensions mounting over its increasingly assertive actions in the South China Sea, China just made clear that its position isn’t about to change. Steve Mollman QUARTZ Meeting US defense secretary James Mattis in Beijing yesterday, Chinese president Xi Jinping said, “we cannot lose even one inch of the territory left behind by our ancestors.” He added, “what is other people’s we do not want at all.” Those statements are no doubt galling to those familiar with international law. China ... Read More »

Erdogan’s Victory Could Actually Improve U.S.-Turkish Relations

Turkey’s decisive election results and shaky geopolitical situation could make it more amenable to addressing U.S. concerns about Russian weapons sales, Iranian adventurism, and other key security issues. James Jeffrey Breaking Energy At first glance, the June 24 electoral sweep by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s coalition did not go over well in the United States. In response to his renewed grasp on the executive branch and parliament, many observers expressed regrets that the West-leaning opposition did not garner more ... Read More »