Diplomacy

Jews are unsafe in Turkey and should leave now

Turkey’s mercurial leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan took his diplomatic spat with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a new level on Wednesday when he implicitly threatened the well-being of Turkey’s already dwindling Jewish community. Michael Rubin Washington Examiner “Do not provoke,” Erdogan said, before noting that he had not yet taken any action against Turkish Jews or their houses of worship. This is, of course, not the first Turkish government threat against its Jewish community. A decade ago, then-Foreign Minister ... Read More »

The Darkest Hours: Power Outages Raise the Temperature in Venezuela

The crippling blackouts across Venezuela are a grim portent of things to come as U.S. oil sanctions kick in and the country’s crisis deepens. Phil Gunson ICG All concerned to end Venezuelans’ suffering should vigorously pursue a negotiated transition leading to a power-sharing deal. On Thursday 7 March, at around five in the afternoon, the lights went out in Venezuela. Within a couple of hours, as the tropical night descended, around 90 per cent of the country was plunged into ... Read More »

Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe.

First he came for Georgia, then for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s next target is likely to be a non-NATO nation in the EU. By Mikheil Saakashvili FP Not many observers would consider the world’s coldest shipping lane a geopolitical hotspot. But that may be about to change. Last week, reports emerged that a new Kremlin policy will require all international naval ships to give Russia 45 days’ notice before entering the Northern Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans ... Read More »

US Wants To Change The Law Of The Sea – Analysis

The US is frustrated by North Korea’s continuing violation of UN sanctions by using rogue vessels to import and export banned cargo, sometimes transferring the cargo at sea. Mark J. Valencia Eurasia Review So it wants to interdict suspect vessels on the high seas using force if necessary. The problem is that doing so without the consent of the flag state would violate the international law of the sea. John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor is taking the lead ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi

The collapse of last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was perhaps the inevitable result of a process in which the two leaders dominated, optimistic about their personal relationship and confident in their abilities. Richard N. Haass Project Syndicate The question is what to do now. NEW YORK – When last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal, the result was not surprising. ... Read More »

The Best of Bad Options for Syria’s Idlib

The Syrian regime vows to reconquer Idlib, the north-western zone hosting its hardest-core remaining jihadist opposition. ICG But an all-out offensive would be calamitous. Turkey and Russia should recommit to their “de-escalation” deal for Idlib, bolstering it with measures that buy time for a lasting solution. What’s new? An agreement between Turkey and Russia that protects Syria’s rebel-held Idlib governorate from a regime offensive is under increasing stress. Clashes between jihadists and other militants inside Idlib and regime forces have ... Read More »

EU on no-deal Brexit vote: ‘Like Titanic voting for the iceberg to move’

Brussels spokesman offers withering assessment of MP decision on Wednesday night The Irish Times Brussels has said a vote by UK MPs to block a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances is a meaningless move, with one senior EU negotiator describing it as “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way”. A European commission spokesman offered a withering assessment of the decision by MPs to ignore Theresa May’s assertion that no deal was the default position unless there was a ... Read More »

The farce and the furious: how May’s government shot itself in the foot

London: There is no bottom to the well of Brexit insanity. Nick Miller The Canberra Times On Wednesday, the British government managed to shoot itself in the foot with a gun that had no bullets in it. This should have been an easy day. The motion before the Commons – put by the government, with Prime Minister Theresa May as its signatory – was that it refused to back a “no deal” Brexit, something everyone but the most hard-core Brexiters agree ... Read More »

Russia Claims Total Military Superiority in the Arctic

The steady and costly buildup of military might in the Arctic has apparently reached a level sufficient for Russia to claim sovereign rights over international waters along the entire length of the Northern Sea Route (known in Russian as Sevmorput), from the… By: Pavel Felgenhauer Eurasia Daily Monitor The Jamestown Foundation Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov told journalists, “This territory [the Arctic] is within the sphere of Russian interests. We will not give it away or let it slip away,” ... Read More »

Salvaging South Sudan’s Fragile Peace Deal

The truce in South Sudan is holding but could break down at any time. ICG To stave off renewed civil war, external actors should urge the belligerents to strike new bargains on security and internal boundaries – and accept a third-party protection force for the capital. What’s new? South Sudan’s new peace deal is nearing its first critical test: the formation of a unity government in May 2019. But steps toward key interim benchmarks – unifying a national army and ... Read More »

Silk Road opens a rift in Italy’s government

Washington and Brussels fear Rome is getting too close to China. Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico ROME — Italy’s government has split over whether to sign onto China’s landmark “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure program that runs across Asia to key European trade hubs. Some 13 EU countries have signed up to China’s new Silk Road plan, but Washington and Brussels are deeply concerned that the involvement of G7 heavyweight Rome could lend greater credibility to a project that they view as a… Prime ... Read More »

China’s growing Latin America ties also matter for Australia

When China’s increasing links to Latin America are discussed, Australia might not be the first country that comes to mind. Erin Watson-Lynn the interpreter Lowy Institute But for Australian policy makers, Beijing’s push into Latin America matters. Australia must do more itself to strengthen its otherwise nascent relationships with the region, especially as China works to fill the vacuum left by the United States’ absence in the region. Two important developments make this need clear. Rethinking Australia’s geographic proximity It ... Read More »

If You’re Wondering How Hard a ‘Hard Brexit’ Could Be: QuickTake

The U.K. and the European Union are at a standoff on the terms of their divorce and there’s lingering concern about what the hardest form of Brexit — one with no deal in place at all — could look like. Bryce Baschuk Bloomberg Without a withdrawal accord, the U.K. would lose duty-free access to the world’s largest trading bloc, reverting to commercial rules negotiated in 1995 by members of the World Trade Organization. That could mean tariffs for U.K. exports to the EU — ... Read More »

Brexit vote: What just happened?

Theresa May’s planned Brexit deal has suffered a major defeat in the UK parliament, leaving the Brexit process in disarray. BBC Mrs May began the day with renewed hope after securing last-minute changes to her withdrawal deal with the EU. But MPs roundly defeated her proposals, 391 votes to 242, weeks after her first attempt to pass the deal met the same fate. Had the vote gone her way, the UK would be preparing to leave the EU on 29 ... Read More »

Brexit: ‘Legally binding’ changes to EU deal agreed

Theresa May says she has secured “legally binding” changes to her Brexit deal, a day ahead of MPs voting on it. BBC But European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned if the deal was voted down there was “no third chance”. They spoke at a joint press conference in Strasbourg after a late meeting. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister’s negotiations had “failed” and the announcements did not contain “anything approaching the changes” she had promised Parliament. Cabinet Office ... Read More »

US withdrawing last of its embassy personnel from Venezuela

The United States announced on March 11 that it is pulling the remaining staff from its embassy in Venezuela, citing the deteriorating situation in the South American nation. CARACAS- The Associated Press Hurriyet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision as Venezuela struggles to restore electricity following days of blackouts around the country and a deepening political crisis. The U.S. has led an international effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaido, who vows to hold a ... Read More »