Diplomacy

Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

The city state has a strange appeal to some Tories yet even its prime minister doubts its approach would work in Britain Patrick Wintour The Guardian The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on a visit to Singapore to learn how such a relatively isolated city state has become so successful is only the latest, but most explicit, of a long line of Tory ministers to extol it as the model for the UK post-Brexit. Quite how Singapore, an authoritarian state capitalist economy akin ... Read More »

German government cagey on spy cooperation in Pinochet’s Chile

The German Foreign Ministry has refused to shed light on the BND’s cooperation with the CIA to aid General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime in Chile. Ben Knight DW The vague responses have outraged the German Left party. The German government has offered only cagey responses to questions about cooperation between the German secret service, the BND, and military dictatorships in Chile and Greece in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The socialist Left party’s Jan Korte submitted 68 questions to ... Read More »

China’s Atlantean ambition for the South China Sea

Beijing’s futuristic plan for an artificial intelligence-driven deep-sea submarine base promises to churn the contested sea’s already volatile waters Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times Αs Southeast Asian nations look ahead to 2019, competition for control of the South China Sea looms large on the horizon. That strategic contest could enter a new destabilizing phase if China introduces as reported a new Atlantis-like deep-sea submarine base in the already volatile maritime area. The proposed new base, which could in theory be ... Read More »

Poll: 72% of Labour members back second Brexit vote

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defied calls to throw his weight behind a second referendum on the European Union despite a poll suggesting almost three-quarters of Labour members want one and thousands could quit the… Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman A survey of more than 1,000 party members found 72 per cent want a so-called People’s Vote on the terms of Brexit and most would chose to stay in the EU if given the option. But Mr Corbyn has long resisted ... Read More »

How to negotiate infrastructure deals with China: four things African governments need to get right

“You don’t negotiate with China !” I was quickly told when I started interviewing African public servants about their infrastructure deals with Beijing. Folashade Soule The Conversation There is a widespread view in Africa that you accept whatever terms are offered, for fear that the money might go somewhere else instead. China is the leading infrastructure finance provider on the continent – as demonstrated by a recent pledge of US$60 billion (£47 billion), most of which is for infrastructure projects. Big projects on the slate include hydropower plants ... Read More »

The President Who Wants to Break Up His Own Country

Once praised by Madeleine Albright as “a breath of fresh air,” Bosnia’s new president, Milorad Dodik, now threatens a fragile U.S.-brokered peace accord. Maxim Edwards The Atlantic SARAJEVO—Few national leaders would call their own country an “impossible state.” Fewer still would actively advocate for it to be broken up. Almost none would risk a decades-old peace accord to do so. And then there is Bosnia’s Milorad Dodik. “I am a Serb … Bosnia is only my place of employment,” Dodik ... Read More »

Bernie Sanders Isn’t Just Another White Male Candidate. His Nomination Would Be Historic.

The 2020 Democratic primary will likely offer the most diverse field of candidates either party has ever put forward for the presidency. David Klion Forward At least four serious African-American contenders (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Gillum, and Eric Holder) have been floated so far, as have at least four women (Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy… And then there are a large number of white men — the demographic that has accounted for all but one president to date — ... Read More »

Politicians could ease refugee suffering, but instead they stoke fear

Don’t be fooled by talk of a ‘major incident’ on Channel crossings – the real crisis is refugees risking their lives but shut out of Fortress Europe Diane Taylor The Guardian The “major incident” is well and truly under way. Sajid Javid has signalled just how seriously he is taking the recent spike in refugee crossings across the Channel by interrupting his holiday to deal with the crisis. All manner of plans are now being devised to shore up our borders. Around 100 people ... Read More »

Afghanistan’s neighbours fear refugee crisis if U.S. pulls out

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s neighbours, caught off-guard by reports of U.S. plans to withdraw thousands of troops, have begun preparing for the risk that a pullout could send hundreds of… Rupam Jain Alarmed by the possibly of a chaotic withdrawal, diplomats from neighbouring countries who have been in talks with U.S. officials in Kabul said they were reassessing policies and would ramp up border… “At this point there is no clarity about the withdrawal, but we have to keep a ... Read More »

Colombia Farc: 85 ex-rebels killed since peace deal

The United Nations says 85 former Farc rebels have been killed in Colombia since the group signed a peace accord with the government two years ago. BBC Most of the murders were by illegal armed groups and drug gangs fighting over former Farc territories, UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a report. Mr Guterres urged Colombian President Ivan Duque, a vocal critic of the peace deal, to do more to protect ex-rebels. Colombia suffered 52 years of conflict until peace ... Read More »

Taiwan tells China to use peaceful means to resolve differences

TAIPEI (Reuters) – China must use peaceful means to resolve its differences with Taiwan and respect its democratic values, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday, ahead of a major speech about the… euronews China has heaped pressure on Tsai since she took office in 2016, cutting off dialogue, whittling down Taiwan’s few remaining diplomatic allies and forcing foreign airlines to list Taiwan as part of China on their… China fears Tsai wishes to push for Taiwan’s formal independence, though ... Read More »

US committed to ‘protection of Israel’ despite Syria withdrawal, Pompeo assures Netanyahu

The US ‘withdrawal’ from Syria might not mean the end of all its Syria-related operations where Israel is concerned, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s ongoing commitment to Israel’s security on… RT Speaking ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brazil, Pompeo said the US’ commitment to Israel was unchanged, despite the pullout of US troops from Syria announced by the Trump administration last… Pompeo said that the US effort to “counter Iranian aggression” would continue ... Read More »

Netanyahu says Israel is Arabs’ ‘ally’ against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Arab countries viewed Israel as an “indispensable ally” fighting Iran and the Islamic State group. Al-Monitor AFP That evaluation, he told Brazil’s Globo TV during a visit to Rio, has caused “a revolution in relations with the Arab world.” The comments came as Israel has stepped up air strikes on Iranian positions in neighboring Syria, and as Israel digested an abrupt decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria. Netanyahu ... Read More »

Kim calls for corresponding US measures, ready to meet Trump

North Korean leader delivers annual New Year’s Day speech laying out Pyongyang’s top priorities for the 12 months ahead. Al Jazeera and News Agencies North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has renewed his commitment to denuclearisation but warned that he may have no option but to seek an alternative course if the United States does not take corresponding measures and… Kim made the comments on Tuesday during his annual New Year’s Day address laying out Pyongyang’s top priorities for the… In ... Read More »

Trump gives in to calls to slow down troop pullout from Syria

United States President Donald Trump has given in to pressure to slow down his planned troop pullout from Syria, permitting the US military four months to withdraw. PreesTV The New York Times reported the decision on Monday. Trump had initially given the American forces 30 days for the procedure. The American president had hinted at a more extensive pullout timetable earlier on Monday, tweeting about “slowly sending our troops back home.” Many military and Pentagon officials had sought to entirely change the president’s mind ... Read More »

Archbishop of Canterbury urges openness in new year message

Justin Welby says country should try to overcome recent struggles and divisions Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The archbishop of Canterbury has urged the country to start 2019 in a “new spirit of openness towards each other” in an attempt to overcome the struggles and divisions of recent years. Justin Welby was delivering a new year message from Lambeth Palace, his London base. Acknowledging that the festive period can be stressful for some families – “sometimes we get on each other’s nerves” ... Read More »