Security

Incoming US Secretary of Defense Shanahan has ties to US-Turkey arms trade

United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who will take over for ousted Secretary of Defense James Mattis in January, has significant ties to the U.S.-Turkey arms trade— a… Meghan Bodette The Region “I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a… Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986, and worked there for over 30 years. He had no previous ... Read More »

‘A rogue presidency’: The era of containing Trump is over

For two years, they tried to tutor and confine him. They taught him history, explained nuances and gamed out reverberations. Philip Rucker The Washington Post They urged careful deliberation, counseled restraint and prepared talking points to try to sell mainstream actions to a restive conservative base hungry for disruption. But in the end, they failed. For President Trump, the era of containment is over. One by one, the seasoned advisers seen as bulwarks against Trump’s most reckless impulses have been ... Read More »

Trump Says Turkey Should Easily Be Able to Mop Up ISIS in Syria

Days after handing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a diplomatic win by announcing he’ll pull U.S. troops out of Syria, President Donald Trump defended the move, saying Turkey “should be able to… By Onur Ant, Nick Wadhams, and Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg Trump’s action on Syria, which was announced on Twitter and triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later Brett McGurk, a leading U.S. diplomat, came a week after the… Instead, during a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked ... Read More »

Avoiding a Free-for-all in Syria’s North East

President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from north-east Syria. ICG This risks chaos and drives home the urgent need for a deal that restores Syrian state sovereignty to its north east, assuages Turkish security concerns and allows for some degree of Kurdish self-rule. What’s new? President Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria followed previous warnings that he justified their presence only as part of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Trump said ... Read More »

The Geopolitics of Greece: A Sea at its Heart

Throughout the history of Greece, its geography has been both a blessing and a curse, a blessing because it allowed Greece to dominate the “known Western world” for a good portion of Europe’s ancient history due to a combination of sea access and rugged topography. Stratfor In the ancient era, these were perfect conditions for a maritime city-state culture oriented toward commerce and one that was difficult to dislodge by more powerful land-based opponents. This geography incubated the West’s first ... Read More »

The biggest winner of Trump’s Syria withdrawal? Turkey.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, it came as a shock to much of Washington. Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post Key U.S. military officials reportedly felt hoodwinked by the drastic shift in policy; Trump’s secretary of defense quit. Counterterrorism experts warned that a departure could lead to an Islamic State resurgence. Critics in the foreign-policy community declared that Trump was giving “a Christmas gift to our enemies” — namely Russia and Iran, whose influence the… ... Read More »

North Korea: We Asked 27 Experts What They Think Will Happen in 2019

The world’s best Korea and Asia watchers gave us their predictions. Will we go back to “fire and fury” or is lasting peace just over the horizon? Harry J. Kazianis and John Dale Grover The National Interest The following is a note from our Executive Editor and the Center for the National Interest’s Director of Defense Studies, Harry J. Kazianis : What happens next when it comes to the North Korea challenge? Your guess is as good as mine, but by looking ... Read More »

China says third detained Canadian is woman being punished for working illegally

China’s Foreign Ministry has said that a Canadian woman is undergoing “administrative punishment” for working illegally, after Canada’s Government said a third Canadian had been detained in China. ABC Reuters Chinese state security agents last week detained two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, saying they were suspected of endangering state security. The two Canadians were detained after the December 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Ms ... Read More »

Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary, Resigns in Rebuke of Trump’s Worldview

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president, resigned Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and… Helene Cooper The New York Times Mr. Mattis had repeatedly told friends and aides over recent months that he viewed his responsibility to protect the United States’ 1.3 million active-duty troops as worth the concessions necessary as defense secretary to a… But on Thursday, in ... Read More »

Anger, confusion greet Trump’s surprise decision on Syria

Senate Republicans uncharacteristically lashed out at President Trump on Wednesday for announcing a sudden and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that came without consulting Congress and seemed to catch the Pentagon off guard. Rebecca Kheel The Hill Several lawmakers said Congress received no advance notice of Trump’s announcement, leaving them fuming and scratching their heads. “I don’t know what they’ve done, but this is chaos,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally and Armed Services Committee ... Read More »

Making Yemen’s Hodeida Deal Stick

On 17 December, the UN announced a ceasefire in the contested governorate of Hodeida. Peter Salisbury ICG Thus far, after some initial wobbling, it has held. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s senior Yemen analyst Peter Salisbury unpacks the ceasefire and assesses its prospects. What does the ceasefire mean? The Hodeida ceasefire is a first step toward implementing an agreement reached at UN-led talks between Yemen’s internationally recognised government and Huthi rebels in Sweden on 13 December to demilitarise Hodeida city ... Read More »

A Road to Dialogue After Nicaragua’s Crushed Uprising

Public resentment is high in Nicaragua after street protests in April were crushed in a brutal government crackdown. ICG To prevent further unrest, President Ortega should implement agreed electoral reforms while international actors maintain diplomatic pressure to create conditions for dialogue. What’s new? Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has quelled a civic uprising through violence, intimidation and prosecution of protesters without due process. More than 300 people died in clashes pitting protesters against police and parapolice groups. Protests have since subsided, ... Read More »

US approves possible Patriot missile sale to Turkey in bid to block Russian purchase

Washington (CNN) – Amid diplomatic tensions between the US and Turkey on a range of issues, the US State Department announced Tuesday that it approved the possible sale of a $3.5 billion Patriot missile system to Turkey. By Ryan Browne, CNN The approval is an attempt by the US to get Turkey to give up its plans to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. The proposed purchase has been a major impediment to closer US-Turkish relations amid fears the Russian ... Read More »

What’s wrong with Huawei, and why are countries banning the Chinese telecommunications firm?

The Chinese telecommunications company Huawei is under scrutiny around the globe over concerns that its close ties with the Chinese government present national security threats to the U.S., Europe and… Authors: The Conversation Huawei, which denies all the allegations against it, is “the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms gear” and has plans to “dominate the market” for the next generation of wireless communications, called 5G. But its hopes are threatened by governments around the world, which are restricting the company’s ... Read More »

Don’t let Russian S-400s peel Turkey away from the West

U.S.-Turkish relations are enjoying a somewhat warmer moment, following the resolution of the crisis over American pastor Andrew Brunson and the recent dialogue to resolve differences over U.S. cooperation with the… Kemal Kirişci and Seçkin Köstem Brookings However, Ankara’s commitment to purchase S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia presents a big challenge with important geopolitical implications. Among other problems, the plan could get Turkey sanctioned and removed from the U.S.-led program to provide F-35 aircraft. Some experts have recently argued that ... Read More »

China will ’never seek hegemony,’ Xi says in reform speech

China will never pursue hegemony, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday as global concerns persist over the country’s growing economic influence. BEIJING – Associated Press Hurriyet During a speech to mark 40 years of market reforms, Xi repeated China’s commitment to a multilateral trading system and further opening of its economy. However, he did not announce any new initiatives to counter a slowing economy and trade frictions with the United States. The Chinese leader said China would not develop “at the expense of other countries’ ... Read More »