Diplomacy and Politics Articles

The Realist Prism

Despite Hope of Minsk Summit, Damage Done to Russia-West Relations

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Aug. 15, 2014 (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev).
By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

Next week, Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a face-to-face trilateral summit in Belarus with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and a European Union delegation headed by its foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger. The summit has an ambitious agenda on the table to defuse the Ukraine crisis. Assuming that a major breakthrough does occur in Minsk, what next? more

Global Insider

Upcoming Mozambique Election Prompts Push for Peace

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Earlier this month, Mozambique passed an amnesty law that will allow Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition Renamo Party, to return from hiding and run in the Oct. 15 presidential election. In an email interview, Elisabete Azevedo-Harman, research fellow at Chatham House, discussed the evolving political landscape in Mozambique. more

Rebel Divisions Already Plague Latest Round of Mali Peace Talks

By Hannah Rae Armstrong
, , Briefing

Tuareg rebels and Malian officials have begun meeting in Algeria to try and hammer out the terms of a lasting peace in northern Mali. In July, the parties signed a road map deal that paved the way for talks on an array of political and security issues. In September, they will return to Algiers for three weeks of negotiations. But so far, divisions among rebel groups threaten to complicate the prospects for peace. more

World Citizen

Brazil Plane Crash Spawns Two-Woman Presidential Race

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

The life story of Brazil’s Marina Silva is so unlikely that she explains key moments by divine intervention. Among the most dramatic and potentially life-changing of all unlikely turns came last week, when a private plane in which she was supposed to be traveling crashed, killing Socialist Party presidential candidate Eduardo Campos and suddenly turning her into a formidable contender for the presidency of Brazil. more

Global Insider

The Costs and Benefits of Trade Agreement Disputes

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Last month, Germany voiced concerns over the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. In an email interview, Timothy Josling, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, discussed the settlements and their role in international trade agreements. more

How Latin America Can Maximize its Shale Gas Potential

By Eric Farnsworth
, , Briefing

Thanks to technological advances, shale gas is revolutionizing the world’s energy landscape. The size of reserves within the Western Hemisphere in particular provides the region with an enviable opportunity for leadership in global shale gas. But Latin America still has work to do to maximize its energy potential. The natural resources clearly exist; fully developing shale remains a matter of political will. more

Strategic Horizons

2016 Election Will Redraw Road Map for U.S. National Security

By Steven Metz
, , Column

The United States is at a transitional point in its national security strategy perhaps as crucial as the opening years of the Cold War. During the 2016 presidential campaign, debate about America’s role in the world will move into the limelight as differing visions within and between the Democratic and Republican parties clarify policy options and choices. For U.S. and global security, much will be at stake. more

Global Insider

Maoist Insurgency Still Simmers in Modi’s India

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Two Indian police officers were injured over the weekend when Maoist insurgents detonated a landmine below their convoy. In an email interview, P.V. Ramana, a research fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, discussed the insurgency of Maoist groups, also known as Naxalites, and the Modi administration’s response. more

Uganda’s Longtime Strongman Faces a New Rival: His Restless Soldiers

By Harry Verhoeven
, , Briefing

Nearly 30 years after taking power, President Yoweri Museveni still dominates Uganda’s politics. While the civilian opposition appears impotent to legally break his grip on power, the internal dynamics of the armed forces are another matter. Museveni has a twin strategy of keeping the army under control and having his son Muhoozi Kaneirugaba succeed him, but resentment in the military is festering. more

Global Insider

Unstable Opposition Means Reform in Malaysia Unlikely

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Malaysia’s opposition coalition risks being torn apart after its leader Anwar Ibrahim sacked the chief minister of Selangor, the country’s most populous state. In an email interview, Clive Kessler, professor emeritus at the University of New South Wales, discussed the state of Malaysia’s opposition. more

Jokowi's Test: Managing Indonesia's Old Guard—and Civil Society's Hopes

By Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn
, , Briefing

With their central role in his successful campaign, Indonesian civil society groups’ expectations run high that Joko Widodo’s presidency will be marked by transparency, accountability, rule of law and respect for human rights. But it remains to be seen if Jokowi can deliver on all that, given Indonesia’s notoriously fractious politics, decentralized Kafkaesque bureaucracy and messy political infrastructure. more

Global Insights

When it Comes to Nonproliferation, China Has Been a ‘Free Rider’

By Richard Weitz
, , Column

The Chinese, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a recent interview, “have been free riders for the last 30 years,” while the U.S. has maintained international security for the good of the world. Although Obama might not have meant to be so blunt, his remarks reflect a widespread view within Washington that China, in order to minimize foreign risks, has not been as helpful on many global issues, especially nonproliferation. more

Iran’s Rouhani Stokes Domestic Backlash With Attack on Critics

By Nader Habibi
, , Briefing

In an address last week to Foreign Ministry officials, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did not hold back his frustration with critics of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. Deviating from his usual calm and moderate tone, Rouhani told his critics to go “to hell.” The backlash could further polarize Iranian politics and bring deep-rooted tensions between reformists and conservatives to the surface. more

Diplomatic Fallout

Why the International System Is Still Worth Fighting For

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

The multilateral security system is stumbling around the world as it suffers from major structural weaknesses. Yet elements of it have worked surprisingly well in the current set of crises, from documenting atrocities in Syria to mediating in Ukraine. Despite setbacks, a mix of international officials and observers, soldiers and governments remain willing to stand up for the vulnerable and uphold that system. more

Global Insider

South Korea’s Economic Growth Holds Steady

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Last month South Korea unveiled a $40 billion economic stimulus package designed to boost a lagging growth rate. In an email interview, Dwight Perkins, professor emeritus of political economy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, discussed the state of South Korea’s economy. more

The Realist Prism

Time for the U.S. to Make Hard Choices on Russia, Middle East

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

It is the misfortune of the Obama administration to preside over the unraveling of several long-term U.S. strategies in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The tactics used by previous administrations to delay making hard choices in the hope that problems would resolve themselves without Washington being required to make sacrifices are no longer available, as the crises in both regions make abundantly clear. more

Ukraine Crisis Torpedoes Russia-Japan Rapprochement

By Richard Weitz
, , Briefing

One of the major sticking points to improved Japan-Russia relations has long been the two sides’ territorial dispute over the Southern Kurils. Now the two countries have an opportunity to change matters. For the first time in decades, both have leaders who could negotiate a territorial compromise and then sell it domestically. But the Ukraine crisis has put an end to earlier hopes for a resolution. more

EU Strives to Overcome Its North-South, East-West Divides

By Maria Savel
, , Trend Lines

The current debate in the EU over how to respond to the Ukraine crisis highlights the political and ideological divisions between Eastern and Western Europe. Meanwhile, the economic division between Northern and Southern Europe stemming from the eurozone crisis are as strong as ever. The EU is taking steps to overcome these divisions and create a more united union, but lasting solutions are hard to come by. more

World Citizen

After Election Victory, Turkey's Erdogan Unlikely to Change Ways

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fulfilled predictions by winning the country’s first direct presidential election Sunday. But rather than putting an end to the divisive political battles that have roiled the country and the inflammatory stance that has strained Turkey’s relations with neighbors, Erdogan’s victory promises to usher in yet another era of contentious domestic and international politics. more

With Eye on Russia, Poland Reshapes Military Modernization Plan

By Tomasz Szatkowski
, , Briefing

Compared to other Central European countries, the Polish military might appear to be a giant, due to Poland’s size but also its relatively high fixed level of defense spending. But it still has to face a seriously deteriorated security environment with fewer expectations of help from its Western allies. Poland needs to craft a more cohesive military modernization plan to respond to an array of challenges. more

Hungary’s Orban a Threat to ‘Liberal Democracy’—and EU Norms

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

In April, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s conservative Fidesz party maintained its majority in parliament in national elections. Since then, Orban’s reactionary rhetoric has only increased, most notably in a speech last month in which he rejected “liberal democracy” as the model for Hungary. No head of state in the EU has ever so bluntly aligned with autocratic values.

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