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

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.

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Why the International System Is Still Worth Fighting For

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.

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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

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

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

Strategic Horizons

The Rise of the Islamic State and the Evolution of Violent Extremism

By Steven Metz
, , Column

From Yemen to Africa, violent extremists are leaving al-Qaida-affiliated groups and joining the ultra-radical and violent movement now known as the Islamic State. This gives some worrisome hints about the future of extremism in the Islamic world. That the U.S. is attacking the Islamic State rather than al-Qaida shows militants exactly who Washington considers to be the largest threat. more

Risks and Realities of the Egyptian-Israeli Alliance Against Hamas

By Frederick Deknatel
, , Trend Lines

With another ceasefire set to expire, Israeli and Palestinian diplomats are in Cairo for Egyptian-brokered talks to end the fighting in Gaza. Egypt is hardly a neutral mediator: President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s hostility toward the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas, is no secret; neither is Egypt’s security relationship with Israel. But the inner workings of that relationship are rarely exposed. more

Global Insider

Mexico Making an Effort to Expand Ties in Middle East

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade visited Jordan last month to discuss expanding diplomatic ties. In an email interview, Alejandra Galindo Marines, professor of social sciences at the University of Monterrey, discussed Mexico’s relations with the Middle East. more

Diplomatic Fallout

U.S., Russia Duel Over Humanitarian Interventions in Iraq and Ukraine

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

There has been a lot of talk about humanitarian interventions over the past week. Russia has pressed for a “humanitarian mission” to the war zone in eastern Ukraine. While telling Russia to back off, the Obama administration has launched air strikes in Iraq against the forces of the Islamic State. The humanitarian case for American action is clear. It may nonetheless also have unwelcome consequences. more

Global Insider

MERS Outbreak Shows Weakness of Saudi Arabia’s Public Health System

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Last month, scientists discovered that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), so far responsible for just under 300 deaths in Saudi Arabia, may spread through the air. In an email interview, Jeremy Youde, associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Duluth, discussed Saudi Arabia’s public health system and its response to the MERS outbreak. more

The Realist Prism

Time Running Out for Obama to Reboot U.S. Foreign Policy

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

Are we on the verge of personnel shifts that will produce a national security team 4.0 for the Obama administration? The third iteration has enjoyed a particularly rough tenure, with public confidence in Obama's handling of national security diminishing as a result. The upcoming November midterm elections could prove decisive to what an Obama foreign policy agenda for the end of his presidency might look like. more

Kurds Ask for U.S. Support in Counteroffensive Against Islamic State

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

With fighters associated with the Islamic State making advances against Kurdish areas in Iraq, the Kurdish peshmerga forces have mounted a counteroffensive. Officials in Iraq have called on the U.S. to aid the Kurds, saying it is the U.S.' "moral responsibility," while members of Congress have said air strikes are necessecary to avert “a humanitarian nightmare of unspeakable proportions.” more