A South Korean environmental activist wearing a gas mask and bearing a sign denouncing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord participates in a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy, Seoul, June 5, 2017 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).
This past week brought some further clarity to the underlying assumptions that drive U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. There’s now enough information to determine that the Trump team’s worldview is based on deeply held premises about the nasty, brutish nature of the human condition. He and his team are systematically walking away from the U.S. government’s decades-long emphasis on international cooperation and the architecture that supports it. The shift will have particularly dire consequences for the global community’s capacity to confront terrorism and climate change, with its impact on nuclear nonproliferation still an open question. In the aftermath of [...]
North Korean factory workers at the Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory, Jan. 10, 2017, Pyongyang, North Korea (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).
The world is currently trying to figure out what China might be doing, saying and thinking about North Korea. Observers looks for signs in Chinese state media that Beijing might finally cut Pyongyang off financially and politically. They scrutinize shipping traffic to parse whether the flow of oil and coal between North Korea and China might be diminishing, with potentially disastrous results for Kim Jong Un’s regime. With a new president in South Korea, debates will continue about how Seoul can convince China to use its leverage on Pyongyang to get it to freeze its nuclear weapons program. There should [...]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a joint press conference with the Swedish prime minister at the Saadabad Palace, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Ebrahim Norooz).
On May 19, Iranians will go to the polls to choose their president for the 12th time since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. The incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani, will almost certainly be one of the contenders, once Iran’s powerful Guardian Council confirms his candidacy. The upcoming elections will inevitably be a referendum, in part, on Rouhani’s track record, especially his promise to open up Iran’s economy after the nuclear agreement that lifted international sanctions. Unlike the American system, with its excruciatingly long election seasons, the official Iranian election calendar is deliberately short. The week-long official registration of candidates [...]
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