Middle Power Mojo

I got some pushback via email on this post about Turkey, and the idea of formulating American foreign policy to take advantage of the leverage offered by regional “Middle Powers.” In particular, the question was raised whether having the same policy as Turkey vis à vis Iran is more important than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and more generally whether harmonizing policy with our regional allies should trump our own policy goals. The short answer is no. The longer answer is that the Turkey-Iran example is complicated by the fact that I think we’re trying to impose a flawed […]

The Globalization Backlash

Mark Thirwell of the Lowy Interpreter points out that globalization’s successes were already generating the beginnings of a backlash within the developed world, and argues that the advent of the subprime failure makes one even more likely. I’d point out that the Asian financial crisis and the internet bubble had already raised some red flags about the potential dangers of globalization, albeit in a different historical context. But Thirwell’s point is well taken. So many of our futurist scenarios are based on the assumption that barriers to trade will continue to fall, and in the context of a global order. […]

Western Sahara and Lost Causes

Earlier today I had the chance to talk with Frank Ruddy, the former deputy chairman of the U.N. Peacekeeping Referendum for Western Sahara, in the context of my WPR article about yesterday’s U.N. Security Council vote on the disputed region. Western Sahara is at the center of Africa’s longest running territorial dispute. For more than 33 years the Polisario Front has fought and negotiated for the region’s independence. But the dispute rarely gets covered in the press anymore, and even the U.N. mediator to the talks between the Polisario Front and Morocco seems to believe that independence is a lost […]

Citizen Diplomats

Along the lines of the post I did yesterday about the value of exchange programs in public diplomacy, Melinda Brouwer of the FPA’s U.S. Diplomacy blog runs through the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy‘s list of ten ways for private citizens to engage the world on behalf of America. Not surprisingly, student, cultural and guest exchanges figure prominently. Good stuff, and worth remembering that private individuals can make a difference.

Pax Corleone

John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell make a solid case over at the National Interest for the argument that Francis Ford Coppola, in addition to being a filmmaking giant, was also a foreign policy visionary. Their reading of the Godfather as a prescription for American foreign policy in the post-9/11 era is pretty convincing, and definitely the most creative foreign policy analysis I’ve come across in a long time. It’s too good to spoil it with a takeaway, so just click through and read it for yourself.

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