Recurring efforts by Armenian-Americans to secure official U.S. condemnation of the Armenian genocide have often been portrayed by opponents as “counterproductive” to U.S.-Turkey, as well as Turkey-Armenia, relations. But the campaign to pass a non-binding congressional resolution has actually helped focus these relations by catalyzing Armenian-Turkish dialogue, advancing democratic debate inside Turkey and, perhaps most counterintuitively, helping navigate the U.S.-Turkish partnership through a troubled stretch. An Ancient Relationship Separated by religion and language, for almost a thousand years Armenians and Turks shared one homeland — a large area known alternately as Eastern Turkey and Western Armenia. It was never a […]

As part of hitting the “reset button,” the Obama administration has decided to focus its Russia policy for now on the urgent need to replace an expiring Russian-American nuclear arms control treaty. The approach represents a reversal of the Bush administration’s stated goal of collaborating with Moscow on a broad range of issues, and also contrasts with the posture the Obama White House has adopted toward China. Unresolved Russian-American differences concerning strategic offensive arms control could impede this focused effort. And past experience makes evident that unrelated issues might easily disrupt the strategic arms control dialogue. The two strategic arms […]

Shaping Opinion on Iran Nuclear Program

A month ago, I argued that “[g]etting Iran to reimplement the Additional Protocol, and not the suspension of its uranium enrichment, should become thefocus of American policy moving forward.” If this Financial Times article is any indication, it looks as if the first efforts to shape public opinion in that direction have now officially begun. Tom Barnett responds with his inimitable sangfroid: The slim hope here that Obama clings to is that, if we acceptenrichment, Iran will stop short of weaponizing, taking a sort of Japanapproach to the question. I honestly don’t think that will be enough for Iran in […]

Erdogan’s NATO Tantrum?

Yigal Schleifer gives a rundown of Turkey’s opposition to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s candidacy for NATO secretary general. Essentially, because Rasmussen refused to condemn the publication of the Mohamed caricatures way back when, Turkey is considering vetoing his appointment (NATO operates under consensus rules). T(here’s also the question of a Danish news outlet that allegedly serves as a PKK mouthpiece, but that doesn’t support the point I’m about to make, so I’ll downplay that part.) Turkey’s argument is based on the image problems Rasmussen’s “involvement” in the incident will create in the Muslim world. I would argue that […]

U.S. Buys Russian What for Iraq?

This one’s datelined April 1, but DefenseNews doesn’t strike me as an April Fools kind of site. It’s a bit hard to unravel from the story, but apparently the Pentagon is paying a U.S. contractor to buy and modify to spec 22 Russian MI-17 helicopters through a UAE-based sub-contractor, for delivery the Iraqi government. I’ll be checking in with our resident expert on the Russian arms industry, Richard Weitz, on this one. I, for one, can’t make any sense of it. Update: Richard Weitz weighs in: It might be an interoperability issue. Given that the Iraqis have purchased Soviet- and […]

When the International Criminal Court issued its ground-breaking warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on March 4, human rights activists celebrated the move as a major milestone. The action would not only boost hope in Darfur — Bashir is alleged to have played a key role in the tragic conflict — but it would also help prevent atrocities everywhere. For the first time, a sitting president faced the threat of arrest, forcing other perpetrators and would-be perpetrators of crimes against humanity to consider the trials awaiting them should they follow in Bashir’s footsteps. Less than a month […]

NAIROBI, Kenya — When Kenya welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the first stop of his first tour of sub-Saharan Africa in mid-February, it reflected how Nairobi’s emphasis on bilateral relations with Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries is increasingly overshadowing its ties to traditional Western allies. Beginning in 1963, when Kenya attained independence from Britain, Western countries were routinely accorded a “first amongst equals” status. A military pact signed between Kenya and the United States in 1980, allowing the U.S. Navy use of the local port of Mombasa to monitor the Far East in return for military and economic […]

The Changing Political Calculus of Transatlantic Relations

Three posts about the upcoming summits (G-20 in London, NATO in Strasbourg) got me thinking about the politics of President Barack Obama’s transatlantic diplomacy: James Joyner wonders whether European Obamamania will survive the week, Heather Hurlburt points out how the diffusion of global power has diluted and complicated diplomacy, and Art Goldhammer scolds French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his threat to walk out of the G-20 summit. A few scattershot thoughts: My sense is that for a number of not necessarily coherent reasons, European Obamamania has already faded significantly since the election, and even a bit since the well-received Munich […]

The Changing Political Calculus of U.S.-Israel Relations

I thought I’d dash off a quick and breezy morning post on an issue that’s about as quick and breezy as a hand grenade. Any trouble I get myself into is entirely Matt Eckel’s fault: So, we’re now in a position where if the Israeli government does whatNetanyahu is hinting it might do [i.e., bomb Iran’s nuclear installations], the Obama Administration will have toeither be blamed by association and throw its whole Middle Easternagenda to the dogs, or publicly and severely sanction Israel and openup a political s%&! storm in Washington that could derail anynumber of other projects. Support for […]

The Obama administration’s emphasis on “smart power” is by now well known. To most observers, that has meant the need to “balance and integrate all elements of our national power” in order to deter and defeat emerging threats, as President Barack Obama himself put it in a speech at National Defense University in Washington on March 12. Many have focused on Obama’s insistence, in the same speech, that “we cannot continue to push the burden on to our military alone” and his commitment to “comprehensive engagement with the world.” What has gotten less attention is the central role Obama foresees […]

Strategic Posture Review: Turkey

Get a .pdf version of this report. Throughout the Cold War, Turkey remained a staunchly secular Western ally, serving as a NATO buttress against the Soviet Union. But in the aftermath of the November 2002 elections that brought the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power, its foreign policy orientation has undergone a gradual shift. The AKP initially emphasized Turkey’s European ambitions, doing more than any previous government to move Turkey closer to EU accession. Yet in recent years, the AKP’s drive for EU membership appears to have lost momentum, while the previous domestic consensus on the country’s […]

Showing 18 - 29 of 29First 1 2