26
Aug

However tempting it is to keep writing about Donald Trump, I’m going to move on to less bizarre topics. Last week I participated in a panel at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on the implications of the Brexit vote (along with Leslie Vinjamuri of the University of London and Barry Posen and Francis Gavin of MIT). Their comments got me thinking— and not for the first time — about where the world is headed these days.

It’s easy to understand why people think the current world order is rapidly unraveling. Despite steady reductions in global poverty, the continued absence of great power war, and mind-boggling advances in science and technology, world politics doesn’t look nearly as promising as it did a couple of decades ago. It’s still possible to offer an upbeat view of the foreign policy agenda — as Joe Biden recently did — but the vice president is not exactly the most objective judge. He thinks the next president will be able to build on the Obama administration’s successes, but a more candid evaluation would conclude that the next president — whoever it might be — is going to face some serious challenges. Read more…

 

  • By Stephen M. Walt
  • August 21, 2016
  • Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

 

23
Aug

The month of August always brings its share of seasonal distractions: last-minute vacations, the Olympic games in Rio, warm days that distract us from less calm parts of the world.

But those summer indulgences can sometimes divert our attention from serious problems. In this case, that means rising tensions in a part of the world that not only drives the global economy but is bringing some of the world’s most powerful nations closer towards outright conflict—a conflict that would make the Islamic State, Ukraine, and even the unending civil war in Syria seem small by comparison.

What am I talking about? The seemingly endless dance of danger between China and the United States over the South China Sea, a body of water that carries over $5.3 trillion in seaborne trade ($1.2 trillion of American goods, by the way).

And for those who have been watching this slowly brewing crisis, it appears the stage is being set for a crisis, one that could come later in the summer and early fall thanks to a combination of factors. Read more…

Harry J. Kazianis is a senior fellow for defense policy at the Center for the National Interest and senior editor at the National Interest Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter: @grecianformula.

Aug. 17th, www.foreignpolicy.org

21
Aug

Germany and the UK: Hints of a Role Reversal

Written on August 21, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Europe, Foreign Policy

This piece was created in collaboration with the European Council on Foreign Relations. Almut Moeller is the co-head of ECFR’s Berlin office. The views expressed are the author’s own.

“Summer is off” was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s message at the end of July when she decided to interrupt her holidays for her annual summer press briefing. In the aftermath of the attacks in Wuerzburg, Munich, and Ansbach, as well as the attempted military coup in Turkey, Merkel felt compelled to address the German public on some fundamental questions of government policy.

The chancellor is traditionally expected to cover a lot of ground in this press briefing. And indeed, Merkel admitted in her typically sober and understated style that she did not feel “unterausgelasted” (“underworked”) by the number and scope of challenges to German and European societies. She even admitted to sometimes feeling like she needed a good dose of sleep — and suggested that all the events that have left the European Union and its members increasingly frail and disunited required deep reflection.

For policy analysts as well, this summer has hardly seemed like “time off,” but has nonetheless been a time for the brain to take a break from the news-driven routine and to engage in some bigger and longer-term thinking. Summer seminars — usually convened in pleasant settings — often provide just the right change of scenery to help structure one’s thinking process. And this year, British-German seminars have been particularly thought-provoking. Read more…

By Almut Moeller
August 18, 2016

19
Aug

In November 1979, the Jinghe Share Holding Co. opened its doors in Tokyo, marking China’s first overseas investment and the start of the country’s transformative economic opening. Today, China has become the world’s second-largest investor and biggest supplier of capital. While other markets are in recession, China’s economy continues to grow, however slowly. Without question, the gravity of China’s economy, coupled with its ever-expanding reach into global affairs, will secure its place of influence in the international system for decades to come.

But the sort of presence Beijing seeks abroad is evolving. For China, as for most countries, investment and acquisition are key components of its strategy for development and, to some extent, national security. Yet as China embarks on the long path leading away from an export-based model of economic growth and toward one dependent on domestic consumption, its investment priorities are shifting. Beijing is gradually replacing its focus on snatching up the developing world’s energy and natural resources with an emphasis on acquiring the developed world’s value-added industry assets. At the same time, the government’s traditional dominance in outward investment is weakening, making room for private enterprises to invest alongside their state-owned peers. Furthermore, China is becoming more careful about its investment decisions, trading a frenzy of hasty purchases for a careful search for quality buys. Read more…

By Zhixing Zhang & Matthew Bey
August 17, 2016

18
Aug

What Exactly Is Going On In Ukraine?

Written on August 18, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Europe, Foreign Policy, Security

Among Russia watchers, the month of August has become somewhat notorious. Rare is the year that goes by without an eventful August. Sometimes the chaos is internal (the wildfires of 2010 and 2012), while other years the events are external (2008’s Russia-Georgia War comes to mind).

This year, another August surprise seems increasingly possible. The Ukrainian territories that have been occupied by Russia since 2014 are taking their turn in the spotlight. While violence in the east of the country—the so-called Lugansk and Donetsk Peoples Republics—has begun to ramp up considerably, the past days have seen worrisome developments in Russian-annexed Crimea.

The circumstances are still somewhat murky, but it seems clear that some kind of incident occurred on the Russian-occupied side of the Crimean border that resulted in the death of two Russian service members. While the events occurred over the weekend, they did not fully escalate until a few days later. The Russians have accused Ukraine of crossing that border—into what is de jure Ukrainian land—and committing “terrorist acts” that “we will not let pass idly by.”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation’s monitoring mission could not “confirm media reports of security incidents involving shooting or military activities” in northern Crimea, and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt has written that the United States “government has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russian allegations.” Read more…

Hannah Thoburn, Aug. 11th, hudson.org.org

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