Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Are we Ever going to Have a World, where the Weak are Safe and the Strong are Just?

April 30, 2014 Leave a comment

jfk2

Walter Russell Mead paints a disturbing portrait of the United States’ geopolitical predicament. As he sees it, an increasingly formidable coalition of illiberal powers — China, Iran, and Russia — is determined to undo the post–Cold War settlement and the U.S.-led global order that stands behind it. Across Eurasia, he argues, these aggrieved states are bent on building spheres of influence to threaten the foundations of U.S. leadership and the global order. So the United States must rethink its optimism, including its post–Cold War belief that rising non-Western states can be persuaded to join the West and play by its rules. For Mead, the time has come to confront the threats from these increasingly dangerous geopolitical foes. Read more…

The Tragic Decline of American Foreign Policy

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

reagan-kennedy

It’s remarkable that the US economy looks to be picking up steam even as rising stars like China, India, Turkey, and Brazil wrestle with slowing growth and the risk of unrest. Improving US fundamentals, a steadily recovering jobs market, and revolution in energy production remind us that Americans aren’t waiting on Washington to kickstart growth. Yet, even as America strengthens at home, its influence abroad continues to wane.

The American public doesn’t seem to mind. A Pew Research poll conducted in December 2013 found that, for the first time in the fifty years Pew has asked this question, a majority of US respondents said the US “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Just 38 percent disagreed. That’s a double-digit shift from the historical norm. Read more…

Why Street Protests Don’t Work, How Can We Make it Work

April 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Protests-against-war-in-Iraq-erupted-around-the-world-in-March-of-2003.-This-combination-photo-shows-from-top-left-large-demonstrations-in-Madrid-New-York-Jakarta-Calcutta-Rome-2nd-row-London-Berlin-Mar

.

Street protests are in. From Bangkok to Caracas, and Madrid to Moscow, these days not a week goes by without news that a massive crowd has amassed in the streets of another of the world’s big cities. The reasons for the protests vary (bad and too-costly public transport or education, the plan to raze a park, police abuse, etc.). Often, the grievance quickly expands to include a repudiation of the government, or its head, or more general denunciations of corruption and economic inequality.

Aerial photos of the anti-government marches routinely show an intimidating sea of people furiously demanding change. And yet, it is surprising how little these crowds achieve. The fervent political energy on the ground is hugely disproportionate to the practical results of these demonstrations. Read more…

The Weak-willed President and his Abject Foreign Policy Failure

April 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Our allies and our enemies have seriously recalculated where the U.S. stands. It was not difficult to define American geopolitical strategy over the seven decades following World War II — at least until 2009. It was largely bipartisan advocacy, most lead_from_behind_MDambitiously, for nations to have the freedom of adopting constitutional governments that respected human rights, favored free markets, and abided by the rule of law. And at the least, we sought a world in which states could have any odious ideology they wished as long as they kept it within their own borders. There were several general strategic goals as we calculated our specific aims, both utopian and realistic.

(1) The strategic cornerstone was the protection of a small group of allies that, as we did, embraced consensual government and free markets, and were more likely to avoid human-rights abuses. That eventually meant partnerships with Western and later parts of Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and much of its former Empire, such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In Asia, the American focus was on Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. The U.S. military essentially guaranteed the security of these Asian nations, and they developed safely, shielded from Soviet or Chinese Communist aggression, and more recently from Russian or Chinese provocations. Read more…

On a Disengaged U.S. Foreign Policy

April 6, 2014 Leave a comment

In a wide-ranging discussion with Reza Akhlaghi of the Foreign Policy Association, Dr. Ian Bremmer discusses what he considers to be a disengaged foreign policy bycartoon-foreign-policy the United States. On April 10, 2014 Dr. Bremmer will be speaking at the Foreign Policy Association on the world’s biggest political risks.  Dr. Ian Bremmer is the founder and president of Eurasia Group, world’s largest political risk consulting firm based in New York. He is also a global research professor at New York University.

You’ve been emphasizing what you believe to be a decline in U.S. foreign policy as Washington retreats from some of its traditional commitments to some of its key allies. Which countries do you think feel cast aside by a retreating U.S. foreign policy and what should they be expecting going forward?

Most of America’s allies around the world  are questioning the level of U.S. commitment — even America’s closest partners, countries like Japan, Canada, and Israel. Read more…

Why People-Powered Revolutions are Overrated

March 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Kiev’s mass anti-government protests are a thing of the past, but the barricades remain, a shrine to the victims. Visitors trickle through the site, paying homage to thearticle_inset_lifer_0 Heavenly Hundred, those murdered in the final days of the struggle. The martyrs’ names are taped to the trees, their photographs covered in mounds of flowers. Children holding little Ukrainian flags pose for photographs in front of these monuments. They don’t smile.

They will remember coming here for the rest of their lives, for this is how nations are built: on legends, on emotions, on stories of heroes. Tales of those who stood for months in the square will be told and retold. But that doesn’t mean that the protesters will necessarily have triumphed. On the contrary, Ukrainians are about to learn that the exhilaration of “people power”—mass marches, big demonstrations, songs, and banners—is always an illusion. And sooner or later, the illusion wears off. Read more…

There Has Been and Will Be No Obama Doctrine

March 19, 2014 Leave a comment

By the beginning of 1980, Jimmy Carter was in big trouble. Almost everything he had said or done in foreign policy over the prior three years had failed — and he wasobama-doctrine-cartoon running for reelection.

Carter had come into office in 1977 promising a new American stance abroad predicated on human rights. He bragged of an end to our supposedly inordinate fear of Soviet-inspired Communism. He entertained the hope of not losing a single American soldier in combat during his tenure. And he rejected the realpolitik of the Nixon-Kissinger years.

The State Department would end the excessive influence of the bellicose National Security Council. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance would put a kinder, gentler face on American diplomacy. We championed Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over more moderate black reformers. We broke with the Shah of Iran, who fled his country in January 1979. We for a while praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and sought ways to reach out to him. Read more…

A World Without Consequences

March 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Why Putin, Assad, and their ilk are making chaos the new normal. Russia invades Ukraine. The United States responds with threats of unspecific “costs” Moscow will shield from follyincur if it doesn’t reverse course. We offer Putin-esque photos of Obama in almost comically aggressive postures on a telephone call with the Russian leader. We threaten not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to future summits of global big shots. NATO dispatches some of its elite corps of press release writers to offer up limp admonitions. And the U.S. president’s critics are left wondering aloud: Is this the weakest American president since Jimmy Carter? Or is it unfair to Carter to include him in that question? House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers illustrated the critique, suggesting that “Putin is playing chess” while “we’re playing marbles.”

Or alternatively, in the view of the president’s defenders, perhaps Barack Obama is just doing as much as a responsible president, respectful of his mandate and the current limitations on American power, can do.  Read more…

John Kerry Reveals why our Foreign Policy is a Mess

February 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Secretary of State John Kerry’s interview on CNN with Jake Tapper evidenced the three handicaps the United States has with Kerry at the helm: He is working for John KerryPresident Obama; he is not forthcoming; and he seems not to have figured out some basics about players on the world stage. Let’s take them in order.

The best one can say about him is that he is obliged to follow his boss’s lead, even when he stumbles upon the truth and tries to persuade Obama to change course. Take this exchange on Syria when Tapper asked if the policy had failed. He initially said, well, it’s “very challenging and very difficult.” Then he fessed up:

KERRY: No, I agree, since the deal, there has been a, um, because of the IRGC, Hezbollah principally, because of some of the fighting between — the infighting between the opposition, it’s fair to say that Assad has improved his position a little bit, yes. . . . Read more…

World Powers led by Uncle Sam have Turned the Middle East into the Arsenal of New Weapons

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Weapons are pouring into the Middle East at an unprecedented rate. The Pentagon recently announced that it would sell six tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to Israel for $1.3 1billion, American hardware (including Apache helicopters) is being rushed to the Iraqi government to help in its battle against al Qaeda, and Washington has also restored military aid to Egypt after a brief hiatus. But Uncle Sam isn’t the only one delivering weapons to the region: Hezbollah has acquired parts of Russia’s supersonic Yakhont missiles, which can strike vessels more than 75 miles off the coast of Lebanon, and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assadcontinues to receive significant stockpiles of weapons from both Moscow and Tehran.

These may appear to be piecemeal acquisitions, but these and other new weapons are actively changing the military dynamic in the Middle East. Read more…

The Corrupt Khamenei’s Business Empire Gains from Iran Sanctions Relief

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

One of the chief beneficiaries of this week’s easing of Iranian sanctions is the country’s ruler – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.0f6adaa0-f745-4eea-8c5d-a11783c3e18b_16x9_600x338

Khamenei controls a massive business empire known as Setad that has invested in Iran’s petrochemical industry, which is now permitted to resume exports. Under a six-month deal between Iran and world powers, Tehran has promised to scale back its nuclear development program in exchange for the suspension of certain economic sanctions, including curbs on the export of petrochemicals.

On Monday, the day the suspension of the restrictions took effect, the U.S. Treasury Department published a list of 14 Iranian petrochemical companies that previously had been sanctioned but are now permitted to do business abroad. Read more…

Erdogan and the Iranian Mullahs’ Underworld Corruption

December 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Turkey’s Islamist government is being rocked by the most sweeping corruption scandal of its tenure. Roughly two dozen figures, including well-connected business erdoganresigntycoons and the sons of top government ministers, have been charged with a wide range of financial crimes. The charges ballooned into a full-blown crisis on Dec. 25 when three ministers implicated in the scandal resigned, with one making a dramatic call for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to step down as well. An exhausted-looking Erdogan subsequently appeared on television in the evening to announce a Cabinet reshuffle that replaced a total of 10 ministers.

The drama surrounding two personalities are particularly eye-popping: Police reportedly discovered shoeboxes containing $4.5 million in the home of Suleyman Aslan, the CEO of state-owned Halkbank, and also arrested Reza Zarrab, an Iranian businessman who primarily deals in the gold trade, and who allegedly oversaw deals worth almost $10 billion last year alone. Read more…