The Balkans remains in strategic limbo. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 10 years ago, but Serbia has yet to come to terms with its loss — refusing to recognize Kosovo and stirring trouble between the country’s ethnic Serbs and the ethnic Albanian majority. Almost two decades after the NATO bombing campaign to drive Yugoslav forces from Kosovo, some 4,000 NATO troops remain there to keep the peace.
A breakthrough may now be in the making. It is a morally offensive one, but nonetheless the United States and the European Union should get behind it.
President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo are apparently working on a proposal to engage in a land swap that could bring the simmering conflict to an end.… Seguir leyendo »
The European Union is the West’s last line of defense. The United States has historically been the world’s anchor of republican ideals, but President Trump has abandoned the role, openly admiring strongmen like Vladimir Putin of Russia. As the temptations of nationalist populism spread, Europe has responsibility for holding down the Western fort. The primary battle right now is over Poland, which is deepening its descent into illiberalism. The European Union needs to take a firm stand in defense of Western values.
Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s populist government has sought to control the news media, purged and politicized the civil service, and intimidated intellectuals and civil society organizations.… Seguir leyendo »
Of the many foreign policy pledges that President Trump made as a candidate, one of the few worth keeping is to improve relations with Russia. Fueled most recently by Russian interference in the American election and differences over Syria, tensions between Washington and Moscow compromise American interests in Europe, the Middle East and beyond. If Mr. Trump is serious about reducing those tensions and mending ties with the Kremlin, he should use the occasion of this week’s summit conference in Brussels to call for a halt to NATO enlargement.
As is his style, Mr. Trump would be breaking with foreign policy orthodoxy — except this time, it would be fully warranted.… Seguir leyendo »
The Egyptian military’s bloody crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood is yet another sign of the dark side of the Arab awakening. Across the Middle East, glimmerings of democracy are being snuffed out by political turmoil and violence.
That reality requires a sobering course correction in American policy. Rather than viewing the end of autocracy’s monopoly as a ripe moment to spread democracy in the region, Washington should downsize its ambition and work with transitional governments to establish the foundations of responsible, even if not democratic, rule.
Ever since the Egyptian military seized power last month, the United States government, backed by much of the country’s foreign policy elite, has demanded the restoration of democratic rule.… Seguir leyendo »
During his recent visit to Israel, President Barack Obama pulled off a major breakthrough in relations between Israel and Turkey. After forging very close ties during the 1990s, Jerusalem and Ankara have of late gone their separate ways. The estrangement peaked as a result of Israel’s 2010 interdiction of the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship that was attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli operation resulted in the death of nine activists on board the vessel. The Turkish government was incensed, and an Istanbul court went on to indict four Israeli commanders allegedly responsible for the mission.… Seguir leyendo »
Storm clouds are darkening over Britain’s relationship with the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron is backing away from the Union, ostensibly seeking to fashion the more distant relationship between London and Brussels needed to keep the U.K. in the E.U. But he may well be putting in motion a political process that will culminate in Britain’s exit from Europe.
That outcome would deal a serious blow to European solidarity, deny the E.U. the valuable role that London continues to play in guiding economic integration and the enlargement of the Union, and shake the foundations of the trans-Atlantic alliance.
Before Britain’s self-isolation becomes irreversible, Europeans and Americans alike had better face up to the potential consequences of the U.K.’s growing estrangement from the E.U.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s election season again, and the main contenders for the Oval Office are knocking themselves out to reassure Americans that their nation remains at the pinnacle of the global pecking order. Mitt Romney recently declared that “this century must be an American century.” Not to be outdone, President Obama insisted in his State of the Union address that “anyone who tells you that America is in decline” doesn’t “know what they’re talking about.”
Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama might overdo it a bit, but they’re actually not far off the mark. Despite two draining wars, sluggish growth and a diffusion of power from the West to China and the “rising rest,” a combination of economic resilience and military superiority will keep the United States at or near the top for decades.… Seguir leyendo »
A crisis of governability has beset the Western world. It is no accident that the United States, Europe and Japan are simultaneously experiencing political breakdown; globalization is producing a widening gap between what electorates are asking of their governments and what those governments can deliver. The mismatch between the growing demand for good governance and its shrinking supply is one of the gravest challenges facing the West today.
Globalization was supposed to have played to the advantage of liberal societies, which were presumably best suited to capitalize on the fast and fluid global marketplace. But instead, for the better part of two decades, middle-class wages in the world’s leading democracies have been stagnant and economic inequality has been rising sharply.… Seguir leyendo »
At Wednesday’s meeting of NATO defense ministers with their Russian counterpart, the Western alliance will seek to win Russian support for and cooperation in a European missile-defense system.
Moscow’s assent would constitute a major step toward rapprochement between NATO and its former enemy, advancing the cause of anchoring Russia firmly in the Euro-Atlantic community.
Moscow is no longer vehemently denouncing any and all U.S. talk of missile defense and instead appears ready to explore ways to merge its own evolving system with NATO’s. Nonetheless, the issue is far from settled and, if not managed carefully, has the potential to scuttle the progress already made in resetting Russia relations with the West.… Seguir leyendo »
As the violence escalates in Libya, Western governments remain tongue-tied and befuddled as they struggle to react to the popular revolts that are sweeping the Middle East. At one moment, they eagerly compare the uprisings to the French revolution or the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the next, they cautiously backpedal, clearly mindful of the threats the revolts pose to the West’s strategic and economic interests.
The confusion is understandable. The unrest marks a buoyant reaffirmation of the universal desire for voice and dignity and may well enable democracy to take root in the Middle East. At the same time, the uprisings are not only producing bloodshed, but also toppling regimes on which the West relies for energy and strategic cooperation.… Seguir leyendo »
L’Union européenne est à l’agonie – pas une mort spectaculaire ni soudaine, non, mais une agonie si lente et si progressive qu’un jour prochain, nous Américains, en portant nos regards de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, découvrirons peut-être que ce projet d’intégration européenne qui allait de soi depuis un demi-siècle a cessé d’être.
Le déclin européen est en partie économique. De nombreux Etats membres de l’Union paient un lourd tribut à la crise financière, et les dettes publiques colossales et la santé précaire des banques du continent ne laissent rien présager de bon. Pourtant, ces malheurs semblent bien bénins comparés à un mal plus grave encore : de Londres à Varsovie en passant par Berlin, l’Europe subit une renationalisation de la vie politique, et ses pays membres réclament la souveraineté qu’ils sacrifiaient jadis bien volontiers au nom d’un idéal collectif.… Seguir leyendo »
For over six decades, Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in cycles of violence punctuated by fruitless efforts to forge a peace settlement. Given this dismal track record, a breakthrough in the new negotiations now under way will require a bold move to prevent the talks from again ending in stalemate.
Since Israel holds virtually all the cards — the land, the tanks, the wealth, the water — the Palestinians should make that bold move by taking what they can get, not what they want.
The Palestinian Authority should make Israel an offer it can’t refuse by leapfrogging the logjam and declaring publicly that it is prepared to accept the outlines of the deal that successive Israeli governments have put on the table.… Seguir leyendo »
A worrisome confrontation is escalating between the United States and China. Washington charges that Beijing is unfairly bolstering Chinese exports by keeping its currency artificially low and is troubled by Beijing’s dispute with Google over Internet censorship. Beijing is telling the United States to mind its own business and is chafing over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and President Obama’s recent meeting with the Dalai Lama.
With the anger on both sides intensifying, American and Chinese leaders urgently need to take steps to defuse the situation. Otherwise, China’s continuing rise may soon result in a classic rivalry between reigning hegemon and ascending challenger.… Seguir leyendo »