One consequence of Iran’s disputed presidential election is that President Obama’s best-case scenario for dealing with the nuclear issue can now be dismissed. This envisaged a reformist victory and a new Iranian government willing to stop short of turning Iran into the world’s 10th nuclear weapons state. The scale of opposition protest suggests that change will come, but it may arrive later rather than sooner. In the meantime we are faced with an insecure conservative regime that hopes to shore up its fragile position by exaggerating the external threat and making national security the defining issue of domestic politics. This is not a promising basis for compromise.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Marzo de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
Ten years after Nato jets went into action against Serbia, the Kosovo war remains as controversial as ever. Welcomed by many at the time as evidence of a humanitarian world order in the making, its legacy has been overtaken, subsumed and ultimately distorted by the debate about the war on terror. What Vaclav Havel called «the first war for values» is now more often described as a dangerous precedent. Even Clare Short, a forceful advocate of intervention in the Balkans, attributed Tony Blair’s foreign policy errors to the «taste for grandstanding» he acquired in Kosovo.
There are several reasons for this, the most important undoubtedly the effect of the Iraq war in sowing doubt about the legitimacy and efficacy of western military power.… Seguir leyendo »
EU foreign ministers meeting in emergency session today to discuss the situation in Georgia should begin by asking why it took the outbreak of war to focus their attention. They had no cause to be surprised. The warning signs had been apparent for at least a year, and the Georgian government had made strenuous efforts to raise the alarm. This time last summer a Russian jet violated Georgian airspace and dropped a missile north of Tbilisi in what appeared to be a botched attack on a Georgian radar installation. Russia denied involvement, but two separate independent investigations found otherwise. Despite this, Georgia’s plea for diplomatic support fell almost entirely on deaf ears.… Seguir leyendo »
After several years of rising tension, hopes are being raised across Europe that tomorrow’s inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev as the new president of Russia will mark a significant improvement in relations. The optimistic scenario is that Medvedev will turn out to be a liberal who uses his predecessor’s legacy of revived national self-confidence to usher in an era of democratic reform and constructive diplomacy from a position of strength. A more realistic prognosis is that Putin has created an authoritarian regime too corrupted by power to change, except reluctantly and under pressure of circumstance.
Medvedev owes his position to the managed part of Putin’s «managed democracy» and is not about to turn on the system that created him.… Seguir leyendo »
New European treaties have always been occasions for disagreement in British politics but never before, as far as I’m aware, a pretext for civil disobedience. Those who climbed a crane in Parliament Square early yesterday morning to demand a referendum on the Lisbon treaty can therefore be credited with a first. Suffragettes chained themselves to railings to demand votes for women and a committed few went to prison for resisting the poll tax, but no one has flouted authority to stop the march of qualified majority voting or preserve the EU’s rotating presidency. MPs voting on a referendum tomorrow have been warned.… Seguir leyendo »