Roland Paris

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A Russian soldier points a gun from a military helicopter as it flies over an undisclosed location in Ukraine. (AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has been widely decried as a violation of that country’s territorial sovereignty. It also reeks of hypocrisy: Putin has long championed the principle of noninterference in countries’ internal affairs.

But this is only part of the story. While the invasion clearly violated Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty, it also conformed with a very different understanding of sovereignty that Putin has advanced in recent years, one that animates far-right populism beyond the current conflict.

Putin is redefining sovereignty

For most people — including most national leaders — sovereignty has a clear meaning: Nations are legally equal in international affairs, their borders are inviolable and they have exclusive authority within these borders.…  Seguir leyendo »

Canada's prime minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau delivers his victory speech with his family at election headquarters in Montreal, Canada after winning a third term. Photo by Dave Chan/Getty Images.

Justin Trudeau gambled on an early election call hoping to benefit from the public support for his government’s management of the pandemic, but exhausted voters seemed annoyed at the sudden intrusion of electoral politics into already complicated lives.

Although the prime minister averted a looming disaster in the middle of the campaign when the opposition Conservative Party overtook his Liberal Party in the polls, he emerges from the election a victorious yet diminished figure. His party will continue to stand by him – he won, after all – but questions about his future electoral prospects are likely to return.

His main rival – Conservative leader Erin O’Toole – faces more immediate problems within his own party following his failed electoral strategy to win more Conservative seats by moderating his party’s positions on issues such as climate change and gun ownership, which had alienated centrist urban and suburban voters in previous elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

A US soldier stands with a bouquet of flowers among headstones of those killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Afghanistan goals were laudable but open-ended

Sir Simon Fraser

The outcome in Afghanistan should not have been a surprise, even if the way it happened was a shock. For foreign policy in general, and foreign military interventions in particular, it is essential to be clear about goals and the capacity to deliver. In Afghanistan, the US and its allies have fallen short on both these counts.

This is a serious reversal for the US and its closest allies, but not a strategic disaster. The threat from Islamist terror will increase, but its significance is sometimes exaggerated and, to some extent, can be addressed by other means.…  Seguir leyendo »

Angela Merkel and other world leaders deliberate with US president Donald Trump at the G7 summit in 2018. Photo by Jesco Denzel /Bundesregierung via Getty Images

After China violated Hong Kong’s legislative autonomy by imposing a new security law on the territory, the United States and its traditional allies did something remarkable — they agreed. But this display of solidarity was fleeting.

The US, UK, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all issued critical statements. However, President Donald Trump then quickly announced the United States would protest China’s action by ending America’s special trade relationship with Hong Kong, whereas the EU rejected punitive economic measures.

Trump further vowed the US would ‘terminate’ its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the grounds that the agency has become a Chinese instrument.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Canadian embassy in Beijing on 14 January. Photo: Getty Images.

China’s apparent use of Canadian detainees as diplomatic bargaining chips is not just a problem for Canada. It is a challenge to all countries that seek to uphold the rule of law in their domestic and international affairs.

The dispute began in December when Canadian police arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on an extradition request from the United States. Meng is accused of fraud for allegedly conspiring to mislead several banks between 2009 and 2014. US authorities claim that she deliberately misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom Tech, a Hong Kong-based company that did business in Iran in violation of US sanctions.…  Seguir leyendo »