NATO is the world’s largest and most powerful military alliance, having more than doubled in size from its dozen founding members, and has deployed troops all over the world, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.
But its future has been thrown into unprecedented doubt by the election of President Donald Trump. During his campaign, Trump suggested that the willingness of the US to defend its European allies would be conditional on their contributions to the alliance, which he has since called “obsolete.”
He also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin while denigrating European leaders, and his officials have welcomed the collapse of the European Union (EU).… Seguir leyendo »
Workers hide on rooftop from machine gunfire in Paris Charlie Hebdo attack France was yesterday struck by the largest-ever terrorist attack on its soil, the worst in the EU for a decade, and the deadliest in Europe as a whole since Anders Breivik’s killing spree in Oslo four years ago. It was a direct attack not just on democracy, but also one of its central pillars: the right of free speech in a climate free from fear and violence. But, despite the trauma, it’s important to put the attackers’ methods in their proper perspective.
First, the attackers’ level of sophistication should not be overestimated.… Seguir leyendo »
After a last-ditch effort over the weekend to negotiate an agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme, diplomats finally conceded defeat today, with hours to spare before the deadline. But instead of choosing to abandon talks altogether, reverting to a dangerous spiral of Western sanctions and Iranian nuclear build-up, the two sides have chosen a wiser course.
They have extended for the second time a temporary deal which was agreed a year ago, promised a so-called “framework” agreement by March, which would formalise the areas of consensus, and a final, “comprehensive” agreement by July, which would fill in the thorniest details. This is a worryingly long timeline, because it allows opponents of diplomacy in Washington and Tehran plenty of time to undermine their governments.… Seguir leyendo »
Amos Yadlin, formerly chief of Defense Intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), observed this week that the Israeli public typically goes through wartime “cycles”: first showing sweeping support and then, as civilian and military deaths begin, growing impatient and putting pressure on politicians to end hostilities. Therefore, as Yadlin put it, “the ability of the Israeli home front to withstand a campaign that lasts for more than a week is a key factor in the outcome.”
In recent years, though, Israel’s missile defense system, Iron Dome, has had a significant impact on that home front’s resilience — and therefore on the calculus of Israel’s leaders.… Seguir leyendo »
While David Cameron was in Beijing pleading for Chinese investment in our high-speed rail, China’s jets were streaking above the disputed waters of Asia alongside American and Japanese warplanes. It is difficult not to be struck by the dissonance between the Prime Minister’s eager, occasionally fawning, trade and investment spree, and the brewing crisis in the crowded skies of the East China Sea. In this, we face a dilemma that will define the coming years: how do we deter China without demonising it.
On November 23, China declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (AIDZ) covering most of the East China Sea, which lies between South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.… Seguir leyendo »
Negotiators from the major global powers reconverge on Geneva on Wednesday for a second try at an interim deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. After the heated rhetoric of the past 10 days, it is vital to understand what is on the table and why a deal should be done.
The recent flurry of international diplomacy has been a Rorschach test for views of Iran. Some Israeli and American politicians have warned — hysterically and without a proper understanding of the terms being offered to Iran — that the world is at risk of repeating the allies’ appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938, with all that ensued.… Seguir leyendo »
There could be no more apt image to describe Libyan politics today than the prime minister himself, the beleaguered Mr Ali Zeidan, being kidnapped on Tuesday morning by a militia notionally allied to his own government. When he was released several hours later, he noted, with marvellous understatement, that “there are many things that need dealing with”. Indeed there are.
For one thing, Mr Zeidan’s was not the first abduction of the week. That came courtesy of American special forces, who strolled into Tripoli on Saturday to pick up Abu Anas al-Liby, a senior member of al‑Qaeda wanted for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Uganda.… Seguir leyendo »
International crises are supposed to last days. Perhaps, like the Cuban missile crisis, they can stretch to weeks or, like the prelude to war in 1914, even months. But the Iranian nuclear crisis, which began with the revelation of secret nuclear sites in 2002, has now lasted a full decade. Although some might consider 10 years without war to be a success, it would be foolish to assume we can endure another 10.
It is now more important than ever that we take advantage of fortuitous diplomatic circumstances and seek a deal with Iran, one which both addresses our basic security concerns and allows Iran to come away with dignity.… Seguir leyendo »