Putin’s potential contribution to ending the U.S.-North Korea standoff
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC summit this weekend. Although allegations of his campaign’s collaboration with Russia during last year’s election has made it hard for Mr. Trump to negotiate with the Kremlin, Mr. Putin’s assistance on the North Korea crisis could prove very useful. It would also be in Russia’s interest. The price the U.S. might have to pay in concessions could be high, but a solution where Washington and Russia cooperate to defuse the North Korea crisis is likely.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
Russia losing the new Great Game
Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow last month brought a raft of investment deals, suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is successfully executing his version of a pivot toward Asia. But appearances deceive. The Sino-Russian "strategic partnership" is not an agreement between equals, and Russia has lost the upper hand in Central Asia.
India and Germany draw closer
India and Germany may seem like an odd couple. But a recent flurry of diplomatic consultations suggest that the two countries may be beginning to form a strategic relationship. What animates them is a belief that second-tier powers need to work more closely together to shore up an international order threatened by an assertive China and a whimsical United States.
Self-destruction by arrogance and hypocrisy
Turkey-bashing remains a favorite sport in the European Union, as shown by the two latest resolutions approved by the European Parliament on July 6. For short-term gain, politicians are needlessly alienating the EU's most important strategic partner to the south and east.
Trumping Cuba: back to the future
Donald Trump has rolled back with a flourish one of the signature diplomatic achievements of the Obama administration – the opening to Cuba. While playing to Cuban-American voters, however, the president left key elements of this predecessor's policy in place.
America edges back into the Middle East
The United States is cautiously reengaging in the Middle East. To deal with an explosive situation that threatens world peace, President Donald Trump must first tackle the legacy of the Obama years, which left Russia and Iran well entrenched in some of the region's Arab countries. Forcing them out may not be possible, but the U.S. could restore some equilibrium.
China hasn’t won yet in the South China Sea
Much has been made of China's increasing activity in the South China Sea, especially its reclamation of islands and other land features that it is converting into air bases and outposts. But while it has extended its military foothold, it is still far from securing several of its strategic objectives. In fact, some steps proved counterproductive and led to major setbacks.
Opinion: The United Nations – missing in action
Dag Hammarskjold was one of the great secretary generals of the United Nations. The Swedish economist-turned-diplomat died in a plane crash in 1961, while trying to negotiate a ceasefire in the Congo. More than half a century later, his courage is missed. Is there any way for Hammarskjold's successors to reconnect the UN with its mission?
Will El-Sisi bring Egypt back?
At the heart of the Middle East is a surprising absence. Egypt, the most populous nation in the Arab world, with the largest army and a proud 6,000-year history, is no longer a leader. It exerts virtually no influence in the region, a situation that is unlikely to change unless President Abdel-Fattah Eli-Sisi turns his country around.