Saudi Arabia’s hidden power struggle comes into the open
The arrest of 208 high-ranking individuals in November 2017 on suspicion of corruption suggests that the House of Saud faces serious challenges. King Salman’s son, Mohammad bin Salman, has consolidated power in a way that contravenes the traditional rules of succession of the Saudi ruling dynasty. But amid foreign policy setbacks and a mixed record with domestic reforms, it is far from certain that the Crown Prince will succeed his father on the throne.
2018 Global Outlook: Four dangerous dynamics in the Middle East
Early 2018 finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. It is hard to recall a period when so many fundamental geopolitical shifts have occurred just as societies, states and alliances in the region were all starting to fall apart. Four disruptive trends can be identified, any one of which would have sufficed to produce regional instability in the not-too-distant past. Today, their combination creates a formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
Opinion: Jerusalem recognition narrows U.S. options on Iran
President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has hurt U.S. efforts to build a Sunni alliance against Iran. Given the risk of a region-wide conflict erupting near the Golan Heights or in southern Lebanon, its timing was also unfortunate. However, there could be a deeper logic behind the move.
2018 Global Outlook: The Trump presidency, Year Two
After a year in the White House, Donald Trump is suffering as much from his own erratic personality as from the burden of office. Foreign policy in the traditional, institutional sense has ceased to exist, and the way the president and Congress operate suggests there will be little room for maneouver once domestic troubles start to mount. Miscalculation and overreaction become increasingly likely as the global arena grows more precarious.
Washington poised to become New Delhi’s partner in the Indian Ocean
Not since the Cold War has the United States paid such close attention to the Indian Ocean. Now the competitor attracting Washington’s attention is China, not the Soviet Union, and its closest partner is India – a country with its own concerns about Chinese designs in the region. The consequence will be an abiding U.S. military, economic and diplomatic presence in the region.
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.