Trump-Kim summit game squeezes South Korea’s president
Spare a moment to consider the plight of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. In the three-way negotiation between Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul about denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, Mr. Moon has perhaps the most sensible policy and is certainly the most predictable player. Yet he is entirely overshadowed by his mercurial partners, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Opinion: What kind of Russian meddling?
Russian “meddling” in other countries is so much a part of our political discourse that it has become fodder for jokes. But what is behind this interference, and who is doing the interfering? Visions of a centralized command center in the Kremlin ignore the freestyle nature of Russian politics in the Putin era, where teams of players tussle like bulldogs under a rug. But now the world is the playing field, and spy hysteria may only make a bad situation worse.
Opinion: Ukraine gridlocked
The evident stalemate in Ukraine is as much in Western policymakers’ heads as on the Donbas battlefront. Since the European Union has framed the conflict in moral terms that do not allow it to admit failure, it must maintain the pretense of success – giving Russia and Ukraine ample leeway to play their own games of deception. Yet the costs of this false equilibrium – to the EU, Russia and Ukraine itself – are too large to be sustained indefinitely.
India decides on force to break a pointless cycle
The latest round of fighting on the India-Pakistan border reveals a changed mood in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to order an air strike deep inside Pakistan in reprisal for a terrorist attack is evidence of a more muscular policy taking shape. If Mr. Modi is reelected in a few months, it can be assumed that India will be brandishing a bigger stick at its Western neighbor.
The Trump maritime strategy
After two decades of engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq, where land and air power ruled supreme, the U.S. Navy is again on the leading edge of American foreign policy. Freedom of Navigation missions and bold forward deployments of carrier task groups are just part of a new policy to challenge expansion by strategic adversaries such as China and Russia. Yet for the Trump maritime strategy to work, it must be sustained by effective communications and diplomacy, and by an accelerated naval construction program.
Filling the void in Libya
Libya continues to fall apart. Daily life is in a downward spiral, militias run Tripoli like criminal cartels, and as rival governments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica vie for control, the desert interior is up for grabs. UN mediation has failed to overcome these centrifugal forces, and hopes for U.S. involvement – perhaps the best chance for reunification – were dashed by the troop pullout from Syria. As outside powers circle for advantage, Russia is only too eager to fill the power vacuum.
Opinion: Political implications of terminating the INF Treaty
President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is one in a series of withdrawals from contractual security arrangements. For the U.S., this step changes little in the bilateral relationship with Russia, but among European policymakers and media it has stirred up outrage. Paradoxically, this comes at a time when nuclear missiles – which are political weapons par excellence – have lost much of their significance in Europe.
2019 Global Outlook: Playing for high stakes in North Korea
Less than a year after the Korean Peninsula appeared poised for war, little on the ground has changed. North Korea appears to be forging ahead with its nuclear program. Yet the public perception is that things are moving ahead on the diplomatic front, and there is even a whiff of détente in the air. When dealing with Pyongyang, however, surprises come with the territory.
Japan’s new outreach in Asia
China’s rise as an economic and military colossus has transformed the geopolitics of East Asia. Its most powerful neighbor, Japan, has embarked on a more self-reliant course, even as it continues to lean heavily on its alliance with the United States. Tokyo is expanding its contacts, both economic and strategic, with Southeast Asia, India and Australia.
2019 Global Outlook: The Fertile Crescent
The single most important development in the Middle East has been the end of Syria’s civil war, which was unequivocally won by the Baath regime. Even the hammer blows of a determined religious opposition could not destroy the post-World War I system that created Syria, Iraq and Jordan as Arab states. But with the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the victory of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian sponsors, the way could be cleared for an explosive confrontation with Israel.