SAIS Next Europe

Diplomacy



October 24, 2008 2:13 PM

Turkey's Task: Dismantling Nuclear Iran

Turkey's recent election to the UN Security Council for a two-year term is--for the rising regional power--both a gesture and a request from the international community. As a result of the vote, Turkey is charged with the task of negotiating the Council's primary agenda: the Iranian nuclear program.

A certain test to Turkey's diplomatic prowess, it must work to maintain productive negotiations as an intermediary between Iran and western countries.while simultaneously receiving pressure from the United States to vote for the expansion of sanctions. Despite the difficulty of the task, Turkey may well provide the best avenue to a solution in this escalating international crisis.

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November 3, 2008 5:58 PM

Europe's Next Trouble Spot

Imagine it's February, 2008. Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia is imminent. International analysts are warning about reactionary moves by other breakaway regions. They say that South Ossetia and Abkhazia would become more daring in making official their already de facto independence from Georgia. They also say that after the successes of these regions-turned-states, we shouldn't be surprised by the appearance on the map of independent republics called either Transnistria (in Moldova), Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan) or Republika Srpska (Bosnia-Herzegovina).

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January 6, 2009 1:51 PM

Europe's American Obstacle: Republicans in Decline

Unfortunately for Europe, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the greatest reversal in modern U.S.-European relations is a Republican Party on the decline. Lacking a coherent strategy for explaining and justifying the Bush Doctrine, the last option for the party in shambles is obstruction and taking on their favorite bĂȘte noir and the future face of U.S. diplomacy, Hillary Clinton. Fresh off the auto-bailout filibuster, the National Republican Committee will be holding "soul-searching" sessions this month to discuss platform issues and the future of the party. A successful block of a coordinated U.S. financial bailout with Europe, and an Obama fumble in his first foreign policy test, may just be what the GOP is looking for.

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January 27, 2009 3:22 PM

Revisiting the Cyprus Problem

To the average American, Cyprus is a nondescript island in the Mediterranean - or perhaps an ancient parchment used in the times of the Pharaohs. But to practitioners of international conflict management, it presents one of the world's most puzzling and intractable conflicts.

Last week I joined the SAIS Conflict Management department on a research trip to Cyprus to examine the roots of the conflict and the current positions of the two sides, with an aim toward providing constructive recommendations for progress towards a settlement. We came away with the impression that ordinary Cypriots today in fact want integration - but their politicians lack the political will to push for compromise.

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February 10, 2009 10:36 AM

A New Model for Foreign Aid

A sign in the lobby of the British government's Department for International Development (DFID) bears the following bold motto: "Leading the British Government's fight against world poverty."

Since 1997, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) has emerged as a top-rated international development organization. The decision to focus on the single goal of fighting poverty is one reason for its success. At the same time, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has grown weaker. Major aid initiatives have been set up outside of USAID, the U.S. military is shouldering a growing share of development and reconstruction work overseas, and a shrinking staff has forced USAID to rely more on private contractors to carry out its work. In reaction to this trend, some American aid experts have called for creating a strengthened, cabinet-level development department, and suggested that DFID could serve as a model.

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March 2, 2009 3:43 PM

EU Takes Realist Tone With Colombia

During Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's recent visit to Berlin, two agenda items garnered attention: closer economic ties with Europe and help fighting the drug trade.

Europe is charging ahead on the former. Negotiations over a free trade agreement (FTA) began in mid-February, leaving the EU poised to gain where the United States lost last year. After two years of negotiations and substantial expenditures of political capital by both the Bush administration and President Uribe, Congress refused to vote on the U.S.-Colombia (FTA) over concerns about human rights and labor standards--even after the FTA was revised to include enforceable labor provisions. (The bill ultimately fell victim to an underlying difference in perspective: The Bush administration saw the FTA as a tool for strengthening national security through economic development that could undercut drug activity in Colombia, but the Democrats in control of Congress saw it as a reward that Colombia did not deserve).

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March 6, 2009 11:16 AM

Managing Missile Defense's Demise

Obama's "secret letter to Russia" path could destroy NATO cohesion and undermine pro-Americanism where it is still strong.

By Jan Jires

The U.S. missile defense project has always been a divisive issue both at home and abroad. Domestic critics of the project, which the Bush administration vigorously promoted, have questioned the technical feasibility of the proposed system as well as its cost-effectiveness.

Many critics abroad have been preoccupied with broader political implications of the project. They worry that the delicate parity between the leading nuclear powers and the resulting situation of "mutually assured destruction" established during the Cold War will be ruined by a missile defense system, and that the planned deployment of the system's components on the territory of Central European NATO allies will irritate Russia. It is rather ironic that they have succeeded in presenting their opposition to missile defense as a rejection of the "Cold War logic of arms race" and in accusing the supporters of the project of "Cold War mentality".

The Obama administration is, of course, entitled to review the project it inherited and to evaluate its technical feasibility, economic sensibility and political desirability. It should, however, be aware of the fact that the debate about the project has long ago ceased to focus on its declared purpose (protecting the U.S. and NATO from missiles coming from unstable countries in the Middle East and Asia) and has been transformed into a game heavily charged with political symbolism.

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March 12, 2009 5:01 PM

America and Britain: Still BFF?

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent visit to the White House went according to plan. And that's what upset the British. There was no jovial banter between the two heads of state, no elaborate press conference or special honors bestowed on Brown, and no assurance by Obama that Great Britain enjoys a privileged relationship with America. To a country accustomed to a special standing with the world's superpower, Brown's uneventful trip to Washington was a disaster and marks a seismic shift in US-British relations.

President Bush's well-known friendship with former PM Tony Blair during the past eight years reinforced the long-standing perception that Great Britain is a unique ally of the United States. In fact, since the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, Great Britain has reliably supported the American stance on most major foreign policy issues (including the Iraq War). In return, British officials have enjoyed unprecedented access to American leaders. Churchill famously coined the Anglo-American link a special relationship.

But the Obama administration is not picking favorites, to the great dismay of Great Britain.

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May 27, 2009 1:59 PM

Obama Strikes A European Balance

President Obama has already graced Europe with his presence more than any other continent - and he'll continue that record with upcoming trips to the D-Day anniversary in Normandy, as well as Buchenwald, Dresden and the G8 meeting in Italy,.He has also addressed issues dear to Europeans' hearts:closing Guantanamo, scheduling the troop withdrawal from Iraq, banning torture.

Nevertheless, those expecting a transatlantic love affair will be disappointed. Considering that "Obamania" did not translate into more troops for Afghanistan, a global stimulus spending spree, tougher sanctions against Iran, or even accepting Uighur prisoners, Europe should prepare for a U.S. administration whose policies will be characterized by more pragmatism and less emotion.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.