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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Affairs’

Theresa May’s Impossible Vision for Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 16. März 2018

Date: 14-03-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Jonathan Hopkin

Leaving the EU Without Trade-Offs Means Not Leaving at All

On March 2, British Prime Minister Theresa May presented her long-awaited proposal for Britain’s exit from the European Union. Hoping to cut through the cacophony and confusion of the two years since the Brexit referendum, May set out her vision for the economic relationship between the United Kingdom and the remaining 27 European Union countries by laying out the five “tests” of any Brexit agreement: “Implementing the decision of the British people, reaching an enduring solution, protecting our security and prosperity, delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country we want to be, and bringing our country together.” Her speech finished on a feisty note. “We know what we want,” she said. “We understand your principles. We have a shared interest in getting this right. So let’s get on with it.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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Pope Francis‘ Silence on Central Europe’s Migration Crackdown

Posted by hkarner - 9. März 2018

Date: 08-03-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Victor Gaetan

Why He’s Unlikely to Intervene

Ever since the European migrant crisis began in 2015, Pope Francis has urged Europe’s Catholics to welcome “refugees who flee death from war and hunger.” Yet the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia—central European countries with traditionally Catholic identities—have proved remarkably hostile to this counsel, showing continued resistance to EU resettlement quotas and voicing continued opposition to taking in Middle Eastern migrants. In the face of this reaction, it is worth asking: Why has the pope not been more critical of these governments and their refugee policies? In spite of Francis’ global profile and penchant for envelope-pushing pronouncements, when it comes to specific national policies he is often reticent. More than previous popes, he defers to the views of national bishops and favors decentralized decision-making in the Church, an approach that can be read in the Catholic social principle of subsidiarity.

BEHIND THE POPE’S SILENCE Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The World After Trump: How the System Can Endure

Posted by hkarner - 7. März 2018

Date: 06-03-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Jake Sullivan

The warnings started long before Donald Trump was even a presidential candidate. For at least a decade, a growing chorus of foreign policy experts had been pointing to signs that the international order was coming apart. Authoritarian powers were flouting long-accepted rules. Failed states were radiating threats. Economies were being disrupted by technology and globalization; political systems, by populism. Meanwhile, the gap in power and influence between the United States—the leader and guarantor of the existing order—and the rest of the world was closing.

Then came Trump’s election. To those already issuing such warnings, it sounded the death knell of the world as it was. Even many of those who had previously resisted pessimism suddenly came to agree. As they saw it, the U.S.-led order—the post–World War II system of norms, institutions, and partnerships that has helped manage disputes, mobilize action, and govern international conduct—was ending for good. And what came next, they argued, would be either an entirely new order or a period with no real order at all. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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Could Putin and Xi Undermine Their Own Rule?

Posted by hkarner - 8. Februar 2018

Date: 07-02-2018

Source: Foreign Affairs By Alina Polyakova and Torrey Taussig

Subject: The Autocrat’s Achilles‘ Heel

Great power competition is back. Russia and China—two great powers with autocrats at their helms—are actively testing the durability of the international order as the West seemingly retreats. Russian President Vladimir Putin, unfazed by Western sanctions, not only led a disinformation campaign in Western democracies to disrupt major elections, but continues to maintain Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Chinese President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, is projecting China’s military power into the South China Sea and its economic might across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Both countries also seek to influence democratic states through the use of “sharp power.” Aware of Russia and China’s growing reach, the Trump administration made the right decision to identify the two nations as U.S. competitors in its recently released National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy. For the first time since September 11, 2001, great power competition, rather than global terrorism, is considered the number one priority for U.S. national security.

There seem to be no effective checks to Putin and Xi’s growing ambitions. Both leaders, however, could be making a strategic error. They are staking their countries’ futures, and international trajectories, on one thing:

themselves. Throughout their respective reigns, Putin and Xi have taken steps to consolidate their personal control on power. This may work as a stabilizing mechanism in the short term, but in the long term, can exacerbate inherent domestic tensions that could eventually undermine their rule. Putin and Xi face two similar dilemmas as long-time autocrats of large countries: managing brutal elite competition for loyalty and succession, and balancing international ambitions with deepening tensions between the central government and restive regions. As both leaders seek more “wins” to justify their personal control at home, they may increasingly pursue riskier and bolder foreign policies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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Trump’s Troubling Nuclear Plan

Posted by hkarner - 4. Februar 2018

Date: 03-02-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Adam Mount

How It Hastens the Rise of a More Dangerous World

Like President Donald Trump, the Pentagon’s new nuclear policy document sees a dark and threatening world. It argues that potential U.S. adversaries such as China, North Korea, and Russia are rapidly improving their nuclear capabilities and gaining an edge over the United States. But rather than laying out a plan to halt this slide into a more dangerous world and working to decrease reliance on nuclear weapons, the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) hastens its rise by accepting the reasoning of U.S. adversaries and affirmatively embracing nuclear competition.

The central claim of the Nuclear Posture Review is that the United States must expand its reliance on nuclear weapons to protect the country and its allies—a complete reversal of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce reliance. To this end, the NPR proposes not only replacing an aging nuclear arsenal but further “supplement[ing]” it with two new missiles. It expands the circumstances in which the United States would consider employing nuclear weapons to include the ambiguously termed “non-nuclear strategic attacks” against infrastructure. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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It Will Be Good for Europe But Bad for Germany

Posted by hkarner - 24. Januar 2018

Date: 23-01-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs
Subject: Another Grand Coalition Takes Shape in Berlin

More of the same is not what Germans voted for in last September’s parliamentary elections, but it is what they will get now that the Social Democrats (SPD) have grudgingly agreed to proceed with formal negotiations for a grand coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). After contentious internal battles, SPD delegates narrowly voted, at a party convention on Sunday, to give their leadership the license to serve for a third time as a junior partner to Merkel’s conservative party. Their decision is based on a 28-page joint-position paper that the two parties had hashed out earlier in Berlin.

Given the collapse of government coalition talks in November, the willingness of the SPD to enter formal coalition talks with the CDU has thrown Merkel a political lifeline. She will enter her fourth term in office, most likely by Easter, and by then the ink on the coalition agreement will have dried and the 400,000 SPD party members will have given their approval of it in a pro forma SPD ballot. If the SPD convention vote on Sunday had gone the other way, however, Germany would have faced the uncomfortable prospect of having to hold new elections, which would prolong delays for crucial reform within the European Union and hurt the country’s reputation as a global leader. With a grand coalition government in the making, the EU and the rest of the world can expect a strong, stable hand in Berlin. But back at home, this compromise will continue to weaken the German political party system as visionary plans for the country’s future will be put on hold and populist parties will have a field day criticizing the two major parties in one go. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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The Euro in Decline

Posted by hkarner - 14. Januar 2018

Date: 12-01-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Kathleen R. McNamara

How the Currency Could Spoil the Global Financial System

When the euro was created some 15 years ago, there was speculation that the new currency might come to challenge the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency of choice. But the euro’s guardian, the European Central Bank (ECB), had little appetite for such a role. Likewise, foreign exchange markets showed little support for supplanting the dollar’s hegemony with the euro, despite a move into euro-denominated bonds and a strengthening of the value of the euro over the 2000s. This has meant that the EU has, in large part, played a “helper” role in U.S. financial hegemony throughout the postwar era to today.

But now, Europe’s “helper” status may well be in question. The populist forces that have emerged throughout the continent challenge the legitimacy of the euro and threaten both the institutional and ideational foundations upon which it rests. With this uncertainty arises the possibility of the EU turning into a “risk generator” within the global financial order or perhaps even worse—a “spoiler” of the very system itself. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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How the Eurozone Might Split

Posted by hkarner - 13. Januar 2018

Date: 12-01-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Mark Blyth and Simon Tilford

Could Germany Become a Reluctant Hegemon?

In February 2016, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development opined that developed country growth prospects had “practically flat-lined” and that only a stronger “commitment to raising public investment would boost demand and help support future growth.” Fast-forward some 24 months, and despite Brexit, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the rise of the populist Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the euro seems to be a much better bet than it has been in a long time. But has the euro really weathered the crisis and come out stronger? In this article, we make two interrelated arguments about the future of the eurozone.

The first is that even if the recent economic upturn continues, the eurozone could still split in two over the medium to long term thanks to a built-in design flaw in the eurozone architecture that makes it extremely difficult for the eurozone governors to deal with persistent export and import imbalances between states. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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What the West Gets Wrong About China’s Economy

Posted by hkarner - 24. Dezember 2017

Date: 22-12-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Yukon Huang

Debt, Trade, and Corruption

Few countries command as much attention as China. That is not surprising. Its remarkable economic rise is shaking the world’s geopolitical balance even as it raises questions about the universality of market-led capitalism and democratic norms. In turn, China has become a lightning rod for all manner of anxiety. The White House has blamed China for the United States’ huge trade deficits, for example, even though there is no direct causal relationship between such deficits and China’s surpluses. In fact, there are several things about China that U.S. analysts get wrong.

It isn’t hard to understand why. For the general public, there are difficulties in drawing appropriate conclusions about a country that is so big and regionally diverse in the distribution of its natural resources and commercial activities. And sentiments are almost always clouded by differences in ideology, values, and culture.

For scholars, meanwhile, conflicting views stem from the lack of an agreed framework for analyzing China’s economy. Decades ago, in the heyday of the Soviet Union, universities taught courses on centrally planned or “transitional” economies as an academic discipline. With the demise of the former Soviet Union, this body of analysis faded away. Today, China is studied as a developing economy, yet it is not one. The close links between its financial, fiscal, trade, and social welfare systems make it a different animal entirely. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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The New Language of European Populism

Posted by hkarner - 8. Dezember 2017

Date: 07-12-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Rogers Brubaker

Why „Civilization“ Is Replacing the Nation

Anti-immigrant populist parties have been a familiar feature of European politics since at least the 1980s, but they have gained new prominence in recent years. In May, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen was a serious contender in France’s presidential election; in the run-up to the Dutch parliamentary elections in March, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom was long in the lead; and last year, Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party came very close to winning Austria’s presidency. Anti-immigrant populists have also achieved breakthroughs in countries where they had previously failed to gain traction, notably Germany and Sweden, where the Alternative for Germany and the Sweden Democrats, respectively, have made big electoral gains.

Observers ordinarily characterize these parties as nativist, nationalist, and far right. But although these parties do champion nativist and nationalist themes, and although their rhetoric is indeed sometimes extreme, it would be a mistake to see them as simply the heirs of Europe’s long tradition of far-right nationalism. Unlike the Nazi Party or the fascist parties of interwar Europe or the small neo-Nazi or neofascist parties of postwar Europe, these are not anti-system actors; they do not reject the democratic constitutional order. Nor are they even consistently right-wing. Unlike her conservative opponent François Fillon, for example, Le Pen presented her party as “neither right nor left” and promised to defend workers against “savage globalization.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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