Putting France-US Relations Back on Track

December 5, 2022

Last week President Macron paid a state visit to Washington, the first of the Biden administration.

In widely reported remarks, “France has jumped to the head of the queue,” said Professor Charles Kupchan, who was a senior adviser on European issues in the Obama White House. “The state visit is symbolically significant as the return of the trans-Atlantic relationship to the center of American strategy in the world, and it’s notable that the country getting the first nod is France, not Germany or Britain.”

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Toward an Inflection Point

November 28, 2022

President Erdogan’s handshake with President al-Sisi has once again triggered criticism about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leadership’s foreign policy U-turns. On the list were the relations with the UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Last Wednesday, in response to questions after the party group meeting, he said he could meet Presidents al-Sisi and Assad and there is no room for bad blood and rancor in politics.

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The G20 Summit

November 17, 2022

As admitted by its member states, the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues. But in a time of international turmoil with the war in Ukraine, strategic competition between major powers, the Covid-19 pandemic, global economic downturn, food and energy security challenges, and a dysfunctional UN, the G20 meetings at least provide a forum for the face-to-face exchange of views between the leading powers and economies of the world. Understandably, the Bali meeting took place under the shadow of the war in Ukraine.

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Russia’s Withdrawal from Kherson

November 14, 2022

Last Friday, following an announcement by the Russian military that it had completed its withdrawal from Kherson, Ukrainian soldiers entered the city prompting nationwide celebration. Coming weeks after he declared the Kherson region a part of Russia forever, this was seen as a major setback for President Putin and further evidence of a mismanaged war.  Kherson was considered a critical bridgehead for a Russian drive further west to the port city of Odesa. Moreover, as the Russian forces withdraw from Kherson, the Antonivsky Bridge connecting the city to the eastern bank was blown severing the main transit route for Russian supplies coming in from Crimea.

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China-West Relations and the Scholz Visit

November 7, 2022

On June 14, 2021, Mr. Biden arrived in Brussels on his first trip to Europe as President. His principal task at the NATO summit was to put behind America’s allies’ troubled relations with the Trump White House and rally NATO’s support in the strategic competition with Moscow and Beijing.

The two paragraphs dealing with China, the first time in a NATO communiqué, started by saying that China’s stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to Alliance security. In this connection, the Communique mentioned China’s rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal; its opaqueness in implementing its military modernization; its military cooperation with Russia, including through participation in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area; its “frequent lack of transparency and use of disinformation”. 

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Global Uncertainty Continues

October 31, 2022

This was a revealing month for the world.

In Beijing, President Xi Jinping presented to the Chinese Party Congress the report of the Central Committee in a two-hour-long speech.[i] Having secured a third five-year term as president, he is now regarded as China’s strongest leader since Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

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Europe’s Time of Troubles

October 24, 2022

For centuries Europe remained the world’s main battleground. But the number of casualties of the two world wars, occurring within four decades, dwarfed the losses and devastation of the past conflicts.  And as the Second World War ended, the Iran Curtain descended across Europe.

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A Brief Look at the Past as Escalation Continues in Ukraine

October 17, 2022

On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a sovereign state. Soon after, the former republics of the USSR declared independence one after the other. In some cases, the separation of paths proved more complicated than others.

In May 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed three agreements whereby they established two independent national fleets, and divided armaments. Under these agreements, Ukraine agreed to lease the port of Sevastopol to Russia until 2017 in return for economic benefits. Since Sevastopol was Russia’s principal naval base on the Black Sea, the agreements also allowed Russia a troop presence there.

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The Turkey-West Conundrum

October 10, 2022

Almost five years ago I said that the alliance between Türkiye and the US which, despite ups and downs had stood the test of time, was under considerable strain, and the so-called “telephone diplomacy” which did not allow for an in-depth exchange of views raised more questions than it resolved. This was the time when President Trump, despite having sent the most discourteous letter in the history of modern diplomacy to his Turkish counterpart, was still Ankara’s only “friend” in Washington.

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The Russia-West Propaganda War

October 3, 2022

More than four years ago I said:

“The Ukraine conflict dealt a blow to Russia-West relations, more severe than the one dealt by the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. It has led to greater turbulence. Because, while Georgia is located at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Ukraine is a European country, and four NATO nations, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania are Ukraine’s neighbors. Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia border Russia. All three are dependent on Russian natural gas and the last two are home to a substantial number of ethnic Russians. In other words, they have reasons to worry.

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