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13.09.2018

"The Middle East Doesn’t Take China Seriously"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/13/the-middle-east-doesnt-take-china-seriously/

Steven A. Cook schreibt, dass die unbestreitbare wirtschaftliche Macht Chinas im Nahen Osten nicht ausreiche, um als Großmacht mit entsprechendem Einfluss wahrgenommen zu werden. Für Peking sei dies nicht unbedingt von Nachteil. "No one in the Middle East expects the Chinese to be a provider of security, that is what the United States does and the Chinese are all too happy to benefit from it. (...) Contrary to the often breathless commentary about China as a rising power in the Arab world, Beijing’s minimalist approach to the dramas and traumas of the Middle East in favor of economics issues is shrewd in terms of China’s broader ambitions. (...) A day after the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at Syria, while Presidents Trump and Xi were enjoying chocolate cake at Mar a Largo, I called a friend in Beijing to get a sense of the Chinese reaction. He laughed and told me that no one in the Chinese capital was impressed with the American display of 1980s-era technology. 'Besides,' he said, 'anything that keeps the United States bogged down in the crises of the Middle East is good for China. It’s less resources Washington can spend on the South China Sea.' That makes sense — and it’s time the rest of the world realizes it."

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04.09.2018

"How to Restart War in the Balkans"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/04/how-to-restart-war-in-the-balkans/

John Bolton, Nationaler Sicherheitsberater von US-Präsident Trump, hat mitgeteilt, dass die US-Regierung sich nicht in die territorialen Konflikte auf dem Balkan einmischen wolle. Nach Ansicht von Edward P. Joseph wiederholt die US-Regierung damit den Fehler von 1991, der zu den blutigen Kriegen der Folgejahre geführt habe. "John Bolton’s statement now threatens to undo the ensuing two decade-plus international effort to make peace. Building on rumors about private talks between the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to swap territory as a means of ending their standoff, and hints of a change in U.S. policy, Bolton has now given the green light to Serbia and Kosovo to trade territory as a way of ending their decadelong — in fact, centurylong — standoff. (...) Given the relatively high percentage of Islamic State recruits from the region, and the fact that many of them are poised to return, Bolton and other agnostics on territorial exchange should consider the most likely Kosovo-to-Bosnia scenario: the contentious, possibly violent creation of an economically challenged state in the heart of Europe, subject to Islamist influence, and infused with suffering and abandonment as its defining characteristics. The chain reaction of events is entirely plausible. Mere discussion of territorial exchange by the likes of Bolton and senior European officials is enough to tantalize Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who has long spoken of — and taken preliminary steps toward — secession."

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23.08.2018

"One Year On, Little to Show for Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/23/one-year-on-little-to-show-for-trumps-afghanistan-strategy/

17 Jahre nach der Invasion Afghanistans sei kein Ende des Kriegs in Sicht, stellt Lara Seligman fest. Daran habe auch die neue Strategie von US-Präsident Trump nichts geändert. "The strategy has included a greater focus on defending population centers while ceding much of the remote countryside to the insurgents. It has also involved an interdiction campaign against the Taliban, with airstrikes on their narcotics labs and other revenue sources. The goal has been to pressure the Taliban to the negotiating table. Pentagon officials say the measures are working. (...) But the situation on the ground tells a different story. The Taliban maintain their grip on much of the country, and the civilian death toll has reached a record high, according to a recent report by the Pentagon’s inspector general. Also, the Islamic State in Khorasan, the Afghan arm of the Islamic State, continues to carry out high-profile attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians."

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20.08.2018

"The Rise and Fall of Soft Power"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/20/the-rise-and-fall-of-soft-power/

Eric X. Li erläutert, warum das von Politikwissenschaftler Joseph Nye entwickelte Konzept der "weichen Macht" in den vergangenen Jahren an Bedeutung verloren hat. "Several things went wrong. For one, the products didn’t really suit the customers. From the “third wave” democracies of the 1970s and 1980s to the Eastern European states that rushed to join the EU and NATO after the Cold War to, most recently, the countries that weathered the Arab Spring, liberal democracy has had a hard time sticking. In many cases, moreover, it brought about rather catastrophic outcomes for the people involved. (...) Second, the United States, and by extension Europe, grew so confident in the potency of their soft power that they went into overdrive converting the rest of the world to their systems. (...) Third, the hubris of soft power led to the illusion that soft power could somehow exist on its own. But even Nye never said that. In reality, soft power is and always will be an extension of hard power. (...) The fourth problem is that soft power is actually very fragile and easily turned. (...) There is little doubt, in other words, that the era of soft power has given way to an era of hard power — and that is dangerous."

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15.08.2018

"Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/15/botched-cia-communications-system-helped-blow-cover-chinese-agents-i
ntelligence/

Zach Dorfman schreibt, dass es den chinesischen Sicherheitsbehörden im Jahr 2010 gelungen sei, ein verzweigtes Spionagenetzwerk der CIA aufzudecken. Dutzende mutmaßliche US-Agenten seien dabei hingerichtet worden. Fast acht Jahre später sei nun die Ursache für diesen Fehlschlag der CIA bekannt: "(...) it appears that the agency botched the communication system it used to interact with its sources, according to five current and former intelligence officials. The CIA had imported the system from its Middle East operations, where the online environment was considerably less hazardous, and apparently underestimated China’s ability to penetrate it. 'The attitude was that we’ve got this, we’re untouchable,' said one of the officials who, like the others, declined to be named discussing sensitive information. The former official described the attitude of those in the agency who worked on China at the time as 'invincible.' Other factors played a role as well, including China’s alleged recruitment of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee around the same time. Federal prosecutors indicted Lee earlier this year in connection with the affair. But the penetration of the communication system seems to account for the speed and accuracy with which Chinese authorities moved against the CIA’s China-based assets."

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13.08.2018

"Trump Is the First President to Get Turkey Right"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/13/trump-is-the-first-president-to-get-turkey-right/

Steven A. Cook lobt die neue Türkei-Strategie des US-Präsidenten als überfällige Kurskorrektur. Es sei offensichtlich, dass es aufgrund unterschiedlicher Interessen und Prioritäten keine echte "strategische Partnerschaft" zwischen beiden Ländern mehr gebe. "(...) the pressure that the Trump administration has brought to bear on Turkey is a welcome change from the passivity of the last two administrations, which preferred to overlook Turkey’s malign policies, either in an effort to try cajole Ankara to support the United States or because they did not want to risk a rift with a 'strategic partner.' Not only did this approach not work, but it also sent the message to Ankara that it was so valuable an ally that there would be no consequences for its actions. Applying pressure on Ankara may not work either, but the stakes are pretty low. Turkey’s importance to Washington has been waning for some time. (...) For the longest time, the legacy of the Cold War and the NATO alliance have framed the discussion of Turkey in Washington and Europe. Perhaps the controversy over Pastor Brunson and the way the Turkish government has responded to the lira crisis will be a clarifying moment, highlighting what should be clear by now: Turkey is no longer an ally or partner."

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30.07.2018

"Pompeo Has to Learn Pyongyang’s Rules"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/30/pompeo-has-to-learn-pyongyangs-rules-trump-nuclear/

Duyeon Kim schreibt, dass die USA und Nordkorea sich immer noch nicht auf eine rhetorische Basis der in Singapur begonnenen Verhandlungen verständigt hätten. Die Schaffung dieser Grundlage müsse mit einer gemeinsamen Definition zentraler Begriffe beginnen. "Going forward, both sides need to first clarify definitions, words, and translations. A common definition of denuclearization needs to be agreed upon and repeatedly clarified. Linguistic translations also need to be clarified to prevent misinterpretations, misperceptions, and misguided policy formations. Pyongyang said Washington was 'robberlike,' not 'gangsterlike' as frequently mistranslated, for demanding 'unilateral denuclearization' without regard to its demands. Pyongyang’s translation of its own Korean-language statement misled the world into perceiving it would halt production of intercontinental ballistic missiles when it was actually touting plans to dismantle its Sohae missile engine test facility. Pyongyang says it no longer needs to test and will now mass produce nuclear weapons. A common lexicon is also crucial because the North claims a 'rocket' is a 'missile,' which was one fundamental reason the 2012 leap day deal crumbled. The list goes on."

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26.07.2018

"Trump Wants to Destroy the World Order. So What?"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/26/trump-wants-to-destroy-the-world-order-so-what/

James Kirchick hält die Sorge vor einer Zerstörung der liberalen Weltordnung durch den US-Präsidenten für übertrieben, da Donald Trump trotz seiner Machtfülle immer noch in ein politisches System der "checks and balances" eingebunden sei. "(...) the fact that Trump wants to dismantle the liberal world order has obscured the more important question of whether he can. (...) Were Trump to exist in a different political system, one with fewer checks and balances and external limitations on a leader’s power, he would be far more dangerous. (...) Fortunately, Trump — however despotic his inclinations — is the democratically elected leader of the world’s oldest constitutional republic, and his attempts to undo the seven-decade-old liberal world order that republic built and sustained have thus far largely been frustrated."

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24.07.2018

"Democrats Will Regret Becoming the Anti-Russia Party"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/24/democrats-will-regret-becoming-the-anti-russia-party/

Micah Zenko warnt, dass die US-Demokraten die US-Außenpolitik mit ihrem antirussischen Kurs möglichweise längerfristig beeinträchtigen könnten. "When a political party increases its animus toward a foreign country — believing that this will enhance its own popularity — it introduces second-order effects that can manifest themselves years later. It creates a voting bloc of Americans who become socialized to hate a foreign government and, by extension, its citizens. (...) The singular foreign-policy focus on Russia also comes with opportunity costs, most notably with regards to China. (...) In conversations I’ve had with foreign government officials and diplomats since Trump won the election, the most commonly expressed concern has been about the lack of coordinated or sustained response to China’s accelerating efforts to shape and influence outcomes in regions where the United States claims to have vital national interests. (...) Foreign threat inflation emerges from many motivations — financial, professional, reputational, patriotic, and certainly political. The Democratic Party may inflate the threat posed by Russia and Vladimir Putin for short-term political gain, but it does so at the longer-term peril of the United States."

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09.07.2018

"Spare a Thought for the Bundeswehr"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/09/spare-a-thought-for-the-bundeswehr-germany-generals/

Elisabeth Braw vom Center for European Policy Analysis hält die Forderung nach einer deutlichen Erhöhung der deutschen Militärausgaben für berechtigt, wirft US-Präsident Trump aber vor, dies mit seiner Rhetorik erheblich zu erschweren und dabei eine unwissentliche "Allianz" mit der SPD einzugehen. "In the midst of this fraught domestic debate, Trump has unwittingly formed an alliance with Germany’s Social Democrats. By berating Merkel publicly and loudly demanding more money for the Bundeswehr, the U.S. president has strengthened the SPD and its misguided pacifist narrative, threatening to deprive the Bundeswehr’s 179,000 troops of the additional funding they desperately need despite Merkel’s best intentions. And that’s really what NATO’s spending benchmark is about: Making sure that member states’ armed forces are of maximum use to their countries and the alliance — not browbeating allies in the public spotlight to the point that they are politically hamstrung."

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03.07.2018

"López Obrador Is a Pragmatist, Not an Ideologue"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/03/lopez-obrador-is-a-pragmatist-not-an-ideologue/

Andrew Selee vom Wilson Center widerspricht Warnungen vor einer radikalen Wende in der mexikanischen Außenpolitik nach dem Sieg des neuen linksnationalistischen Präsidenten López Obrador. "There is no question that he has less enthusiasm for Mexico’s relationship with the United States than any of his recent predecessors, who all prioritized the neighbor to the north, and he is more skeptical of global entanglements generally. But López Obrador is ultimately more of a pragmatist than an ideologue when it comes to foreign policy. Indeed, he is likely to see foreign policy through the lens of what helps him advance his domestic agenda, and that means managing international affairs in ways that help improve social development and avoid economic shocks while also improving the country’s image abroad. In the end, this is likely to lead to greater continuity in Mexico’s foreign policy than most observers expect."

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26.06.2018

"Russia and China See in Trump Era a Chance to Roll Back Human Rights Promotion at U.N."

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/26/russia-and-china-see-in-trump-era-a-chance-to-roll-back-human-rights
-promotion-at-u-n/

China und Russland wollen den von Präsident Trump eingeleiteten Rückzug der USA aus internationalen Institutionen Colum Lynch zufolge nutzen, um UN-Programme zur Förderung von Menschenrechten zu kürzen. "The two countries are waging the campaign largely in closed-door budget negotiations, where they’re arguing for dramatic cuts in funding for the programs and the elimination of at least 170 jobs. Both Russia and China are motivated by a broad disdain for human rights promotion at the U.N. and a feeling that the world body should not be meddling in the domestic policies of member states. Their position on the issue is not new but previous U.S. administrations have usually managed to prevent China and Russia from undermining the work the U.N. does on human rights. Now, the two countries are benefiting from President Donald Trump’s impulse to withdraw from the world and withhold money from international organizations."

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19.06.2018

"Get Ready for a Mexican Left Turn on Foreign Policy"

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/19/get-ready-for-a-mexican-left-turn-on-foreign-policy/

Der Linksnationalist López Obrador hat die Präsidentschaftswahlen in Mexiko gewonnen. Richard G. Miles beklagt in diesem Beitrag aus dem Vorfeld der Wahlen den Aufstieg "populistischer" Kräfte im Land und warnt dabei auch vor einer Wende in der mexikanischen Außenpolitik. "López Obrador is likely to name as his foreign minister 73-year-old Héctor Vasconcelos, a former diplomat, a classical pianist, and an international relations dinosaur. (...) Some of his views are a throwback to the 1930s, when Genaro Estrada, Mexico’s foreign minister, decided 'noninterventionism' was the guiding principle of its foreign policy. The doctrine could be summed up, in the words of Pope Francis, as, 'Who are we to judge?' What countries do inside their borders, so the argument runs, is their business. (...) This pivot to the past has drawn strong criticism from human rights advocates."

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15.06.2018

"Alexis Tsipras Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/15/alexis-tsipras-deserves-the-nobel-peace-prize/

Edward P. Joseph schreibt, dass es dem griechischen Premierminister Alexis Tsipras durch die Einigung im Namensstreit mit Mazedonien nicht nur gelungen sei, einen regionalen Konflikt zu entspannen. Der Kompromiss könnte auch beim Umgang mit anderen internationalen Krisen wegweisend sein. "It creates a model for addressing identity clashes that drive conflict not only in the Balkans but across the globe. A stinging rebuke to Russia and to its populist cronies in Europe, the agreement injects a timely boost of confidence in the European Union and the entire Western project for the Balkans. The agreement still faces stiff opposition from nationalists in both countries who have assailed their respective leader as a traitor. To avoid that outcome, it’s urgent that Tsipras and Zaev gain not just support, but worldwide acclaim. (...) For antagonists around the world locked in identity disputes, the agreement between Macedonia and Greece is, if it survives political challenge, a model. The deal proves that seemingly intractable, zero-sum disputes over highly emotive issues can, with good will and good reason, be parsed."

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12.06.2018

"The West Will Die So That Trump Can Win"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/12/the-west-will-die-so-that-trump-can-win/

Benn Steil vom Council on Foreign Relations erwartet dagegen, dass die Außenpolitik von US-Präsident Trump neben der Nachkriegsordnung auch die Allianz der westlichen Länder beenden wird. Die Ära, in der die USA zugunsten ihrer Partner auf unmittelbaren wirtschaftlichen Nutzen verzichten, sei möglicherweise endgültig vorbei. "(...) it is not surprising that a U.S. administration no longer sees an overriding political need to restrain itself from pushing allies into making trade concessions. The Soviet Union no longer exists. To the extent that the administration’s detractors argue that its demands are unreasonable, or that the United States has bigger fish to fry — like maintaining solidarity in the face of Russian aggression — Trump’s response would presumably be twofold. First, a better deal is always better — 'reasonable' is for chumps. Second, if geopolitics stand in the way of the United States getting better trade deals, then geopolitics should give way. (...) Canada and the EU have a bigger problem than they realize. Their strategy at the moment, reflected in tempered responses to Trump, is to wait him out — on the assumption that he will be gone in two and a half years, or less, and that the United States will then go back to normal. But Trump may be the new normal — not in the sense that future presidents will be as crude and loose with the facts, but in the sense that they, reacting to a seismic shift in U.S. public sentiment, will no longer recognize the constraints of solidarity with fellow free-market democracies. Those days are, perhaps, as Bolton would say, 'no more.'"

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10.06.2018

"This Is What North Korea Sanctions Relief Should Look Like"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/10/this-is-what-north-korea-sanctions-relief-should-look-like-singapore-
summit/

Sollte der Gipfel in Singapur ein Erfolg werden, könnten die USA bald damit beginnen, die Sanktionen gegen Nordkorea zurückzufahren. Peter E. Harrell erläutert, wie Washington dabei vorgehen sollte. "The United States should be prepared, if necessary, to offer a small amount of interim sanctions relief if North Korea takes major early steps toward denuclearization. But the United States should insist that any interim relief granted to North Korea come only after North Korea takes significant initial steps. Trump should also insist that interim relief be sharply limited, reversible, and have a fixed end date. For example, the United States could agree to temporarily raise the limits on North Korean exports of coal or other mineral products for a finite period, such as six months, providing North Korea with a discrete benefit for taking initial nuclear steps. But such relief would automatically terminate if North Korea failed to continue implementing further steps toward completely dismantling its nuclear program. The United States should generally refuse to provide interim relief that would be difficult to reverse or that gives North Korea long-term benefits, such as agreeing to major new investments in the country."

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05.06.2018

"It’s Time for a Coup in Venezuela"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/05/its-time-for-a-coup-in-venezuela-trump/

Angesichts der innenpolitischen Krise in Venezuela fordert José R. Cárdenas, früherer Mitarbeiter der US-Regierung unter Präsident Bush, in unmissverständlichen Worten einen Militärputsch zum Sturz der Regierung von Präsident Maduro. "First, we should recognize that dialogue or diplomacy cannot bring a resolution to the Venezuela crisis. By now, it’s evident that the Maduro regime has no intention of negotiating itself out of power and only sees such opportunities as maneuvers to buy time. Second, we must admit that the only institution capable of instigating a real political transition in Venezuela is the Venezuelan military. (...) Of course, no one wants to see a regression to a Latin American Dark Age, in which military coups are the norm, at the expense of civilian rule and democracy. But it is important to note that identifying the Venezuelan military as the only logical change agent is not to advocate for a coup. The fact is, a coup has already taken place — perpetrated by Maduro and his Cuban advisors against the country’s constitution. Only nationalists in the military can restore a legitimate constitutional democracy."

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04.06.2018

"Qatar Won the Saudi Blockade"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/04/qatar-won-the-saudi-blockade/

Hassan Hassan hält die vor einem Jahr begonnene Kampagne der Golfstaaten um Saudi-Arabien mit dem Ziel der diplomatischen Isolierung Katars für weitgehend gescheitert. "Perhaps the clearest indication of that reality was the series of remarks made by Trump with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in April. Trump attacked Saudi Arabia, including in reference to terror funding, and acknowledged Qatar’s progress on the matter. Rather than convincing commentators and politicians in the West that Qatar had serious problems it needed to address, the effect has largely been the opposite. In large part, that’s because the quartet failed to anticipate Qatar would organize an effective public relations campaign of its own in the West. (...) But, while Qatar may be winning the crisis in the court of public opinion, the Saudi side sees itself to be winning in terms of changing facts on the ground. From the perspective of the Saudi camp, the Qatar crisis is enabling it to focus on redrawing the military and political map of the region as Doha is tied down by the continuing economic pressure. To them, Doha is currently less capable of playing a spoiler role in countries like Libya, Yemen, Iraq, and Egypt."

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30.05.2018

"The World Wants You to Think Like a Realist"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/30/the-world-wants-you-to-think-like-a-realist/

Die Analyse der internationalen Sicherheitspolitik erscheint Stephen M. Walt heute nur noch aus realpolitischer Perspektive sinnvoll. Umso beklagenswerter sei es, dass diese Denkrichtung im amerikanischen Mainstream nach wie vor an den Rand gedrängt werde. "Instead of relying on realism, both Republicans and Democrats tend to view foreign policy through the lens of liberal idealism. Rather than see world politics as an arena where security is scarce and major powers are forced to contend whether they wish to or not, America’s foreign-policy mavens are quick to divide the world into virtuous allies (usually democracies) and evil adversaries (always some sort of dictatorship) and to assume that when things go badly, it is because a wicked foreign leader (Saddam Hussein, Ali Khamenei, Vladimir Putin, Muammar al-Qaddafi, etc.) is greedy, aggressive, or irrational. When friendly states object to something the (virtuous) United States is doing, U.S. leaders tend to assume that critics just don’t understand their noble aims or are jealous of America’s success. (...) realism still helps us understand how Trump can get away with all this meshugas: The United States is still so powerful and secure that it can do a lot of dumb things and suffer only modest losses. More importantly, realism remains an extremely useful guide to a lot of things that have happened in the recent past or that are happening today. And as Trump is proving weekly, leaders who ignore these insights inevitably make lots of dumb mistakes."

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29.05.2018

"Trump’s Kaiser Wilhelm Approach to Diplomacy"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/29/trumps-kaiser-wilhelm-approach-to-diplomacy/

US-Präsident Trump habe gegenüber Nordkorea zuletzt ähnlich agiert, wie der letzte deutsche Kaiser Wilhelm II., meint Jeremi Suri. "The tone and language of Trump’s letter to Kim has few recent analogues, but it eerily echoes the self-important destructiveness of German Kaiser Wilhelm II. This is a historical analogy, with obvious policy implications, that all major international actors must now consider. (...) Trump’s tone and language are Wilhelmine. The aggressive pettiness and delusional self-importance on display in his letter make him a similar source of conflict. And his status as the leader of one of the most powerful states gives his blowtorch personality unparalleled influence over delicate negotiations. The world is coming to realize that Trump’s imperiousness is highly flammable and resistant to all the diplomatic norms imbibed by the great powers since Wilhelm II’s disastrous reign. (...) Contemporary world leaders, including those in the U.S. Congress, must act vigorously to limit Trump’s power before he comes to a similar, and even more destructive, end."

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28.05.2018

"Why the West Needs Azerbaijan"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/28/why-the-west-needs-azerbaijan/

Eine Öl- und Gasversorgung Europas unter Umgehung Russlands und Irans wäre nur mit Hilfe Aserbaidschans möglich, schreiben Luke Coffey von der konservativen Heritage Foundation und Efgan Nifti vom Caspian Policy Center in Washington. Die US-Regierung sollte sich deshalb für den Ausbau und die Sicherung der sogenannten "Ganja-Lücke" einsetzen. "When you factor in Armenia’s occupation of almost one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s territory, all that is left is a narrow 60-mile-wide chokepoint for trade. We call this trade chokepoint the 'Ganja Gap' — named after Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja, which sits in the middle of this narrow passage. (...) Washington benefits whenever Europe reduces its dependence on Russia oil and gas. (...) There are still sticking points in the U.S.-Azerbaijani relationship. Human rights issues have been a persistent problem, and in recent years, concerns about press freedom have risen due to a number of high-profile arrests of prominent journalists. While Washington should continue to press for improvements on human rights, U.S. policymakers cannot allow that one issue to create a lopsided foreign policy that undercuts the United States’ broader interests in the region."

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24.05.2018

"Putin’s Endgame in Syria Has Arrived"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/24/putins-endgame-in-syria-has-arrived/

Das russische "Endspiel" für den Krieg in Syrien sehe keinen klaren Sieg der Assad-Regierung, sondern einen "eingefrorenen Konflikt" wie in der Ukraine oder in Georgien vor, meint Jonathan Spyer. "What are the indications Syria is moving in the direction of frozen conflict? Consider the recent visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Russia to meet with Putin. At the press conference following the meeting, Putin told reporters that, 'Following the Syrian Army’s notable successes in fighting terrorism, and with the activation of the political process, the foreign forces based in Syria will start to withdraw from the country.' This seemed to hint that the Russian president wasn’t interested in assisting the Assad regime’s reconquest of the entirety of Syria. (...) Moscow wishes to make itself the key power broker in the Syrian context, the address through which all must pass in pursuit of their goals. But for this, of course, Russia must be able to grant each party part of what it wants, rather than coming down firmly on any side."

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23.05.2018

"The One Place in Syria That Works"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/23/the-one-place-in-syria-that-works/

Shadi Martini und Nicholas A. Heras bezeichnen den überwiegend von "moderaten" Rebellen gehaltenen Südwesten Syriens als "Insel der Stabilität". "There are a few potential factors that make this region of Syria unique. There is the relative proximity to Israel, which makes the Assad regime more cautious in intervening. Jordan, the United States, and Russia have also succeeded in establishing a de-escalation zone in the region last July. Quneitra and its surrounding area in Daraa is also one of the few places in Syria where the moderate armed opposition forces still receive outside support, particularly with salaries and periodic shipments of ammunition, which provide an additional layer of security against extremist actors trying to seize power. But there’s an additional factor that has been critical to the relative stability here: The consistent aid delivered through an unprecedented partnership between Israel and Syrian nongovernmental organizations, including medicine, medical equipment, food, and clothing, serves as a lifeline for the civilian population in this region of the country and empowers NGOs and civic organizations."

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22.05.2018

"Beijing’s Threats Against Taiwan Are Deadly Serious"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/22/beijings-threats-against-taiwan-are-deadly-serious/

Die Drohungen Chinas gegenüber Taiwan sollten nach Ansicht von Derek Grossman nicht unterschätzt werden. Peking habe die Hoffnungen auf eine politisch herbeigeführte Wiedervereinigung aufgegeben und fasse nun auch militärische Optionen ins Auge. "(...) Taiwan and the United States must prepare for greater hostility in the coming years, almost certainly lasting out to the next Taiwan presidential election in 2020. By that time, Beijing hopes its pressure tactics will have borne fruit and it will have a new Taiwanese president who is more amenable to keeping the 1992 Consensus in place. If Tsai wins reelection — or another, even more anti-mainland candidate, such as Lai, gets elected — then another four years of tension and possibly military conflict are likely."

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22.05.2018

"Forget the Libya Model. South Africa Shows the Path to Peace With Pyongyang."

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/22/forget-the-libya-model-south-africa-shows-the-path-to-peace-with-pyon
gyang/

Die USA sollten bei ihren Verhandlungen mit Nordkorea nicht das Libyen-Modell, sondern das Ende des südafrikanischen Atomwaffenprogramms während der Apartheid-Ära zum Vorbild nehmen, meint Terence McNamee. Die Karriere des damaligen südafrikanischen Präsidenten Frederik Willem de Klerk habe die meisten Experten nicht vermuten lassen, dass ein echter Durchbruch möglich sei. "South Africa’s arsenal was dismantled rapidly, secretly, and unilaterally. Although even in the best-case scenario things would not unfold that way in Pyongyang, other parallels are relevant. De Klerk faced two options after becoming president in 1989: continue his government’s decades-long war with its black population, using ever-more despotic methods, or open a way toward a negotiated settlement. De Klerk chose to bend history. The current diplomatic opening presents Kim with a similar choice: He could steer North Korea away from its wretched past toward a freer future or revert to repression as usual. As in South Africa in the late 1980s, in North Korea today the fate of a nuclear weapons program built for one purpose — ensuring regime survival — hangs in the balance."

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14.05.2018

"Regime Change for Dummies"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/14/regime-change-for-dummies/

Stephen M. Walt schreibt in seinem kurzen historischen Rückblick auf gewaltsam herbeigeführte Regimewechsel in anderen Ländern, dass diese Taktik in den USA offenbar wieder in Mode komme, obwohl die Resultate fast durchgängig dagegen sprächen. "The real puzzle, of course, is why the United States seems incapable of learning this rather obvious lesson. One reason it doesn’t learn is that it is the countries where it intervenes that bear most of the costs of its imperial follies, while the only Americans who die or are wounded are those who have volunteered for military service. And because the United States now finances wars by borrowing, the economic costs will be paid by future generations, not by those who are making decisions today. Add to this mix the phalanx of well-funded, hawkish think tanks, letterhead organizations, lobbies, and campaign contributors that buy up politicians and provide Bolton and his ilk comfortable sinecures from which to operate, and you can begin to understand why a president who used to say the United States needed to get 'out of the nation-building business' is now taking steps that will force it to do more of the same."

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11.05.2018

"RIP the Trans-Atlantic Alliance, 1945-2018"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/11/rip-the-trans-atlantic-alliance-1945-2018/

Nach Ansicht von James Traub befindet sich das transatlantische Bündnis heute zumindest in seiner bisherigen Form in den letzten Zügen. Der folgenreiche Ausstieg der USA aus dem internationalen Atomabkommen mit dem Iran habe den europäischen Willen zur Umsetzung einer eigenständigen Sicherheitspolitik gestärkt. "The Iran decision has resonated among European leaders as none of Trump’s previous follies has. First, Europeans regard the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the pact is called, as the foremost proof of their capacity to act coherently and effectively. (...) European diplomats negotiated with the Iranians when the Bush administration refused to do so, designing a package of sanctions and incentives ultimately adopted and pushed through the U.N. Security Council by Obama. (...) A truly European diplomacy will depend, above all, on a collective recognition that European interests, and European values, will only periodically converge with those of the United States and at other times will require working with China, the Persian Gulf countries, or other actors. It may also require new mechanisms, whether formal or informal. Michel Duclos, a retired French diplomat who now serves as special advisor to the Institut Montaigne, suggests that the 'EU3' — France, Germany, and the U.K., which worked together on Iran — could serve as the nucleus of collective diplomacy, so long as the three could find a way of working with the other members of the EU."

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07.05.2018

"The First Saudi-Iranian War Will Be an Even Fight"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/07/the-first-saudi-iranian-war-will-be-an-even-fight/

Im Fall eines Krieges zwischen Iran und Saudi-Arabien würden Afshon Ostovar zufolge zwei unterschiedliche militärische Strategien aufeinandertreffen. Der Ausgang dieser Konfrontation würde seiner Ansicht nach vor allem vom Verhalten der USA abhängen. "The two countries differ markedly in the size and capabilities of their forces. Iran has the larger military, with two forces — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Artesh regular military — composed of complementary air, naval, and land branches. (...) The Saudi military is smaller but better armed. (...) Given their respective capabilities and recent experiences in combat, both countries have strengths and weaknesses, but neither has a clear advantage over the other. (...) the possible involvement of the United States would be the x-factor in any potential conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Even if the two states are quite evenly matched, the military power that the United States could bring to bear would heavily tilt a conflict in Saudi Arabia’s favor."

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04.05.2018

"The Perils of a Putsch in Venezuela"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/04/the-perils-of-a-putsch-in-venezuela/

US-Politiker wie Senator Marco Rubio haben in den vergangenen Monaten signalisiert, dass die USA einen Militärputsch gegen die Regierung in Venezuela gutheißen würden. Nach Ansicht von Brian Fonseca ist diese Position strategisch kurzsichtig. "Giving the green light for a military coup is not only bad for America’s image; it is also a threat to U.S. strategic interests. That’s because encouraging a putsch in Venezuela could backfire and end up increasing Russian and Chinese influence in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. officials praising the prospect of a military takeover seem to disregard the fact that U.S.-Venezuelan military relations are virtually nonexistent today. (...) Russia, China, and Cuba all currently have extensive and friendly relations with the Venezuelan military. Indeed, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban engagement with the Venezuelan armed forces has increased exponentially over the last decade — Venezuelan personnel have been attending Russian and Chinese military schools for years, and Venezuela is the top buyer in Latin America for Russian and Chinese military equipment. (...) In the event of a coup, these existing ties mean that the priorities of Moscow, Beijing, and Havana will likely prevail over Washington’s in managing a military transition."

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03.05.2018

"Italy Is Safe From, and for, Jihadis"

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/03/italy-is-safe-from-and-for-jihadis/

Mehrere Verhaftungen der letzten Zeit haben bestätigt, dass es auch in Italien zahlreiche radikalislamische Extremisten gibt. Viele Experten stellen sich Anna Momigliano zufolge nun die Frage, warum das Land bisher trotzdem von Terroranschlägen verschont geblieben ist. "Many Italians like to suggest their government is simply better at combating terrorism than their peers in Western Europe. The true answer is more complicated — and considerably less flattering. Italian security forces do manage to catch plenty of jihadis before they strike. In the first two and a half months of 2018, at least 27 residents were expelled from Italy for suspected terrorist activities, per figures provided by the Milan-based Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). (...) But there’s a problem with crediting Italy’s tough-on-terrorism approach for the country’s relative safety: Plenty of known Italy-based jihadis have successfully mounted attacks elsewhere in Europe. (...) So why are Italy’s jihadis so reluctant to strike at home but likely to contribute to attacks somewhere else? A possible explanation is that they go abroad precisely to avoid Italy’s domestic monitoring when they are preparing to stage an attack. Once a radicalized person leaves Italy and moves to another European country, the Italian government has shown little aptitude at coordinating an international response, so the suspect 'can get lost in a larger flow,' says Varvelli, the ISPI researcher."

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