US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Foreign Policy


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"All This Should Remind You of the Run-Up to the Iraq War"

Steven A. Cook vom Council on Foreign Relations fühlt sich durch die Iran-Rhetorik der Trump-Regierung an die Vorbereitung des Irak-Krieges durch die Bush-Administration erinnert. "The one big difference between 2019 and 2002 is the determination among Democrats not to make the same mistakes they made 17 years ago when they allowed the Bush administration to frame the terms of the debate that paved the way for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though many members of Congress are concerned about Iran, Democrats in particular are not going to support another preventive war in the Middle East. This might change if there is some type of provocation in the region, but at the moment, the Iranians do not seem willing to take that step. Still, the prospects of getting into a conflict with Iran seem greater than they were even six months ago. As hard-liners drive U.S. policy with bellicose rhetoric, the Trump administration is the wild card, not Iran."

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"China Couldn’t Dominate Asia if It Wanted to"

China strebe mit seiner militärischen Aufrüstung und dem Projekt der Neuen Seidenstraße keineswegs eine Dominanz Asiens an, da Peking den multipolaren Charakter der sicherheitspolitischen Lage in der Region sehr genau erkannt habe, meint der Strategieexperte Parag Khanna. "(...) commentators who portray China as having a thousand-year vision and presume an unwavering path to its achievement both overstate China’s wisdom and underestimate that of its neighbors, who have thousands of years of historical engagement with China. China today seems an unstoppable force — but Asia is full of immovable objects in the form of civilizational states such as Russia, Iran, and India, whose ancient histories allow them to stand up to China whenever it suits their interest to do so. (...) This is a reminder that even with all of China’s investments in military modernization, there it is little reason to believe it will purchase any more political leverage beyond its immediate periphery than America’s mighty forces have in Iraq and Afghanistan. (...) The more the Belt and Road Initiative becomes a multilateral exercise, the more it connects not just Asian countries to China but also all Asians to each other. From Russia and Turkey to Iran and Iran to Myanmar and Thailand, the resurrection of multidirectional Silk Roads with no dominant power symbolizes the return of Asia’s past, one characterized by deference, not dominance."

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"The INF Treaty Is Dead. Is New START Next?"

Dem nun auch offiziell vollzogenen Zusammenbruch des INF-Vertrags könnte recht schnell das Ende des START-Vertrags folgen, so die Befürchtung vieler Experten. "Signed in 2011, the strategic arms treaty limits the number of U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads and delivery systems, and it is due to expire in early 2021 unless Washington and Moscow agree to extend it. Most analysts are in agreement that Russia is adhering to the New START treaty. Some prominent Republican foreign-policy experts, including top Trump aides, have criticized that agreement as one-sided. National Security Advisor John Bolton in a 2010 Wall Street Journal op-ed described the treaty as 'profoundly misguided,' while Trump in February 2017 called it a 'bad deal.' (...) 'Bolton has the same hostility toward New START historically as he had toward all the other international agreements where he has been the primary assassin,' [former career Thomas Countryman] said. 'You have to be concerned he will welcome any excuse not to extend New START, just as he welcomed this reason to kill the INF Treaty.' But other experts and U.S. officials say there’s no point adhering to a treaty Russia ignores. 'If there’s an arms race going on, Russia’s off and running, and we’re sitting on the sidelines playing with our shoelaces,' said Matthew Kroenig, a foreign-policy hawk and an expert on nuclear weapons policy at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank."

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"Everything You Know About Global Order Is Wrong"

Adam Tooze meint, dass westliche Eliten mit ihrer zuletzt in Davos geäußerten Forderung nach einer Neugründung der liberalen Weltordnung verkennen, unter welchen Voraussetzungen die heutige globale Ordnung tatsächlich entstanden sei. "The reality of the liberal order that supposedly came into existence in the postwar moment was the more or less haphazard continuation of wartime controls. It would take until 1958 before the Bretton Woods vision was finally implemented. Even then it was not a “liberal” order by the standard of the gilded age of the 19th century or in the sense that Davos understands it today. (...) By the late 1960s, barely more than 10 years old, Bretton Woods was already in terminal trouble. And when confronted with demands for deflation, U.S. President Richard Nixon reverted to economic nationalism. (...) The truth is that the postwar moment that the Davos crowd truly hankers after is not that of 1945 but the aftermath of the Cold War, the moment of Western triumph. It was finally in 1995 that the Bretton Woods vision of a comprehensive world trade organization was realized. (...) What will resolve the current tension is a power grab by a new stakeholder determined to have its way. And the central question of the current moment is whether the West is ready for that. If not, we should get comfortable with the new disorder."

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"How Trump Stole the Democrats’ Best 2020 Foreign-Policy Stances"

In seiner Vorausschau auf den Präsidentschaftswahlkampf im nächsten Jahr schreibt Michael Hirsh, dass viele demokratische Herausforderer es schwer haben könnten, der Außen- und Handelspolitik Präsident Trumps grundsätzlich andere Konzepte entgegenzusetzen. "(...) if [former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden] is eventually nominated by the Democratic Party to run against Trump in 2020, it’s not going to be all that easy for him to differentiate himself from the incumbent. That’s because Trump has already called, Biden Plan-style, for halving U.S. troops in Afghanistan and is currently negotiating intensively with the Taliban over an American withdrawal — another approach long supported by Biden, who back in 2011 declared controversially that the Taliban 'is not our enemy' and reconciliation was possible. And here’s the problem for the Democrats as the 2020 race begins: Biden, of all the party’s potential nominees, may have the most differences with Trump on foreign policy. Other contenders could well have even more trouble distinguishing themselves from the president, especially if the Democratic Party is prodded by its progressive wing into trade protectionism and the populist arena dominated by Trump since 2016."

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"The Left Keeps Getting Venezuela Wrong"

James Bloodworth kritisiert die anhaltende Unterstützung der "antiimperialistischen" Linken im Westen für die Maduro-Regierung in Venezuela. "(...) much of the Western socialist left has persisted in ignoring the trajectory of Venezuela in order to sustain a fantasy of '21st-century socialism.' It’s reminiscent of the Western apologists for the Soviet Union that Arthur Koestler once compared to peeping Toms 'who watch History’s debauches through a hole in the wall' while not having to experience it themselves. This willingness to stand by a brutal dictator — albeit passively — belies a deeper sickness on the contemporary left. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, few on the left have had much real idea as to what a contemporary socialist economic program would — or should — look like in practice. (...) Much of the Western left, including those who once had only kind words for Chávez and his successors, is treating Venezuela as an embarrassment best brushed under the carpet. Yet what is really frightening are those who, under the guise of anti-imperialism, consistently favor dictators — as long as they mouth anti-American platitudes."

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"Don’t Let Ethiopia Become the Next Yugoslavia"

Florian Bieber und Wondemagegn Tadesse Goshu machen darauf aufmerksam, dass die politische Transformation in Äthiopien in einem Staat mit etwa 100 Millionen Einwohnern und mehr als 80 ethnischen Gruppen stattfindet. Äthiopien gleiche heute in vieler Hinsicht dem früheren Jugoslawien, dessen Transformation nach 1990 in einem "Albtraum" geendet habe. "The Yugoslav scenario is not destined to repeat in Ethiopia, but it offers a cautionary tale: During moments of political liberalization, ethnonational federal systems are particularly combustible. (...) Some differences work in Ethiopia’s favor. First, the units of the Ethiopian federation did not previously exist as separate states. Second, loyalty to the Ethiopian state irrespective of ethnic or national allegiance and identification is strong. (...) Third, the bond among nationalities appears stronger. (...) Finally, separation and secession appear impossible in key cases."

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"30 Years After the Rushdie Fatwa, Europe Is Moving Backward"

Der Gedanke, dass Religionen gesetzlich vor Beleidigungen geschützt werden müssen, scheine in einigen Teilen Europas wieder auf dem Vormarsch zu sein, stellen Jacob Mchangama und Sarah McLaughlin fest. Aus historischer Sicht und im internationalen Kontext sei dies ein klarer Rückschritt. "In a recent case, the European Court of Human Rights even reaffirmed that European human rights law recognizes a right not to have one’s religious feelings hurt. (...) Some have argued that the court’s decision was a necessary defense of an embattled Muslim minority vulnerable to bigotry and religious hatred. But laws against religious insult and blasphemy are generally different from hate speech laws — which are problematic in themselves — that purportedly protect people rather than abstract religious ideas and dogmas. (...) The United Kingdom, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Malta, and Ireland have all abolished blasphemy bans. Still, around 20 percent of European countries formally criminalize either blasphemy or religious insult. Rushdie no longer lives in hiding, but the fatwa still formally remains in force 30 years after it was issued. And while Charlie Hebdo continues to outrage right, left, and center, its continued freedom to do so comes at the price of an annual $1.7 million in security costs. Against this backdrop, there could be no better occasion for European democracies to lay the crime of blasphemy to rest for good."

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"The New Face of Terrorism in 2019"

Vera Mironova erwartet, dass die antiwestliche Terrorbedrohung im Jahr 2019 nicht mehr vorwiegend aus dem Nahen Osten, sondern aus den ehemaligen Republiken der Sowjetunion kommen wird. Um der neuen Gefahr effektiv entgegentreten zu können, sei auch die Kooperation mit Russland nötig. "The threat posed by Middle Eastern terrorists has been shrinking for some time. Even during the war against the Islamic State, Russian speakers from former Soviet countries were already committing many of the major attacks in the West. (...) There are several reasons for the relative increase in anti-Western terrorism coming out of the post-Soviet world. For starters, in recent years Middle Eastern jihadis have been too preoccupied with local conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen to head elsewhere. The pull of the Islamic State, meanwhile, has faded after its almost total defeat in Iraq and Syria. At the same time, the wars in the Middle East have transformed militants from Russian-speaking areas, who previously focused on fighting repressive governments at home, into global terrorists. (...) The United States and its allies need to recognize that future attacks are more likely to come from the East than the Middle East and that there is no other option than to cooperate with Russia and its neighbors to stop them."

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"James Mattis Wasn’t Ready to Serve in a Democracy"

Micah Zenko zieht ein kritisches Fazit der Amtszeit des zurückgetretenen Verteidigungsministers James Mattis. "It is often overlooked that Mattis oversaw a growth in the wars that he inherited from the Obama administration. There was a steady growth in airstrikes in declared warzones (such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan), as well as in non-battlefield settings (Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan). There was also an expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East, from 40,517 troops in mid-2017 to 54,180 by September of that year, according to then-available Pentagon data. Under Mattis the Pentagon also systematically reduced its overall transparency and accountability. (...) for somebody who claimed he was not okay with civilian casualties Mattis tolerated an enormous number of them. The most consequential decision Mattis made in this regard was to push the power to approve airstrikes — target engagement authority — to lower levels of command. (...) Perhaps future presidents and senators — who confirm Pentagon chiefs — should consider whether 42-year military officers can overcome their deep institutional biases and beliefs, and if they are best suited to be the top civilians leading and overseeing the armed forces."

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"Martial Law Is a Test. Will Ukraine’s Democracy Pass?"

Michael Colborne betrachtet die Verhängung des Kriegsrechts in der Ukraine als Test der jungen Demokratie. Vor diesem Hintergrund sei es ermutigend, dass sich das Parlament der Forderung von Präsident Poroschenko nach einer landesweiten 60-tägigen Dauer widersetzt habe. "'Poroshenko’s decision to impose martial law is a surprising action, one which is inadequate in relation to the current threat,' analysts from Centre for Eastern Studies, a think tank in Warsaw, wrote on Monday afternoon (...) After a few tense, sometimes loud hours of speeches and side chats and horse-trading, by late evening Ukraine’s parliamentarians had approved a martial law bill by a vote of 276 to 30. But it was a different one than the one Poroshenko proposed. Martial law will be limited to 30 days instead of 60 — and not affect or delay the election — and will only be in effect in 10 regions of Ukraine that border Russia, Belarus, and Transnistria, the unrecognized breakaway region of Moldova where more than 1,000 Russian troops have been stationed since 1995. 'The Rada,' said Alexander Clarkson, a lecturer at King’s College London, 'did its job as a check on presidential power here.'"

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"Trump’s Iran Sanctions Could Work"

Micha'el Tanchum meint, dass der Iran durchaus in der Lage sein könnte, die neuen US-Sanktionen kurzfristig zu umgehen. Mittel- und langfristig können die Maßnahmen seiner Meinung nach jedoch durchaus die von der US-Regierung gewünschte Wirkung zeigen. "The country is the world’s fifth largest oil producer, but it relies on relatively mature fields for its output. (...) Prior to the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran had not brought a new oil field on stream since 2007. And it is unlikely that Iran will be able to develop new fields now, because it needs foreign investment to do so. (...) In the medium and long term, then, the latest U.S. sanctions could make things very difficult for Iran. As long as Washington can prevent it from obtaining vital enhanced oil recovery technologies, Iran’s economy will become increasingly fragile. The Iranian government’s lack of sufficient oil, gas, and petrochemical revenues to satisfy basic consumer demands while simultaneously financing bloated state and military institutions could induce Tehran to return to the negotiating table."

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"Why American Oil Hasn’t Been a Total Game-Changer"

Die USA sind mit ihrer Schieferöl-Industrie zum größten Ölproduzenten der Welt aufgestiegen. Trotz dieser bemerkenswerten Wende sei von einer energiepolitischen Dominanz bisher kaum etwas zu spüren, stellt Keith Johnson fest. "(...) the reality is that the notion of energy dominance, as repeatedly trumpeted by the administration, is at heart a hollow idea. Even America’s position as the top producer in the world isn’t enough to shield it from rising prices, free it from Middle East entanglements, strangle foes with sanctions, or even give it many additional foreign-policy tools. The ultimate irony is that what created the U.S. energy revolution — nimble, private-sector companies using new technologies to extract previously untapped crude — keeps the United States from wielding its energy strength in the way that Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other big producers with state-owned firms willing to put geopolitics above profits do."

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"For Them, Afghanistan Is Safer Than China"

Die staatlichen Repressionsmaßnahmen gegen Uiguren in der chinesischen Provinz Xinjiang haben Haiyun Ma und I-wei Jennifer Chang zufolge dazu geführt, dass viele Angehörige der muslimischen Minderheit über die Grenze nach Afghanistan geflohen sind. Einige der Flüchtlinge hätten sich militanten Bewegungen mit Verbindungen zur Al-Qaida und den Taliban angeschlossen. "In light of the restrictions placed on Uighurs by authoritarian governments in Central Asia, war-torn Afghanistan has been the only neighboring country where it is politically and religiously safe for Uighurs to seek refuge, especially in Taliban-controlled areas. (...) The number of Uighurs there may now number 4,500. The authors’ recent interviews with some experts on ground in Central Asia and South Asia indicate possibly 150 Uighur households residing in Badakhshan. Some of them are militants. China’s internal ethnic divisions, coupled with the vicissitudes of Afghan war and politics, have produced Uighur militant movements and resistance in Afghanistan, including some with connections to the Taliban and al Qaeda."

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"Mohammed bin Salman Is the Next Saddam Hussein"

Auch Ryan Costello und Sina Toossi vergleichen die amerikanische Unterstützung für den saudi-arabischen Kronprinzen Mohammed bin Salman mit der langjährigen Allianz der USA mit Iraks Diktator Saddam Hussein. In Irak hätten die USA im Namen ihrer Iran-Politik einen schweren strategischen Fehler begangen. Dies könnte sich nun wiederholen, so ihre Warnung. "(...) the Trump administration’s reflexive support of Mohammed bin Salman is heading in the same direction as Washington’s ill-fated support of Saddam Hussein. (...) Mohammed bin Salman, if allowed to ascend to the throne without facing any consequences from Washington for his outrageous behavior, will likely terrorize the region for decades, just as Saddam did. If Khashoggi’s brazen slaughter, carried out in utter disregard for international norms or the political cost for its allies, is a sign of a new Saudi playbook, the world may be facing an even greater threat than Saddam posed."

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"When to Call a Terrorist a Terrorist"

Daniel Byman fordert aus ganz praktischen Gründen, Attentate wie das von Pittsburgh künftig als Terroranschläge zu behandeln. "If the government started seeing violent anti-Semitic or white supremacist groups as more like jihadist groups, several things could change. First, doing so might mean more resources devoted to tracking domestic terrorists. Right now, only a tiny slice of the FBI counterterrorism budget goes to investigating right-wing extremists. (...) Second, the 'terrorism' label could start to push the government to act more quickly at the first hint of possible violence by right-wing and other extremists. (...) Third, clarity about which activities are and aren’t terrorism would help Washington press technology companies to be more aggressive in taking down anti-Semitic, white supremacist, and other inciting accounts. (...) We can and should recognize that most political groups of all stripes abhor violence. Doing so — while also acknowledging that the groups and individuals who don’t belong in a separate category — will better enable the United States to isolate extremists and cut them off before the next tragedy."

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"Germany’s New Politics of Cultural Despair"

Eliah Bures, Historiker an der University of California, beschäftigt sich in diesem Beitrag mit dem kulturellen Einfluss von Ideen der "Neuen Rechten" in Deutschland und Europa. Dabei bezieht er sich u.a. auf das Buch "Die autoritäre Revolte: Die Neue Rechte und der Untergang des Abendlandes" von Volker Weiss. "[Volker Weiss’s] claim that we are in the grip of a globally insurgent conservative revolution is no stretch and for the reasons Dahl feared two decades ago. Feelings of nihilism and cultural exhaustion have produced a hunger for radical redemption, especially among those who have come of age since the 1990s. The dominant form of revolt today is not the left’s battle against capitalism or patriarchy but authoritarianism fueled by nostalgia, hatred of the present, and dread of the future. The politics of grievance and purported victimization at the hands of global elites thrive today from Moscow to Washington".

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"The Saudis Are Killing America’s Middle East Policy"

Mit dem Mord an dem Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi habe der saudi-arabische Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman nicht nur sein Ansehen in Washington ruiniert, sondern auch die Nahostpolitik der US-Regierung untergraben, schreibt Steven A. Cook. "It seems that the new Saudis are proving themselves to be as inept, arrogant, and tin-eared as the old Saudis, but worse, because they are emboldened by a mistaken belief in their own greatness. Recently, the editorial board of the Washington Post asked, 'Who needs Saudi Arabia?' It is a good question, and not just because the Post’s editors and reporters are outraged about what happened to their colleague and friend. Look closely at everything the Saudis have done recently, especially those policies associated with the crown prince, and the answer is, 'Not us.' It is true that they recently gave the United States $100 million to go toward the stabilization of Syria, which is a good thing, but the overwhelming record thus far under King Salman and his son can be categorized as either unhelpful or counterproductive."

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"Khashoggi’s Death Is Highlighting the Ottoman-Saudi Islamic Rift"

Der türkische Kolumnist Mustafa Akyol betrachtet den mutmaßlichen Mord an dem Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi im Kontext der dreihundert Jahre andauernden theologischen und politischen Rivalität zwischen der Türkei und Saudi-Arabien. "The foundation of the rift lies in the countries’ distinct versions of Sunni Islam — versions that have evolved within very different historical trajectories and that have produced contrasting visions about the contemporary Middle East. If the present crisis forces the non-Muslim world to choose sides between these religious models, the decision should be easy. Both are flawed, but based on their past actions and ideas for the future, only one of them deserves international support. (...) Erdogan and his fellow Islamists are still Turkey’s Islamists — that is, compared with Saudi Arabia’s elites, they are still operating within a more modern framework that reflects a milder interpretation of Sunni Islam. And this sheds light on the two major political disputes that have emerged between Ankara and Riyadh. The first of these concerns Iran. (...) The second dispute between Ankara and Riyadh is over the Muslim Brotherhood, the main Islamist political party in Egypt with franchises all over the region."

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"This Is America’s Middle East Strategy on Steroids"

Stephen Walt kritisiert die Reaktion des US-Präsidenten auf das Verschwinden des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi. Donald Trump habe die Allianz mit Saudi-Arabien im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen nicht einmal ansatzweise in Frage gestellt und bestehe damit auf einer verfehlten Nahost-Strategie. "(...) the Trump administration seems more than willing to look the other way. This is partly due to greed, as reflected in Trump’s statement that getting tough on Saudi Arabia might jeopardize arms purchases by the kingdom, but also the result of having bought into the Saudi-Israeli-Egyptian-Gulf line about Iran. In addition to leaving the nuclear deal, this policy also required threatening the European Union with secondary sanctions should it try to sustain the agreement and continue to trade with and invest in Iran. (...) Under Trump, the United States is jeopardizing relations with long-standing democratic allies in Europe and giving them additional reason to create an alternative to the U.S. dollar-based financial system. It is doing this in order to gratify a set of increasingly problematic Middle East clients. Does such a swap make strategic or moral sense?"

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"ISIS’s New Plans to Get Rich and Wreak Havoc"

Der "Islamische Staat" galt im Jahr 2015 durch die Einnahmen seines "Kalifats" als reichste Terrororganisation der Geschichte. Nach dem Kollaps der "Pseudo-Regierung" seien diese Einnahmen eingebrochen, schreibt Colin P. Clarke. Aufgrund seiner Rücklagen und der deutlich gesunkenen Ausgaben habe der IS aber als verdeckt operierende Terrororganisation überlebt und plane bereits seine Wiederkehr. "The West tends to view the fight against the Islamic State in discrete phases, bookended by presidential administrations or minor changes in policy. But for the jihadis, it’s all one long campaign and has been since the early days of its founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Until the United States and its allies recognize this, the Islamic State is likely to repeat its strategy of going underground before re-emerging in force in perpetuity until the United States completely withdraws its military forces, or until the group is once again able to recapture enough territory to re-engineer the next stage of its caliphate-building project."

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"The Problem Isn’t Fake News From Russia. It’s Us."

In der Debatte über den vermeintlichen Einfluss von Propagandaaktivitäten ausländischer Akteure auf Wahlen im Westen richtet Micah Zenko seinen Blick auf die Bereitschaft vieler Wähler in den USA, "Fake News" in den Sozialen Medien Glauben zu schenken. "(...) one person’s extremist fabulist is another’s brave truth-teller, just as one’s promotion of valid information is another’s weaponization of the same. The issue that Americans have chosen to ignore over the past 20 months is why the public has so deeply embraced and then spread alleged misinformation from China, Iran, or Russia. Politicians and pundits have chosen to blame the United States’ divides on its adversaries, but that is like trying to curb illegal drug use by focusing solely on the foreign countries where the drugs are produced (forgetting, of course, that many drugs are produced at home). The appetite for selective, biased, or partisan information is growing, and it will continue to do so given apparent trends in the U.S. public’s information literacy, critical thinking, and partisanship. The country cannot merely wish away its confirmation biases."

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"What Sort of World Are We Headed for?"

Stephen Walt stellt in diesem Beitrag zur Debatte über die Zukunft der "liberalen Weltordnung" die provokante Frage, ob diese Ordnung jemals wirklich existiert habe. Die globalen Beziehungen werden seiner Ansicht nach auch künftig vor allem von Großmachtpolitik geprägt werden. "Overall, the world of 2025 will be one of 'lopsided multipolarity.' Today’s order isn’t a liberal one (a number of key actors reject liberal ideals), and 2025’s won’t be either. The United States will still be the single most consequential actor on the planet, because no other country will possess the same combination of economic clout, technological sophistication, military might, territorial security, and favorable demography. But its margin of superiority will be smaller than it used to be, and the country will still face long-term fiscal problems and deep political divisions. China will be the world’s No. 2 power (and it will exceed the United States on some dimensions), followed by a number of other major players (Germany, Japan, India, Russia, and so on), all of them considerably weaker than the two leading states."

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"Taiwan Can Win a War With China"

Im Fall einer militärischen Konfrontation zwischen China und Taiwan wäre der Inselstaat zwei neuen Studien zufolge keineswegs hoffnungslos unterlegen, schreibt Tanner Greer. "Two recent studies, one by Michael Beckley, a political scientist at Tufts University, and the other by Ian Easton, a fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, in his book 'The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia', provide us with a clearer picture of what a war between Taiwan and the mainland might look like. Grounded in statistics, training manuals, and planning documents from the PLA itself, and informed by simulations and studies conducted by both the U.S. Defense Department and the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense, this research presents a very different picture of a cross-strait conflict than that hawked by the party’s official announcements. Chinese commanders fear they may be forced into armed contest with an enemy that is better trained, better motivated, and better prepared for the rigors of warfare than troops the PLA could throw against them. A cross-strait war looks far less like an inevitable victory for China than it does a staggeringly risky gamble."

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"Trump Has a New Weapon to Cause 'the Cyber' Mayhem"

Die US-Regierung hat in der vergangenen Woche Elias Groll zufolge einen weiteren Schritt zur Umsetzung einer offensiven Cyberkriegs-Strategie unternommen. Experten schätzten den neuen Kurs als riskant ein. "In rolling out the administration’s new 'National Cyber Strategy,' National Security Advisor John Bolton said that Trump had removed restrictions on the use of offensive cyber-operations and replaced them with a more permissive legal regime that gives the Defense Department and other agencies greater authority to penetrate foreign networks to deter hacks on U.S. systems. (...) One big concern with offensive cyberweapons is that they can cause collateral damage far beyond the original, intended target. In 2017, Russian operatives unleashed the NotPetya ransomware on the Ukrainian financial system, but the virulent worm spread around the world and caused billions of dollars in damage, shut down hospitals, and caused massive disruptions to global shipping and commerce. Granting Defense Department officials the authority to launch retaliatory cyberattacks could risk turning the global internet into a 'free-fire zone,' said Martin Libicki, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy who has written extensively on deterrence in cyberspace."

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"The Middle East Doesn’t 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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"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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"One Year On, Little to Show for Trump’s 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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"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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"Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents"

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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