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"What Would It Take to Unify Korea? Germany Offers Lessons."


Die Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands sei 30 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall immer noch nicht abgeschlossen, stellt Melissa Chan fest. Für die koreanische Halbinsel, die auf der Suche nach Wegen zur eigenen Wiedervereinigung immer wieder nach Deutschland blicke, sei dies keine gute Nachricht. "Every expert and official I contacted believes that German-style reunification — essentially an absorption of North Korea on South Korea’s terms — is the only possible scenario to consider, and that’s only if events play out fairly peacefully. Seoul has flown German bureaucrats from that era over to pick their brains for insight. And if Germany is any indication, the process would take far longer, and cost far more, than anyone might imagine. (…) Koreans would have to shoulder a greater burden. In Germany in the early 1990s, people in the west made two to three times as much as their eastern counterparts. In 2017, South Korea’s per capita GDP was $29,743. That same year, North Korea’s was $1,214 — a 25-to-1 differential. It would take generations for North Koreans to catch up and enjoy the same prosperity as South Koreans. One estimate has Korean reunification costing $10 trillion, or almost seven times South Korea’s annual GDP. 'South Korea is deathly afraid of German-style unification,' says Andrei Lankov, the director of Korea Risk Group, a research firm."

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"'It Can Happen to Anyone': How ISIS Radicalized My Son"


In der achtminütigen Kurzdokumentation "And It Was The Same With My Son" von Noemi Varga erzählt eine Mutter aus Großbritannien, wie sie die Radikalisierung ihres Sohnes, der später als IS-Anhänger in Syrien getötet wurde, miterlebt hat. "In Varga’s award-winning film, premiering on The Atlantic Selects today, Nicola recounts the harrowing story of her son’s radicalization by ISIS. Where another documentarian might have turned to talking-head interviews, Varga instead depicts Nicola’s emotional journey through poetic re-creations that emphasize her grief and isolation. 'I knew I didn’t want to make a traditional documentary,' Varga told me. 'It was more about creating an immersive experience where you can really empathize with her situation.' In her interviews with Nicola, Varga told me that she was surprised to learn how gradual the process of radicalization can be, and how widespread the issue is on a global scale."

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"Nationalism Is a Form of Love, Not Hate"


Rich Lowry verteidigt den Nationalismus in diesem Auszug aus seinem neuen Buch "The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free" gegen seine vielen Kritiker. "The Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, as well as the rise of nationalist governments in Central and Eastern Europe, have swept nationalism to the fore of the public debate, but have not necessarily led to greater understanding. Nationalism is still often assumed to be an inherently nefarious force. It is true that it can be abused for illiberal ends, but the basic impetus for it — for a self-governing people to occupy a distinct territory — is elemental. (…) nationalism isn’t just old, natural, deep-seated, and extremely difficult to suppress. It is also the foundation of a democratic political order. Regardless, anyone who believes that it can be easily repressed in favor of some other, supposedly more broad-minded loyalty is profoundly mistaken."

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"Britain and Europe Are Destined to Be Rivals"


Tom McTague hält es für unausweichlich, dass die EU und Großbritannien nach einem Brexit zumindest wirtschaftspolitisch zu ernsten Rivalen werden. In Europa habe dies u.a. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel früh erkannt. Es sei nicht ausgeschlossen, dass diese Rivalität auch die sicherheitspolitische Kooperation beeinflussen wird. "'With the departure of Great Britain, a potential competitor will of course emerge for us,' Merkel declared. 'That is to say, in addition to China and the United States of America, there will be Great Britain as well.' One does not need to have a view on who will win this competition — or even on whether creating a competition among European powers is a clever idea at all — to acknowledge that at one level, Merkel’s remarks are just the inescapable consequence of Brexit. (…) Could this economic competition spill over into other fields, such as security and defense? At a recent dinner party hosted by the London embassy of a major European power, attended by senior British government officials, diplomats, politicians, and journalists (including myself), the host ambassador was warned that he could not expect his country’s defense relationship with Britain to be left unchanged if Britain felt unfairly treated, economically, in the fallout from Brexit."

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"Trump’s Defiant Message to Washington: My Approach to Alliances Just Worked"


Die erfolgreiche US-Operation gegen den IS-Anführer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi werde von Präsident Trump als Bestätigung seiner außenpolitischen Strategie betrachtet, schreibt Uri Friedman. "In authorizing the Special Forces raid that killed the Islamic State’s founder and leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, his message was essentially: My transactional and tactical approach to alliances, and to limiting America’s military presence in the Middle East in particular and overseas more generally, just worked in spectacular fashion, fulfilling 'the top national-security priority of my administration.' Here was a vivid demonstration of his ability to reduce the United States’ role in the world and still carry out core national-security missions, a proof of his proposition that alliances can fray and fracture and exist in perpetual flux even as mutual interests — in this case opposition to ISIS — persist amid all the wreckage. (…) Recent days have brought signs that Trump’s moves have spurred other countries to increase their investments in a region in which their security is also at stake; the German defense minister, for instance, took the unusual step last week of calling for the creation of an international security zone in northern Syria, though the proposal is more aspirational than operational."

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"The Ceasefire in Syria Worked (More or Less)"


Kathy Gilsinan stellt fest, dass der zwischen Washington und Ankara vereinbarte Waffenstillstand in Nordsyrien seinen Zweck erfüllt habe. "The U.S.-brokered semi-reprieve from the fighting was fundamentally a bargain between Turkey and the United States, in which the U.S. message was: Stop attacking the Syrian Kurds, who helped us beat ISIS; they’ll get away from a piece of your border; and we won’t come after your economy. (…) 'We never used a map,' said James Jeffrey, the Trump administration’s Syria and counter-ISIS envoy, in congressional testimony yesterday. 'This sounds like a sloppy way to do things; it actually worked.' The Turks hadn’t launched a new offensive; the commander of the SDF wrote to Vice President Mike Pence to say that his forces had left 'the relevant area of operations.' (…) Erdoğan may have received enough guarantees, from enough international backers, to maintain the cease-fire — or whatever it is — for now. He has managed to pull both Russia and the United States into effectively guaranteeing Turkish security along its border with Syria. He has, through three separate incursions into northern Syria since 2016, chopped up a stretch of contiguous Kurdish-held territory they had hoped to keep autonomous. That autonomy may ultimately have been the real threat to Erdoğan, argues Henri Barkey, a Turkey expert and the Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University."

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"Trump’s Gift to ISIS"


Mike Giglio warnt, dass der Rückzug der US-Truppen aus Nordsyrien eine dauerhafte Zerschlagung des "Islamischen Staates" verhindern könnte. Es sei Wunschdenken, zu erwarten, dass die Türkei den IS nach einer Invasion der Region effektiv bekämpfen würde. "For much of America’s war against the so-called ISIS caliphate, it was clear that the extremist proto-state that ISIS created across Syria and Iraq didn’t stand much chance of lasting. The militants had no way to counter the relentless U.S. air-strike campaign and faced a committed enemy in the U.S.-backed local soldiers who did the bulk of the ground fighting. (...) These local soldiers — the Kurds in Syria, the Iraqi military, and various other forces — have already suffered many thousands of casualties. Once the territorial caliphate was defeated, America could have focused on rebuilding them as well as the heavily bombed areas where they are now charged with keeping the peace. (...) 'The safe-zone theme is just dressed-up ethnic cleansing, when you get down to it,' Nicholas Heras, a specialist on Syria and ISIS at the Center for a New American Security, told me. 'This isn’t about ISIS for Turkey. They’ve made that very clear. This is about border security, and this is about their domestic political concerns related to the strain of a refugee population that many Turkish border regions don’t have the means to care for anymore.'"

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"The U.S. Gives Military Aid to Corrupt Countries All the Time"


In der Debatte über ein Amtsenthebungsverfahren gegen US-Präsident Trump spielen zurückgehaltene Militärhilfen für die Ukraine wichtige Rolle. Donald Trump hat erklärt, dass die verbreitete Korruption in der Ukraine bei der Verzögerung der Unterstützung mitentscheidend gewesen sei. Kathy Gilsinan weist dagegen darauf hin, dass dieses Argument bei der Militärunterstützung für andere Länder offensichtlich keine Rolle spiele. "Ukraine does suffer from corruption, but it’s by no means the worst offender among the recipients of American largesse. The research group Security Assistance Monitor noted in a report last fall that some two-thirds of the countries receiving U.S. counterterrorism aid, or 24 of 36 countries examined, 'posed serious corruption risks.' (...) other countries’ experiences have demonstrated how aid itself can fuel corruption, even indirectly by freeing up more of the host government’s resources to distribute bribes. Or it can create perverse incentives. A weak government in a country getting massive amounts of military aid has reason to fear the development of a strong and professional military; see: Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi."

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"Trump’s Transactional. And Estonia’s President Is Cool With It."


Im Streit um die Verteidigungsausgaben der europäischen NATO-Länder habe US-Präsident Trump in der estländischen Präsidentin Kersti Kaljulaid einen unwahrscheinlichen Verbündeten gefunden, berichten Uri Friedman und Yara Bayoumy. "'Frankly speaking, I’m on the same page' as Trump regarding the 2-percent requirement, Kaljulaid — an earnest, 49-year-old socially liberal policy wonk who in style is Trump’s polar opposite — told us. 'Actually I’m quite sorry: Thinking back historically, when everybody else said it nicely, we didn’t react,' she continued. 'I mean, Barack Obama said so as well, and then we said, ‘It’s all fine and dandy but we don’t see it’s a necessity.’ It’s an irony that with this more transactional policy-making style [of Trump’s], we are now in Europe discussing 2 percent' and promising to devote $100 billion more to security by the end of 2020, which 'is not peanuts.' (...) Of course, the Estonian president has an incentive to remain in the good graces of the commander in chief of the most powerful military in NATO. But she traced her trust in Trump to commitments that she’s heard the president make privately and publicly, Vice President Mike Pence’s show of support during a visit to Estonia early in the administration, and a new U.S. pledge of military assistance and defense cooperation for Estonia."

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"Against Washington's 'Great Power' Obsession"


Alex Pascal empfiehlt der US-Regierung anlässlich der aktuellen UN-Generalversammlung, sich daran zu erinnern, dass das Land nicht in direkter Konkurrenz zu anderen Großmächten, sondern durch die Schaffung und Unterstützung der bestehenden multilateralen Weltordnung zur Supermacht aufgestiegen sei. "These institutions and America’s multilateral leadership style were essential to winning the Cold War — the last great power competition. Why? Because Washington attracted countries and people to it by convincing them that America was out for more than itself. How? By (mostly) upholding its commitments, following global rules, defending friends and allies, finding common ground with foes, and practicing painstaking consultative diplomacy. This produced an unprecedented era of relative global peace and prosperity, but not without some costs and constraints. The United States had to follow the same rules as everyone else, even though it was the most powerful country. (...) Since 1945, the world has largely played America’s game, by America’s rules. But now Washington is deciding to play its rivals’ geopolitical game. Competitive zero-sum thinking comes naturally to Moscow and Beijing (and Trump), less so to Americans. (...) Trump may not have put the multilateral system on life support, but he is trying to pull the plug on it. As authoritarians rise, the climate changes, technology advances, and too many are left behind, Ben Franklin’s existential call to cooperate is as vital for the United States in the global arena of 2019 as it was for the American colonies in 1776."

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"What Would Jeremy Corbyn Mean for Britain’s Foreign Policy?"


Ein denkbares Resultat des andauernden Brexit-Streits im britischen Parlament ist die Wahl des Labour-Vorsitzenden Jeremy Corbyn zum neuen Premierminister. Yasmeen Serhan erläutert die möglichen außen- und sicherheitspolitischen Konsequenzen eines solchen Regierungswechsels. "Corbyn’s foreign-policy views are unlike those held by any other Labour leader, and are in many ways outside the mainstream of his own party, let alone the country. While any major economic plan would require Parliament’s consent, as prime minister, he would have significant sway over the country’s foreign agenda at a time when Britain’s global standing post-Brexit is still mired in doubt. (...) Much of what a Prime Minister Corbyn’s foreign policy might look like is based on views that he has supported throughout his time in Parliament. An early sponsor of the Stop the War Coalition, a British campaign group founded following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Corbyn was a vocal opponent of the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as subsequent military interventions in Libya and Syria. He has voiced support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a right of return for all Palestinian refugees. He has also expressed sympathy for the reunification of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a particularly controversial position for a would-be prime minister, because Northern Ireland remains a part of the United Kingdom)."

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"If This Isn’t Impeachable, Nothing Is"


In den USA hat die Aussage eines Geheimdienstmitarbeiters über ein Telefonat des US-Präsidenten mit seinem ukrainischen Amtskollegen eine neue Debatte über eine mögliche Amtsenthebung Donald Trumps ausgelöst. Trump soll Wolodymyr Selenskyj gedrängt haben, die Aktivitäten des Sohnes des demokratischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten Joe Biden in der Ukraine zu untersuchen. Für Tom Nichols ist der Fall klar: "Until now, there was room for reasonable disagreement over impeachment as both a matter of politics and a matter of tactics. The Mueller report revealed despicably unpatriotic behavior by Trump and his minions, but it did not trigger a political judgment with a majority of Americans that it warranted impeachment. The Democrats, for their part, remained unwilling to risk their new majority in Congress on a move destined to fail in a Republican-controlled Senate. Now, however, we face an entirely new situation. In a call to the new president of Ukraine, Trump reportedly attempted to pressure the leader of a sovereign state into conducting an investigation — a witch hunt, one might call it — of a U.S. citizen, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden. (...) If this in itself is not impeachable, then the concept has no meaning. Trump’s grubby commandeering of the presidency’s fearsome and nearly uncheckable powers in foreign policy for his own ends is a gross abuse of power and an affront both to our constitutional order and to the integrity of our elections."

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"The U.S. Is About to Do Something Big on Hong Kong"


Protestierende in Hongkong haben in den vergangenen Wochen immer wieder die US-Flagge oder die amerikanische Nationalhymne als Freiheitssymbole eingesetzt. Uri Friedman und Timothy McLaughlin berichten, dass Washington auf den Hilferuf bald mit einem neuen Gesetz reagieren könnte. "Faced with Trump’s scattershot approach to the ferment in Hong Kong, which doesn’t rank as a high-priority issue for his administration, activists are placing their faith in legislation that ultimately will only be as effective as the executive branch’s willingness to implement it. Nevertheless, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of the sponsors of the bill in the Senate, is optimistic that the U.S. government will deliver on its promise. (...) Rubio said he expects the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to easily pass in Congress and be signed into law by the president. The legislation, which has bipartisan support in the Senate and the House of Representatives, has emerged as the primary vehicle through which the U.S. government is hoping to deter China from carrying out a Tiananmen Square–like crackdown against peaceful protesters and pressure it into upholding the city’s special status within China. (...) In theory, this would equip the United States with plenty of economic and diplomatic leverage to influence Chinese behavior, but in practice it would be difficult to execute."

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"What Really Prompted Trump to Call Off Afghan Peace Talks"


Uri Friedman und Kathy Gilsinan sind der Ansicht, dass die US-Regierung den jüngsten Selbstmordanschlag der Taliban in Kabul als willkommene Gelegenheit genutzt habe, um einen Verhandlungsprozess zu beenden, der nicht die gewünschten Resultate erzielt habe. "The latest bout of bloodshed may have played some role in the actions Trump just took, but it is also a convenient out for an administration that had gone all in on a floundering initiative. One of the expectations of any pact, for example, was that the Taliban would not only disown al-Qaeda, but also guarantee that its territory wouldn’t be used by jihadists to launch attacks against the United States. It’s far from clear that the Taliban would have been willing or able to enforce that condition, especially once the U.S. military fully withdraws from the country. (...) Then there’s the matter of whether the United States was really prepared to pull all its forces out of Afghanistan. (...) as with its negotiations with China, Iran, and North Korea, which Pompeo deliberately drew comparisons to yesterday to illustrate Trump’s intolerance for anything short of stellar deals, the U.S. administration has struggled to trade in the leverage it has amassed in Afghanistan for a diplomatic breakthrough."

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"Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill"


Zachary Fryer-Biggs vom Center for Public Integrity hat sich mit der Zukunft der Kriegsführung beschäftigt, in der autonome Waffensysteme vielen Prognosen zufolge eine zentrale Rolle spielen werden. Noch gebe es auch in Militärkreisen viele kritische Stimmen zur Einführung dieser Systeme. Die potenziellen Vorteile KI-gestützter Waffen dürften Fryer-Biggs zufolge allerdings immer wichtiger werden. "So far, U.S. military officials haven’t given machines full control, and they say there are no firm plans to do so. Many officers — schooled for years in the importance of controlling the battlefield — remain deeply skeptical about handing such authority to a robot. (...) But if the drawbacks of using artificially intelligent war machines are obvious, so are the advantages. Humans generally take about a quarter of a second to react to something we see — think of a batter deciding whether to swing at a baseball pitch. But now machines we’ve created have surpassed us, at least in processing speed. (...) So far, new weapons systems are being designed so that humans must still approve the unleashing of their lethal violence, but only minor modifications would be needed to allow them to act without human input. Pentagon rules, put in place during the Obama administration, don’t prohibit giving computers the authority to make lethal decisions; they only require more careful review of the designs by senior officials. And so officials in the military services have begun the thorny, existential work of discussing how and when and under what circumstances they will let machines decide to kill."

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"America’s Allies Seem to Be Moving On Without Trump"


Der G7-Gipfel in Biarritz habe demonstriert, dass die westlichen Demokratien bereit seien, ohne US-Präsident Trump zusammenzuarbeiten, meint Peter Nicholas. "With Trump at odds with much of the free world, the free world seems to be moving on without him. At the G7, leaders seemed to have given up on the prospect of forging a consensus with him on trade, climate, and even whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is friend or foe. The summit appeared to be organized in ways that diminished the likelihood of a Trumpian tantrum. (...) 'They’re going out of their way to accommodate his [Trump’s] whims and wishes,' Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told me. Still, Trump’s counterparts made clear that if he wasn’t willing to be a partner, they might go it alone."

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"Trump Has Defected"


Thomas Wright von der Brookings Institution wirft US-Präsident Trump vor, mit seiner Reaktion auf die dänische Ablehnung des Kaufangebots für Grönland die gleiche Taktik zu verfolgen wie autoritäre Staaten. "It is one thing to float a cockamamie idea that no one believes is serious or will go anywhere. (...) It is quite another to use leverage and impose costs on Denmark in pursuit of that goal — and make no mistake, canceling a presidential visit is using leverage and imposing costs. What’s next, refusing to exempt Denmark from various tariffs because it won’t discuss Greenland? (...) This is the kind of thing the Russians and the Chinese do. It is territorial revisionism — the use of national power to acquire territory against the desire of its sovereign government and its people. (...) One uncomfortable truth is already inescapable. Free societies and autocracies are at odds with each other — over human rights, the rule of law, technology, freedom of the press, the free flow of information, and territorial expansion. At this particular moment, it is not sufficient to say that the free world is without a leader. He has actually defected to the other side."

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"Don’t Give White Nationalists the Post-9/11 Treatment"


Max Abrahms warnt vor einer Überreaktion auf die Massenschießerei in El Paso. "Is 9/11 the best model for us to aspire to replicate? Do we really want a war on terrorism at home? And what exactly would it look like? As a Columbia postdoc noted on Twitter, 'In response to 9/11, we invaded a country that had nothing to do with it because they shared an ethnicity with the attackers. If we treat white supremacist violence the same way, the equivalent might be regime change in Belarus.' For the sake of consistency, we could round up some white suspects, throw them in Guantánamo Bay, and dust off the old waterboard. (...) law enforcement must develop a subtle understanding of what constitutes extremism, and a thick skin. As a term, extremism is used sloppily to denote both a person’s political goals and the methods used to achieve them. There’s an important difference, though, between rooting for extreme ends and using extreme means to realize them. Chat rooms are full of people expressing sundry offensive — even reprehensible — political visions. The smart counterterrorist swallows hard and leaves them alone. But it’s interdiction time the moment the prospect of violence is even mentioned as a way forward."

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"Where Veterans Aren’t Thanked for Their Service"


Der Umgang mit Kriegsveteranen sei in Deutschland aufgrund der historischen Umstände in vieler Hinsicht einzigartig, berichtet Noah Barkin aus Berlin. "Today, nearly 75 years after the end of World War II and the devastation left by the Nazis, Germany remains deeply ambivalent about its military. There is no Veterans Day here to honor soldiers like Alex, and veterans aren’t celebrated at sporting events or other public occasions as they are in the United States and other European countries. The memorials erected in recent years to remember Germans who died in foreign wars are not prominently displayed, like those for American soldiers on the Mall in Washington, but rather hidden on a barren side street near the defense ministry and behind fences on a military base south of the capital. Few politicians speak openly about Germany’s combat veterans, and the Bundeswehr does not recognize those who fought abroad as a distinct group. Even the term veteran remains tainted by associations with the Nazis. (...) veterans groups (...) say that support for returning soldiers who are no longer active members of the Bundeswehr, a group that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, is sorely lacking. Bernhard Drescher, the head of a leading association for combat veterans, describes this group as Germany’s 'invisible veterans.' Strict German data-privacy laws prevent the Bundeswehr from keeping track of soldiers who have returned to civilian life. The military, for instance, has no way to track the social status or suicide rates for this group. Many have been left to fend for themselves, Drescher says."

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"How to Choose Between the U.S. and China? It’s Not That Easy."


Die geopolitische Rivalität zwischen den USA und China könnte viele Länder bald vor eine schwierige Wahl stellen, schreibt Uri Friedman. Aktuell sei das Dilemma in Südkorea besonders gut zu beobachten. "At a time when the struggle for supremacy between Washington and Beijing is intensifying, numerous countries — from Australia and New Zealand, to Japan and South Korea, to Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, and Germany — are finding themselves in an awkward position: having the United States as their security ally and China as their top trading partner. The U.S. and Chinese governments aren’t explicitly demanding that these nations go all in with one or the other. Not yet, at least. But pressure to pick a side on specific issues — and the various contortions these countries go through to avoid doing so — has now become a recurring feature of international affairs, and could be a prelude to a broader sorting. (...) Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than in South Korea, which is acutely sensitive to the consequences of great-power contests, given that these have over the past century played a role in Japan’s occupation of Korea, the Korean War, and the division of the peninsula during the Cold War."

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"FaceApp Makes Today’s Privacy Laws Look Antiquated"


Die aktuelle FaceApp-Debatte zeigt nach Ansicht von Tiffany C. Li vom Information Society Project der Yale Law School, dass die westlichen Datenschutzgesetze mit der rasanten Ausbreitung von Kameras und Datensammlern nicht Schritt halten. Dies habe nur wenig mit der russischen Herkunft von FaceApp zu tun. "Walking around anywhere can get your face included in facial-recognition databases. How that information can be mined, manipulated, bought, or sold is minimally regulated — in the United States and elsewhere. Militaries, law-enforcement agencies, and commercial interests alike envision far-reaching uses of AI and facial recognition, but legal and regulatory controls lag far behind the pace of technology. For most people, never going outside is not an option. So laws in the United States and elsewhere need to be tuned up quickly — and not just because of FaceApp. (...) Concerns about Russian apps stem from the close relationship between government and industry, and the likelihood that Russian companies will be unable to fight government requests for data. Then again, companies in even the most liberal, democratic nations often have to share data with their government as well. (...) We can’t have effective laws until we expand our understanding of privacy to reflect the data-hungry world we now live in. The FaceApp privacy controversy is not overblown, but some attacks are misdirected. The problem isn’t photo-editing apps or third-party developers or Russian tech companies. What we are facing as a society is a systemic failure to protect privacy when new technologies force our preconceived notions of privacy to collapse."

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"Leaks Are Changing How Diplomats Talk"


Tom McTague und Prashant Rao schreiben, dass sich die diplomatischen Kommunikationsformen im Zeitalter von WikiLeaks und Cyberkrieg deutlich verändert hätten. "Sensitive information, which might previously have been included on cables, is now being copied and pasted into WhatsApp messages and distributed among small circles of trusted officials; important communications are being shared on private email accounts outside the official systems of surveillance; government-issued laptops are being abandoned for the anonymity of airport computer stations to communicate with foreign governments in moments of crisis. These are just some of the techniques now being used by senior diplomats to protect themselves from exposure, with many now fearing — given domestic political divisions in Britain, the United States, and elsewhere — that they are just one disgruntled colleague or successful hack away from the premature end of their careers."

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"What’s Behind Quebec’s Ban on Religious Symbols"


Im kanadischen Quebec ist es bestimmten Bediensteten im öffentlichen Dienst künftig untersagt, religiöse Symbole zur Schau zu stellen. Dies betrifft muslimische Kopfbedeckungen, aber auch die jüdische Kippa und das christliche Kreuz. "That this debate is happening in Quebec is no surprise, given its history and how it views itself compared with the rest of Canada. Some Quebecers fear that the broader Canadian policy of multiculturalism will erase their 'distinct identity' as a French-speaking province. These concerns have translated into efforts such as Bill 21. The law is a decade in the making; for years, lawmakers discussed legislating secularism and tried to ban religious symbols in public. (...) The law’s supporters present the measure as being intrinsically part of the province’s identity. Being a Quebecer, they say, means believing that religious symbols might be fine in private, but that public servants shouldn’t be allowed to wear them, lest they impede their decision making at work."

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"Democrats Have Found Their Battle Cry"


Im kommenden US-Wahlkampf werden die Demokraten Uri Friedman zufolge alles daran setzen, um Präsident Trump als Gefahr für die Demokratie und die "freie Welt" zu präsentieren. Ob diese Strategie sich auszahlen wird, werde von konservativen Experten bezweifelt. "By cozying up to dictators and casting aside democratic allies abroad, and mimicking strongmen while undermining institutions at home, Trump is making the world safe for autocracy, the 2020 presidential candidates assert. The defining struggle of our time is between the forces of democracy and authoritarianism, they say, and the leader of the land of the free has strayed into enemy territory. (...) James Jay Carafano of the conservative Heritage Foundation (...) told me he doesn’t think the Democratic gambit will work. Voters, he argued, tend to choose their candidate based on the politician’s domestic-policy positions and then trust him or her to do the right thing on foreign policy. Those who like Trump will vote for him; those who don’t won’t; and those in the middle will make their decision based on whether they feel safe and economically better off, he said, not on whether or not the president is abetting authoritarianism."

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"Taiwan’s Status is a Geopolitical Absurdity"


Der völkerrechtliche und geopolitische Status Taiwans könne nur als "absurd" betrachtet werden, meint Chris Horton. Die jahrzehntelang geltende US-Strategie gegenüber dem Inselstaat habe sich unter Präsident Trump allerdings spürbar verschoben. "Trump (...) is heading what is easily the most pro-Taiwan White House since the [Taiwan Relations Act of 1979] went into effect. The State Department and Pentagon are stacked with China hawks and friends of Taiwan, and there is an obvious push for normalization of arms packages, both big and small."

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"Trump Couldn’t Ignore the Contradictions of His Foreign Policy Any Longer"


US-Präsident Trump hat nach Ansicht von Thomas Wright die Widersprüche seiner Außenpolitik erkannt und mit einer Kurskorrektur begonnen. Dazu gehöre offenbar auch, Sicherheitsberater Bolton stärker an den Rand zu drängen. "It has been obvious for months that Trump did not want war with Iran, but Bolton kept the president from hearing from officials who would offer a contrary view to the hawks. Never one for protocol, Trump decided to go outside normal channels and started talking with [Fox News’s Tucker Carlson], who now appears to be a confidant. It says a lot about Bolton’s own insecurity that he would prefer to put his boss in the position of relying on a talk-show host rather than allow an interagency meeting where a diversity of views might be raised. In the reckoning, there is some clarity. It is now clear that Trump wants talks with Iran, just like with North Korea. Calling off the strikes was the right judgment call, but things should never have gotten to that point. (...) The era of action ultimately forced Trump to choose dealmaking over militarism. He could change his mind in the future — particularly if he thinks he will look weak for not responding to new provocations, real or perceived — but the frame for the next 18 months appears to be set."

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"Europe Has Turned Its Back on Its ISIS Suspects"


Die italienische Regierung hat vor kurzem einen aus Italien stammenden mutmaßlichen IS-Kämpfer aus Syrien zurückgebracht, um ihn in dessen Heimat vor Gericht zu stellen. Kathy Gilsinan stellt fest, dass andere europäische Regierungen diesem Vorbild offenbar nicht folgen wollen. "The irony is that some western European countries, whose representatives were appalled by America’s indefinite detention of terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay after September 11, are now by default accepting a sprawling Guantánamo in the desert. (...) A further irony is that authoritarian Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan, have been leading the way on repatriating their citizens from Iraq and Syria — especially women and children — and casting their efforts in humanitarian terms, Letta Tayler, a senior researcher in terrorism and counterterrorism at Human Rights Watch, told me. (...) it may not stay a humanitarian problem. The Islamic State’s predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, built itself in part through breaking fighters out of prison; there are security problems in SDF prisons, and reports of attempted prison breaks. 'My concern at this point is if there is a prison break, we will be kicking ourselves. The Europeans will be kicking themselves,' said the senior State Department official. 'If there’s a prison break, these guys end up undetected on [Europe’s] borders.'"

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"The U.S.-Saudi Alliance Is on the Brink"


Sollte Donald Trump die Präsidentschaftswahl im nächsten Jahr tatsächlich verlieren, könnte dies weitreichende Folgen für die Beziehungen zwischen Saudi-Arabien und den USA haben, erwarten Uri Friedman und Yara Bayoumy. "Republican and Democratic presidents alike have been forced to mostly give Saudi Arabia a free pass on rights abuses and political repression, given the extent to which Washington relies on Riyadh as a stable geopolitical weight in the Middle East. But several 2020 candidates have made their displeasure clear. (...) The Khashoggi killing has not just angered members of Congress, but also prompted some lobbying firms and think tanks to reject Saudi funding. Saudi leaders recognize that the damage done to relations with the United States by the incident 'is worse than 9/11' in terms of the toll taken on the alliance, says Firas Maksad of the Arabia Foundation, a Washington-based think tank familiar with Saudi officials’ thinking, who met with Saudi officials during a visit to Riyadh in March."

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"Trump’s Trade War With China Is Already Changing the World"


Unabhängig vom Ausgang des Handelskriegs der USA gegen China habe der Streit bereits heute zu sichtbaren Veränderungen der Weltwirtschaft geführt, stellt Michael Schuman fest. "Deteriorating ties between the two countries are influencing everything from grand geopolitical strategy to our daily lives: where products at your local Walmart are made; where jobs will be created or lost; the technology we will (and won’t) be using; who may be studying next to you at Harvard; and how to invest your money. That means we could be at a history-altering moment. Since the 1990s, policymakers and business titans have assumed that the globe will become more and more integrated. (...) Not anymore. With that partnership between the U.S. and China anything but assured, businesses are redrawing the map of global production. (...) This realignment of business, technology and people is also taking place among nations. As China and the U.S. drift apart, a new pattern of global relations may be emerging. For instance, China and Russia are probably friendlier today than they were for most of the period when both were Communist. (...) For many countries with economic ties to China but strategic alliances with the United States, straddling the fence between the two will becoming more and more difficult."

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"What the Iran Crisis Reveals About European Power"


Die Iran-Krise hat nach Ansicht von Tom McTague einmal mehr die geopolitische Machtlosigkeit Europas offenbart. Dies werde sich erst ändern, wenn die EU den Euro international als echte Konkurrenz zum US-Dollar etabliert. "'The U.S. position on Iran has shown that the EU’s security policy is controlled by the importance of the U.S. dollar to global trade,' Tom Tugendhat, the British member of Parliament and chair of the U.K. Parliament’s foreign-affairs committee, told me. 'U.S. sanctions determine our policy, and unless there is a new global currency and banking system, it will remain so.' This reality, acknowledged in private by European diplomats, officials, and foreign-policy advisers, has all but eliminated European leverage in the crisis so far. (...) To rival U.S. economic power, Europe may need a rival currency — and a single monetary policy. But to develop such an alternative, the euro needs the kind of radical reform fiercely opposed in Berlin."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

Vom Kosovo nach Kolumbien, von Somalia nach Süd-Thailand: Weltweit schwelen über 280 politische Konflikte. Und immer wieder droht die Lage gewaltsam zu eskalieren.

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