US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The American Interest


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"A New Alliance to Nowhere"

Die von Deutschland und Frankreich ausgerufene "Allianz für den Multilateralismus" richtet sich nach Ansicht von Jakub Grygiel vor allem gegen die neue US-Außenpolitik. Darüber hinaus sei die Initiative nicht viel mehr als eine "leere Pose". "The name chosen for this diplomatic initiative combines two words — alliance and multilateralism — that are almost synonyms. (...) The Alliance for Multilateralism establishes a tool for a tool. It’s like acquiring a mallet for hammering or a car for driving but never specifying the what and where. This may sound pedantic but terminology matters. It points to the core problem of this German-French initiative: What is it for? Will this 'Alliance' counterbalance the rise of China? Will it push Russia out of Crimea and the eastern territories of Ukraine? Will it deter the nefarious activities of the Iranian mullahs? The answer is negative. None of these threats will be on the agenda of this new 'alliance.' Rather the focus is on climate change, digitalization, and nuclear weapons. (...) This initiative is an exercise in verbal posturing, restating the tenets of global progressivism and proposing nothing concrete except more meetings. Though it is likely to fizzle away, it is nevertheless a worrisome symptom of the persistent anti-Americanism in some European capitals."

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"The Arctic Is American"

US-Außenminister Pompeo hat Diane Francis zufolge im vergangenen Mai eine "Northern Doctrine" vorgestellt, um Russland und China unmissverständlich zu signalisieren, dass die USA in der Arktis eigene Ansprüche stellen. Pompeo habe dabei auch Kanada diplomatisch vor den Kopf gestoßen: "In blunt terms, he put Russia and China on notice for militarizing the region and chastened Canada, describing its claim of sovereignty over the Northwest Passage as 'illegitimate.' (...) For the United States, the non-military concern is that the Russians will create a transpolar logistical monopoly to deliver liquefied natural gas, goods, and commodities to Asia and Europe. This would allow Moscow to exclude or gouge competitors. The military concern is that Russia is boosting its military presence along the sea route, while China lurks nearby. Surprisingly, Pompeo took a swipe at Canada’s claim of control of the Northwest Passage on the basis of 'a long-contested feud' with the United States. But there is no 'long-contested feud,' from the Canadian viewpoint. (...) Pompeo’s bluntness surprised many, and a Canadian government spokesman pushed back politely: 'Canada and the U.S. have differing views regarding the status of the Northwest Passage under international law,' said Guillaume Berube, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs."

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"Will China’s Next Crisis Be in Tibet?"

Der drohende Streit um die Nachfolge des 84-jährigen Dalai Lamas in Tibet könnte für Peking möglicherweise bald zum nächsten Konfliktherd in der chinesischen Peripherie führen, schreibt James Flynn. "As the final phase of his leadership approaches, the Dalai Lama’s legacy is in jeopardy. The Dalai Lama’s Middle-Way Approach has frustrated those Tibetans who have advocated for a harder line on China. Some of these people may be inclined to adopt more extreme approaches — even violent ones — after his passing. Disenchanted Tibetans living in Tibet under Chinese rule may start to question the legitimacy of the India-based CTA to speak on their behalf. (...) The Dalai Lama has served as the universal figurehead and a moderating force for Tibetans. If his passing is followed by political fracturing and/or violence in the absence of clear leadership, the resulting confusion will lead the West to pay even less attention, opening the way for China to take a freer hand in bringing Tibet’s population to heel. It probably will not be pretty."

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"The European Slide Toward Irrelevance"

Die jüngste Europawahl hat nach Ansicht von Jakub Grygiel von der Catholic University of America die "geopolitische Impotenz" der EU bestätigt. Diese Schlussfolgerung begründet er mit zwei konkreten Resultaten: "Two election results in particular are striking, not because of their novelty but because they demonstrate the resilience of certain political forces that are leading to Europe’s withdrawal from the global chessboard. First, the rise of the 'greens' in Europe. (...) the electoral gains of the 'greens' mean that European states will come under pressure to impose even higher costs on the economies by phasing out coal and reducing emissions. Beyond the added burden this will place on already weak economies, the increased heft of the 'green' political bloc will also increase Europe’s (and especially some states’) dependency on Russian gas. (...) The second result of the EU elections is also not new, but striking all the same: Although these elections are ostensibly 'European,' they are really national contests about national concerns. (...) The electorates are seeking answers to problems that are particular to their nations, whether migration or economic woes or environmental concerns. And more often than not, the answer is not 'Europe,' which has demonstrated that it cannot stabilize North Africa and the Middle East, cannot address youth unemployment in southern Europe, and cannot secure its eastern frontier. Those domestic problems cannot be outsourced to the European Union and thus are forcing national politicians to turn their gaze inward."

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"The Rise of Unfreedom in the West"


Der Politikwissenschaftler Andrew A. Michta vom College of International and Security Studies am George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies sieht die Meinungsfreiheit in der westlichen Welt durch "angeblich liberale" Regierungen, Medien und Wissenschaft bedroht. "Superseding this once-proud tradition of free speech, empiricism, and free inquiry is calculating, cautious, self-censoring phraseology. And when people do express unorthodox views, it is often in hushed tones, out of fear that an overheard comment could kill their career and get them ostracized from polite society. A December 2018 Rasmussen Reports poll found that today only 26 percent of American adults believe they have true freedom of speech, while 68 percent think they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble. (...) With freedom of speech under assault, the West, both as a polity and as a distinct cultural inheritance, is in the throes of a fundamental battle for the survival of its democratic traditions. It is time for all of us to stand up for liberty. And to do so out loud."

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"The Eastern Blind Spot in German Leadership"

Iulia-Sabina Joja wirft der deutschen Außenpolitik in osteuropäischen Fragen einen "blinden Fleck" vor. Dies zeige sich aktuell in der Debatte über das Pipelineprojekt Nord Stream 2. "'To exclude Russia is the wrong strategic signal' Chancellor Merkel said as she defended the Nord Stream 2 project at the recent Munich Security Conference. As I watched her from my vantage in Berlin, it dawned on me that the controversial project marks an inflection point for European security. For years the world has urged Germany to become 'normalized.' Perhaps Berlin’s position on the pipeline is what this looks like. (...) Berlin’s insistence on Nord Stream 2 also complicates Europe’s relationship with the United States. Moreover, it is showing us a side of Germany we are unaccustomed to: one that puts national economic interests before European security. When Germany’s Transatlantic allies and partners argued for years for Berlin to 'normalize,' what they had in mind was that it would match its outsized economic power with a greater leadership role in European security, broadly speaking. What they’ve discovered is that Berlin has a sizable blind spot when it looks east."

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"The Sources of the West’s Decline"

Andrew A. Michta, Politikwissenschaftler am George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, meint, dass die Krise der transatlantischen Beziehungen tiefer gehende Ursachen als Trump, Brexit und Populismus habe. "(...) the real trouble for the West, rather, is what has been happening within our own societies. Internal changes have made us more vulnerable than any economic calculus would indicate. For the first time since the end of World War II, the so-called declinists may be onto something fundamental when they argue that the West’s heyday may be a thing of the past. The problem is not the economy or technology, but the centrifugal forces rising within the Transatlantic alliance: in short, the progressive civilizational fracturing and decomposition, fed by the growing disconnect between political and cultural elites and the publics across the two continents. Alongside this is an even more insidious trend of fragmenting national cultures and the concomitant debasement of the idea of citizenship, the latter increasingly defined almost exclusively in terms of rights, with reciprocal obligations all but relegated to the proverbial dustbin of history. (...) The problem runs deeper than individual leaders or governments. We are at an ideological inflection point within the Transatlantic community because of trends that have been building up over decades. Both in the United States and in Europe, we are now subject to the added stress of a 'take no prisoners' politics in which the goal is not so much to win the argument as to annihilate one’s opponent."

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"The EU May Have Just Put an End to Russia’s Pipeline Project"

Der EU-Kompromiss im Streit um die Gaspipeline Nord Stream 2 könnte dem Energieprojekt einen möglicherweise tödlichen Schlag versetzt haben, hofft dagegen Alan Riley vom Atlantic Council. Das federführende russische Staatsunternehmen Gazprom stehe nun vor einer ganzen Reihe neuer Probleme und könnte das Projekt deshalb durchaus aufgeben. "What Gazprom and the Kremlin feared was that at some point, the EU would bring its open market liberalization rules to bear. If that happened, Gazprom would lose control of the pipeline and be subject to significant regulatory audit and market pricing obligations. This past Friday, Gazprom’s worst fears appear to have been finally realized, when a proposed amendment to the EU’s 2009 Gas Directive passed through the European Council. (...) Gazprom will need to find independent owners of any new pipeline, and given the scale of European supervision, Gazprom may not be able to maintain sufficient commercial and political leverage to make the entire operation worthwhile. The issue is likely to affect the next major pipeline project, Turk Stream 2, which will run across the Black Sea with 15.75 bcm capacity to either Bulgaria or Greece, both EU member states."

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"Huntington’s Legacy"

Der Politikwissenschaftler Francis Fukuyama wirft 25 Jahre nach Veröffentlichung des Essays 'The Clash of Civilizations?" von Samuel P. Huntington im Magazin Foreign Affairs einen Blick auf das Erbe seines 2008 verstorbenen Kollegen. "Since Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations has been contrasted with my own End of History in countless introductory International Relations classes over the past two decades, I might as well begin by tackling at the outset the issue of how we’re doing vis-à-vis one another. At the moment, it looks like Huntington is winning. The world today is not converging around liberal democratic government, as it seemed to be for more than a generation. (...) The long-term unanswered questions posed by Huntington then are: Will deeply rooted cultural values be so durable as to prevent certain societies from ever modernizing; and if they modernize, will they fail to converge in terms of political institutions? The jury is still out on these issues."

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"Can Reagan Show Trump How to Save the INF Treaty?"

Stephen Sestanovich von der School of International and Public Affairs der Columbia University hofft, dass sich US-Präsident Trump an der Strategie seines Amtsvorgängers Ronald Reagan orientiert und den Kollaps des wichtigen INF-Vertrags mit Russland verhindert. "(...) scrapping the INF Treaty is not the right response, certainly not the right first one. The treaty confers enormous advantages on the United States in defending its European allies. Complying with its terms is easy for U.S. forces and difficult for Russia. Such a favorable arrangement should not be lightly discarded. If the treaty ultimately does collapse, NATO will find it easier to agree on a follow-on strategy if it has first sought to preserve the treaty by negotiation. A second alternative is to pursue an even broader treaty, this time with universal reach. A global ban on medium-range ground-launched missiles would address Russia’s core complaint — that its neighbors are, under the current treaty, allowed to deploy weapons that Russia is not. National Security Advisor John Bolton once proposed such a global ban, and he may do so again. (...) To preserve the treaty, policymakers should learn from the diplomacy that produced it thirty years ago. The Reagan record gives them an excellent checklist for the job ahead."

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"Terrorism on the Eastern Front"

Kosovo könnte aufgrund seiner politischen und wirtschaftlichen Instabilität zu einer wichtigen Anlaufstelle für den "Islamischen Staat" in Europa werden, warnen Paul McCarthy und Luke Waggoner. "With 53 percent of its population under 25, Kosovo is the youngest country in Europe. Yet thanks to the combination of economic and political problems, unemployment among 15 to 24 year olds has reached a whopping 57 percent. The challenges of democratization (...) have marginalized young people disproportionately, due to the fact that the current governing elite is largely devoid of young leaders. This situation has led some young Kosovars to turn to nondemocratic means for expressing their frustration. (...) radical extremists are increasingly exploiting the Muslim identity of Albanians to rally them to the defense of their coreligionists in foreign battlefields. Among the segments of the population susceptible to radicalism, Muslim identity appears to be superseding Albanian identity: The findings of an IRI focus group indicate that many of the Kosovars who left the country to become foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq were motivated by a desire to defend Islam against the Assad regime."

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"The End of Liberalism?"

Damir Marusic schreibt unter Berufung auf den bulgarischen Politikwissenschaftler Ivan Krastev und den britischen Soziologen Frank Furedi, dass sich im Westen nicht die Demokratie, wohl aber der Liberalismus in einer tiefen Krise befinde. Der vorherrschende liberale Konsens habe den politischen Diskurs seit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges in einer "politisch korrekten" Art und Weise eingeschränkt, die in Europa und in den USA auf zunehmende Ablehnung stoße. "For someone who had previously bought into that liberal consensus, these are disorienting times, to be sure. But the truth is, democracy is not only working, it’s working quite well. Popular discontent with an overweening and increasingly ossified ideology is finding its voice across Europe, and has found a (deeply flawed) tribune in the United States. The future of liberalism depends on smart politicians getting the message loud and clear, and then working out a path forward that preserves all the elements of the philosophical tradition that are worth preserving. The shrill screeching of the high priests of the liberal clerisy are not helping things at all."

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"Five Priorities for Europe’s Transatlantic Strategy"

A. Michta vom College of International and Security Studies des George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies meint, dass die EU in der transatlantischen Gemeinschaft neue Verantwortung übernehmen sollte. In der notwendigen Strategie sollten demnach fünf Prioritäten gesetzt werden: "First, there needs to be a closer alignment of threat perceptions in the United States and Europe. (...) Next, Europe needs to work with the United States to articulate a coherent Russia strategy, one that will better align the interests of individual European states with American priorities on Russia. (...) The third priority for the Europeans is to invest in NATO, especially when it comes to meeting the 2 percent GDP defense spending target. (...) The fourth priority is for Europeans to seriously reconsider their historic reluctance to use military force. (...) the fifth priority strategic objective for Europe, which follows naturally from the fourth, is to prepare itself to take a stand on the potential for conflict in Asia—both in the short-term with North Korea and in the long-term U.S. competition with China."

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"War Games Meet Mind Games"

Das russisch-weißrussische Militärmanöver Zapad erfüllt nach Ansicht von Sean Keeley nicht nur einen militärischen, sondern auch einen psychologischen Zweck. Umso wichtiger sei es, dass der Westen und seine NATO-Partner im Osten nicht in "Panik" verfallen. "(...) those psychological tactics are only as potent as we allow them to be, a point implicitly made by the Finnish Defense Minister when he criticized Western countries for '[taking] the bait completely' in overhyping Russia’s drills and conjuring nightmare scenarios in the press. Tabloid hysteria about Russia starting 'World War Three' and panic about Moscow’s devious plans for a 'Trojan Horse' in Belarus only benefits Putin by making him look stronger and more cunning than he actually is."

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"EU Moving to Undercut Trump in Asia?"

Walter Russell Mead glaubt nicht, dass die EU mit ihrem Angebot, bei der diplomatischen Lösung der Nordkoreakrise zu helfen, die Verhandlungen tatsächlich voranbringen wird. Trotzdem könne diese "leere Geste" positive Effekte haben: "Inserting itself into Asian diplomacy is a way of signaling to the Russians as well as to the Americans that the EU has global ambitions and, economically and diplomatically at least, a global reach. But at this point it looks more like an empty gesture than an actual move. There are few signs that the EU is internally united on this policy, or that it really has anything to contribute given that it has no military assets in the region and no special relationship with North Korea that offers the prospect of a better negotiation than anybody else has had. (...) Still, even vain gestures can have consequences. Beijing and Seoul could see the EU suggestion as a way to slow down the Trump Administration’s drive to push North Korea toward a settlement by raising the temperature in Northeast Asia."

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"The US Is Exposing Europe’s Divide on Nord Stream 2"

Mit der Verhängung neuer Sanktionen gegen Russland hat der US-Senat in Europa eine Debatte über Russlands Rolle auf dem europäischen Gasmarkt und die geplante Gas-Pipeline Nord Stream 2 ausgelöst. "Nord Stream 2 would double the capacity of a pipeline link between Russia and Germany (that transits the floor of the Baltic Sea). Critics say it will increase Europe’s dependence on Gazprom supplies of natural gas and leave the region more vulnerable to Moscow’s bullying. Proponents — led by Germany, which stands to gain the most from the construction of this project — see a chance to beef up their energy security by accessing more supply volumes. (...) While many capitals in Europe are protesting the pipeline through the lens of checking Russian aggression and as a means of showing solidarity with Ukraine, the arguments ginned up by the pipeline’s supporters — Germany and Austria, for example, are accusing the U.S. of using these sanctions to aid its own LNG sales in the European market — underscore just how badly fractured Europe’s supposed consensus on energy policy has become."

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"Who Killed the Liberal World Order?"

James Kirchick ist der Meinung, dass die Anhänger Barack Obamas den aktuellen US-Präsidenten zu Unrecht allein für den vermeintlichen Niedergang der liberalen Weltordnung verantwortlich machen. Es sei Präsident Obama gewesen, der das globale Institutionengefüge mit seinem Verzicht auf eine starke amerikanische Führungsrolle geschwächt und vor allem Russland gestärkt habe. "Trump is reaping the whirlwind Obama sowed. The two men may have come to their worldviews from utterly different ideological perspectives — for Trump a belligerent nationalism, for Obama a utopian universalism — but both in their own ways reject America’s traditional role as upholder of the international liberal order. Obama was hesitant to act in Syria or in defense of Ukraine because his ultimate concern was extricating the United States from the Middle East and finding a modus vivendi with Moscow. (...) Obama also sought a reset with Russia, tried to improve relations with adversaries at the expense of allies, oversaw a reduction of American influence in the world, and generally weakened the vaunted 'liberal world order.' Democrats have difficulty making the grand strategic arguments about Russia that need to be made because they spent so many years refuting them when Obama was in office."

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"No More 'Strategic Patience' on North Korea"

Walter Russell Mead entnimmt den jüngsten Äußerungen von US-Außenminister Rex Tillerson, dass die seit vielen Jahren betriebene Nordkorea-Politik der "strategischen Geduld" zu Ende gehen könnte. Es gebe nicht mehr viele Gelegenheiten, die "tickende Zeitbombe" der nordkoreanischen Atomwaffen diplomatisch zu entschärfen. "A very good idea now, and one of the few that might actually reduce the threat of war, would be for the past three presidents to issue a joint statement saying that the situation has now become serious, that they agree with Tillerson’s statement that 'strategic patience' has failed, and that the Trump administration will enjoy bipartisan support as it moves to confront the new reality. Clinton, Bush and Obama may not agree on much, but all of them have to be aware that the timer on the North Korean time bomb is ticking toward zero."

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"The Real Trade Challenge Is Germany, Not China"

Beim USA-Besuch von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel wird es auch um Handelsfragen gehen. Walter Russell Mead meint, dass die Exportüberschüsse und die "nationalistische" Handelspolitik Deutschlands langfristig eine größere Herausforderung für die USA darstellen könnten als die von Präsident Trump bislang betonten Handelskonflikte mit China. "The German establishment has a hard time understanding this. It continues to see itself as a model of pro-European policy, unfairly beset by ingrates like France and cheats like Greece. (...) The German establishment is not really aware of how ruthlessly, if unconsciously, nationalist German policy has actually become. Germany’s vision of the future of Eastern Europe, in which it passes from an era of Russian dominance to an era of integration into a German-dominated European order, isn’t just a vision of the rule of law spreading eastward. It is also, and especially from Russia’s point of view, a shift in power — in which Russia abandons its attempt to recover the power lost with the breakup of the Soviet Union and Germany consolidates its position as the leading state of Europe from the Urals to the Atlantic."

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"Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole"

Mit seiner Ankündigung eines Ausbaus des amerikanischen Atomwaffenarsenals habe US-Präsident Trump demonstriert, dass seine Haltung zu Russland von vielen US-Medien völlig falsch eingeschätzt wird, meint Walter Russell Mead. Trump nehme sich vielmehr ein Beispiel an Ronald Reagan und wolle die amerikanische Vorherrschaft mit Hilfe eines Rüstungswettlaufs aufrechterhalten. "Tech and wealth are two key American advantages over Russia now as they were over the Soviet Union then; Trump’s message here is that he intends to follow in Reagan’s footsteps to use these strengths to advance American power, with the inevitable result of marginalizing one of Russia’s primary sources of power and prestige. Putin’s ramshackle Russia is no more capable of matching an American nuclear buildup than Brezhnev’s sclerotic Soviet Union could keep up with the United States — and Putin knows it. Whether it will work is an entirely different question, but there can be little doubt that Trump’s core global strategy will destroy any illusions in Moscow, or anywhere else, that Russia is a peer competitor of the United States."

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"Germany’s Dilemma"

Der zunehmend national bestimmte politische Diskurs in Europa habe das deutsche Selbstverständnis, das eng mit der Vision einer immer enger integrierten EU verknüpft sei, tief erschüttert, meint Andrew A. Michta. "For Germany, the principal European questions now increasingly revolve around how to salvage the goal of building a larger Europe, and whether the EU’s division into two parts — an integrated core and an increasingly disconnected periphery — is already under way. (...) Thus far the government of Angela Merkel has assumed that, when all is said and done, the majority of European Union members will opt for a vision of a common European home that hews closely to the German vision. Even as multiple rebellious voices reverberate across Europe, the elite consensus in Berlin still seems to be that Germany’s economic heft and key role in funding the common budget will carry the day. There are, however, signs even in Germany that this belief, once a sure bet, is now a much riskier gamble."

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"Europeans Back Trump’s German Grievances"

Die offene Kritik der neuen US-Regierung an der deutschen Handelsstrategie sei in anderen europäischen Ländern durchaus auf Zustimmung gestoßen, schreibt Walter Russell Mead. "The complaint is that Germany’s approach to the euro is essentially predatory: that Germany, like China, pursues an essentially mercantilist policy based on maintaining a trade surplus by fair means or foul. In Germany as in China, the trade surplus underwrites social stability and the health of the corporate and manufacturing sectors. (...) Germany has come to depend on an economic model that impoverishes its EU neighbors and partners; this is the flaw in the design of the euro system that has turned the euro from being the instrument of continental cohesion that its founders hope it would be to a force for division and mistrust at the heart of the EU. (...) The Obama approach was to ignore the widening cracks in the foundations of Europe and to try to coordinate with an unreformed Germany against Russia; with the Trump Administration’s focus on trade deficits, it is likely to be more willing to confront Germany than Obama was. The question is whether the Trump team will develop a constructive vision for a revived transatlantic partnership even as it takes on the trade issues."

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"The Pretense of the Peace Process"

Walter Russell Mead meint angesichts der Kontroverse um die UN-Resolution zur israelischen Siedlungspolitik, dass die USA nicht länger versuchen sollten, einen "Durchbruch" im Friedensprozess im Nahen Osten zu erzwingen. "The amount of time and energy that American diplomacy wasted on futile and doomed efforts to get a peace that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians really want right now is mind-blowing — especially when one thinks of all the other world problems that got worse in the last four years. (...) The pretense that the peace process has survived from the hopeful years of the early 90s is a form of self-delusion. In fact, the Palestinians rejected the possibility of peace in the 1990s just as they rejected much more favorable plans in the late 1940s and the 1930s. Over and over again the solution that one generation contemptuously rejects becomes the utopia that its children long for."

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"Dutch Hollow Out Ukraine-EU Deal"

Die niederländische Regierung bemüht sich Berichten zufolge um eine Abschwächung des Assoziierungsabkommens zwischen der EU und der Ukraine. Das Magazin The American Interest stellt fest, dass es sich um eine weitgehend symbolische Geste handle, die der Ukraine jedoch die geopolitische Realität der eigenen Situation verdeutlichen sollte. "If the revised agreement embarrasses Ukraine, it also exposes once again the hollowness of Europe’s commitment to the country. In many ways, this is a reflection of simple geopolitical reality: Ukraine will never be as important to the EU as it is to Russia. As we have argued all along, the Eurocrats who pushed the agreement in the first place miscalculated and stumbled into a confrontation with Russia for which they were not prepared; in Walter Russell Mead’s words, they brought a baguette to a knife fight. The EU capitulation to Dutch demands only underscores this reality, which we have seen time and time again. The limitations of European support for Ukraine are becoming ever more apparent, even as Euroskeptic parties are on the march throughout the continent. One wonders if the Ukrainians, too, will begin to lose faith in the EU."

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"Is The World Becoming Protestant?"

Neben dem Islam breite sich heute auch der Protestantismus weltweit immer stärker aus, schreibt Peter Berger. "While it continues to be important to distinguish the faith of the great majority of Muslims from the murderous jihadists, it is relevant to point out that there are no Protestant suicide bombers and that Protestantism empowers women, which can hardly be said of most of Islam. (...) Yes, there are some Evangelical fundamentalists who, for example, promoted draconian laws (up to the death penalty) in Uganda. But most Evangelicals are not fundamentalists. Is the world becoming Protestant? No. But compared to where it was during the Edinburgh conference in 1910, it has traveled some distance in that direction."

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"Russia Re-Emerges as a Great Power in the Middle East"

Die "schwache Macht" Russland habe in diesem Jahr einige bemerkenswerte diplomatische Erfolge verzeichnen können, stellt Walter Russell Mead fest. US-Präsident Obama habe dies mit einer verfehlten internationalen Politik begünstigt. "The President does not see that occupied Crimea, embattled Ukraine, slaughtered Syria represent the negation of everything he hopes to build. He doesn’t understand that from Pyongyang to Caracas hard men with cold eyes and dead hearts are weighing his words and placing their bets. He doesn’t see the connection between his concessions to Putin and the crisis of his China policy. He doesn’t really understand why, despite his best efforts, the world is less peaceful now than it was when George Bush left office. For Obama, closing down some of Guantanamo, signing an unenforceable climate agreement in Paris, flirting with the notion of a 'no first use' nuclear doctrine, apologizing to Laos and exchanging ambassadors with the Castro brothers are what history is made of. Putin disagrees, but hopes Obama goes on thinking as he does. We live in interesting times."

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"Is Putin’s Russia Headed for a Systemic Collapse?"

Das Aussitzen der wirtschaftlichen Probleme Russlands in der Hoffnung auf einen baldigen Anstieg der Ölpreise könne sich längerfristig rächen, konstatiert Kirk Bennet, U.S. Foreign Service Officer im Ruhestand im American Interest. "Indeed, as far as the Russian economy is concerned, there is little indication that Putin feels any particular inclination to choose at all between systematic market reforms or the return to an essentially command economy. As Maxim Trudolyubov has observed, '[t]he Kremlin favors none of the suggested cures to the current economic malaise,' adding that '[a] managed stalemate seems to be a better solution than potentially disruptive growth.' By not choosing any program, the Kremlin is placing its wager on muddling through, with extended low growth (if not outright contraction) until Russia is rescued—again—by the next cyclical upswing in hydrocarbon prices. Given the alternatives, it might well seem the safest course of action. However, it is worth recalling that Russia survived sudden, sharp contractions in 1998 and 2009; it was, by contrast, the long, wasting disease of the Brezhnev stagnation that finished off the Soviet Union. If the Kremlin eschews urgent structural reforms and contents itself with cosmetic fixes due to fear of another debacle like perestroika, Putin risks learning the real lesson of perestroika the hard way."

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"Why We Need Kremlinology Again"

Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow des amerikanischen Think Tanks "Atlantic Council", über die Wiederbelebung der "Kremlinology" als Gegengewicht zur russischen Desinformationspolitik. "Similarly, we ought to ignore the more or less official Kremlin propagandists. They are only interesting as generators of Kremlin disinformation. Remember how the Brezhnev Kremlin warned about hardliners who would take over if he were ousted, or how nice a liberal reformer Yuriy Andropov was? Kremlinology is a sound counterpoise to disinformation."

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"The Folly of Faith-Based Foreign Policy"

Walter Russell Mead vergleicht die Machtstruktur des Irans mit der der alten Sowjetunion, da es in beiden Fällen eine dominante ethnische Gruppe gebe, die über viele Minderheiten herrsche. Der Zerfall der Sowjetunion habe in Russland nicht zu Demokratie, sondern zu einem Nationalismus geführt, der durch die alte Ideologie gestärkt worden sei. Eine derartige Entwicklung sei auch im Iran zu erwarten, so Meads Prognose. "The Khomeinists now ruling Iran know the history of the Soviet Union as well as anybody else, and so they are unlikely to be duped, as some communists were, into thinking that a Gorbachevian reform wave will consolidate their power. They understand that the alternative to a Khomeinist Iran probably isn’t a democratic Iran, prosperous and secure, but a smaller Persia in a sea of mostly hostile but also unstable and weak neighboring states. They suspect — and with good reason considering what is happening in the rest of the Middle East — that 'reform' will be followed by weakness and division, rather than by strength."

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"The Real Reason for Obama’s Cuba Breakthrough"

Walter Russell Mead ist der Überzeugung, dass die US-Regierung die diplomatische Annäherung und wirtschaftliche Öffnung gegenüber Kuba vorangetrieben habe, um einen drohenden Kollaps des Castro-Regimes zu verhindern. Letztlich sei es also nicht um politische Veränderungen, sondern um politische Stabilität in Kuba gegangen. "(...) it remains the case that under the current circumstances it is in America’s interest to do what we can to offer a soft landing to a failed regime and a failed polity in a neighboring state. We don’t want Cuba to collapse in poverty, anarchy and ruin. We don’t want the Cuban people to starve — and to build rafts. We don’t want order to break down. Transition will clearly come; something that is unsustainable won’t last forever. And though we may have to hold our noses to do it, when the time comes it will be better for U.S. interests to work with the heirs of the Castros to arrange a transition that they can live with. We may need to acquiesce in the creation of some new Red Tycoons in Cuba as the price of a peaceful transition."

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