US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Week



"Trump is breaking one of America's worst habits"

Damon Linker meint dagegen, dass Präsident Trump sich mit seiner Entscheidung für einen Truppenabzug aus Syrien und Afghanistan der "schlechten Angewohnheit" der USA entgegengestellt habe, weit entfernte Teile der Welt militärisch kontrollieren zu wollen. Dabei sei es unerheblich, dass Trump die gewohnten sicherheitspolitischen Entscheidungsprozesse in Washington ignoriert habe. "Process is good, but it doesn't guarantee wisdom. (...) this decision was made less than a decade after the 'national security decision-making process' during the administration of George W. Bush gave us the invasion of occupation of Iraq — a policy that plunged the country and, eventually the entire region, into chaos. (...) The United States, unfortunately, has become one — increasingly defining its national interests in terms of its capacity to exert control over ever-widening swaths of the globe, from Niger, Libya, and Somalia to Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and beyond. The effort is both unwise and unsustainable. Anything that helps to break this bad habit should be welcomed. Even if that thing is named Donald Trump."

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"How Trump broke through the moralistic BS of American foreign policy"

Damon Linker begrüßt die Reaktion von US-Präsident Trump auf den Tod des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi als Abkehr von einem außenpolitischen "Moralismus", der den Tod eines Mannes höher bewertet als den Tod tausender Zivilisten beim von den USA unterstützten Bombenkrieg Saudi-Arabiens in Jemen. "That the single death of Khashoggi, tragic as it may be, has garnered far more coverage and provoked far greater indignation among members of the bipartisan foreign policy community and the journalists who report and comment on it does not speak well for anyone involved. On the contrary, it illustrates how the free-floating moralism that suffuses discussions about foreign policy in Washington easily produces paradoxical and even perverse judgments, with the mass suffering of multitudes shrugged off with a fraction of the concern accorded to single individuals. Nothing would be better for America than for this moralism to be dissipated or dispelled — for the country to recover its capacity to think clearly and reasonably about its dealings with the wider world. It's in this one, limited respect that the presidency of Donald Trump, for all of the man's considerable faults, may well end up doing a bit of good — by forcing defenders of America's bipartisan foreign policy consensus to reflect critically on the foolishness that so often follows from their moralistic assumptions."

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"Let Korea fix Korea"

In der westlichen Debatte über die ausbleibenden Ergebnisse der Verhandlungen zwischen den USA und Nordkorea wird nach Ansicht von Bonnie Kristian zu wenig beachtet, dass in den Beziehungen zwischen Nord- und Südkorea langsam aber stetig Fortschritte erzielt werden. Die USA sollten sich diesem Prozess nicht in den Weg stellen, so ihre Empfehlung. "It is now the United States' chief responsibility to get out of the way. (...) Where Trump may happily tout his deal-making prowess with Kim one day only to be buffeted by the bad advice of administration hawks the next, for Moon, a sober and patient approach is the only option. The monstrosity of an avoidable war may be ignored in Washington, but not in Seoul. Moon may not lead exactly as we'd like, but he will not be talked into an unnecessary war the moment Kim strikes an uncooperative tone. To the extent that Trump opened communication with Kim and made the prospect of war with North Korea less likely, he deserves credit for what he's done. But now it is time to do less. Let Korea take it from here."

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"Israel, Gaza, and the end of just wars"

Damon Linker wirft Israel vor, auf die palästinensischen Proteste an der Grenze zu Gaza völlig unverhältnismäßig reagiert zu haben. Dieses Verhalten sei ein weiterer Fingerzeig für das mögliche Ende einer Ära, in der die moralischen Regeln des gerechten Krieges zumindest theoretisch eine Rolle spielten. "Just-war constraints have mainly been followed by the U.S. and its allies, NATO (which is led by the U.S.), and the U.N. (which, when it acts militarily, is also led by the U.S.). It was a choice by these actors on the world stage to impose constraints on themselves — to model a more humane form of warfare in the hope that they could then encourage its spread to other places through a mixture of rhetorical shaming and legal coercion in the form of war-crimes tribunals for violations of international humanitarian law. But the effort appears to be waning. (...) The chilling fact is that if the U.S. gives up on holding the countries of the world to a stringent moral standard in their conduct of war, those constraints will vanish in an instant. We are living through that instant right now. What awaits us on the other side may be every bit as bloody as the history that led us in the first place to long for the imposition of moral limits on war."

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"Why President Trump is in no rush to attack North Korea"

Harry J. Kazianis erläutert, warum er sicher ist, dass US-Präsident Trump trotz seiner aggressiven Rhetorik keinen überraschenden Militärschlag gegen Nordkorea anordnen wird. Das US-Militär wäre demnach gegenwärtig kaum in der Lage, nordkoreanische Atom- und Raketenanlagen effektiv zu zerstören. "For starters, you would need to amass a much larger amount of military firepower in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure you have the assets needed to have a shot at such a goal. That means more bombers, aircraft carriers, attack submarines, and missile defense batteries moved into the region. The challenge is all of this would be highly visible, allowing Kim Jong Un to strike first, potentially with nuclear weapons, knowing he is in a 'use them or lose them situation.' (...) For such a strike to be effective, it needs to have a 100 percent success rate. If you miss just one or two atomic bombs, Kim has every incentive to use what he has left on the biggest targets he can find. And that could mean the death of millions of people in Seoul, Tokyo, or even Los Angeles."

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"America needs to stop treating Putin like a supervillain"

Die Berichterstattung vieler US-Medien leidet Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry zufolge nicht nur unter einem "Trump Derangement Syndrome", sondern auch unter einem "Putin Derangement Syndrome". Die verbreitete Charakterisierung des russischen Präsidenten als "Superschurke" lasse die internationale Politik als "Moralstück" erscheinen und trage so eher zur Verschleierung als zur Aufklärung bei. "Yes, Mitt Romney has been vindicated: Russia is America's number one geopolitical antagonist. That being said, too many Washington Democrats and Republican hawks suffer from a case of Putin Derangement Syndrome that makes them forget how international power politics operates and makes them want to embark on an anti-Russia crusade. The prudent way to deal with Russia is not to look at Russia as an enemy but to look at each theater, each case, and assess it on the merits. It's harder to turn into a slogan, but the reality is that sometimes confronting Russia is a good idea, and sometimes it's not."

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"How Iran hawks are already scuttling the realism of the Trump administration"

Seit dem Amtsantritt Donald Trumps spielten die "Iran-Falken" in der neuen US-Regierung eine immer prominentere Rolle, stellt Michael Brendan Dougherty fest. Die Hoffnungen mancher Trump-Anhänger auf eine realistische und kohärente US-Außenpolitik könnten recht bald enttäuscht werden, so seine Prognose. "And, of course, hawkishness with Iran works against detente with Russia. The Russian government does a fair amount of business with Iran, and the two nations have worked together to shore up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. A foreign policy that was able to detach these two nations from each other would represent a genuine strategic advancement for the United States. But so far it is an open question whether Trump and his advisers even understand this. (...) All in all it's a very poor start for anyone hoping for a realist's course correction to U.S. foreign policy. Trump's sloppiness with the refugee executive order, his belligerence with allies, and his incoherent strategy are leading America to more conflict, not less."

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"End the war in Yemen, Mr. Trump"

Michael Brendan Dougherty fordert den kommenden US-Präsidenten Donald Trump auf, die amerikanische Unterstützung für den von Saudi-Arabien angeführten Krieg in Jemen einzustellen. "The U.S. role in the war is substantial. Saudi Arabia buys most of its weapons from the United States. Its pilots are trained by the United States. And the United States refuels Saudi planes in the air. The U.S. military is widely believed to be helping the Saudis choose targets. And U.S. special forces are on the ground in Yemen, ostensibly to fight local al Qaeda outfits. (...) It's an immoral and unjust war on a population that does not threaten the United States. It contributes to the disorder and chaos in the Middle East that has benefited international terror groups. (...) So what should Trump do? First, he should try an aggressive push to get Saudi Arabia to drop its support for Hadi and reduce their expectations for shaping and controlling a post-war government in Yemen. If the Saudis do not want to do that, the U.S. can and should cease all military support operations for Saudi Arabia in the war zone. (...) it's a perfect opportunity for Trump to consider dramatically revising the terms of the special relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Make a deal, Mr. Trump."

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"It's time for America to dump Saudi Arabia"

Ryan Cooper meint, dass die US-Regierung die Gelegenheit der aktuellen Krise zwischen Saudi-Arabien und dem Iran nutzen sollte, um die kaum noch zu rechtfertigende Allianz mit den Saudis aufzukündigen. Realpolitische Argumente zur Verteidigung des Bündnisses würden kaum noch überzeugen, da nicht ersichtlich sei, welchen Nutzen die Unterstützung des autokratischen Regimes für die USA habe. "Being hardheaded about the U.S. national interest does not necessarily imply accepting sociopathic violence. It might under some circumstances (supporting Stalin to defeat Hitler, for example), but it's hard to imagine a 'realist' rubric under which the Saudi alliance actually accomplishes anything whatsoever for U.S. goals. On the contrary, they are violently destabilizing the entire Middle East (with bombs we sold them, no less), angling to undermine the hard-won nuclear deal with Iran, and have a long history of supporting or enabling America's bitterest enemies. The do sell us oil, of course. But they could hardly stop doing that; subsidies from oil sales is about all that's keeping the tottering regime on its feet. With the rise of fracking, we need that production less and less — and a serious curtailment of oil use would necessarily be part of any (desperately needed) serious climate policy."

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"How America avoided Europe's Islamism problem"

Sollten die Europäer dem amerikanischen Vorbild folgen, um ihr gesellschaftliches "Islamismus-Problem" zu lösen? James Poulos hält diese Idee für "typisch amerikanisch", da sie bequemerweise außer Acht lasse, dass Europa die Integration muslimischer Minderheiten vor einem völlig anderen historischen Hintergrund vollziehen müsse. "Truth is, we didn't shake off Old World, European-style problems. We just never had them to begin with. (...) In Europe, the identities that are least compatible with democratic life are the hardest to assimilate. In spite of massive bureaucratic efforts to the contrary, the omnipresence of Europe's past still tends to heighten, not weaken, those identities. In times of substantial economic pressure, it often weaponizes them. Europe can only hope to 'assimilate' Muslims through a common creed expansive enough to include all, but particular enough to resonate as exclusively European. For Christian and post-Christian Europeans, only one such creed has emerged: the French trinity of liberty, equality, and fraternity."

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"Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine"

Eine Teilung der Ukraine wäre nach Ansicht von Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry die wohl beste Lösung des aktuellen Konflikts mit Russland. Der nationale Zusammenhalt der Ukraine stehe spätestens seit der Orangenen Revolution von 2004 in Frage, seitdem habe der Westen eine "atemberaubende Inkompetenz" im Umgang mit den zunehmenden Spannungen im Land an den Tag gelegt. "The West should come to an agreement with Russia whereby Ukraine will be split in two, with the Russian-speaking areas annexed to Russia (as they should always have been). So that this is not viewed as a concession out of fear to Russia, what remains of Ukraine should join NATO and receive official EU candidate status (...). Before this is viewed as a straight capitulation to Russia, it should be noted that many in the Kremlin would hate such a deal. Joining even a rump Ukraine to NATO would mean the end of Russia's ambitions beyond its ethnic ken, at least for the foreseeable future. And Russian policymakers value very heavily the idea of having a buffer between Russia and NATO, which is probably one reason Russia still hasn't annexed Belarus."

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"What Edward Snowden didn't disclose"

Angesichts der Masse der NSA-Dokumente, die von Edward Snowden vor seiner Flucht an sich genommen wurden, weist Marc Armbinder auf die Bereiche des Geheimdienstes hin, auf die der Whistleblower offenbar keinen Zugriff gehabt habe. "(...) there's quite a lot that Snowden did not have access to. We know this, based on the testimony of NSA officials, and because we have not seen any documents with other, more exotic markings released into the wild. The absence of evidence is not ... yes, yes, I know, but if you look at the universe of intelligence activities and product out there and you compare it to the subject matters that Snowden is concerned about and that reporters have written about, there's quite a lot that remains in the shadows. I have also asked several folks with access to the Snowden archives whether my hypothesis about the documents that are as of yet unpublished is correct, and in the elliptical way they communicate these things, I am told that, yes, I am correct."

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