US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Foreign Affairs


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"Venezuela's Endless Crisis"

Moisés Naím und Francisco Toro schildern die aktuelle Situation in Venezuela: "Army generals run most of the rackets today. The generals control everything from the well-stocked Caracas bodegones - high-end retailers where every kind of imported good is readily available for U.S. dollars - to much murkier sectors, such as the blood-soaked trade in coltan, a rare earth element, from the jungles of the south. Colombian criminal syndicates, such the FARC's Tenth Front and the rival ELN guerrilla group notorious for its brutality, operate in cahoots with Venezuelan officials and at other times challenge authorities. (…) Venezuelans are exhausted and hopeless. Years of street protests, which flared from 2002 to 2017, failed to yield tangible political change."

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"How to Save the Iran Nuclear Deal"

Um eine Wiederbelebung der Nuklearvereinbarung zu erreichen, müsste sowohl die iranische als auch die US-amerikanische Regierung ihre Positionen ändern, argumentieren Vali Nasr und Ali Vaez. "To break the deadlock, both sides must retreat from some of their redlines. There is no reason for Iran to reject further talks in the future when the commitment is neither legally binding nor time bound - and when negotiations could address some of Tehran's concerns about the shortcomings of sanctions relief. In the same vein, it is not in the United States' interest to squander an opportunity to restrain Iran's ability to develop unconventional weapons in exchange for an embargo on conventional arms that has failed to curb Iran's indigenous arms industry and arms transfers to Tehran's regional partners."

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"The Good Enough Doctrine"

Der außenpolitische Fokus der US-Regierung habe sich verändert, beobachtet Daniel Byman. "With terrorism less of an immediate concern, U.S. President Joe Biden has turned Washington's focus toward China, climate change, and other issues - even withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as part of an effort to end the so-called forever wars. (…) Instead of a decisive victory, the United States appears to have settled for something less ambitious: good enough. It recognizes that although jihadi terrorism may be impossible to fully and permanently eradicate - or the costs of trying to do so are simply too high - the threat can be reduced to the point where it kills relatively few Americans and no longer shapes daily life in the United States."

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"The Shattering of Yemen"

Michael Wahid Hanna und Peter Salisbury beschreiben die aktuellen Entwicklungen im Jemen: "The Houthi rebels, who seized the capital of Sanaa in 2014, have intensified their offensive in the governorate of Marib, the internationally recognized government's last stronghold in the country's north. Yemen's twin economic and humanitarian crises have also deepened amid a fuel crisis in the north, a currency collapse in the south, a 50 percent shortfall in funding for the UN's humanitarian response, and, for good measure, flash floods. Aid agencies believe publicly reported COVID-19 deaths vastly underestimate the real number of people killed by the virus. And diplomacy has stalled (…). In order to alleviate the country's plight, diplomats must set aside their hopes for a quick-fix solution and develop an approach that acknowledges the conflict's complex, multiparty nature."

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"Russia's Battle for the Black Sea"

Angela Stent skizziert das militärische Engagement Russlands im Schwarzen Meer: "For centuries, Russia has viewed the Black Sea as central to its security. (…) In March 2014, Moscow annexed Crimea and took over most of the Ukrainian ships in Sevastopol, forcing the Ukrainian navy to move its headquarters to Odessa. (…) Since then, Russia has tripled its de facto coastline on the Black Sea and bolstered its missile forces in the region, strengthening its position there through a combination of military, diplomatic, economic, energy, and information tactics."

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"China Isn't Trying to Dominate the Middle East"

Laut Steven A. Cook und James Green beruhe die amerikanische Wahrnehmung der chinesischen Vorgehensweise im Mittleren Osten auf einer Fehleinschätzung. "American conceptions about China's role in the Middle East are often shaped more by Washington's own experience there - defined by military alliances and armed interventions - than by actual Chinese behavior. (…) In reality, Beijing's growing presence is motivated less by a desire for hegemony than it is by economic concerns and domestic politics."

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"How Iran and Saudi Arabia Can - Together - Bring Peace to the Middle East"

Angesichts des Rückzugs der USA aus dem Nahen und Mittleren Osten sollten die Vereinigten Staaten eine Vermittlerrolle zwischen Iran und Saudi-Arabien einnehmen, so Vali Nasr und Maria Fantappie. "Washington must find a way to pair reductions in military commitments with gains in regional stability. One of the best opportunities for achieving those gains lies in emerging talks between the region's two most consequential antagonists: Iran and Saudi Arabia. (…) Each side should see progress as critical to what its leaders want: U.S. security guarantees in Riyadh's case and a smaller U.S. military footprint in the region in Tehran's."

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"China's Sputnik Moment?"

Die seit 2018 verschärften Handelsbeschränkungen der USA stellten einige der größten chinesischen Unternehmen vor enorme Herausforderungen, konstatiert Dan Wang. "In 2016, AlphaGo, a computer program developed by machine learning experts in London, beat the world's top players of the classical Chinese board game Go. (…) That a Western program had been the first to achieve this AI feat prompted some commentators to declare that China had experienced a 'Sputnik moment,' an event that would trigger widespread unease in the country about its perceived technological lag. The Chinese government has long had twin ambitions for industrial policy: to be more economically self-sufficient and to achieve technological greatness. (…) Then came U.S. President Donald Trump. By sanctioning entrepreneurial Chinese companies, he forced them to stop relying on U.S. technologies such as semiconductors. Now, most of them are trying to source domestic alternatives or design the necessary technologies themselves."

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"Pakistan's Pyrrhic Victory in Afghanistan"

Islamabad werde es bereuen, den Wiederaufstieg der Taliban in Afghanistan unterstützt zu haben, analysiert Husain Haqqani. "Pakistan's security establishment is cheering the Taliban's recent military gains in Afghanistan. The country's hard-liners have funneled support to the Taliban for decades, and they can now envision their allies firmly ensconced in Kabul. Pakistan got what it wished for - but will come to regret it. A Taliban takeover will leave Pakistan more vulnerable to extremism at home and potentially more isolated on the world stage."

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"Washington's Dangerous New Consensus on China"

Autoritarismus, Klimawandel, Korruption, Pandemien, Terrorismus, die Verbreitung von Atomwaffen und wirtschaftliche Ungleichheit - all diese Herausforderungen könnten von keinem Staat im Alleingang gelöst werden, betont US-Senator Bernie Sanders. "They require increased international cooperation - including with China, the most populous country on earth. It is distressing and dangerous, therefore, that a fast-growing consensus is emerging in Washington that views the U.S.-Chinese relationship as a zero-sum economic and military struggle. The prevalence of this view will create a political environment in which the cooperation that the world desperately needs will be increasingly difficult to achieve."

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"The Taiwan Temptation"

Der chinesische Präsident Xi Jinping habe in den vergangenen Monaten deutlich gemacht, dass er Taiwan möglicherweise gewaltsam mit China vereinigen wolle, reflektiert Oriana Skylar Mastro. "The palpable shift in Beijing's thinking has been made possible by a decades-long military modernization effort, accelerated by Xi, aimed at allowing China to force Taiwan back into the fold. Chinese forces plan to prevail even if the United States, which has armed Taiwan but left open the question of whether it would defend it against an attack, intervenes militarily. Whereas Chinese leaders used to view a military campaign to take the island as a fantasy, now they consider it a real possibility. (…) Ultimately, on the question of whether China will use force, Chinese leaders' perceptions of their chances of victory will matter more than their actual chances of victory."

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"America Still Needs Counterinsurgency"

Noch immer sei die sogenannte Aufstandsbekämpfung-Doktrin ("Counterinsurgency", COIN) die beste Strategie, Guerillas und Terroristen zu bekämpfen, findet Max Boot. "This doctrine, developed in the 1950s by military innovators such as the British field marshal Gerald Templer in Malaya and the U.S. operative Edward Lansdale in the Philippines, holds that a military can't defeat an insurgency by simply killing insurgents. In fact, by killing indiscriminately, one may actually create more enemies than one eliminates. The way to prevail, according to COIN doctrine, is to provide ordinary people with security and basic services. Doing so helps counterinsurgents earn people's trust, making it more likely that they will provide the vital intelligence necessary to kill or capture hardcore insurgents without harming innocent civilians. (...) The experience of Afghanistan shows that COIN can easily fail, as its critics contend. There is, however, no better alternative on offer."

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"Darfur Is Bleeding Again"

Jérôme Tubiana beleuchtet die Hintergründe der eskalierenden Gewalt in der sudanesischen Region Dafur: "Nearly 250,000 people were displaced between January and April of this year, about five times as many as in all 2020. (…) But the spiraling cycle of violence in western Sudan is not a redux of the earlier Darfur crisis. Rather, it is a byproduct of the political transition currently underway in Khartoum. Bashir's ouster in 2019 raised expectations for Darfur's Arab and non-Arab residents alike, both of whom hoped their interests would be better served by the new administration. (…) Part of the problem is that some of those responsible for past crimes are still in charge."

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"Fighting in Gaza Marks the Start of a More Violent Era"

Die Auswirkungen der jüngsten Eskalation des Nahost-Konflikts seien tiefgreifend und werden noch lange zu spüren sein, meint Khalil Shikaki. "Hamas will emerge from the conflict stronger and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president weaker. Violence between Israeli Arabs and Jews will eventually abate, but Arab perceptions of systemic discrimination will grow - as will a belief that a search for equality within Israel is inherently futile. Jerusalem's symbolic role will also expand, deepening the conflict's religious dimensions. Among many Israelis and Palestinians, these developments mark the return to an older phase of the conflict. The last two weeks have reinforced a belief that their relationship is again existential and zero-sum, that diplomacy to resolve the conflict is futile and violence inevitable."

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"Afghanistan's Moment of Risk and Opportunity"

Die Entscheidung von US-Präsident Joe Biden, die noch verbliebenen amerikanischen Truppen abzuziehen, sei für Afghanistan und seine Nachbarstaaten eine Chance, berge gleichzeitig jedoch auch Risiken, schreibt der afghanische Präsident Ashraf Ghani. "For the Afghan nation, the announcement of the U.S. withdrawal is another phase in our long-term partnership with the United States. (…) The withdrawal also represents an opportunity for the Afghan people to achieve real sovereignty. (…) The main risk to peace, however, is a Taliban miscalculation. The Taliban still believe their own narrative that they have defeated NATO and the United States. They feel emboldened, and because their political leaders have never encouraged their military branch to accept the idea of peace, the greatest risk is that the Taliban will continue to show no earnest interest in making a political deal and will instead opt for continued military aggression."

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"Russia's Gas Pipeline Doesn't Need to Rupture Transatlantic Relations"

Die Erdgaspipeline Nord Stream 2 schwäche Deutschlands außenpolitische Glaubwürdigkeit und belaste die Beziehungen zu den USA, argumentiert der Vorsitzende der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, Wolfgang Ischinger. "To prevent the pipeline from becoming a major domestic and international stumbling block for the next coalition government, Berlin should develop a proactive diplomatic approach: rather than halting construction, Berlin should use Nord Stream 2 as a political bargaining chip with Moscow, making the pipeline's eventual use conditional on Russian concessions. By coordinating such conditionalities closely with EU partners and transatlantic allies, the German government can pass the buck to where it belongs: Russia."

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"America's Military Risks Losing Its Edge"

Das US-Militär müsse sich neu strukturieren und klügere Investitionen tätigen, um seine Verteidigungstrategie an den Wettstreit der Großmächte anzupassen, bemerkt Michèle Flournoy. "Both Beijing and Moscow have invested in cyber, electronic, and kinetic weapons designed to disrupt the ability of U.S. forces to deploy, navigate, communicate, and strike, as well as layer upon layer of defenses to shoot down U.S. aircraft and sink U.S. ships before they can get within range of their targets. (…) Under such conditions, U.S. warfighting concepts can no longer rely on attrition-based warfare - the notion that the side that can inflict the greater losses in personnel and materiel will prevail, which has long shaped U.S. war planning. Instead, they must shift to more creative approaches to deterring an adversary, by disrupting its ability to see and target U.S. forces while also putting its critical forces at risk. That could mean, for example, using cyberattacks; electronic warfare, such as signals jamming; and swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles to confuse or blind an adversary's surveillance and targeting systems."

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"Data Is Power"

Daten und Macht seien eng miteinander verwoben, bemerken Matthew Slaughter und David McCormick. "As an increasingly necessary input for innovation, a rapidly expanding element of international trade, a vital ingredient in corporate success, and an important dimension of national security, data offers incredible advantages to all who hold it. It is also readily abused. (…) China, for example, is promulgating its own techno-authoritarian model, recognizing that shaping the rules of digital power is a key component of geopolitical competition. The United States should offer an alternative: with a coalition of willing partners, it should set up a new framework, one that unleashes data's potential to drive innovation, generate economic power, and protect national security."

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"How the Quad Can Match the Hype"

Die Erwartungen der Mitglieder und Partner an den Quadrilateralen Sicherheitsdialog (kurz: Quad), bestehend aus Australien, Indien, Japan und den USA stiegen an, analysieren Dhruva Jaishankar und Tanvi Madan. "To make good on those expectations, the Quad will need to deepen existing security cooperation, economic partnerships, and multilateral coordination. If it succeeds, the group can help ensure a 'free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific,' as its leaders have promised. If it fails, though, the Quad risks a world characterized by territorial insecurity, economic coercion, impotent international organizations, and authoritarian technology."

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"Crisis of Command"

Das US-amerikanische Militär stehe immer weniger unter ziviler Kontrolle, analysieren Risa Brooks, Jim Golby und Heidi Urben. Die Sicherheit der Vereinigten Staaten sei hierdurch gefährdet, institutionelle Reformen seien notwendig. "Because the military filters information that civilians need and implements the orders that civilians give, it can wield great influence over civilian decision-making. Even if elected officials still get the final say, they may have little practical control if generals dictate all the options or slow their implementation - as they often do now. (…) If Americans do not recognize the rot lurking beneath their idyllic vision of civilian control, the United States' civil-military crisis will only get worse. More than most citizens realize, the country's democratic traditions and national security both depend on this delicate relationship. Without robust civilian oversight of the military, the United States will not remain a democracy or a global power for long."

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"China's Unrestricted War on India"

Die Ursache für den Stromausfall in Indiens größter Stadt Mumbai am 12. Oktober 2020 sei möglicherweise geklärt, informiert Brahma Chellaney. Indische Beamte hielten eine Cyberattacke auf die Server staatlicher Energieversorgungsunternehmen für möglich. "They did not name a particular culprit, but the implication was clear. Chinese hackers, officials suggested, had trained their sights on bringing down Mumbai's electric grid - and they had succeeded. (…) The cyber-tactics run parallel to more traditional conflicts. Last May, a shocked India discovered that Chinese forces had stealthily occupied mountaintops and other strategic vantage points in the northern border region of Ladakh. (…) In June, clashes between Chinese and Indian forces left dozens of soldiers dead."

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"The Illiberal Tide"

Wie wird die internationale Ordnung künftig aussehen? Alexander Cooley und Daniel Nexon wagen eine Prognose: "Current trends suggest less a complete collapse of liberal order than important changes in the mix of illiberal and liberal elements that characterize world politics. Multilateral cooperation and global governance remain strong, but they display increasingly autocratic and illiberal characteristics. The growing strength of reactionary populism and assertiveness of autocratic powers are eroding the international order's ability to support human, political, and civil rights. Similar developments point toward a future where liberal economic arrangements are used for oligarchic and kleptocratic purposes."

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"It Is Time for a Realistic Bargain With North Korea"

Nordkorea auf diplomatischem Wege von einer vollkommenen Denuklearisierung zu überzeugen, sei - zumindest vorerst - unwahrscheinlich, analysieren Eric Brewer und Sue Mi Terry. Um das Risiko einer nuklearen Eskalation zu reduzieren, schlagen sie vor: "The United States should not give up the long-term goal of denuclearization, but in the meantime, it could try to strike a more realistic bargain and prevent the threat from getting worse. Washington should test whether a limited arms control approach could work. (…) A good arms control agreement that verifiably reduces the threat from North Korea's nuclear weapons without endangering the security of Japan or South Korea - and that does not give the North any unearned concessions - would be a considerable improvement over the current standoff, but a bad agreement could be worse than the status quo."

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"There Will Not Be a New Cold War"

Die Konkurrenz zwischen China und den USA sei nicht mit dem Kalten Krieg zwischen den Vereinigten Staaten und der Sowjetunion im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert vergleichbar, meint Thomas Christensen. "Many important potential U.S. partners, such as Vietnam or Thailand, are not like-minded states, and many liberal states that are potential U.S. partners, such as India and South Korea, do not want to base their strategic cooperation with the United States on a zero-sum approach toward Beijing. (…) In a March 2019 security paper, the European Commission (…) emphasized the need for cooperation and economic integration with Beijing and even a 'strategic partnership.' (…) This is hardly a cold war."

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"The World Still Needs the UN"

Die Gründungsideale der Vereinten Nationen - Menschenrechte und Rechtsstaatlichkeit - würden durch das Verhalten Chinas und Russlands auf die Probe gestellt werden, argumentiert Suzanne Nossel. Die Organisation stehe an einem Scheideweg: "If governments that are committed to the UN's original vision and values assert themselves and lead this process, they can strengthen the United Nations amid an unprecedented assault, pressing authoritarian states to heed human rights and the rule of law. On the other hand, continued scorn and neglect of the UN will pave the way for a fast-expanding illiberal influence within the institution, eroding the delicate balance of power that is at the heart of global governance. (…) Reconciling the UN's paradox - its vast capacity to achieve and to disappoint - requires a deliberate decision to recognize the world body's limitations and to unleash its potential despite them."

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"U.S.-Chinese Rivalry Is a Battle Over Values"

Ideologische Aspekte aus der außenpolitischen Strategie der USA zu verbannen, sei weder möglich noch erstrebenswert, konstatieren Hal Brands und Zack Cooper. "Leaving values and morality to the side would eliminate one of the United States' greatest advantages and make it harder to rally coalitions at home and abroad. It would play into Beijing's hands by making the rivalry an amoral struggle over military dominance rather than a contest over what philosophical principles should structure domestic governance and the international order."

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"The Only Stable Saudi Arabia Is a Democratic Saudi Arabia"

Die US-Regierung solle mehr Druck auf den saudischen Kronprinzen Mohammed bin Salman ausüben, um politische Reformen im Königreich einzuleiten, meint Madawi al-Rasheed. "Some in Riyadh will no doubt see any effort to tie the ongoing U.S. commitment to Saudi security to political reforms as an infringement on the country's sovereignty. But Biden and his team should emphasize that a road map away from the ticking time bomb of absolute monarchy is the only way to ensure both the stability of Saudi Arabia and the survival of its royal family. (...) The loudest voices calling for reform in Saudi Arabia right now are those of moderates, but that could easily change."

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"America's Indo-Pacific Folly"

Ein stärkeres Engagement im indopazifischen Raum könnte für die Vereinigten Staaten zur Katastrophe werden, warnt Van Jackson. "The goal of a 'free and open Indo-Pacific' may sound noble, but pursuing it will lead the United States astray. The concept of an Indo-Pacific expands what is meant by Asia to include the Indian Ocean region, an area of debatable interest to the United States that many now see as vital for countering China. Widening the regional aperture in this manner encourages military overstretch by positioning the United States for commitments that will be difficult to defend and distracts policymaker attention from other parts of Asia, where decades of hard-won peace hinge much more directly on American words and deeds."

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"The Declining Market for Secrets"

Die US-Geheimdienste müssten sich neu erfinden, um weiterhin effektiv agieren zu können, empfehlen Zachery Tyson Brown und Carmen Medina. "Imagine a dynamic content platform, authorized by the director of national intelligence, that users could access from any location and on any device. This platform would supply intelligence in an easy, distinctive, and user-friendly format to anyone who works in national security. (...) The U.S. intelligence community should not stop collecting and keeping secrets altogether. (...) But the United States should place less emphasis on hard intelligence and realign its limited resources accordingly."

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"Stability in the Middle East Requires More Than a Deal With Iran"

Auf Grundlage von Interviews mit 210 Expertinnen und Experten aus 15 Ländern zieht Sanam Vakil ein Fazit: Eine Rückkehr zum Atomabkommen von 2015 mit Iran reiche für eine Stabilisierung des Nahen Ostens nicht aus. "For the nuclear deal to be sustainable, it will need to be insulated against future political reversals. And ensuring such durability requires the signatories to address the deal's vulnerabilities, which include the length of its timelines and the provisions for snapback sanctions, as well as problems outside the agreement's current scope, such as Iran's missile program and destabilizing regional activities. Without a regional game plan, the Biden administration's Iran and wider Middle East agenda will remain vulnerable to opposition from partisan adversaries in Washington and U.S. partners in the Middle East."

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