US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Japan Times


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"Tech censorship is the real gift to Putin"

Nach Ansicht von Leonid Bershidsky ist es nur folgerichtig, dass die Sperrung des Twitter-Kontos von Donald Trump auch vom russischen Oppositionspolitiker Alexey Navalny kritisiert worden ist. Die überhebliche Reaktion einiger amerikanischer Kommentatoren auf die Kritik ignoriere das Bild, dass das Vorgehen der US-Tech-Unternehmen im Ausland abgebe. "(…) look at it from the point of view of someone fighting an authoritarian regime in Russia, Turkey, Belarus or elsewhere. What you’ll see is the U.S. president-elect declaring protesters who broke into a government building 'domestic terrorists' — and an immediate response from the tech companies, which fall all over themselves trying to prove they aren’t providing so-called 'terrorists' with a platform. (…) Seen from Russia, or Turkey or China, where concerns about politically motivated regulatory moves by single-party governments are top of mind for every business owner, this picture is familiar. (…) Now, the regimes have cover to demand from the U.S. networks that they ban Russian, Turkish, Belarussian 'domestic terrorists' on the same grounds as the ones used against Trump and Trumpists — inciting aggressive, violent protest. And if the platforms refuse, they will be accused of double standards, declared tools of the U.S. government and themselves harassed and possibly banned. That one-two combination wasn’t possible before, because even authoritarians these days have to pay lip service to freedom of speech; what the platforms have done takes that concern out of the equation."

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"White House rejects Putin response to U.S. arms control offer"

Die US-Regierung hat einen neuen Vorschlag Präsident Putins zur Verlängerung des New-Start-Abkommens kategorisch abgelehnt. "The U.S. and Russia on Friday rejected each other’s proposals for potentially salvaging the last remaining legal constraint on their strategic nuclear forces. President Vladimir Putin called for an unconditional extension of the soon-to-expire New START treaty, and the White House called that a 'nonstarter.' Adding an edginess to the diplomatic clash, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, suggested the Russians rethink their stance 'before a costly arms race ensues.' Administration officials have previously alluded to building up nuclear forces if the treaty is abandoned, although the Pentagon has its hands full paying for a one-for-one replacement of older nuclear weapons."

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"Little war in the Caucasus has big lessons for U.S. and Russia"

Hal Brands erklärt, warum der Konflikt in Bergkarabach aus sicherheitspolitischer Sicht nicht nur regionale Bedeutung habe. "(…) it would be a mistake to downplay the importance of the fighting, for two reasons. The first is the disarray it reveals within the international system. It is tempting to see the clash as a U.S.-Russia proxy war, given that Turkey, one of America’s NATO allies, is backing Azerbaijan, whereas the Armenians have close ties to Moscow. (Russia also enjoys good relations with Azerbaijan, but is friendlier with Armenia, which is a member of the Kremlin-led Eurasian Economic Union.) More significant, though, are the tensions the war highlights within the Western world. (…) If the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a mess of conflicting interests and geopolitical intrigues, so too, increasingly, is the alliance that has kept the peace in Europe for decades. Russian President Vladimir Putin could 'lose' the present crisis if Azerbaijan inflicts a military defeat on Armenia, but he could still win if the larger legacy is to weaken an already-divided transatlantic community. The second reason to take the conflict seriously is that small wars have historically served as dress rehearsals for bigger ones, because they offer a testing ground for emerging concepts and capabilities."

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"Erdogan is erasing Ataturk’s stamp on Turkey"

Die Umwidmung der Hagia Sophia sei für Präsident Erdogan nicht nur ein taktisches Mittel, um von anderen politischen Problemen abzulenken, meint Bobby Ghosh. Erdogan verfolge vielmehr das politische Ziel, die muslimische Identität der Türkei wiederherzustellen und das säkulare Erbe Atatürks zu beseitigen. "Throughout his career, Erdogan has systematically chipped away at the secular foundations Ataturk laid in the 1920s and 1930s, by encouraging overt expressions of religiosity in government as well as society. That he has done so while claiming to uphold Ataturk’s founding father legacy testifies to the latter’s outsized political footprint. With the sacralizing of the Hagia Sophia, which had been secularized by Ataturk in 1934, the president can drop the pretense. The Turkish state is now an expression of Erdogan’s ideal more than it is Ataturk’s. Secularism survives in Turkish society, but it is a fading force. (…) Erdogan’s legacy will likely outlast that of Ataturk. For all the international outrage over the conversion of the museum into a mosque, it is hard to imagine a Turkish leader — and certainly not a democratically elected one — turning the mosque back to a museum. Polls have shown most Turks favor the change, even though many recognize that it is politically expedient for the president."

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"China rivalry may put the U.S. back in the coup business"

Hal Brands zufolge deutet bisher nichts darauf hin, dass die US-Regierung hinter dem fehlgeschlagenen Putschversuch eines US-Sicherheitsunternehmens in Venezuela steckt. Die zunehmende geopolitische Rivalität mit China könnte seiner Ansicht nach allerdings dazu führen, dass die USA künftig tatsächlich wieder versuchen könnten, unliebsame Regierungen zu stürzen. Der Kalte Krieg habe gezeigt, welche Folgen dies haben könnte: "The nature of covert intervention is that it is difficult to be choosy in one’s partners or their methods, which can create a moral mess for a democratic superpower. A sense that almost anything would be better than ascendant communism led the U.S. to embrace expedients — authoritarian regimes, efforts to kill foreign leaders such as Patrice Lumumba in the Congo or Fidel Castro in Cuba — that were ugly. (…) One tragedy of geopolitical rivalry is that it often presents great powers with unappealing choices. The alternative to a bad outcome may be one that is worse, both morally and strategically. That’s why the U.S. so often resorted to behind-the-scenes intervention in the Cold War, and why it may prove useful in the future. But history shows that covert action is no cure-all for a country’s geopolitical challenges. In some cases, it can produce tragedies of its own."

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"Modest multilateralism is in America's interest, and China’s too"

Hal Brands erklärt, warum ein "moderater Multilateralismus" auch im Interesse der beiden Großmächte USA und China wäre. Die Corona-Pandemie habe verdeutlicht, wie wichtig internationale Kooperation zur Verhinderung globaler Krisen dieser Art sei, auch wenn Anhänger einer "One-World"-Vision vom tatsächlichen Ausmaß enttäuscht werden dürften. "Rather than attempt to remake the international order after the virus, U.S. policymakers should promote a modestly strengthened multilateralism — an uninspiring goal, but one that may actually be achievable, and which would still make the world a safer place. The coronavirus reminds us that many cliches about a globalized world are true. Pathogens and the pandemics they cause don’t care much about geopolitical dividing lines. Economic shocks that begin in one country rarely end there. International organizations are critical to meeting shared challenges. (…) So yes, more and better global cooperation will be essential to dealing with new pandemics and other transnational threats — but let’s not get carried away about what is possible. A more promising approach is to aim for a marginally better multilateralism, one that acknowledges hard geopolitical realities but still gives leaders the tools required to respond more effectively to future crises."

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"NATO can save the Kurds and make Turkey happy"

Der frühere US-Admiral und Nato-Oberbefehlshaber James Stavridis meint, dass die NATO immer noch in der Lage wäre, die syrischen Kurden "zu retten", zugleich die Sicherheitsinteressen des Bündnispartners Türkei zu berücksichtigen und sich damit Syrien und Russland entgegenzustellen. "First, we need to listen carefully to the Turks’ concerns about Kurdish terrorists operating on their southern border. (…) Second, Western leaders should acknowledge that the Turks’ desire for a 'buffer zone' along the border might make sense, especially if limited to 8 km deep instead of the 32 km currently envisioned by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (…) But instead of the joint U.S.-Turkish patrol being considered, how about one conducted by NATO forces? That would spread the cost and risk among all 29 of the members of the alliance, while also broadening the dialog beyond just the U.S. and Turkey. Finally, at this week’s meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, all of the nations should collectively encourage Turkey to halt its offensive operations immediately and work together to counter Assad’s Syrian regime and Russia. (…) At the end of the day, Turkey is a NATO ally — and one that reportedly holds American nuclear weapons at its Incirlik air base. Working collectively to seal that southern border — a NATO border — could not only help defuse this crisis, but steal a victory from Putin and his Iranian partners."

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"Taiwan might save the day for Hong Kong"

Trotz aktueller Drohgebärden wird sich die chinesische Regierung nach Ansicht von James G. Stavridis sehr gut überlegen, ob sie die Revolte in Hong Kong tatsächlich militärisch niederschlagen sollte. "Here’s the good news, summed up in one word: Taiwan. While the Chinese government sees Hong Kong as a vital commercial and economic center, the assimilation of Taiwan is a far bigger priority. The Taiwanese, who are surely watching events on a minute-to-minute basis, tend to see their future reflected in how events unfold in Hong Kong. With a population of nearly 25 million generating a top-25 global economy, Taiwan is simply a much larger prize for China than Hong Kong. (...) China will probably avoid a heavy-handed troop movement into Hong Kong for as long as possible, knowing it would create an even stronger independence movement in Taiwan. (...) Unless the protests dissipate of their own accord, expect Beijing to adopt a kind of 'rope-a-dope' strategy: shifting the blame to [the Beijing-controlled government’s chief executive, Carrie Lam,] and choosing to allow the demonstrations to proceed within limits, particularly if they focus solely on the initial target of a highly unpopular new extradition law. But if things don’t simmer down by early fall, China will likely replace Lam with a more authoritarian figure."

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"Trump has been (partly) good for U.S. foreign policy"

Der amerikanische Historiker Hal Brands meint, dass die Außenpolitik von US-Präsident Trump durchaus positive Effekte habe. Trump habe alte Strukturen zerstört und so den Weg für eine notwendige Transformation der Bündnispolitik und der internationalen Ordnung frei gemacht. Brands bezweifelt allerdings, dass der US-Präsident in der Lage sein wird, diese Transformation zu einem positiven Ende zu führen. "Trump has ensured that there will be no going back to the world that existed before his inauguration. The next president will not publicly declare, as Barack Obama did, that America should be most worried about a weak China. The entire pre-2016 equilibrium on trade and alliances will not be restored. In fact, because Trump has so obliterated the old mold on these issues, he has created interesting opportunities for his successor. The 46th president will have real damage to repair in America’s alliances, no doubt. But he or she might also use the experience of the Trump era to push the allies, forcefully but respectfully, to contribute more to a well-defined common cause lest their failure produce another Trump in the future. (...) All this is contingent, of course, on Trumpism — not just the Trump presidency, but the style of foreign policy that the president represents — being a relatively brief phenomenon. A period of rupture, even a deeply disorienting one, can precede an era of construction. But only if the upheaval doesn’t last too long."

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"North Korea's Kim told other leaders he seeks security guarantees instead of sanctions relief: sources"

Nordkoreas Präsident Kim Jong Un hat in den jüngsten Gesprächen mit internationalen Amtskollegen Insidern zufolge bekräftigt, dass er in den Verhandlungen mit den USA vor allem an Sicherheitsgarantien interessiert sei. "Kim’s renewed focus on security guarantees could be an effort by Pyongyang to break the impasse in denuclearization talks with Washington, as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump still regards sanctions as necessary until North Korea is completely denuclearized. (...) The United States has promised security guarantees before. The administration of President Bill Clinton, in a 1994 agreement with North Korea, stated, 'The U.S. will provide formal assurances to the DPRK, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.' DPRK is an acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s formal name. The administration led by Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, issued a joint statement with other negotiating parties, including North Korea, in September 2005 in which it affirmed that 'it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons.' Both agreements fell apart as North Korea continued to develop nuclear weapons. No concrete measures were taken in the meantime to guarantee security for North Korea."

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"What Sudan tells us about 21st-century coups"

Peter Apps betrachtet die Entmachtung von Präsident Omar al-Bashir in Sudan und den erzwungenen Rücktritt von Präsident Bouteflika in Algerien aus der Perspektive Russlands und Chinas, die in den letzten Jahren als wichtige Stützen autoritärer Regierungen agiert hätten. "Both Moscow and Beijing found the Arab Spring alarming, not least because of fears that Western-backed unrest might threaten them at home as well. Putin’s Syria intervention showed just how much effort Moscow was willing to make to shore up its allies and interests, demonstrated once again with more limited support in Venezuela. China, meanwhile, has continued to bolster its ties to often corrupt and autocratic regimes in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, including the provision of surveillance technology seen as an attempt to export the kind of authoritarianism increasingly seen in mainland China. (...) While Putin’s support for Syria has been very much based around keeping Bashar Assad in power, the Chinese state appears to be signaling that it sees its relationships much more with institutions and systems than with individuals. (...) Where this leaves wider populations with clear demands for change is a very different matter. Ousting an aging leader, with or without the support of the military, clearly acts as something of a safety valve. But if it is seen to have changed nothing at all, it may simply be storing up trouble for the future."

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"Two Koreas complete withdrawal of troops, firearms at 22 guard posts in fortified border area"

Nord- und Südkorea haben sich auf weitere Entspannungsmaßnahmen in der demilitarisierten Zone verständigt und 22 Wachposten an der befestigten Grenze aufgegeben. "South Korea says the military agreement is an important trust-building step that will help stabilize peace and advance reconciliation between the rivals. But critics say the South risks conceding some of its conventional military strength before North Korea takes any meaningful steps on denuclearization — an anxiety that is growing as the larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang seemingly drift into a stalemate. South Korea reportedly has about 60 guard posts — bunker-like concrete structures surrounded with layers of barbed-wire fences and manned by soldiers equipped with machine guns — stretched across the ironically named Demilitarized Zone."

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"The need for a U.S. policy pivot toward Iran"

Der Khashoggi–Skandal sollte von der US-Regierung als Gelegenheit für eine dramatische Kehrtwende ihrer Nahost-Politik genutzt werden, meint Uwe Bot. "Admittedly, the Saudi chaos is difficult to understand, but U.S. submission to the Saudis neither makes for a strategy nor does it serve the security interests of the United States. Undoubtedly, a U.S. foreign policy that engages with Iran and its ayatollahs would be complicated to execute. Opposition in the U.S. Congress to such policy-pivot would be virulent. Israel’s current government would be furious and the ayatollahs themselves might not be too receptive. But the worse option is to continue to do what is deemed 'easy.' The rapprochement with Iran should be gradual. Viewed with an open mind, it is incomprehensible how the president of the U.S. claims that he has fallen in love with Kim Jong Un, the unstable North Korean dictator, but cannot bring himself to engage with the Iranian leadership."

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"China’s missile build-up — a threat to U.S. bases in Japan — likely a key factor in Trump plan to exit INF"

Der angekündigte Austritt der USA aus dem INF-Vertrag könnte Jesse Johnson zufolge eher mit dem chinesischen als mit dem russischen Raketenprogramm zu tun haben. China sei durch die Einschränkungen des Vertrags nicht betroffen und habe in den letzten Jahren sein Raketenarsenal entsprechend ausgebaut. "At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in April last year, then-U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris addressed the treaty and his views on its utility amid the tense security environment. 'I think there’s goodness in the INF treaty, anything you can do to limit nuclear weapons writ large is generally good,' he said. 'But the aspects of the INF treaty that limit our ability to counter Chinese and other countries’ cruise missiles, land-based missiles, I think is problematic.' (...) More importantly for Tokyo, 'a growing number' of the Chinese missiles put U.S. bases in Japan in range, the Pentagon report said."

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"A U.S. retreat would make the Mideast worse"

Der von einigen Kritikern der US-Außenpolitik geforderte vollständige Rückzug der USA aus dem Nahen Osten würde die Sicherheitslage vor Ort gefährlich destabilisieren, warnt Hal Brands. Das aktuelle Auftreten Saudi-Arabiens sieht er dabei als warnendes Beispiel. "The basic argument to pull back from the Middle East runs like this: The United States should not exert such vast energies to confront challenges like terrorism and Iranian expansionism because the countries of the region should and can do it themselves. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf kingdoms have more than enough wealth and military power to prevent Iran from dominating the region or terrorist groups from running wild; and they have an even greater interest in avoiding these outcomes than does the U.S. (...) To see why this assumption is so flawed, just look at the recent behavior of Saudi Arabia. It is by far the richest state in the region with by far the largest military budget (...); it could and probably would play a far larger role were the U.S. less involved in the region’s affairs. Yet that prospect is not reassuring, because Saudi conduct since 2015 has been destabilizing in the extreme."

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"The Kavanaugh sex scandals teach us that extremism is OK"

Ted Rall macht darauf aufmerksam, dass die US-Demokraten den von Präsident Trump nominierten Supreme-Court-Kandidaten Brett Kavanaugh aufgrund von Missbrauchsvorwürfen, nicht aber wegen der "extremistischen" Überzeugungen des Richters im Amt verhindern wollen. "What I don’t understand is: How did Kavanaugh’s candidacy get this far? How did his bid last long enough to get to the point where it was imperiled by #MeToo-related personal misbehavior? Why didn’t it founder first on the rockier shoals of his insane ideology? As a judge the nominee was quoted saying that the NSA’s mass surveillance of every American’s emails, phone calls and texts is 'entirely consistent' with the Constitution. (...) As George W. Bush’s White House lawyer Kavanaugh worked on Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez’s notorious 'torture memos,' the flimsy legalistic covers Bush used to justify waterboarding and murdering innocent Muslim kidnap victims at the Guantanamo concentration camp and CIA dungeons around the world. (...) Most disturbing of all — this is a high bar given the above — Kavanaugh is a fervent devotee to the weird counter-constitutional 'doctrine of the unitary executive' promoted by such fellow neocons as Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz. (...) The Democrats’ decision to ignore Kavanaugh’s stances on important policies tacitly conveys that they either endorse torture themselves or don’t much care about it, that they either tolerate the imperial presidency or don’t care about it, that they sign off on un-American views about government or are willing to look the other way."

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"North Korea needs cash. Japan has it. Can a deal be made?"

Japan befindet sich in den Verhandlungen zur Lösung der Nordkoreakrise Jesse Johnson zufolge derzeit am Rande des Geschehens. Das Land könne allerdings noch eine wichtige Rolle spielen, da Nordkorea im Fall einer Einigung auf wirtschaftliche Investitionen angewiesen wäre. Eine Erklärung, die die Beziehungen beider Länder auf eine neue Grundlage stellen würde, sei bereits 2002 unterschrieben worden. "'A good starting point would be to return to and build on the 2002 Pyongyang Declaration, which included a Japanese apology for colonialism and a promise of 'economic assistance,' but not of 'reparations,'' said Tessa Morris-Suzuki, a professor of Japanese and Korean history at Australian National University in Canberra. The declaration, signed by Koizumi and the North’s leader at the time, Kim Jong Il, at a landmark meeting in Pyongyang laid the groundwork for settling the abductee issue and normalizing relations. (...) In terms of economic assistance, the declaration served up some surprisingly detailed possibilities for doling out aid to the North. It included options such as 'grant aids, long-term loans with low interest rates and such assistance as humanitarian assistance through international organizations, over a period of time deemed appropriate by both sides,' as well as 'other loans and credits by such financial institutions as the Japan Bank for International Co-operation with a view to supporting private economic activities.' This type of aid, it said, 'would be consistent with the spirit' of the declaration."

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"Japan at a crossroads over 'pressure' policy toward North Korea as Trump cozies up to Kim"

Die diplomatische Entwicklung der letzten Monate habe den bisherigen Nordkorea-Kurs Japans in Frage gestellt, schreibt Tomoyuki Tachikawa. Die Strategie des "maximalen Drucks" auf das Regime in Pjöngjang ließe sich angesichts der aktuellen diplomatischen Initiative Kim Jong-Uns kaum noch aufrechterhalten. "Kim has met separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in two times since March, and he is scheduled to meet with Trump again soon. As expectations are rife that Kim will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the not-too-distant future, Abe is likely to become the only leader who is not able to communicate with North Korea among member countries of the long-stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. 'Prime Minister Abe may have been left at the altar,' said Yuichiro Tamaki, co-head of the Democratic Party for the People, an opposition party formed last month in a merger between Kibo no To (Party of Hope) and the Democratic Party."

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"Japan-China relationship is on the mend"

Die diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen Japan und China haben sich spürbar verbessert, stellt der frühere Mitarbeiter im japanischen Außenministerium Masahiro Kohara fest. Beide Länder hätten zuletzt nicht die weiterhin offenen Streitpunkte, sondern gemeinsame Interessen in den Fokus gerückt. "As neighboring countries, Japan and China have a long and complicated historical relations, and they have developed ties in various fields. It is not unusual that Japan and China have difficult issues and problems. Yes, some problems still remain unresolved. However, if you focus too much on a few sensitive pending issues, you might invite such repercussions as excessive nationalism that could hurt or even destroy the entire relationship. In this regard, it is a minimum but steady achievement that Japan and China agreed to implement a 'Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism' between their defense authorities to avert unintended clashes between their armed forces in and above nearby water. It is important to increase fields where both countries can enjoy cooperative win-win relations and to manage difficult-to-resolve issues in order not to undermine common interests."

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"It’s amateur hour in the Middle East"

Gwynne Dyer kann nach einem Überblick über die vielen widersprüchlichen Entwicklungen in Syrien bei keiner der Konfliktparteien eine ernsthafte Strategie erkennen. Syrien gleiche heute dem Deutschland in der Endphase des Dreißigjährigen Krieges, als die Kämpfe ohne Sinn und Zweck für endlose Jahre angedauert hätten. "Indeed the Americans, and increasingly the Russians as well, don’t have a clue about what they want as a final outcome. Neither do the Turks. It’s amateur hour in the Middle East. (...) The situation in Syria is coming to resemble the devastated and depopulated German lands in the final decade of the Thirty Years’ War, when almost all the local forces had lost their ideological motivations and were still fighting only because that was what they did for a living. Then as now, foreign great powers would make splashy military interventions from time to time (Sweden, France and Spain then, Iran, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. now), but those interventions effectively canceled one another out and the war dragged on senselessly year after year. The Syrian war is in its seventh year now, but the commitment of Turkish and U.S. troops to the conflict raises the odds that it might make it to a decade."

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"The U.S. risks losing an Arctic cold war"

Peter Apps ist der Ansicht, dass die USA Gefahr laufen, angesichts der verstärkten Aktivitäten Russlands und Chinas in der Arktis ins Hintertreffen zu geraten. "In part because Washington has never regarded the High North as a major strategic priority, the area has been seen as falling within Russia’s sphere of influence. Now China too is stepping up its plans to become a major player in the region. (...) The U.S. may never have to fight a war in the Arctic — not least because it is very hard to imagine how one might begin without sparking a wider global conflict. But that doesn’t mean it may not find itself eased out of what could become an important region without any fight at all."

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"ICAN, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, stresses importance of nuclear disarmament"

Vertreter der internationalen Kampagne zur atomaren Abrüstung ICAN haben am Sonntag in Oslo den Friedensnobelpreis entgegengenommen. "At a press conference held the day before the prize award ceremony Sunday, Fihn stressed the need to effectuate the U.N. treaty to ban nuclear weapons adopted in July and achieve full nuclear disarmament early. Setsuko Thurlow, who survived the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, was also present at the conference. Regarding her experience, she said: 'This is unacceptable human suffering. No human being should ever experience what we experienced.' Thurlow, who lives in Canada, will attend the award ceremony together with Fihn."

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"North Korea: End of the nuclear taboo?"

Franz-Stefan Gady warnt, dass die Krise zwischen den USA und Nordkorea ein "mächtiges moralisches Tabu" der internationalen Politik beenden könnte. Sollte es in der Konfrontation tatsächlich zu einem Einsatz von Atomwaffen kommen, würde dies Folgen für andere internationale Konflikte haben. "Underlying the so-called nuclear taboo, a burgeoning international norm against the use of nuclear weapons, is that nuclear deterrence — a function of a country’s nuclear capabilities, doctrine, and command and control procedures for launching nuclear weapons — alone has not prevented nuclear war since 1945, but rather a gradual international consensus that prohibits states from ever using the 'Bomb.' (...) we have to realize that nuclear deterrence and the nuclear taboo are social constructs — a shared assumption about political and military realities — and as such can only contribute to strategic stability (i.e., peace) if there is a consensus that they are real. Trump’s talk of preventive war is gradually undermining this shared assumption influencing the U.S.-North Korea nuclear relationship by denying the effectiveness of the two social constructs underpinning it, and that’s a very dangerous development."

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"North Korea fires missile over Japan in sharp escalation of tensions"

Nordkorea hat am Dienstagmorgen zum ersten Mal seit 2009 eine ballistische Rakete über Japan hinweg abgeschossen. "The Self-Defense Forces did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japanese territory at around 6:06 a.m., but the government’s J-Alert warning system was activated and people in the area of the missile’s path were advised to take precautions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the government had a grasp of the situation immediately after the launch. He called it 'an unprecedented, grave and serious threat' that damages the peace and security of the region, adding that Tokyo had lodged a firm protest with Pyongyang."

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"The grand fiction called missile defense"

Das japanische Raketenabwehrsystem werde nicht in der Lage sein, einen möglichen nordkoreanischen Angriff mit einer Vielzahl von Raketen abzuwehren, heißt es in diesem Beitrag des japanischen Sentaku-Magazins. Japan müsse darauf vorbereitet sein, dass die USA Nordkorea angreifen, ohne Tokio vorher zu warnen. Angesichts dieser Möglichkeit gebe es im japanischen Militär die Erwägung, die Option eigener Präventivschläge gegen Nordkorea zu schaffen. "The basic structure of the Japan-U.S. alliance — the American forces playing the offensive role and the SDF the defensive role — is bound to change. Japan acquiring pre-emptive strike capability might sound like a good idea for the U.S., which calls on its allies to pay more for their own defense. But that could infuriate China and South Korea, and it’s not clear if the U.S. would wholeheartedly welcome such a move in view of Washington’s relations with Beijing and its alliance with Seoul. Japan seems caught in a dilemma between the limitations of missile defense and possessing a pre-emptive capability to strike enemy bases."

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"Decoding Trump’s Syria strike"

Ramesh Thakur betrachtet sowohl den Chemiewaffeneinsatz als auch den amerikanischen Militärschlag in Syrien als Fortsetzung eines Abstiegs in die internationale Rechtlosigkeit. "The use of chemical weapons and the retaliatory strikes show just how broken and dysfunctional the existing global order and its key institutions are. No one seems at all interested in repairing the damaged and increasingly frail normative architecture, and therein lies the real danger to our shared future security and destiny. (...) We seem to be reverting to a world ruled by raw power where might is right, where indeed the strong do what they can and the weak suffer as they must. (...) A call by the U.N. secretary-general for all sides to exercise restraint in the Syrian conflict seems so grossly inadequate that, more than anything else, it highlights the impotence and irrelevance of the world organization. If the U.N. cannot enforce global norms and international law, either within nations or across state borders, is it time to discard it and start afresh? Either the Security Council is reformed wholesale, or the U.N. will slowly but surely die."

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"Stalking terror from Molenbeek to Birmingham"

Therese Raphael ist nicht davon überrascht, dass Khalid Masood, der Attentäter von Westminster, offenbar in Birmingham gelebt hat. Die englische Stadt gelte seit langem als eine der "terroristischen Hauptstädte" der Insel. "Between 1998 and 2015, there were 269 people convicted of offenses related to Islamic terrorism or killed in suicide bomb attacks in the United Kingdom. Nearly a fifth came from the West Midlands, which includes Birmingham, and 39 came from Birmingham itself. The city’s Hall Green area is well-known to police and counter-terrorism officials."

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"Testing time for North Korea"

Die Japan Times bezweifelt in diesem Leitartikel, dass Nordkorea mit dem erneuten Raketentest bestimmte diplomatische Signale aussenden wollte. Nordkoreas Führung sei unabhängig von internationalen Reaktionen daran interessiert, so schnell wie möglich über ein nukleares Abschreckungspotential zu verfügen. "(...) it is a mistake to think that foreign reactions are foremost in the mind of the North Korean leadership. It is most likely that the imperatives of the missile and nuclear programs drive testing. North Korea is determined to acquire a nuclear deterrent, a weapon that it believes is critical to the survival of the regime. Its status as a nuclear-weapon possessing state has been written into the nation’s constitution. Guaranteeing that status drove North Korea to conduct two nuclear tests and launch at least 25 projectiles last year. Six sets of U.N. sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006 have had no discernible impact on Pyongyang’s thinking. (...) Ultimately, Pyongyang’s calculus — its weighing of the costs and benefits of nuclear and missile tests — must change. We do not as yet know how to do that."

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"Behind the scenes, Tillerson tones down rhetoric on South China Sea"

US-Außenminister Rex Tillerson ist in einem Schreiben an Senator Ben Cardin vom außenpolitischen Senats-Ausschuss offenbar von seinen kontroversen Äußerungen zur künftigen China-Politik abgerückt. "The new document softened earlier comments by Tillerson in which he appeared to advocate a blockade of Beijing’s man-made islands in the South China Sea. Analysts said such a move in the contentious waterway would be tantamount to an act of war. (...) Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Tillerson’s original statement was poorly considered and appeared to emerge from an impulse to be tough in front of the committee. Although the written answers could not completely neutralize Tillerson’s earlier remarks, Glaser called them 'cleverly modified, removing the implication that the U.S. would challenge Chinese access to its artificial islands in peacetime.'"

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