Following its actions in Georgia, which gained the attention of many observers in the West, Russia has continued efforts to assert its influence in the region by, most recently, exploring possible solutions to the frozen conflict between Moldova and the separatist region of Trans-Dniester.
Cernig, a pseudonymous "forty-something ex-pat Scotsman living in the USA" whose "abiding interest is foreign policy — or to be precise the domestic policy that America inflicts on foreigners," jumps off from Bob Manning's recent reflection on a post-American world to lament the general lack of interest of Americans in world affairs.
Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, told an Atlantic Council audience earlier today that the global financial crisis has "re-emphasized the centrality of the U.S. dollar as a currency" and demonstrated once again that "when things go really badly lots of people want go to the U.S. even if U.S. is why, even in part, things are going so badly."
The American recession and global financial crisis have largely displaced foreign policy in the U.S. presidential campaign. Regardless, President Obama or President McCain will inherit a Bush foreign policy that has 160,000 troops in Iraq and rising demand for NATO forces in Afghanistan. As the next president-elect assembles his team, he needs to be careful they are not mired in the past.
Most foreign policy elites of both parties are either stuck on September 11, 2001 or March 19, 2003.
The German parliament has extended the Bundeswehr's mission in Afghanistan for another fourteen months. A discussion is now needed on what goals the German army can realistically be expected to achieve and which strategy will offer the best hope for success.
At the request of the provisional Iraqi government in 2004, NATO began providing training, assistance, and equipment to the Iraqi Security Forces to assist with the creation of a democratically led and enduring security sector. This mission has grown from planning and training security forces to include advising and mentoring of security forces, both in and out of Iraq. Today all twenty-six NATO members provide funding for NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) and sixteen countries are providing staffing for the mission.
Nick Burns, a career diplomat who recently retired after a quarter century of service as the number three ranked official in the State Department, has a long piece in Newsweek declaring "We Should Talk to Our Enemies." It pointedly takes John McCain to task for his repeated hammering at Barack Obama for pledging to negotiate with adversaries without preconditions.