Serious concerns about how to keep the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland open—and the possibility that the United Kingdom may need to remain in the EU’s customs union to achieve that—means that right now “we don’t have a deal which has a chance of passing the UK Parliament,” Peter Westmacott, a distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former UK ambassador to the United States, said in a call hosted by the Council on December 12.
The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center convened policymakers, analysts, and diplomats to assess the gaps in and imminent challenges facing the US strategy in Afghanistan. In a resulting report, “A Review of President Trump’s South Asia Strategy: The Way Ahead, One Year In,” these experts provide some important recommendations to the administration. Here’s a look at those recommendations.
The public affairs officer for Poland’s 12th Mechanized Division, an army unit that plays a key role in the defense of NATO’s eastern border, took a four-day course in the drone’s fundamentals. Determined to become a whiz at it, he began learning the DJI Phantom 4’s fine points by trial and error. Hundreds of practice hours later, the seventeen-year officer from Jelenia Gora in southwestern Poland achieved the mastery he had hoped for. In fact, he became so skilled that he began using the drone in his work at the 12th Mechanized’s home in Szczecin.
The growing popularity of drones in journalism, film, and other kinds of communication means that some military public affairs units are acquiring them for missions. But Podhorodecki is likely the only military public affairs officer in the world using his personal drone on the job.
Yet recent times have challenged us a lot and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10 falls at a time of deep pessimism for many human rights activists. There have been massive advances over the past seventy years—billions raised out of poverty, children moved from the workforce and into the classroom, their elders living longer and healthier lives. Women have taken huge strides toward gender equality, while indigenous communities, those who identify as LGBT, and people with disabilities are claiming their place in society.
Still, there is truly a mercy deficit in the world today.
Orban’s reason was a simple one: survival. Facing a potential debt crisis and unwilling to accept austere loan conditions from Western institutions, Beijing offered a lifeline. For his part, Orban convened some Central European leaders with Beijing, and they laid the groundwork for the “16-plus-one” initiative based in Budapest that since then has provided China unprecedented regional influence.
Washington Squanders its Newfound LeverageGeopolitical issues converged in an unlikely location this week—the conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting in Vienna, Austria. On the table were production cuts intended to stop the 30 percent slide in the price of oil from its high of $85 per barrel (Brent) in early October. Yet Iran sanctions, the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Russia’s increasing engagement in the Middle East (part of a broader pattern of an assertive global posture), the escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China, and US President Donald J. Trump’s obsession with oil prices made politics a considerable undercurrent in OPEC’s decision to cut oil production.
Populism is nothing new in Spanish politics. In recent years, left-wing Podemos has successfully employed a brand of populism that appealed to large portions of the electorate in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The conservative platform, on the other hand, was dominated in the 2008 and 2011 elections by the center-right People’s Party (PP).