Articles

The notion of a cooperative U.S.-Chinese economic relationship, balanced by security hedging, has run aground.


Just a year ago, presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping met in California and, in shirtsleeves, proclaimed a "new type of major-power relationship." A noble aspiration, perhaps. But in the interim, such stage-managed optimism has been dangerously overtaken by a cascade of troubling events.

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It is fitting that President Obama's first meeting with newly elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko occurred today in Warsaw. The formal reason for Obama's trip is to mark the 25th anniversary of Poland's first post-communist election. Obama's trip to Warsaw, the first stop in a three-country Europe swing, is intended to reassure Poland and other front-line states of the continuing credibility of Washington's commitment to the defense of its NATO allies in the face of Russia's annexation of Crimea and continued provocations in Ukraine's East.

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Today, June 6th, 2014, veterans and national leaders gather in Normandy to commemorate the Allied landings seventy years ago that began the liberation of France and the western half of Europe. Later this year, on November 9th, the world will observe the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism, which made Europe "whole and free."

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Resident Senior Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Bilal Saab has contributed a chapter to a forthcoming book on the challenges to security in the Middle East:

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CAEN, France - SEVENTY YEARS later, it is what they managed to do here that is still so striking and inspiring. The greatest amphibious invasion in history — led by young American, British, and Canadian paratroopers, soldiers, sailors, and airmen — delivered Europe from Hitler's evil and paved the road to the collapse of the Third Reich the next spring.

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Does Barack Obama's speech last week to the graduating class of West Point outlining his philosophy on the United States role in the world represent a new "Obama Doctrine" or is it actually more in line with traditional US foreign policy since the Second World War ?

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The conflict in Ukraine is not a classic foreign conquest, though the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea could trigger an anti-occupation struggle, particularly within the Tatar community and others in Crimea who remain loyal to Ukraine and are increasingly repressed and dissatisfied with the deteriorating economy. In eastern Ukraine, a separatist campaign supported by Russia’s government includes an armed insurgency by irregular militias in the Donbas region (Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts). This campaign seeks to rally support of pro-Russian civilians in that region.

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The Maidan popular uprising of 2014 lasted 93 days between November 21, 2013 and February 21, 2014.  It was during 88 days of the revolution that protesters engaged in nonviolent mobilization and various forms of nonviolent action. Despite five days of spectacular violence between demonstrators and regime security forces, the logic of nonviolent conflict helps explain why Yanukovych was forced to flee. However, the success of this phase of people power was quickly followed by new external aggression that is now testing the limits of the Ukrainian nonviolent resistance.

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In his May 28 West Point speech on foreign policy President Obama took a swipe at "so-called realists." But the acolytes of this particular school of thought will by and large be satisfied with his manifesto. The most scathing attacks on Obama's foreign policy have come from neo-conservatives such as Robert Kagan. They are the ones who will pounce on the Mr. Obama's latest address, and indeed have already done so.

The West Point lecture was classic Obama: the president was calm and reasonable. And he took an in-between Goldilocks stance designed to differentiate him from the extremes. The latter he characterized simplistically to supplement the rhetorical force, if not the persuasiveness, of his case.

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On the surface, the European Parliament election results in France and the United Kingdom look quite similar. In both, a maverick right-wing Euroskeptic party won a comfortable quarter of the votes, polling ahead of the leading opposition party and leaving the party in power in third place. In both, gains by those nationalist protest parties were also reflected in local elections. In both, a senior opposition political figure has been compelled to resign. In both, the national leader has declared that the European Union—“Brussels”—must show more respect for national preferences and national prerogatives.

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