By Chintamani Mahapatra* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
NEW DELHI (IDN) - As territorial and maritime disputes in Asia have sparked regional cold wars, the United States appears to have adopted a non-aligned strategy to navigate in troubled political space of the continent.
Non-alignment as a diplomatic instrument of state craft has been known to American Administrations for centuries. Although the term “non-alignment” was not used, the need of such a strategy was first articulated by first President of the United States – George Washington. In his farewell address, Washington warned against the folly of getting involved in the European entanglements.
By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - The U.S. government is unofficially accusing Russia of violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, by flight testing two-stage ground-based cruise missile RS-26.
Although the U.S. government has not officially commented on the alleged Russian violation of the INF, which prohibits both countries to producing, testing and deploying ballistic and cruise missiles, and land-based missiles of medium (1,000 to 5,500 kilometres) and short (500 to 1,000 kilometres) range, high ranking members of the government in Washington have been leaking information to U.S. media, in a moment of particular tense relations with Moscow.
By Anthony Rusonik* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
TORONTO (IDN | Geopolitical Monior) - US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy driver, at times fuzzy, appears in sharper focus as the president confronts the challenges of his second term.
What began in 2009 as global rapprochement and retrenchment grounded in realpolitik, in stark contrast to President George Bush’s over-extended messianic interventionism, now seems to have mutated into resignation, or at least hesitation and indecision. If the United States is not resigned under Obama, friends and foes alike can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
By Taro Ichikawa | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TOKYO (IDN) - Caroline Kennedy was just 20 years old when she accompanied her uncle, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, to Hiroshima, site of the first U.S. bomb attack that killed 140,000 people on August 6, 1945. In a Senate hearing in September, confirming her appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, she said she was deeply moved by her visit in 1978 that included a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
In her video message to the people of Japan posted before assuming office on November 12, 2013, she remarked that her trip to Hiroshima had left her "with a profound desire to work for a better, more peaceful world".
By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BARCELONA (IDN) The German political comedian Karl Valentin once coined a wonderful phrase to parody the cowardice of people who betray their own will: “Mögen hätt’ ich schon wollen,” Valentin mocked them, “aber dürfen habe ich mich nicht getraut.” Loosely translated: “I actually would have loved to want, but I did not dare to can.”
Valentin’s grim humour is a perfect match for the present predicament of European governments vis-à-vis the U.S. and British global surveillance of telecommunications, revealed by the brave Edward Snowden. All heads of governments, from Angela Merkel in Germany to Mariano Rajoy in Spain, passing through François Hollande of France, have expressed their alleged outrage towards the U.S. spying of their official and private telephone and Internet communications. All of them have used the same expression: What the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been doing all these years is “unacceptable.”
By Athena Ballesteros of World Resources Institute
The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued on October 29, 2013 a policy document ending Washington’s support for multilateral development bank (MDB) funding for new overseas coal projects except in narrowly defined circumstances. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard explained: "By encouraging the use of clean energy in multilateral development bank projects, we are furthering U.S. efforts to address the urgent challenges of climate change." World Resources Institute’s Project Manager of International Financial Flows and Environment Project, Athena Ballesteros, analyses the significance of the initiative in a blog.
By Julio Godoy | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BARCELONA (IDN) - During the early 1980s, distinguished U.S. international affairs journalist Jonathan Kwitny started a journey throughout the world, to analyse his country’s foreign policy since the late 1940s. Kwitny, who had reported among other media for the Wall Street Journal, came to a disparaging conclusion: The U.S., which had emerged as the champion of the “free” world for its decisive intervention against Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan, and as such stood against the Soviet Union, did not care for democracy and human rights, but only for what its governments considered as “national interests”.
By Shim Jae Hoon* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SEOUL (IDN | Yale Global) - The front-page picture in Korean newspapers told the story of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. South Korea’s President Park Geun Hye, looking frosty and gazing in the opposite direction, ignored Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe standing next to her at the October 7 APEC in Bali. The two leaders barely exchanged greetings, according to a Japanese news dispatch, and kept their contact to a minimum, “only for a few seconds”.
By Nasser Saghafi-Ameri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - After nearly 35 years of estrangement between Iran and the United States, a short phone call between President Rouhani and President Obama on September 27, 2013 culminated into a marathon diplomacy which started few days earlier at the United Nations and following the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in what he qualified as 'Heroic Flexibility'.
By Luisa Parraguez, Francisco Garcia Gonzalez, Joskua Tadeo*
MEXICO CITY (IDN | Yale Global) - The Latin American blogosphere held its breath when Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane was forced to land in Vienna in July. As European authorities searched for former U.S. National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden on board, Twitter accounts of South American presidents exploded with resentment.
The continent denounced the United States for extending its hemispheric supremacy to Europe, sputtered words like “colonialism” and “imperialism,” and claimed that the incident violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner called the incident “not only humiliating to a sister nation, but also for the whole South American continent.”
By Harold Hongju Koh* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
OXFORD (IDN | Yale Global) - From both the left and the right, three common misperceptions have emerged about US foreign policy: First, that the Global War on Terror has become a perpetual state of affairs; second, that no strategy is available to end this conflict in the near future; and third, that “the Obama approach to that conflict is just like the Bush approach.” I disagree with all three propositions.
First and most important, the overriding goal should be to end this Forever War, not engage in a perpetual “global war on terror,” without geographic or temporal limits.