Russia is flexing its diplomatic muscles at the United Nations again. Moscow appears intent on using the U.N. to complicate American efforts to put pressure on North Korea and sow confusion over its own intentions toward Ukraine. Western diplomats should be alert, because Russia is a fine player of the U.N. game.
A refugee crisis is what happens when large numbers of people fleeing poor, violent countries seek asylum in rich, peaceful countries, raising agonizing moral and political questions. This of course is what occurred in 2015, when a million refugees from Syria and elsewhere poured across Europe’s borders, provoking a backlash that brought nationalist parties to the verge of power and threatened the Continent’s liberal order. The refugees were the cause, rather than the victims, of the crisis in question.
U.S. President Donald Trump recently gave a speech on "the path forward" in Afghanistan and South Asia. President Trump ordered the deployment of about 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The decision follows months of deliberation within the Trump administration, involving top military commanders, political advisers and even enlisted veterans of the nearly 16-year war.
There is surely no greater sign of the bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy than its Afghanistan policy. After more than 15 years of war and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, a new president entered the Oval Office poised to fundamentally change that policy. Within months he presented, with great fanfare, a continuation of the same.
Three American presidents have spent nearly 16 years alternately cajoling, coaxing, threatening and bombing Pakistan, all with a goal of trying to change the Pakistani government’s decisions about the factions it supports in Afghanistan’s desperate civil war.
The Trump administration’s evolving UN policy is a case study in how policymaking in the administration remains a work in progress amid competing worldviews, absent or unclear guidance, and an idiosyncratic president. There are deep ideological divisions within the White House about America’s role in the world.
Joseph Kabila, like Mobutu Sese Seko before him, has used his position as Democratic Republic of Congo president to amass wealth for himself and his family. Unfortunately democracy hasn’t changed the equation that political power has been the road to self-enrichment. As new political elites have come to the fore, the race to fill their personal coffers has been accompanied by little redistribution of wealth by the government, scant investment in infrastructure, job creation or social services.