In five months in office, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, has so far publicly avoided challenging new US President Donald Trump.
But on Tuesday, he threw the equivalent of a last-minute "Hail Mary" pass during a speech at New York University -- making the case for the US to remain committed to the Paris climate accord in terms that he hoped would change Trump's mind, by warning of a drop in the US's global influence if it pulls out of the agreement.
India’s decision to boycott China’s Belt and Road Forum has reinvigorated the much-needed debate on the strategic relationship between the two Asian giants. This debate comes on the heels of the February 23, 2017 India-China Strategic Dialogue in Beijing, where the two states found, among their divergences, a convergence on Afghanistan that contradicts some of Delhi’s received wisdom.
Whether launching a few missiles at a Syrian air base, sailing an aircraft carrier toward North Korea (or not), dropping MOAB, or sending more troops to Afghanistan, tactical demonstrations of U.S. strength not tied to strategic objectives sooner rather than later deteriorate into bloody demonstrations of futility.
Considerable policy analysis has been devoted to bilateral strategic relationships between Pakistan and India, India and China, and China and the United States. But the strategic dynamics among these four nuclear powers cannot be understood or effectively addressed on a strictly bilateral basis. While Pakistan responds strategically to India, India responds both to Pakistan and China, which in turn responds both to India and the United States.
If the Trump–Turnbull call illustrated the operatic nature of the early Trump administration, then the Trump–Abe long weekend presented an alternative picture of US alliance management under the new President.
“What do you think about policy Trump in the Middle East?” - a reasonable question, but one with no answer. If we take only the Israel-Palestine conflict as an example, the U.S. has for several decades, through both Republican and Democratic administrations, supported as a solution the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace with each other. The U.S. advocated direct negotiations between the two parties, represented by the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization as the means to that end and has offered to assist in any way.
The India-U.S. relationship is presently stronger than at anytime in their history. The twin summits – less than six months apart – in September 2014 and January 2015 between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have repaired, revived and revitalized the strategic partnership. Yet there remain several hurdles to deepening the relationship, notably, geopolitical differences over Iran, Russia, Syria and India’s membership of various nuclear and missile export control regimes.
President Xi Jinping first presented China’s vision for a “Silk Road Economic Belt” during a 2013 speech in Kazakhstan. The idea was to “forge closer economic ties, deepen cooperation, and expand development in the Euro-Asia region”. In early 2015, the contours of Beijing’s strategy began to emerge as China’s leadership laid out plans for this “Silk Road Economic Belt” through Central Asia, and a “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” through Southeast and South Asia. China referred to both collectively as “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR).
Japan, European countries, and the United States have a common interest in boosting United Nations peace operations. Japan has been a prominent supporter of a U.S. initiative to encourage participation in peacekeeping operations, but to date, Tokyo’s follow-up has been constructive but limited. For Tokyo and its allies, ensuring that the UN can handle today’s ugly crises is an unavoidable task.