American Diplomacy LinksApril 2016
"Where in the World Are We?"
Joseph Nye steps back from campaign rhetoric for a big-picture look at the challenges confronting the United States in today's world. "In a world as complex as the one we face," he writes, "foreign policy does not fit on a bumper sticker." Nye adds that "while the United States has many domestic problems, America is not an empire in decline like ancient Rome."
By Joseph Nye, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Nye, a Harvard professor of political science and a former official with the U.S. Defense and State departments, is one of the most influential experts on American foreign policy.
"Trump Angst Pours in from Overseas Governments"
Officials around the globe are closely following the U.S. presidential race. Lobbyists in Washington say they are being flooded with questions and concerns from foreign governments about the rise of Donald Trump and on what a contested Republican convention would look like.
By Julian Hattem and Megan R. Wilson, thehill.com. Hattem reports on national security and Wilson covers lobbying for thehill.com.
"Under the Lime Trees"
The region referred to by Westerners as the "Middle East" is now polarized into two camps, led respectively by Saudi Arabia and Iran. In politics, national interests often trump ideological differences. For some time now, the Saudis have been a secret ally of Israel, and vice versa. Both parties would find it embarrassing to acknowledge the relationship in public.
By Uri Avnery, Jewish Business News. Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. He was a Knesset member from 1965–74 and from 1979–81.
"The Exit Solution?: How the West Misjudged Russia, Part 10"
The "pragmatist" proposals of Western foreign-policy experts to resolve the Ukraine crisis sell out vital principles and values for short-term gains.
By Lilia Shevtsova, the American Interest. Shevtsova is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution and a member of the American Interest's editorial board. She has published 20 books about Russia.
"Seven Phantoms of Russia's Policy Toward the European Union"
"The fundamental problem of Russian foreign policy is not about how to cope with the external reality," says a Russian foreign-policy expert, "but rather how to define it." Here he offers a Russian point of view on where things went wrong in his country's relationship with the EU.
By Andrey Kortunov, Russian International Affairs Council Publication. Kortunov is director general of RIAC, a think tank founded by the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Science in 2010.
"Most Young Arabs Have No Use for ISIS, Survey Finds"
In the eighth annual Arab Youth Survey conducted by the public-relations and ad agency ASDA'A Burston-Marsteller, 80 percent of Arabs between 18 and 24 ruled out any support for ISIS, even if it were to give up violent tactics.
By Willa Frej, the Huffington Post. Frej is a reporter for the Huffington Post who focuses on international news.
"ISIS's Offline Propaganda Strategy"
While ISIS's Internet propaganda has become increasingly difficult to access online, in the territories that the Islamic State controls, its narrative is more pervasive than ever and based on two mechanisms: the proliferation of Islamic State-friendly legacy media and the eradication of free access to information.
By Charlie Winter, Brookings Blogs. Winter is a senior research associate at Georgia State University's Transcultural Conflict & Violence Initiative.
"On the American Front Line Against ISIS"
The number of American troops in the campaign against the Islamic State has quietly escalated in recent months to somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000. Wright talks to U.S. commanders at Camp Swift near Makhmour in Iraq, the spot where the American soldiers are coaching, coordinating, and cajoling Iraq's rival religious sects and ethnic factions to join forces for what will be the biggest offensive yet in the war on ISIS—the campaign to liberate Mosul. "We all know that if they do this on their own, it will be more longer-lasting win for the future of Iraq," says Major General Richard Clarke, the commander of coalition land forces.
By Robin Wright, the New Yorker. Wright, a contributing writer for newyorker.com, has written for the magazine since 1988.
"What To Do About Brussels"
Going to war won't solve Europe's homegrown terrorism problem, writes a reporter conducting interviews in Molenbeek—the Brussels neighborhood where many homegrown terrorists grow up. The terrorist threat in Europe is no doubt driven by the craven machinations of the powerful and well-funded Islamic State. But for every ISIS true believer, "there are many more who play crucial roles in a kind of terrorism gray area. Their only evident qualifications are their capacity for drinking and drug use, their ability to acquire illicit goods, and their indifference to the law and those who might enforce it."
By Josuhua Hersh, newrepublic.com. Hersh is a freelance journalist, based in New York. His work has appeared in BuzzFeedNews, the New Yorker, the Daily Beast, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
"How Our Politiciansand MediaAre Helping Terrorists Win"
Terrorism's objective is not just to kill but "to create power where there is none, through the publicity generated by their violence," as Bruce Hoffman puts it in his classic Inside Terrorism. British journalist Jenkins argues that "the media is counter-terrorism's Achilles heel. It knows no restraint. These days it is one long 24/7 scream of horror and fear, attended by no protocol of caution or self-censorship."
By Simon Jenkins, the Spectator. Sir Simon Jenkins is an English newspaper columnist, editor, and author.
"Reviving the Mediterranean's Lost Cosmopolitanism"
The commentator traces the roots of today's migrant crisis to the 18th century, when Westernized intellectuals in the Levant became missionaries for the nation-state system. They dreamed of political independence from empire, without considering the consequences of isolating themselves from their neighbors. In the process, millions of Muslims and Christians were permanently displaced and rebranded by their nationalities. Thus Mediterranean cities like Istanbul, Thessaloniki, Izmir, and Alexandria, which were once formidable trading hubs of coexistence, saw their ethnic minority populations shrivel. As the multilingual, multiethnic mix drained away, so did flexibility, inventiveness and – ultimately – profit and competitiveness, too.
By Iason Athanasiadis, Refugees Deeply. Athanasiadis is a writer, photographer, political analyst, and television producer who has contributed to the BBC, Al Jazeera English, and England's Channel 4. He specializes in the Middle East.