President Trump’s Stormy Journey to Europe

July 16, 2018

After a confrontational NATO summit in Brussels where the primus inter pares target was Germany and a UK visit which was characterized by some observers as an “assault on diplomatic norms” President Trump met his Russian counterpart in Helsinki. He arrived in the Finnish capital leaving behind a week of controversy while the latter came from a successful World Cup which gave its host Russia added international visibility. At the beginning of the Helsinki meeting President Trump repeated his conviction that good relations between Washington and Moscow are good for both countries and the world. Okumaya devam et

Reklamlar

President Trump Upends the NATO Summit

July 12, 2018

Donald Trump took the oath of office as the President of the United States on January 20, 2017. By then, the Ukraine conflict had already turned into a frozen one and despite statements regarding non-recognition of Crimea’s annexation by Russia everybody knew that the clock could not be turned back. Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov had failed to ensure progress in Syria’s political transition despite frequent claims that “when they cooperated, the two countries could make a difference”. Washington’s relations Beijing were experiencing the usual ups and downs related to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. NATO solidarity looked strong. The JCPOA signed between P5+1 and Iran was globally endorsed as a good investment the exception being PM Netanyahu and some Gulf states. Emphasis on Israeli-Palestinian peace and democratic evolution had further widened the rift between Washington on one side and Israel and the Gulf states on the other. In brief, not everything was perfect; there was still a lot to worry about but dealing with unpredictability had not become the first and foremost challenge. Okumaya devam et

Regime Change

July 5, 2018

In November 2003, thousands of Georgian demonstrators took to the streets to protest the flawed results of a parliamentary election. They gave red roses to the soldiers symbolizing their peaceful intentions. And, soldiers who were expected to quell the protests laid down their guns. Thus, it became known as the Rose Revolution. No one was hurt. President Shevardnadze was replaced by Mikhail Saakashvili. Later he led Georgia into a disastrous confrontation with Russia in 2008; left the country 2013 only become a headache for Ukraine’s President Poroshenko. Okumaya devam et

A Victory for the JDP / A Setback for Turkish Democracy

June 26, 2018

Everybody knew this was a landmark election, the last exit on the road to authoritarian rule. With continuing state of emergency, a failing economy, extreme polarization and a chain of foreign and security policy disasters, Government’s only chance to stay in power was Justice and Development Party (JDP) supporters restating their adulation of President Erdogan and it worked. Anyway, through the constitutional referendum of April 16, 2016 they had already replaced Turkey’s parliamentary system with another, at the center of which is very strong leadership. JDP’s election slogan “strong parliament, strong leader” designed to mask its elimination of separation of powers was a glaring contradiction but the party faithful couldn’t care less. Thus, President Erdogan and the JDP won but democracy is indisputably more than the ballot box. Okumaya devam et

The War in Yemen and the OIC

June 20, 2018

On June 13, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen issued a statement saying he “… extended his sincere congratulations and best wishes to the Islamic Ummah on the advent of the festive occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr and prayed that Allah may accept and bless the fasting and acts of worship of all Muslims and grant them His blessings and rewards… The Secretary General prayed to God that welfare, security and stability may prevail in the Islamic World and that Muslims may enjoy prosperous and serene living…” Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Election Campaign: Foreign Policy

June 15, 2018

A friend suggested that I should write a post comparing the foreign policy of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party with the outlook of the opposition. I believe the foreign policy record of the JDP speaks for itself and needs no elaboration. As for the opposition, I gather they promise; Okumaya devam et

The Singapore Summit

June 13, 2018

On April 22 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that “under the proven condition of complete nuclear weapons, we no longer need any nuclear tests, mid-range and intercontinental ballistic rocket tests, and that the nuclear test site in northern area has also completed its mission.” And, in a span of a few   months, DPRK’s “reclusive leader” moved to the center stage of world diplomacy almost as an astute statesman, one who acts but avoids unnecessary talk. He visited China twice; he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in twice; Secretary of State Pompeo visited him twice in Pyongyang and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov delivered him an invitation by President Putin to visit Russia.

Throughout the Singapore summit President Trump acted as if he was the host. His body language and remarks were designed to underline who was the principal actor.  The meeting no doubt also had an internal politics dimension. After the talks, President Trump said that he had formed a very special bond with Kim Jong Un. Thus, he showed once again that he is determined to remain Mr. Unpredictable. Okumaya devam et