With rising but controlled tension over the Kerch Strait incident, a cancelled Trump-Putin meeting, uncertainty regarding U.S.-North Korea dialogue, the war in Yemen, continuing turmoil in the broad Middle East, U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, the prospect of a widening China-U.S. trade war with political consequences, the rise of populism, Brexit, yellow-vests in France, poor global governance and lack of leadership, world agenda has become even more complicated.
The Syrian conflict which remained on top for almost a decade no longer seems to be a priority. In earlier years this was about the future of the Assad regime, dialogue between Damascus and the opposition, a new constitution, elections. Now, however, the content appears to be shifting away from these towards a confrontation between the U.S. and the Astana format. The shift can be explained to a good measure by Trump administration’s anti-Iran policy jointly defined with Israel and supported by the Saudi-led coalition. An interrelated issue is Washington’s cooperation with the PYD/YPG.
Guarantors of the Astana format met in Kazakh capital on November 29, 2018. Their Joint Statement (*) had two messages. Okumaya devam et →
At his joint press conference with his French counterpart President Trump said:
“And if I might add, the states and, as I alluded to — and countries that are in the area, some of which are immensely wealthy, would not be there except for the United States and, to a lesser extent, France. But they wouldn’t be there except for the United States. They wouldn’t last a week. We’re protecting them…
“… And they will pay for it. They will pay for it. We’ve spoken to them. They will pay for it. The United States will not continue to pay. And they will also put soldiers on the ground, which they’re not doing…”(emphasis added) Okumaya devam et →
President Trump has now completed the Middle East leg of his first trip abroad. Though not as important as what he discussed with leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel, images from his visits were also interesting. For example, especially after his visit to Riyadh, millions and millions of people watching him on their television screens must have been struck with the plain, unadorned residences of both President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Okumaya devam et →
President Obama arrived in Turkey in April 2009 after attending a G20 summit in London, a NATO summit in Strasbourg and an EU summit in Prague. This was his first overseas trip as President.
The following paragraph from the speech he delivered before the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 6, 2009 reflected the purpose of the visit:
“This morning I had the great privilege of visiting the tomb of your extraordinary founder of your republic. And I was deeply impressed by this beautiful memorial to a man who did so much to shape the course of history. But it is also clear that the greatest monument to Atatürk’s life is not something that can be cast in stone and marble. His greatest legacy is Turkey’s strong, vibrant, secular democracy, and that is the work this assembly carries on today…”Okumaya devam et →
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2013 President Obama had said:
“… And our approach to Egypt reflects a larger point: The United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests. Nevertheless, we will not stop asserting principles that are consistent with our ideals, whether that means opposing the use of violence as a means of suppressing dissent, or supporting the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…”
President Trump appears determined to challenge and reverse his predecessor’s policies on a wide range of issues. By all indications, however, the foregoing will be an exception with at least the public dimension, if not more, of the “asserting principles” part being dropped. Okumaya devam et →
On April 4, toxic substance spread after Syrian warplanes dropped bombs on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province. Scores of people lost their lives. The West and Russia offered conflicting explanations for the tragedy. Three days later, US cruise missiles struck Al Sharyat airfield.
On April 13, in a second display of military power, the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” on caves used by Islamic State affiliates in eastern Afghanistan. Reportedly, dozens of militants were killed. A confident President Trump said that the bombing was “another very, very successful mission.” General Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement that the bomb (GBU-43/B) was the “right munition” to use against the Islamic State in Khorosan. Some observers drew attention to the “warning to North Korean” dimension of the bombing. Okumaya devam et →
President Trump’s election campaign remarks on American foreign and security policy led to serious concern even among Washington’s closest allies. Nonetheless, they refrained from reacting in ways which could be perceived as meddling in the elections and preferred to wait and see. They were surprised by the election result. Again, they waited for Mr. Trump’s inauguration and his foreign and security policy team to assume office. Secretaries of Defense and State have now been sworn in but anxiety regarding the future does not seem to dissipate. Because, President Trump, without waiting for his team to take charge of their responsibilities and before giving them an opportunity to offer advice, has continued to challenge America’s long-standing positions in substance and in form. Okumaya devam et →
American exceptionalism is an American concept. President Obama has referred to it on more than one occasion. During a news conference in Strasbourg on April 4, 2009, on his first trip abroad as President, in responding to a question as to whether he subscribed to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, he said: Okumaya devam et →
For understandable reasons, President-elect Donald Trump’s press conference and the Senate confirmation hearings of his team could not reflect a well-coordinated foreign and security policy approach. A reluctance to go into specifics as well as conflicting views were only to be expected. And, it appears that America’s coming to peace with a contentious election and Mr. Trump’s personal style will take time. Nonetheless, there are some clues regarding the incoming administration’s policy towards the Middle East. Okumaya devam et →